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In 1994, I reviewed “Invincible Handicap” (“Muteki no Handicap”), a documentary by scriptwriter and filmmaker Daisuke Tengan about a professional wrestling group called Doglegs whose members were both physically challenged men and able-bodied volunteers. Started in 1991, the Doglegs hardly fit the template of pitiable unfortunates being aided by selfless caregivers, so often found in local media depictions of those with disabilities.

Inside the ring, the Doglegs put on a show that was as uncompromisingly un-PC as their name. Fought prowrestling style, their bouts were bloody, bruising and unsettling, especially when able-bodied volunteers stepped into the ring with disabled opponents. The aim was not to stage a freak show, but rather to trash stereotypes about people with disabilities as weak, helpless victims by letting them tussle, no holds barred, in the ring.

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