North Koreans got their first look at pro wrestling in about 20 years over the weekend when an ex-NFL lineman and 20 other grapplers from around the world took to the ring for an exhibition put together by a charismatic former Japanese pro-wrestler who is now a member of parliament.
"It was real eerie and a little scary at first," said Sapp, who briefly played for the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears before becoming a celebrity in Japan as a mixed martial artist. "But we were able to take control of the audience. It went over very well."
. North Koreans in the crowd at the exhibition, the first major sports event with big-name foreigners in the country since Dennis Rodman and a team of other former NBA players staged a game in January for leader Kim Jong Un's birthday.
. Former NFL player Bob "The Beast" Sapp lifts his opponent.
. A North Korean boy arm wrestles with Bob "The Beast" Sapp on Friday. Sapp and a group of brawny pro-wrestlers led by a Japanese politician took their oddball attempt at sports diplomacy to the streets of Pyongyang on Friday, staging a tug-of-war and arm wrestling competition with local children before a large and somewhat bewildered crowd of spectators.
. North Korean athletes cheer on their teammate as he competes with a pro-wrestler on Friday.
. Japanese pro-wrestler-turned-politician Kanji "Antonio" Inoki, center, poses during a press conference Thursday. Inoki, who organized the two-day event in Pyongyang, said he hopes it will pave the way for more exchanges with the North.
-- The Associated Press