In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Wong fights Abomination and defeats him. Was it odd, though, that Wong was fighting in the first place?
Wong competes in a competition for money in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but is this out of character for him? Wong initially appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a Master of the Mystic Arts and a defender of the New York Sanctum, a base for individuals who practise the mystic arts and the present home of Wong and Doctor Strange, in 2016’s Doctor Strange. Wong appeared as Shang-Chi after the Battle of Earth in Avengers: Endgame, where he played a minor but crucial part.
When Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) went to the underground fight club in Macau to find his sister Xialing (Meng’ er Zhang), they walked by a battle cage where Wong (Benedict Wong) was fighting Abomination, the villain from The Incredible Hulk, in a contest. Wong defeated Abomination with the use of magical skills, earning a large sum of money in the process before establishing a portal that sent him back to the New York Sanctum. Wong’s presence at the event came as a bit of a shock because he was not expecting to be found in such a situation. Fighting for money may appear out of character, but given how little is known about the subject, this isn’t necessarily the case.
It’s difficult to describe what Wong does in his leisure time except caring to the old texts, continuing to study the Mystic Arts, and training. Wong is seen leaving the New York Sanctum in the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer (presumably on his way to Shang-subterranean Chi’s fight club), and it’s conceivable he pops in and out of his base to keep himself busy. It’s easy to believe that battling for money isn’t in his nature. After all, he did once warn Doctor Strange that attachment to the material is a separation from the spiritual, so it seems strange that he’d be thrashing opponents for money, the most material of all things.
Wong, on the other hand, is still a human being, and much about his life remains a mystery. Seeing him battle in Macau implies he’s discovered something else to do with his life except study the mystic arts. Wong is also shown performing karaoke with the eponymous character and Katy towards the conclusion of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, indicating that he enjoys trying out new activities to pass the time. And it’s unlikely that he spends his days reading or sifting through legendary relics in the New York Sanctum. It’s also possible that Wong was battling Abomination for a specific cause and, knowing he’d win, was planning on keeping the monster for research or questioning.
It’s conceivable that viewers may learn more about Wong in future MCU films — he’ll be back in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so his job in Shang-Chi was likely only a taste of what he does on a daily basis. Even though he’s away battling for money at a tournament, Wong is nonetheless aware of what’s going on in the world when it comes to fabled relics like the Ten Rings’ beacon, as shown in the mid-credits sequence. In any case, given the circumstances, the latter isn’t particularly a surprising truth to learn about Wong.