Warning: Mild spoilers ahead for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Wong fights in a tournament for money, but is it out of character for him? Wong was first introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Doctor Strange as a Master of the Mystic Arts and a protector of the New York Sanctum, a base for those who practice the mystic arts and the current home of Wong and Doctor Strange. Following the Battle of Earth in Avengers: Endgame, Wong was seen in Shang-Chi, playing a small, but pivotal role.
When Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) visited the underground fight club in Macau to find his sister Xialing (Meng’ er Zhang), he and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) passed by a fight cage that saw Wong (Benedict Wong) battling Abomination, the villain from The Incredible Hulk, in a match. Wong beat Abomination by using the mystic arts, taking home a lot of cash for winning the fight before opening up a portal that took him back to the New York Sanctum. Wong being at the tournament was a bit of a surprise because it was somewhat unexpected to find him in such a setting. Fighting for money might even seem out of character, but that’s not necessarily the case considering how little is actually known about Wong to begin with.
Besides tending to the ancient books, continuing to study up on the Mystic Arts, and training, it’s hard to say for sure what Wong does in his spare time. In the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, Wong is seen leaving the New York Sanctum (likely headed to the underground fight club from Shang-Chi) and it’s possible he pops in and out of his base so as to keep himself busy. It’s easy to think that fighting for money is out of character for him. After all, he did once tell Doctor Strange that attachment to the material is a detachment to the spiritual, so it seems rather odd that he would be beating opponents up for cash, one of the most material things of all.
However, Wong is still human and there’s so much to his life that is still a mystery. Watching him fight in Macau means he has found something to enjoy in life beyond studying the mystic arts. By the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Wong is also shown doing karaoke with the titular character and Katy, so it’s clear that he likes to be engaged in new hobbies so as to pass the time. And it’s doubtful he just sits around the New York Sanctum all day reading or sorting through mythical artifacts. It could also be Wong was fighting Abomination for a particular reason and, knowing he would win, wasn’t just taking home a cash prize, but the creature himself for research or questioning. It’s all pretty vague at the moment.
It’s possible fans will learn more about Wong in future MCU movies — he’s set to reappear in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so it’s likely that his role in Shang-Chi was just a small taste of what he does day in and day out. The mid-credits scene revealed that Wong is still plugged in with what’s happening in the world when it comes to mythical artifacts like the Ten Rings’ beacon even if he’s away fighting for money at a tournament. Either way, the latter is not necessarily a strange fact to learn about Wong, all things considered.