Look, if you’re going to be making a play to be rubbing elbows with the top dogs in Outworld, you aren’t exactly going to spell your way there. Being able to spell things like “decapitate” and “mutilate” aren’t nearly as important as actually being able to do them. Mortal Kombat may be dabbling in the crossover and add-on game, but we’ve yet to see a Mortal Kombat vs. Merriam-Webster show up on any of our radars.
I’m sure Shang Tsung excelled in other areas of class work. Soul Stealing 101 was likely a breeze for him. Even at such a young age, he was doing the whole Voldemort thing before it was cool. He also probably worked really hard at his Creative Catchphrases class. What, you think “You’re soul is mine,” just wrote itself? And like any boy curious about… um, anatomy… his morphing powers were way ahead of the curve. You don’t get to have an award-winning franchise by slacking off.
Of course, who’s to say that if he just hadn’t had that one person to inspire him, an entire realm of people might have been spared the hassle of fighting fallen gods or dream inhabiting child snatchers. He could have easily gone on to live the life of a wealthy vigilante crime-fighter or the savior his people. It just wasn’t in the cards. When in doubt, blame the public school system.