Rise Underground is now gearing up for their 2nd Games of Death tournament. G.O.D is one of the largest deathmatch tournaments in the UK, and on March 28th, nine deathmatch stars will do battle to claim themselves the best deathmatch wrestler in the company, maybe even the country. As part of a preview of the tournament, I have made it my mission to interview the competitors in the tournament. The first to respond was Danny Darko. The Bud Light King talked to us about his career, his motivations in the upcoming tournament, his dream opponent, and much more.

Firstly, who is Danny Darko?

So, my name is Danny Darko, and I started wrestling when I turned 18. I was trained by the Knight Family in Norwich and wrestled for them for about 4 or 5 years. I then gave up on the business completely and came back about 6 years later. Shortly after that, I was introduced to Rise through my old tag partner, Big F’N Joe, and it just went on from there.

You’re called The Bud Light King, how did that nickname come about?

Basically, I drink Bud Light because it’s low calories and I won’t get fat. It was never really planned, just some ring announcer said it out of nowhere.

What brought you to the deathmatch style of wrestling?

It’s funny, I never intended to ever go into the deathmatch style of wrestling. I was always of the opinion that if I was going to do it, I would do a light tube and that would be the finish to a match. But then it got to the point where there was a hardcore match, and it needed something, so we did the light tube. Then somebody else wanted to do light tubes, and it just went from there.

And now you’re probably one of the best in Rise for Deathmatch Wrestling…

I’d like to think so.

This will be the second Games of Death Tournament; how did it feel to take part in the first?

It made me nervous because when people don’t expect it (deathmatch violence), then it’s often easier, but when they expect the blood and the guts, then you have to give them the blood and the guts. You’re always nervous something could go wrong obviously. I was also excited because it was an opportunity to be seen worldwide.

Last year’s tournament cost Rise a venue, will Eiger studios withstand the violence?

Funnily enough, Eiger Studios is the site where we first started using light tubes. We had a hardcore match there that was me vs. Big F’N Joe vs. Michael Caden, where we used light tubes in the finish. I’m pretty sure that’s where the deathmatch scene in Rise started.

You drew Big F’N Joe as your first-round opponent last year, how did that feel?

Well, me and Big Joe go back a long time from when we started training to be wrestlers. So, it was kind of comfortable, but at the same time, you don’t want to let down one of your best friends. Yeah, I’d class it as being nervous whilst comfortable.

As we speak, the brackets for this year’s tournament haven’t been revealed yet. Who would you like to draw from this year’s competitors?

Without a doubt, I’m hoping I get SHLAK. I just want to prove myself against a man like SHLAK. He’s probably one of the hottest names in deathmatch wrestling if you take away your Nick Gages and your Matt Tremonts. I think SHLAK is number three. I think that even with the names I’ve mentioned, SHLAK makes an example. People remember him even if it isn’t wrestling related. People might see him in the street, and they’ll be like there goes somebody. So, if I can take some of that stardom.

What type of deathmatch would you want him in, maybe the drunken deathmatch?

I’m not really too fussed. Just not a match involving carpet strips. I hate carpet strips. They have to be either the number one or number two worst bump I have ever taken. When I hit carpet strips for the first time I was like, “No way, never doing that again.”

SHLAK may be your most wanted fight, but who do you consider the biggest threat in the tournament?

Well, Big Joe has got something to prove, he’ll be going to America before the tournament so he’ll have to prove himself. Plus, since he lost last year, he’ll have to make a point by winning this year. Casanova Valentine too as he’ll be desperate to become a two-time champ.

Do you have any special plans to win this year or are you just going to go out and batter as many people as you can?

I’m definitely going to go out there and batter as many people as I can, and I’m hoping I get a better draw this year. I think Big Joe was the favourite to win last year, and he’s probably the favourite to win this year so if I have to fight Big Joe, hopefully, this time it’s in the final.

The Hardcore Title could also potentially feature in the tournament…

Since the Rise Hardcore Title works like the old WWE Hardcore Title, should Michael Caden lose any of his matches, then the title goes to whoever beats him. It’ll be 24-hour rules. It could be anyone in the tournament.

What do you think draws people to Rise Underground?

It’s funny, today’s society has become full of, not to be too offensive, hipsters. It’s all about understanding and being, and the whole idea of having a good time is sometimes left behind. I think most people who come to Rise, especially on their first show, don’t necessarily come for the wrestling. They just come to have a good time and party, then become addicted to what they see. It’s the type of wrestling you don’t get anywhere else in the country. People tend to think it’s just deathmatch wrestling, but there are some of the best wrestlers in the country on these shows. And, it’s not just the normal names, your WWE UK names, if you get me?

How do you feel about the larger reach the tournament has gained this year? You’ve managed to pull in SHLAK, British deathmatch veteran Clint Margera, and a returning Casanova Valentine, plus Big F’N Joe, who is becoming more and more recognised worldwide. Is it good to see Rise drawing in more and more talents for shows and tournaments?

Absolutely, 100%. In fact, if G.O.D happens next year, in 2021, I want to see more people. Maybe 12 or 16 people involved. Make it bigger, maybe even make it a weekender.

And what does it feel like to say you’ve got one of the UK variants of the Tournament of Death? Especially for northeast England.

Deathmatches have become more prominent, a lot more popular. A lot more companies are running their own deathmatch tournaments. I’m always hearing rumours of more deathmatch tournaments being planned. There’s a lot happening in the shadows right now.

So, you see the deathmatch scene expanding even further in the UK?

Definitely. Deathmatches have become the new hot topic. Wrestling goes through phases, so you had the big guys, the cruiserweights, and flippy guys. Now, deathmatches have become the hot thing, and we’re going to ride it whilst it lasts.

Do you have any thoughts on the people who dislike deathmatches?

It’s an odd one. Because I can see where they’re coming from. It’s just they don’t understand that a large number of deathmatch wrestlers are great wrestlers. Some of them are even the best in the country. When you’re wearing trunks and boots, you don’t get noticed as much. Take myself and Big Joe, we spent years wrestling in trunks and boots, and nobody noticed, nobody knew who we were. Then we broke a couple of glass tubes on each other, and we started getting noticed. That type of opinion comes more from the fans than it does from other wrestlers. I’ve spoken with many veterans in the business, and they seem to respect it for what it is.

Well, I’m glad to hear it’s respected behind the scenes.

Absolutely, you only have to look to the Stone-Cold Podcast. In the last year, he’s had, Rickey Shane Page and Nick Mondo. Both very prominent, in fact, one probably wouldn’t even be known if not for deathmatches.


Deathmatches seemed to have reached a point now where they are both showcases for extreme violence and story, it’s now less about the shock value. Do you agree?

I think there are two types of deathmatches, you’ll get the story-based ones which are obviously the better ones. But you also still get the hack and slash where it’ll be I’m going to stab you with a Stanley blade then you’re going to cut me with a razor blade, and everyone’s going to see it. I think at Rise. We’ve got a good storyline base. Like we won’t start with a Stanley blade, in fact, we’re probably not going to even have Stanley blades, you know?

And finally, what words do you have for your opponents at G.O.D.?

All I’ve really got to say is that this year, I’m going to prove I’m one of the best deathmatch workers in this country. Hell, one of the best workers without the weapons, and I’ll make the point to show that in the ring be it against SHLAK, Casanova, Big Joe, Caden, Clint Margera or Iceman, that I deserve my place.

You can find Danny Darko on Twitter and Instagram for social media and here for merchandise

All images courtesy of Rise Underground Twitter, Danny Darko, Brett King Photography, Videos courtesy of Rise Underground YouTube and Danny Darko YouTube


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