Welcome back to Part two. Once again, for context, AKIRA was a complete enigma to me until about two months ago when he was announced for ICW No Holds Barred Volume 2. People had been hyping up him and his match with Reed Bentley to the ends of the Earth and guess what, it delivered. AKIRA blew up overnight and continued to do so as his next opponent was none other than Matt Tremont. Now, he’s looking ahead to main event spots and more challenging opponents in the coming weeks, but before that, he took the time to talk to me. In part one, we discussed the origins of the AKIRA character and the grind of the business. In this part, we talk about the break-out moment, GCW, his stablemates in the Rejects, and much much more. Enjoy!

So, when you were originally announced for ICW, did you expect it to break out the way that it did? Like you stole the show that night…

“See, this is the funny thing too, especially for the second night (Volume 3) with Matt (Tremont). We didn’t have a spot fest, crazy high-octane match, like Eric Ryan and Alex (Colon), and I thought they killed it. But anyway, it’s weird. To me, it was going to be like a moment where, hey, I break out a little bit, and a couple of new people know who I am, and I get booked for a couple more shows. I assumed it would be okay, he’s on this level now show, we can book him in places. I didn’t expect it to be, this guy’s going to be the next indie star. This guy is going to be the future of strong style, the future of deathmatch. No, I didn’t expect that at all. I was looking at my phone, reading this shit, trying not to let it get to my head. For me, it was, this is cool, but I got more work to do. That’s my mentality. Okay, these people think I can do this, I haven’t made it yet, I still have so much work to do. It was this really awesome moment where I jumped like 1000 followers on Twitter and Instagram, and I didn’t expect it to be that.

It just made me realise that other people or other workers think I can do this. I always want more to do. I hate the fact I haven’t wrestled the past two weeks because I’ve got so much more to do. People are really high on me. I want to keep them high on me. I don’t just want to make one wave and ride it. I want to keep making bigger and bigger waves until I’m on this giant wave that you’ll never know when it’s going to stop. It was really humbling, I guess you could say. Because I had all these people from across the world messaging me and tweeting at me. But it was also that thing where it’s like, “Wow, this is what every indie wrestler wishes they could have.” This huge breakout, this huge crowning achievement. Both nights, Volume 2 and 3, were both crowning moments for me. It just made me think that I gotta keep working, gotta keep working. I’m always in that go mentality, and it sucks because I’m in a moment where I’m sitting at home, and it’s nice, and I can relax and heal, but my mind’s always racing.

I’m seeing these guys go out and wrestle, and I want to go out and do that. There was the Heavy Hitters Tournament, I’m 20/30 minutes away and would have loved to be on that show. I would love to be doing a UWFI rules match. I’d love to be doing a Pancrase rules match. Same with Beyond and GCW. I mean, ICW is my baby, but I’m seeing those guys go out and wrestle, and I want to be doing that. Beyond asked who people would like to see debut in Beyond, and I got tagged like 13 times. The hamster in the wheel is always spinning. That hamster has to get tired, so I guess I’m glad I’m sat here instead of wrestling, but god it irks me.”

GCW just announced Tournament of Survival 5, and the first response I saw were people hoping you’d be in it…

“I didn’t see shit on that. I better go look at it. I’ve also discovered the curse of vanity searching. It’s also been really great. I didn’t see any of that stuff, though. Some people don’t know what my tag is, despite it being one of the simplest Twitter tags I’ve seen. Guys tweet at me please, I love interacting with people. I didn’t see that, but I had a couple of people ask me, though, before the announcement like Tournament of Survival this year? NGI? It’s not up to me, man. If they ask me, I know I’ve got the blessings to go and do what I can do. There was even the Garden State Invitational that happened for Synergy. I was supposed to debut for Synergy, and they’re like when are you going to be in these tournaments, man? I’m like, hey man, they know where I’m at. I’m not hard to find. It’s up in the air. I don’t know. I have people asking me to come to Europe for TNT as they have their annual deathmatch tournament. If it happens, it happens. If I had the power, I’d be booked everywhere. I’ve had people ask about MLW if I could get me, John Wayne Murdoch, and Reed Bentley on MLW, we’d tear apart MLW. It would be really cool, but that’s not my call.”

They got Ol’ Mancer and others there, so there’s plenty of potentials…

“Oh, definitely, and Simon Gotch. He’s been one of the best to me, but it’s hard right now because they’re not running right now. Even if they weren’t interested, I highly doubt they’d reach out right now because what are they supposed to do? They can’t book people when they’re not running. I could go there and have these really killer matches with all these guys with different styles. Because the best thing about wrestling catch as catch can or a strong style guy is the style is very brutal, so it’s easy to get over, but I love wrestling the Lucha Libre guys, the high-flyers, the World of Sport style. I love wrestling all those dudes because styles clash matches are more interesting to me. MLW would be a really nice place because I could keep all my independent bookings, but also me, John, and Reed could be on that next level. John and Reed are more than good enough for that next level. It’s just waiting, man.”

They’ve just made John Wayne Murdoch the King of ICW by having him beat Nick Gage…

“Yeah, man, back to back. That’s the thing, John and Reed, especially Reed, are so underrated. Like people can laud me all they want with the best kept secret stuff, but Reed Bentley is just as good, and he cuts a hell of a promo too. John Wayne Murdoch is just a workhorse who does not quit. He just keeps going. I’ve fought him many times like, if they let us, he and I could probably go an hour. That’s how good John Wayne Murdoch is. The best thing is none of us looks like these normal people. We look different.”

Reed Bentley uses a vinyl record bat, something I don’t think I’d ever seen until you two clashed.

“That felt so bad. That face I was making was like, oh my god, that is the worst thing. I’ve been hit with a razor board. I would rather be hit with razor board than that shit. At least with a razor board, I’m bleeding, and it looks cool. With that, there was nothing cool about it. It just tore the skin off.  I still have these giant marks in my back, and it looks like a tiger clawed my spine. It was horrible. Reed’s laughing about it when we’re done, and I’m just like, I hate you. I hate you, this sucks, I hate you.”

It’s good you talk about the hybrid style because the things that drew me to you were 1, you came out to an 80s song, which automatically gets you points. You had a unique image, and then here you are hitting hook kicks and incorporating proper wrestling with deathmatch elements. Almost everyone I see in ICW, GCW, BJW, and afar understand that the weapons are props, and the wrestling sells it. I get to see the artistry in deathmatches, and then I see you hook kick a light-tube behind someone’s head…

“That Scorpion Kick, that’s always the one move people go, “what the fuck, you can do that?” I am really gross and really bendy. I’ve got so many things up my sleeve that people haven’t seen. I’ve got these weird submission variants that people will be like, “you can do that?” I’m like, yeah, I’m kind of a gross human being. But that’s the thing, the first two deathmatches I ever saw were at GCW’s They Said it Couldn’t be Done. My first one was SHLAK and Nick Gage, and I told SHLAK, “How does it feel to be the first deathmatch I ever saw?” I’d always heard about deathmatches, I’d never seen one. I didn’t hate it; it was just not my thing. Little did I know. I got told don’t do deathmatches as you’ll get cornered as just a deathmatch wrestler. Something animalistic clicked in me. I saw this and thought, “Okay, this is new, this is interesting, and this is cool.” Then I saw Kasai and Colon, and that’s the match where I saw you can have beautiful pro-wrestling within this violent world. That’s where I incorporate my Inoki-ist way of thinking because I’m also a huge four pillars fan. I incorporate aspects of King’s Road as you saw in the match with Reed and I. We did like 2 or 3 King’s Road spots like go go go dead. I’m also throwing in legit submissions; shoot strikes to satisfy the Inoki-ist in me. When I’m doing a drop toe hold on Reed, I’m trying to win.

It’s this beautiful mix, and the best thing about my stint in ICW, so far, and people are expecting this legendary run, is that I have to meet these expectations not just for the fan, but for myself as well. It’s a new goal, a new obstacle, but if I do it, it’s also good for my career. These people are noticing like, “This guy is fucking whack. He’s tough as shit, he’s crazy, but he’s also really good at pro-wrestling because he’s doing all these suplexes and shit in a deathmatch. So, we want to see him in normal wrestling matches,” and I’m like, yes, that’s what I wanted. Markus Crane still gives me shit because I was one of those guys who said I don’t just want to be one of those deathmatch guys. He kind of humbled me because he said you’re a deathmatch guy because you’re not a pussy. That was at Southern Sickness Cup, and I beat Markus. He basically made it official. Now you’re a deathmatch guy because you didn’t fucking embarrass us by being a pussy. I knew then I can do both. From that show, that’s all people were talking about, that AKIRA has a killer ass Suplex. Yeah, because I do Karl Gotch shit.

Pro-wrestling is always going to be incorporated into what I do. I might have a Memphis brawl with whoever, but I’m still going to win with a Bridging German Suplex or a Light-tube Senton or a double wrist-lock. People have noticed it, and that is the best compliment people are giving me. You’re a great wrestler in and out of a deathmatch. When Matt and I had our match people told me, “You made us cry in a deathmatch.” I was like, “Pro-wrestling, see.” I’m different. I’m scarred. I’ve got scars all over my body, but it makes me different and unique. I can enhance any show or product that you have. As a babyface too. I’ve had a couple of people message me saying, “Hey, we want to book you as a heel.” I always say no. I might be covered in scars, but I’m a really fucking good babyface. I’m not changing that for one show. They, after the match, they go, “Oh, it did work.” When I started, I tried being heel once, and Ricky Morton said, “Boy, you a babyface, don’t try to be a heel.” I was like, “Yes, sir.” If Ricky Morton tells me that shit. I’m staying a babyface.”

I think, in my personal opinion, it’s because you may be the closest we’ve seen to the second coming of Jun Kasai. This all-round amazing wrestler with a shit ton of character, a shit ton of personality, and yeah, a shit ton of skill…

“Please, don’t make me blush. After that match with Matt, a lot of the BJW and FREEDOMS dudes like Kasai and Takeda followed me instantly. Kasai is like the Suzuki of deathmatch to me. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him wrestle Alex, but Takeda, he’s like the Shibata of deathmatch to me. The fact that people have been comparing me to Shibata or Takeda or Kasai. When I message Sei Ozawa-San for the shirt design, I told him I wanted it to be special, and I showed him a couple of clips, and he said, “Oh, you wrestle like Takeda.” He’s not blowing smoke up my ass, but oh man, that’s a compliment. I don’t want to be like, “Oh, hey, I’m a deathmatch wrestler whatever, pentagrams and stuff.” Not to bash those guys as they’re really unique too with guys like G-Raver, Markus, Orin, Eric. They’re all unique in their own way, then you see a lot of the shitty ones in the south, where it’s like, I’m satanic. It’s so fucking lame. You’re not Raver. You’re not these guys, so do something different. Alex made a post saying we need more pop-punk in pro-wrestling, and I said “Please, f**k no.” That’s all wrestling is now, pop-punk. There’s more to music like classical, heavy metal, synth-wave, and other things, my man. We don’t need any more pop-punk in pro-wrestling for f**k sake.”

We need more 80s shit in pro-wrestling…

“Hey man, I’m trying. I’ve joked that if you get me, Matt, and Tony in a triple-threat, then there’ll be an 80s-themed standoff. But yeah, like saying I’m comparable to Kasai is nice to hear. Because it means people think I can be on that level. I might have traits similar, but it makes me want to keep going. I can do that, but I think it can be better. That’s the goal we should all have. Not to settle. To hear that shit and be like, “I want to keep going.” Just talking about wrestling makes me want to get back in there and do it five times in a row.”

Stay tuned for part 3!

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Check out AKIRA on IWTV

All images courtesy of Earl Gardner PhotographyAKIRA twitter, ICW NHB Twitter

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