Hello, again, for the final time. This is part 3 from my interview with AKIRA (find previous parts here and here). 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 this final part, we talk about passion, war wounds, Kota the death doge, and plans for the future. Enjoy!

It’s nice to hear that passion. For some people, it’s just a case of wrestle once a week, get paid, fuck off…

“With deathmatches, my wrestling money has gone up. Just for showing up to a normal match, I make the same as a day at Taco Bell or McDonald’s. I’ve been making more money in two years than I thought I ever could. People said you’ll be making 30 bucks and a hotdog. I can see that’s not the case, especially now. The money’s great, and I have this artistic side of me I want to fulfil. I love what I do. I love the art, the martial arts styling of professional wrestling, and that’s never going to go away. I’m that guy that has found something they’re good at, something that’s clicked, and I’m now filled with a holy purpose. Even when I was at IWA Midsouth, and I was miserable, I didn’t hate wrestling. I hated the people I was wrestling with. I hated the people I was wrestling around. Pro-wrestling has always been this pure thing to me at its core. When it’s at its best, it makes you happy, angry, cry, makes you want to go out and fight someone. That’s the best shit.

I did fall out of love with it because when I was a kid, I loved it, but then you grow up and go through your angsty bullshit, and you fall out of love with it. In my first year of college, I made friends with a guy who I’m still friends with, and he taught me all the video editing and stuff. He was like, “Hey man, come watch this,” and I watched the Royal Rumble and fell back in with it. Then I watched Nakamura and Sami Zayn from TakeOver, and that’s when part of me stopped and said, “I think I can do this.” It wasn’t exactly then, but that’s the moment you know you’re going to come back to later and say, “Oh, that’s what that was. That’s the match that started it all.”

That’s another thing people always notice, you’ve got those Nakamura style expressions. That’s just called having expressions. I can’t help how my body moves. If people want to compare me to Nakamura, especially in my earlier matches, I can kind of see it. I was pulling Nakamura expressions whilst doing Shibata moves. I’m a mess. I’m this weird conglomeration of all these things I like. That’s what makes me happy. I’m not just a character. I’m a wrestler. You can be both, despite the Twitter discourse these days. Kasai and Takeda have more charisma in their pinkies than about 90% of American wrestlers, and Toshiyuki Sakuda too. He followed me on everything after that match with Reed and started tweeting at me. I was just watching you in Big Japan like a week ago, what the fuck?”

Well, now I’m jealous…

“Apparently, he’s just the nicest guy. Effy has told me that. Josh Crane has told me that, and apparently, he’s been asking about me. He found out I’d only been wrestling for two years and basically had the same reaction you did. I ended up using Google translate to talk to him. The fact that this guy I was watching on IWTV is talking to me is like, it doesn’t feel real half the time. That’s what I tell myself. It’s probably never going to feel real. I just gotta keep working. Maybe one day, it’ll feel real when I’m all said and done and retired. With houses and businesses that wrestling paid for. Then I can be like this is real, I lived that life. Right now, it feels like people just want me to wrestle guys in Japan. Even Japanese fans took a huge liking to me. I had people messaging me like, “Hey, we want to see you in BJW and FREEDOMS.” I’m not going to say no, it’s hard right now, but it’s that affirmation of the AKIRA character. I was right about it.

Some little things have changed, but I felt it would be this universal character people can get behind. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s just someone you can get behind. I get DMs from all types of people. I just want to entertain you and make you forget about what’s bothering you. When I’m getting hit by a Suplex of light tubes, throw whatever pain you have on my back. I’m going to carry it and get through this match. I’ll get stabbed in the chest and keep going. That’s why I look up to guys like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Inoki. They’re these big babyfaces that take an absolute ass-kicking. They do really cool shit, but they take an ass-kicking, and people believe in them. The fact people were upset and wanted me to keep going when I took that stab wound to the chest. It’s like, I’m not there yet, but I’m making the right steps.”

Plus, there is Kota the Death Doge, a very adorable dog. I approve of the daily dog tweets…

“Yeah, it’s something for me too. I get to post it, and I get to look at him. That’s why I always try to bring him to shows. He’s a registered ESA, and the fans love it when he’s there. I get a lot of, “He makes me happy,” yeah, that’s why I bring him. When people are feeling down, they pet that dog, see that dog, I mean, come on, he’s really cute. He’s got more personality than any dog I’ve ever met and has so many different moods. The first time he ever saw me get bloody in a deathmatch, the look on his face was like, “I love you, but I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” It was like danger, but you’re my dad, danger but you’re my dad. I’m confused. I have the picture, it’s my favourite because he’s like what the fuck?! In a strange way, he enhances my character, even through pictures, people associate him with me. He’s become part of my brand. People always as when am I going to bring him. Well, tell the promoter to give me a little more of a fee, and I’ll bring him. I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t want to bring him for anything because he’s an animal, and if he’s going to be in any kind of discomfort, I can get compensated to get him something. That dog is like half of my brand.”

I often like to ask deathmatch guys how they prepare for something like that. Do you know what’s coming with glass and barbed-wire and tacks? How do you prepare for that?

“You’re going to get thrown through something, and I have to make it happen. It’s a weird thing. A lot of different guys do it in a lot of different ways. Some guys don’t have a thing at all. Me, I mutter to myself and almost insult myself. I’m taking all the shit that I feel and bottling it up. Some people give me weird looks because I do this before wrestling matches now because the best part of doing deathmatches and getting bloody is that it translates over to your normal wrestling. People now see me in a normal match and think, “I wouldn’t want to fuck with that dude.” I’m fucking nuts. I’ll straight up headbutt you, I don’t care.  I obviously want to stay healthy, but I will do some shit you didn’t even think was possible to do or shouldn’t do to make you believe in me. Beforehand, I’ve had people watch me, and I get amped up. I’m imagining my music in my head, but I’m slapping the shit out of myself. Almost, like the clip of Akira Miyada beating the shit out of that guy in the Tokyo Dome because he had a shit match. It’s almost like that, but I’m doing it to myself. I’m slapping myself, punching myself, insulting myself, but it gets me amped. I can’t explain why, but that’s just how I do it. Even for normal wrestling matches now too.

Before my match with Tony, I was slapping myself in the face because I’d never had a match with someone on that level or calibre before, and I better be able to fucking go with Tony Deppen. Not just for my sake but for the people who put me in this position. I did that match, and people were like holy shit you can really go. Yeah, guys, I’ve been doing that for like two years. That was another thing Markus told me, just because you’re a deathmatch wrestler doesn’t mean you’re not a wrestler. It just means you’re not a pussy. Deathmatch wrestling is not what all the detractors say it is. Because of deathmatch wrestling, I’ve gotten the opportunities in normal wrestling that I wouldn’t have gotten. The match with Deppen, because of deathmatches. A lot of these others I have coming up, deathmatch. It’s money in my pocket, opportunities, and I get to see tweets like, I want to see AKIRA in a normal match, an ironman match, submission match. That what I’ve wanted. It’s a lot of work, and my path isn’t the easiest because it’s a lot bloodier and a lot more glass involved than the average wrestler imagines, but it’s my path. Two weeks ago, I pulled a sliver of glass out from under my skin.”

Sometimes I like to think I could do deathmatch wrestling, then I see videos like that and thank myself for staying in media…

“It wasn’t even embedded in me, it was underneath the skin. It had slid under, so I had to pull it out. It felt like a giant zit. That hurt, but it was like this jagged glass. I don’t know, it’s one of those things where people say it would be fun, and it is fun, but it’s not for everyone. I’m happy I have high adrenaline levels. I didn’t feel that chest wound until an hour or two after the show. My adrenaline was still pumping. It’s a weird, visceral thing. It’s not for everyone. Some people would see what happened to me and freeze up. I’ve almost died. I was half an inch away from having an artery in my leg cut. I didn’t even notice it until someone pointed it out. I thought that’s cool, can we fix it? You have a giant gash in your leg, yeah can you fix it? With the chest wound, I was like It’s fine, it’s cool. A lot of people would look at it and freeze up or run to the back. I was like, “Nope, got to finish the match.” It’s how my brain works. I don’t care. I’m one of those assholes that would die for the sport, I guess. I can’t find the words to describe it. Until you do it, you’ll never be able to describe it. It’s something you either can or can’t do.

A lot of these guys will do it once in a blue moon or do it once and quit. Go through a full tournament doing that, man. It’s brutal. By the end of it, you’re all out of adrenaline, and your entire body is telling you it’s time to sleep. At the Southern Sickness Cup, I had three matches, and I was wiped. I was done. I laid in bed, and they had to drag me to the car, I was so wiped out. I wrestled like an hours’ worth of deathmatches. It’s brutal on your body. If people do it once, they pat themselves on the back. It’s not the same thing. You’re not a deathmatch guy. You’re a guy that stuck his toes in the water. That pisses me off because you see some of these guys getting big deathmatch opportunities. I get it, but it pisses me off. There are all these other guys that deserve that limelight, but because you’re so and so, you get this spot in this deathmatch. It just doesn’t sit right with me. If you’re going to do it or do it for a storyline fine. If you’re doing it just to stick your toes in, it’s kind of insulting to the people who do it full time. I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about guys like Orin, Alex, hell SHLAK in normal wrestling matches would be cool. All these dudes, Eric Ryan, come on, you’re stepping in their bread and butter. You could be taking away a spot that could go to someone who needs that time to shine.”

Big F’N Joe once said something similar where he hated these companies hosting comedy matches titled as deathmatches.

“Yeah, that shit’s dumb, and some deathmatch wrestlers are now jaded to deathmatches. They hate it, so they do these matches that make fun of it. It’s stupid. I love comedy wrestling, especially when it’s done great. Like Kikutaro is hilarious, Toru Yano is a comedy god. I love DDT. I love that they don’t shit on comedy wrestling. They embrace it. Coincidentally, one of my favourite wrestlers is Maki Itoh. I love what she does. She’s so fucking funny. The fake crying, I love this wrestler. I would love to wrestle for DDT. I want to go to Japan, and if it’s just for BJW/FREEDOMS, cool, but I also really want to do DDT as well. They’re a hell of promotion in their own right, so I’d love to do that. All Japan would be great, NOAH would be cool, and obviously, NJPW is one of the big end goals too. I want to be the guy that’s got all these accolades in deathmatch and normal wrestling.

Like, if I can be the guy that’s held the BJW title, FREEDOMS title, and the New Japan IC title, then that would be something wild. Who else can say they’ve done that? Nobody. It does nothing but good for the rest of the deathmatch scene and the pro-wrestling scene. That’s something else I’ve been fighting for, that IWTV title needs to be defended in deathmatches. IWTV shows deathmatches all the fucking time. We need a champion that’ll do all of it. Some people got behind it. If it’s not me, I want Alex Colon, all these dudes who deserve the limelight. I’ll get my due someday. I’ve never held a title, and if that was my first title, that would be a feat. Let those guys have their opportunities first because we need a champion that will do both. Even if it’s not in a deathmatch, we need deathmatch guys to win that belt because then they can represent that too. They could go to Japan and defend that title there.”

Or Zona 23 and the Junkyard…

“Or Zona 23, that would be fucking cool. People would watch that. That title deserves to be and has never been done, or so I’ve been told. It’s just one of those things where I’ll say it, and maybe it’ll happen one day. I doubt I’ll be the first one who does it, but who knows?”

So, you touched on it there, but what do you want to do when the world isn’t on fire?

“I want to make this a full-time deal, my full-time job, where I can train for it all the time. So I can do better at it. I want to start claiming titles and making a name for myself and helping people around me make a name for themselves. I want to get signed by a Japanese company and a stint in Europe. I don’t care where. I want to be everywhere and have people not shut the fuck up about me. That’s good for me, the people around me, and deathmatch wrestling. At the end of it, I want to be this legendary deathmatch and strong style guy. It’s like I’m writing my obituary. He held titles in FREEDOMS, BJW, DDT, All Japan. He held MLW titles, shit like that. When I’m retired, I want to open a dojo and train people my way. Not even in the deathmatch way, just my philosophy of pro-wrestling. If I do have kids to me that want to train in deathmatches, then cool, I’ll train them to do that. I want to give back eventually.

Right now, I want to be all me, me, me, but I also want to help everyone around me. My mind is always racing, fighting against itself. It’s fun. Being me is fun. I really want to come to the UK because you guys, the Japanese fans, and the Mexican fans where you love wrestling. Sure, you take the piss with chants, but you guys love a good match. I’d also love to come there to train. To learn under people whilst doing it. It’s a shame we’re stuck at the moment. When the world lets me, I’ll make a name for myself wherever I can. If the UK fans fall in love with me, awesome. If the Japanese fans love me, awesome. The Mexican fans, at least in Monterrey, I’m beloved in Monterrey. I just want to go everywhere, make a name and be the best. I want to collect the accolades to prove it. For two years, I’ve been neglected. Now it’s time to take it. I’m a man on a mission.”

Follow AKIRA everywhere:

Twitter /Instagram


Check out AKIRA on IWTV

All images courtesy of Earl Gardner Photography, AKIRA Twitter, OrlandoDeathSquad,

Leave a Reply