Most fans of UK Wrestling know of Chris Brookes. The face of CCK, Schadenfreude, and so many more took the UK by storm and is now doing the same in Japan as he took off to join DDT and their whacky world of wrestling. Whilst there, he has worked with DDT, BJW, Gatoh Move, ChocoPro, and more as he continues to break out in Japan.
Within his first few shows, he’d become Universal title and has since feuded with close friends, bitter enemies, and even Twitter as he fought to get back his precious title and navigate the minefield of DDT wrestling and the slew of other companies he found himself in. We’ve gotten to see him fight in theme parks, buildings with a single brown mat for a ring, and so much more as the pandemic era of wrestling kicked DDT into a new gear.
He took the time, through the magic of emails to conduct a little interview with me as we discuss all things DDT, fan interactions, deathmatches, Atsushi Onita, GKPW, intergender wrestling, and much more. Enjoy!
How has it been living and wrestling in Japan?
“Thus far, a wonderful experience. I especially feel lucky given the current global pandemic to be in a country and company where so much precaution and care has been taken. DDT has maintained a busy schedule all the while being as mindful of social distancing and increased hygiene care, and there aren’t many places in the world currently still operating like this.“
How has DDT been treating you and has it been fun?
“Oops, see above. Answered that a bit too much. So much fun. I’ve never been a part of a company where the day to day is so ever-changing. One week we’re at a theme park, the next I’m in an apron learning a dance routine, then I’m at Korakuen Hall defending my belt against my best friend. It’s so varied.“
What’s it been like fighting for and retaining the Universal title from your battle with Konosuke Takeshita to the DAMNATION feud to your upcoming battle with Drew Parker?
“Takeshita is the best. Like a league of his own. I’m so lucky to have had so many matches with him in a short time. I only hope for more! The chance to tell the story of me and Drew’s history leading to the match was really fulfilling.”
Have you felt you needed to change your style up at all for the Japanese audience?
“Not too much, but there are adjustments that have to be made.”
Have you enjoyed your time representing GKPW and taking part in their events alongside Miyako Matsumoto?
“GakePro is a lot of fun. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t still be there because Miyako is really crazy. A little scary to be honest.”
How did you prepare for your hardcore match with Shunma Katsumata/any of your hardcore or deathmatches and will that experience help you in your fight against Drew?
“I’ve always been a big fan of the kinda early to mid-90’s Japanese hardcore sleaze companies like FMW, IWA Japan, W*ING, so when I get the opportunity to give it a little go, I’m always just excited. I like subverting expectations a little.”
How was it wrestling some of the first no-fans shows (DDT TV Show) and has the return of the fans made a big impact on the atmosphere?
“DDT’s style sort of lends itself to it in a way… I’ve done a lot of Rojo shows already for DDT where there’s been no audience, for example, so it’s not completely unfamiliar territory. It felt natural after a few outings, but I’m definitely grateful to have the fans back. The fans here have such an effect on your drive in a match. They really do will you on, so to speak.”
What has it been like wrestling alongside deathmatch legend Atsushi Onita? (I cannot believe he’s still doing deathmatches at 62)
“He’s so unique and such a special personality. He still maintains this aura around himself that makes me nervous every time we tag. I’ve watched him for years, so it’s surreal to find myself walking out alongside him for sure.”
What else would you like to accomplish whilst you’re in Japan? Would you like to do more work with Chocopro, BJW, or other companies in Japan?
“Absolutely! I love DDT, and it’s my home. 100%! But I also feel lucky to have been welcomed into the bubble of Gatoh Move and ChocoPro, and that feels like a family now too. I wanna continue to do more there. I’ve had singles with Mei (Suruga), Mitsuru (Konno), Lulu (Pencil), etc. that people seem to have enjoyed, and I hope I can continue to put on matches people find entertaining there. It’s also good for me to be able to be around and pick the brain of someone like Emi Sakura. She’s so smart to professional wrestling, so I really like getting advice from her.”
When you return to the UK, what plans do you have? Could we see more large scale Schadengraps shows and things like that?
“No way. Whenever we’re able to, we’ll be back at the Frog & Bucket with 200 people.”
The intergender wrestling debate fired up again recently, as a connoisseur of that style of wrestling, what are your thoughts on the argument and how would you try to change the minds of its detractors?
“Grow up! All the coolest people I know are chill with anyone wrestling anyone, and the ones who hate it are squares. That was a childish response, but I don’t feel inclined to change the mind of detractors. They’re making a childish point.”
— Chris Brookes クリス・ブルックス (@OBEYBrookes) August 17, 2020
All images courtesy of ddtpro.com, Chris Brookes Twitter Video courtesy of Gatoh Move YouTube