WARNING STRONG VIOLENCE AND LANGUAGE AHEAD

Deathmatch Downunder is exploding on the wrestling scene right now. The Australian Strong/Deathmatch company is making waves and showing off a whole load of new faces to fans around the world. One of those faces is the Nobody, Callen Butcher. The fan-favourite at the end of their first show endured a hell of a main event baptism by fire and has since picked up win after win chasing the UGWA Total Violence Champion, Gweedo, and his cronies. Now with a title shot in his grasp at The Juice is Worth the Squeeze this month, we at SteelChair sat down to talk to Butcher about his career, his goals, and all things deathmatch. Enjoy!

Just before we start, feel free to swear. This is deathmatch, we don’t care…

“Yeah, my entire selling is just saying fuck as many times as I can because it really fucking hurts.”

I can’t imagine what it feels like being hit with a light tube, surprisingly I’ve never been hit with a light-tube…

“The light tubes aren’t that bad. Do you have a cat? It just feels like laying in gravel almost. It’s like little sharp pains, then you realise, “Oh shit, I’m bleeding a lot.” That’s the big scary thing about the light tubes.”

It always struck me as more of a visual thing. You watch them explode and think, “Well that person should be dead.” I always hear it’s a lot worse than it looks but I still can’t imagine how it feels being hit by glass…

“I think it’s more just the noise of it. The noise of a light tube breaking. You don’t know what to expect, then it happens, and you’re like, “I want more of that.”

So, to take this to proper interview territory and as it is your first time being interviewed for SteelChair, can please tell us a bit about who you are and what got you into wrestling?

“My dad was always a massive wrestling fan when I was growing up. He used to watch it every single week. I was born in April 1996, and all I can remember from my childhood is WCW. My dad was a big WCW fan. So, I’ve always kind of been into wrestling, and when I started going through high school, it wasn’t as cool to like wrestling, so I was kind of closeted. After I got out of school, I found some friends, and we started going to some local shows, and I thought, “Oh, I can do this.” Then, I had a break-up with an ex, it had been a really bad relationship, and I was looking for something really dumb, and I happened to see an advert for a try-out on my newsfeed the day after the break-up. I decided I was going to do it, and all my friends were meant to come and do it with me, but I was the only one who ended up doing it. So, that kind of started my journey.

“I was never an athletic person; I didn’t really play many sports. I played cricket for eight years, but I was a wicket-keeper, so I didn’t do anything. I just stood there. I was a really shitty batsman, I’d go out there for one ball, hit it straight in the air and get caught, so I didn’t really have to do anything. I decided I was actually going to go for this because it’s something I actually want to do for a long time. I went to the try-out and were like, “Alright, this is how you take a bump.” I did the bump, and later that night, I was talking to some of the wrestlers on that show, and they were like, “Yeah, this is the hardest ring in Victoria.” That’s why it sucked so much.”

I hear that so often; it feels like you’re bumping on concrete. Then later down the line, it’s, “Oh no, the wrestling school just had a shit ring.”

“Yeah, the ring we have at DMDU, we’re renting a ring at the moment because we’re getting the boards on ours fixed, that ring is a dream compared to what I started bumping on.“

Maybe that’s why they do it, it’s all a ploy…

“To weed out the weak people. I think it was just that the old promoter that I used to work for was real stingy and didn’t like paying people at all. He just didn’t want to fix his ring. I’ve had to fix rings because I’m a pretty big boy, I wrestled Raw Beef once, and we did a big Tower of Doom Suplex spot, and the ring boards went everywhere. They were fighting on the outside, and I was just trying to stomp them all back into place.”

What actually got you into deathmatches then? I’ve had the Joel Bateman history lesson and he basically told me that the deathmatch industry was dead for the longest time…

“Yeah, I didn’t grow up with much deathmatch in Australia. I knew it existed, but I’d never seen a live deathmatch. I knew that I’d like it if I watched it, but I’d never gotten around to watching it because I’d liked all the hardcore stuff from the early 2000s, WWE, Mick Foley vs. Edge at Mania, that type of thing. I knew I’d like it, and it was 2017/18, and I went to Japan. The day after my friends and I got there, there was day 1 of the G1 Finals at the Budokan for the first time. We went to that, and that was really cool, the main event was Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, and then we got to the hotel. I wanted to see more wrestling, and my dream venue is Korakuen Hall, that’s my goal in wrestling is to do a deathmatch in Korakuen Hall after this trip. We looked online, and I wanted to go to Korakuen, so we saw what was on. BJW was on the next night, and they’re doing their tag death tournament. We walked up and bought tickets, and we were third-row, hard-cam side, so anybody watching could see us with all this crazy deathmatch shit happening. Abdullah Kobayashi was biting through light tubes and stuff, and I remember one of my friends who was at Not Here to Fuck Spiders said we were standing outside the TGI Friday’s near Korakuen Hall, and I walked out saying I was in love with deathmatches and I’m going to bring deathmatches to Australia. That’s where it started and what got the ball rolling to where I am now.”

I think the first deathmatch I ever saw you in was the one with Casanova Valentine and Sicko Smacks when he did the ill-fated Australia tour…

“That was a year and a half/two years after Japan, and I saw Joel Bateman release this promo for this match, and as soon as I watched it, I sent Joel a message because I knew it from prior wrestling stuff. I sent him a message instantly saying if you need help with any of this kind of stuff, I want to be the first guy you come to because I’m all in on deathmatches. A month or two later, he responds with, “Oh, Cas wants to do a second show.” It was going to be myself and Damian Rivers and Sicko Smacks and Casanova Valentine in a Taipei deathmatch fatal four-way, then when Cas got here, I met him. After his match with Joel, he was supposed to wrestle two other people, but Joel messaged me saying, “They’re both out. They’re not feeling well. Do you want to do a deathmatch tomorrow?” I was just like, fuck yeah. It was supposed to be a triple threat, so I saw if Sicko was interested too since he was one of my best friends at the time. I messaged him, and he was like, “Cool, I have some light tubes with me.” We went and watched the first one, if you watched it, you can see me try to shield people from the glass. An hour later, me, Cas, and Sicko were doing a deathmatch down the road.”

It sounds like a wild ride. You went from human shield to human meat grinder…

“It was definitely one of the most bizarre nights of my life. That was my first deathmatch ever.”

I’d say it went pretty well then…

“That’s what I heard afterwards. I was speaking to Joel afterwards, we went and got some beers, and he was saying, “You’ve kind of got something with this deathmatch shtick. He’d seen me wrestle before, and it was kind of like, “Eh, he’s just another wrestler,” and he saw me at the deathmatch and thought, “Maybe you can take this somewhere.” We stayed in touch, and when DMDU was starting up, he was like, “Hey, we want to give you a shot.”

The other thing I was really curious about was where did Nobody come from? It’s rather bold despite being so understated…

“I’ve been wrestling for six years here in Victoria, and when we had the big lockdown and stuff, I took a step back and had a look at what I’d done, and I hadn’t really done anything of note in wrestling. I wrestle on these shows, I have…good matches, but I’m no one’s biggest fan. No one says their favourite is Callen Butcher. I saw myself in the grand scheme of things as like a nobody like I wasn’t really that important to wrestling in a way. I likened it to if people work at their jobs, and they feel like the boss doesn’t appreciate them or people don’t know who they are and don’t care. They’re just another body. That’s what I try to get out of this character. For the longest time, I’ve been just another body, and nobody really cared. I want to prove to people that just because you feel like a nobody that doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish great things. So, I take the nobody thing as a badge of honour, not an insult.”

That is incredibly motivational. I’m surprised by how optimistic it is…

“I haven’t really had the opportunity to fully explain it, but that is kind of my drive to do this. To call myself nobody and go out there as a nobody and try and make myself a somebody.”

I definitely think you’re on the road to succeeding. We’ve watched throughout the past few DMDU events, you stole everyone’s hearts at And Out Come the Wolves after one hell of a beating. I must admit, I was quite concerned. Joel and Gweedo had been brutal but there’s a lot of light tubes here. It was quite the bloodbath…

“If you want a fun story about that one, the big Tokyo Tower thing at the end. That was a broom handle and light tubes with bigger light tubes wrapped around and smaller tubes stuffed inside it. When it came down, I didn’t realise until I watched the footage back, the broom handle inside that scraped my eye. It just missed my eye; I’ve still got the scar there, so if I’d have had my head any other way, I’d have probably lost my eye or something more serious. I got away very lucky with it. I tried to maintain my composure after that match, but as soon as I got to the back, I was a ball of emotion. It was surreal that I had main-evented such a big show. I didn’t feel like I deserved that spot, but after seeing the reaction of everyone, even Damian, I felt like we earned our spot.”

It ended up being an early deathmatch of the year contender for me because it perfectly captured a new company with wrestlers, I’ve not really heard of going all out proving I should have been paying attention.

“Thank you, that’s really cool. I personally think Joel vs. Charli Evans is the best deathmatch we’ve had on the show. The Atlas (CC Whittaker) one was really good, and we just had a secret show where I had a Taipei Deathmatch with FOX, which was really good. Joel and Charlie Rose were the main event, and that was insane. For Charlie Rose to have never been in a deathmatch, the amount of stuff she put her body through was incredible and I’m so proud of both of them. I can’t wait for this one to go on IWTV, people are going to lose their mind over it.”

I have seen some of the pictures, I am very much looking forward to it. Since, that first match, you’ve been on an upward trajectory. We had the hoss fight with York, he is terrifying. If he was trying to hit me, I’d have just run. You two just beat the shit out of each other for like ten minutes…

“He hits very hard too. I looked at every other match that was on the card, and I was like, “Cool, so we’re the heavyweight match. We’re not going to do anything too crazy; we’re just going to beat the shit out of each other.” That’s kind of what we both decided on, we’re both going to beat the shit out of each other, then we did it. It went over quite well.”

Then you brought out the most questionable board I have seen in quite some time at the Bring Your Own Boards deathmatch alongside Vixsin. Why safety pins? You gave me an emo piercing flashback…

“I thought it would be fun at that show because our fans aren’t super accustomed to deathmatches. I am sure there are some that have watched CZW and stuff, but they haven’t seen much live stuff, and I have always been a fan of the double syringe spot. I didn’t know how well our fans would take something getting stabbed through someone’s mouth, so I wanted to do something along those lines. If I bring out a whole board of safety pins, maybe I could get one stabbed through my mouth? I didn’t take the brunt of that because it was York’s back, which was disgusting. That was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I spent the whole time watching thinking someone has to land on that. I’ve watched so many deathmatches, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen safety pins used. I’ve seen the syringe spot many times, and I’ve seen Toshiyuki Sakuda and his skewers, but I’ve never seen safety pins. It was a real why has nobody done this moment…

“I think Joel sent me one match from a Japan show, I can’t remember what it was, but they used a board of safety pins. I don’t think they used as many as we did, we used way too many, and it was a really gross weapon. They had four or five really big ones, and ours was like, what if we do the entire board in safety pins, and it’ll be disgusting, and people will be freaked out by it. We did it, and people were disgusted and freaked out by it. Mission accomplished.”

Is this part of the trick. They’ve not seen this, let’s see how we can up the ante. Is someone going to get set on fire eventually?

“I mean, yeah, probably, and it’ll probably, going by my track record of testing stuff, be me. I think everybody else is too concerned about their hair, and mine doesn’t really ignite. It just singes, so I think I’ll be the test dummy for fire as well.”

I’m slightly concerned to know how you found that out…

“I used to be a smoker, so whenever I went to light a dart, sometimes my hair would be in my face and it would cop the brunt of the lighter. I noticed it just singes the stray ends. It doesn’t burn all the way through or go up like everyone thinks it would.”

Right, note to self, Callen Butcher is probably going to be on fire at some point…

“It is the dream.”

 

So, that road-map has led us to where we are now, the car crash six-man match and you getting an UGWA title shot. I’d say that’s quite a somebody accomplishment, wouldn’t you say?

“Yeah. I feel like I probably won’t consider myself a somebody until I’ve got a tournament win or a championship or something like that. Going into May 22nd, I’ve got the best chance to accomplish my dream as soon as possible with the UGWA Total Violence championship shot.”

You have got two wins already over Gweedo, are you particularly nervous about it or are you quietly confident?

“It’s a mixed bag because I have gotten two wins, but both have been in tag-team matches. So going into Juice is Worth the Squeeze Night 1, we’ve got a tag match, so I don’t know what can happen in there. That’s another tag team deathmatch. Then we have the singles match, I’ve never gone against Gweedo in singles, I don’t know if, during the tag matches, he reins it in a bit to save for the title matches or what. So, I’m quietly confident but also a bit worried. I’ve just got to push that out of my mind, keep the confidence up and go in with a full head of steam.”

I looked at the stipulation and I have to ask, what is a San Jose Glass Crush match? I’m getting mental images of glass pools and cacti…

“What I’ve had explained to me is, San Jose is somewhere in-between the Californian Desert and Silicon Valley. From what I’ve been told, we’re going to have cacti and piles of circuit boards. The glass crush is four panes of glass which will obviously be crushed at some point in the match. It’s going to be the most insane match that I’ve been a part of, and hopefully the most insane match of DMDU.”

I can’t say I’ve seen circuit boards used in deathmatches outside of BJW using old games consoles…

“I’ve pulled apart scrap electronics in my time, and those circuit boards will slice you up. It’s the one deathmatch on night two, so hopefully, it’ll be bloody.”

Does it bother you that you were left out of the heavyweight tournament?

“No, because the way I see DMDU is that there’s the heavyweight division and the deathmatch division. There’s not a lot of room for crossover. If you were going to, it’s more you find a tag partner and you go into the tag division. I know that I can be a good heavyweight wrestler, but I’m saving myself in case there’s a deathmatch title coming. I’m going to save myself for that. Eventually, I might get sick of the deathmatches and make the jump over to the heavyweight division. I don’t see that happening any time soon though. I’ve got my heart completely set on deathmatches at the moment.”

What would be the dream deathmatch for you? Like stipulation-wise, we know it’d be at Korakuen Hall…

“At Korakuen Hall, I’d say, a tag team match. I have a couple of dream matches, I’d either want the tag team match, maybe Jun Kasai and Masashi Takeda against myself and Abdullah Kobayashi. We can be Abdullah and the Butcher. I think that would be really fun because he was trained by Abdullah in some kind of light tube, scaffold glass fuckery match. My other dream match would be with Drew Parker. I’m a massive fan of Drew Parker. I think we could do something magical. Even if that doesn’t happen at Korakuen, if that happens here, or in the UK, or something, I want that match to happen. It’s probably my biggest match besides Atticus Cogar. You asked for one, you got three. I’d want to tag with Abdullah because he’s the person I first saw at BJW for Abdullah and the Butcher, that’s sick then Drew Parker and Atticus Cogar, those are the dream matches.”

I would love to see you tag with Kobayashi…

“We both eat light tubes. He does it better and doesn’t inhale all the gas, but we both do it.”

So those are dream matches. What do you want from the foreseeable future, where do you want to see DMDU go, yourself go?

“Again, I hope DMDU are planning some kind of deathmatch tournament. There was like a backyard tournament in the early 2000s that was called The Tournament of Hate. I think it would be really cool to take what they did and bring that to the professional level with DMDU and do the country’s first-ever professional promoted deathmatch tournament. I think the biggest goal would be to get us to the point where we can do that. That’s where I’d like to see DMDU go. Obviously, I’d like to be a part of that tournament and preferably win it. I’d like to be able to do that, then I have my sights on wrestling everywhere in Australia, then when borders open up, go everywhere I can. I’d like to do deathmatches in the UK, I’ve got a goal to get to Texas next year for WrestleMania weekend. They’re my short-term goals, but right now, my focus is one Gweedo, and The Juice is Worth the Squeeze.”

I’m sure TNT Extreme would love to see you grace their halls eventually…

“That’s a company I’d love to wrestle in. Here’s a very unknown fact about me, but my dad was born in Cardiff, so I’ve got dual citizenship. I am absolutely ready whenever. I believe I’ve got family over there I’ve never met. That would be a cool reason to go over, wrestle then meet the long-lost relatives. I could also tell DMDU to save a lot of money to go to the UK. I think most of the people on our roster would kill for a chance to wrestle in the UK. Flying the DMDU banner there would be insane.”

How has it been seeing the Australian scene go through this new boom and get the recognition it has always deserved?

“See that was a big part of it cos I was talking to Joel about it early on. He wasn’t sure if he’d go the FITE route or the Vimeo route, and I’d been subbed to IWTV for the longest time, and you look at the traction like ICW are getting on IWTV and stuff like that. That’s the way to go to get noticed. We went on IWTV and trended #1 on our first show on Twitter over here. To see Australian wrestling boom is, it started before COVID kind of killed everything, but to see we’ve come from where we’ve been building to coming back from restrictions, and then just blowing the roof off completely, it’s incredible. The fact I get to be a part of that still doesn’t feel real.”

Any closing words?

“When The Juice is Worth the Squeeze debuts on IWTV, you don’t want to miss it. The Heavyweight title tournament is filled with some of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen. We’ve got Charli Evans and Caveman Ugg, who are world-travelled already. We have names we haven’t been able to have on our shows yet, like Jessica Troy from PWA, who is incredible. People like Edward Dusk, who is one of my picks to win it. We’ve got Candy Lee coming from New Zealand, I don’t know how we got her. Night one also has a six-man six and out deathmatch where I team with Vixsin and Mad Dog against Gweedo, Damian Rivers and York. That is going to be a lot of cricket references as it’s our version of a home run derby deathmatch. We have Aysha and Murdoch against Aussie Open that is going to steal everyone’s match of the year.”

Callen Butcher on social media: Twitter, Instagram

DMDU on social media: Twitter, Instagram

DMDU on IWTV

All images courtesy of Jake Hurdle Photography, Digital Beard, DMDU(w/Firejay), Video courtesy of Casanova Valentine YouTube