Originally published at INTERVIEW: Brody King talks re-signing with ROH, World Tag League
On the most recent episode of Ring of Honor’s weekly television show, Brody King teamed with PCO and The Briscoes to face Flip Gordon, RUSH, Dragon Lee and La Bestia del Ring. At the ROH Final Battle pay-per-view, Brody King challenged RUSH for the ROH World Championship and La Bestia assisted RUSH in retaining the title.
On top of his work in Ring of Honor, dating back to late summer 2020, King has been working with New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a part of the NJPW Strong program that airs on Friday nights. He’ll be in action this coming Friday as well. While speaking with Brody King, he stated that being a part of New Japan is a dream of his and he’s hoping to make the transition to Japan through NJPW Strong and participate in one of their signature tournaments and compete at a Wrestle Kingdom.
“I mean yeah, working for New Japan has been like a dream of mine. Since I started wrestling, New Japan has been my goal, where I wanna be and so to be — yesterday, they included me on their roster page now so that is a really cool feeling and I got to wrestle great talents like Tama Tonga, I got to wrestle KENTA. Those matches were bucket list for me and now they are a reality but yeah, I mean hopefully New Japan Strong starts to make waves and starts to become more of a bigger show and we can just keep pumping out the U.S. talent on a different scale and maybe that will mean I’ll get into the G1 , hopefully, or the New Japan Cup, and maybe somewhere down the line you’ll see me on Wrestle Kingdom or something. That’s a bucket list for me.”
The California wrestling scene is one of the more busy wrestling areas that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of lack of shows or shows not taking place at all. Brody hails from California and he feels that the amount of California-based talents that have been showcased on NJPW Strong shows the talent level that resides in the area.
“Yeah, because I mean California is probably the strictest as far as just regulations so there hasn’t been any wrestling shows out here so, for the talent that has been able to be on New Japan Strong, I think, one, it has showcased some guys that I feel like have not been showcased, I wouldn’t say ‘properly’ but they just haven’t gotten that opportunity yet on that big of a stage and they are now. Guys like Tyler Bateman, guys like J.R. Kratos and they’re starting to really break out and show what they have to offer.”
Prior to his signing to Ring of Honor being announced in late 2018, Brody King had his ‘farewell to the U.S. indies’ when he defended the AAW Heavyweight Championship against Sami Callihan.
Brody had a singles match with current NXT talent Jake Atlas at a Santino Bros. show which is the wrestling academy they both came out of. Atlas threw a kick at Brody which hit him flush and broke his tooth. Before his AAW Heavyweight Title bout against Sami Callihan, Brody went to get the tooth pulled and it was during that dental surgery that his jaw became fully fractured. Brody ended up having his jaw wired shut and went through with the rest of his remaining dates including the Steel Cage match with Callihan.
“So, we always hear stories of like these wrestlers that have these crazy injuries, that push through and did crazy things and you read about it and you’re like, ‘Man, they’re insane. They must be the toughest person alive,’ you know? Like Kurt Angle winning a gold medal with a broken neck or you hear about guys like Bob Orton who had a broken arm and he’s still wrestling and stuff like that. But, when you’re doing it, it’s just, it feels like you just need to. Like you feel like you’re maybe shorting the fans if you don’t. So what had happened was I was doing a show, it was my last show for Santino before I signed with Ring of Honor and I was dropping the title there as well and I had a match against Jake Atlas who’s now signed to NXT and he did a wild kick and I didn’t protect myself enough and it just went right underneath my jaw and it broke my tooth in half, and it had like a small fracture in my jaw underneath it. Well I had to get emergency dental surgery to pull the tooth and as the tooth got pulled, it fully fractured my jaw. So, I had to then have emergency jaw surgery the next morning so I slept with like — it looked like a cartoon. I had the thing like wrapped around my head, trying to hold my jaw in place. It was the most agonizing pain in the world. So yeah, the next morning, I got jaw surgery, it was two days before Christmas and the doctor said, ‘Under no circumstances can you wrestle for at least six months,’ and I got my jaw wired shut, I can barely breath, my cheeks are all puffed out because it’s swollen and I was like, ‘Welp, I got an AAW Title match in seven days and I got a match against Darby Allin in a No Ring match the day after, so sorry doc, that doesn’t work for me’ and yeah, I flew out to Chicago, I drank only muscle milk for like three days. It sucked really bad but I felt like this was my farewell on the indies so I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, Brody had to call out because he got injured and now the title is vacant.’ Like hell no, that’s not what I want to be about, that’s not what I want my record to show. I want it to be like, ‘This psychopath stepped in the ring with Sami Callihan in a Steel Cage with his jaw wired shut.’ That’s a much better story to me than the latter.”
Despite the injury being several years ago, Brody has yet to fully recover from it. He stated that from the top of his jaw to the bottom, there is still numbness but other than that, he’s fine.
“Oh no, my lower jaw from like here to here is like completely numb. I can’t even feel my lip really, so I’ll start to drool a little bit sometimes and don’t know it but, other than that we’re good.”
New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s recent World Tag League tournament saw Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) win the tourney and go on to Wrestle Kingdom to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Brody King along with PCO were scheduled to be in the 2019 World Tag League tournament that was won by David Finlay and Juice Robinson.
Brody shared that he and PCO had to be pulled because he tore his ACL prior to them heading out to Japan. In the midst of explaining what happened, King added that he wrestled the ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard show in 2019 with a broken hand.
“Yeah, unfortunately we were and it was honestly like one of the hardest things ever. So, I tore my ACL in like a run-in, a random run-in, freak occurrence. I did like a pump kick and my knee went sideways. But, it didn’t feel — so far, I’ve torn both my ACLs but it didn’t feel like the other one. It felt like a sprain, I was kinda limping a little bit. I went to the doctor, got it checked out, they are like, ‘Yep, it’s a torn ACL.’ I was like damn it. So, I had to — this was I think a couple weeks before we were supposed to fly out for New Japan and I had to call New Japan and tell them that we couldn’t do it because I had a knee injury and I felt so bad because Carl or PCO, he hadn’t been to Japan in years or I don’t know if he’s ever been to Japan. I’m sure he has, he’s done everything. Oh no, he did ZERO1, I’m sitting here talking to myself,” Brody laughed. “So he hadn’t been to Japan in years but I really wanted to be there with him to experience that with him and the fact that we didn’t get to it, that really bummed me out. If I could’ve, I would’ve. I mean, I’ve wrestled with plenty injuries. I did Madison Square Garden with a broken hand. If I’m capable, then damn it, I’m gonna try my damndest to be there but I just couldn’t do it on that one.”
Over the past several weeks, Ring of Honor announced a handful of re-signings. Back in February of 2020, Brody King inked a new deal with the company. He explained why he decided to stay with ROH and it had to do with the history of the company, establishing his name there and their connection to New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
“It was definitely a hard decision because wrestling is or was, hopefully again, booming at the moment and there’s like so many other opportunities, other places. You got places like AEW, WWE, stuff like that but I felt like I still had to hone my craft a little bit more and I felt like Ring of Honor was always the place to kind of like cut your teeth and become like a great professional wrestler. The talent that they’ve pumped out of there is proven. Nigel McGuinness and Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and those guys are the best of the best when you talk about wrestlers of this generation. So having that Ring of Honor badge on my back, definitely, I felt like I needed to do a singles run like I’m doing now. I needed to make my name their first and also, having them be partners with New Japan is that added bonus so I could be doing both and working on both goals at the same time and wherever I’m at in the future, I’ll at least have that name and that reputation under me of being a New Japan or a Ring of Honor guy.”
The former NWA and ROH World Tag Team Champion had a spotlighted match at the G1 Supercard show inside Madison Square Garden in 2019. Brody was in a four-way tag team match for the IWGP and ROH World Tag Titles. That match was interrupted by the duo of Enzo and Big Cass who jumped over the barricade and began brawling with The Briscoes, Guerrillas of Destiny and Bully Ray who came from the backstage area.
Brody stated that he had no idea Enzo and Cass were going to be there and doesn’t know if it was planned or if they took it upon themselves to interrupt the match. He feels that the teams involved presented something good to the fans and it ended up being overshadowed by the run-in.
“So there was a running joke where people would call TK and I see someone else running down the ramp to break something up and I look over and I see The Briscoes and then I see who I thought was TK, but it was Big Cass and I was like — there’s so much going on, there’s an entire arena of 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden, you just had this crazy match, the Guerrillas Of Destiny are having their moment in the ring so I’m just trying to get PCO out of there, make sure he’s okay and make sure we’re good and then we get to the back and I hear everybody going, ‘Why was Enzo out there? Why was Enzo out there?’ I’m like, ‘What?’ And I had to go up to people, I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ They’re like, ‘Enzo and Big Cass were out there.’ I’m like, ‘What? Why?’ So I had legit no clue that-that was happening and you know, if they were trying to make an angle or whatever they were trying to do, I don’t think that it was personally the right way to go about things. But, it is what it is I guess. I think it kinda overshadowed a really cool moment at MSG that I wish wouldn’t have been. I felt like within the time constraint and within having a four-way tag match, we really tore the house down and that was overshadowed by just a stupid thing.”
One of the individuals that Brody King was trained by is Rocky Romero. Brody believes that it is time for people to give Rocky his proverbial flowers for being as consistent as he has throughout his career. Rocky has openly stated that his goal is to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title before the age of 40.
“One million percent. Rocky was one of my trainers so maybe I am a little bit bias in that but every time I watch him wrestle, he is excellent. I don’t think he’s ever had a bad match, at least that I’ve seen and like you said, he’s been good for so long, for 20 years almost. He’s been at the highest level. He was Black Tiger in New Japan and he’s held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Titles like six or seven times. The stuff that he’s done in wrestling is almost unmatched to anyone else of his — being a foreigner or not, he has done so much and like tonight, he’s having a match with Chris Dickinson on New Japan Strong which I’m sure is gonna be a banger. Every time you see him wrestle, it’s excellent but I don’t think people ever bring him up when it comes to being like the most consistent worker so I definitely agree with he definitely deserves his praise and hopefully, maybe his dream will come true and he’ll become IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. I’d love to see that, as Rocky Romero and not as Black Tiger.”
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla has not ran a show since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Their last show took place in December of 2019 and Brody King has been a constant in the promotion over the years. I asked if he’s heard anything about PWG possibly starting back up and while he does not know any concrete information, he caught up with PWG co-founder Super Dragon recently.
Brody believes that PWG is very reliant on the fan base to bring the energy to shows and running an event without people in attendance will not be the same as compared to what has been presented over the last decade plus.
“Nah not really . I talked to Super Dragon not too long ago and we just caught up and see how each other were and stuff like that but, as far as shows and stuff, it’s just — PWG is so reliant on the fans. I feel like the fans are so much a part of the show as much as the wrestlers. So if we were to run a show that doesn’t have fans, is there really any point or is it gonna lose the magic of that? So, I’m sure that is a big part of what he’s thinking about when he’s thinking about coming back. Hopefully we’re able to do a show this year. If not, I’m sure whenever we do come back — I always think about — the indies have kind of gotten pretty much picked clean of a lot of great talent and a lot of guys have a contract with ROH or WWE or AEW. But Super Dragon always finds a way to find that diamond in the rough that nobody knows about. Nobody had heard of Bandido and then he came and blew the place apart so, I’m excited to see who he brings in when it comes back but I would really like to have that four-way match that I was supposed to have in March of last year that got cancelled. It was me, JD Drake, Black Taurus and Caveman Ugg. It was supposed to be like a four-way Hoss match so that’s one match I really want and I hope that everything falls in place and we can have that again.”
The full interview with Brody King and myself can be watched via the player at the beginning of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.