THE top professional wrestling stars of Japan will soon have a new contender to grapple with, a self-proclaimed “Loose Ledge” from Dingley Village.
Adam Brooks is a 13-year veteran of the Australian professional wrestling scene. He is packing his bags for Japan to make his debut for Pro Wrestling NOAH, one of the country’s biggest wrestling companies.
Brooks, inspired as a child by iconic daredevil wrestler Jeff Hardy, began training at age 15. He had his first official match a few years later, and has since gone on to become one of the biggest names in Australian wrestling. He said the journey has been difficult, but worth the pain.
“For someone like me who takes this very seriously, being a wrestler isn’t a hobby. It’s a lifestyle,” Brooks said. “My trainer Buddy Matthews said to me that if I want to do this seriously I have to live and breathe wrestling.
“A day in the life of an up-and-coming wrestler is you go to regular work, go to the gym, and you wrestle on smaller shows to build your name. When I first started I was driving to Adelaide each month for no money at all. It was only after I was seen going to Adelaide numerous times a month that I got Melbourne bookings. We have all started somewhere.”
After beginning his career on independently run shows in front of small crowds in Australia, the “Loose Ledge” has gone on to wrestle abroad on larger shows in the United States, England, and Mexico. Back home, Brooks now primarily works for Melbourne City Wrestling – each month hundreds of passionate fans flock to the Thornbury Theatre to cheer on their MCW favourites. Brooks’ latest destination, Pro Wrestling NOAH, staged a show at the Tokyo Dome earlier this year, packing more than 30,000 fans into the building.
Brooks says that although wrestling in Japan is very different to wrestling in Australia or America, he plans to win fans by being his authentic self. “I’m going to go out there and I’m just going to be me. That’s how I will stand out,” he said.
“The Japanese style of wrestling is quite different from what I’ve seen. These NOAH guys are violent. That’s the type of wrestling I like – it’s very hard hitting. These guys really look like they could beat you up, and that’s the illusion of pro wrestling.”
Brooks will spend three months in Japan performing in the “N1 Victory”, an annual tournament featuring some of the world’s hardest hitting wrestlers.
Australian professional wrestlers are finding more success overseas than ever before. Rhea Ripley is one of the top wrestlers in the industry’s largest company, the WWE. She is one of at least six wrestlers signed to WWE who got their starts on the Australian independent scene. Top Australian tag team Aussie Open signed full-time contracts with major American company AEW last month after catching eyes wrestling for the Japanese promotion NJPW.
Brooks’ ascension in the wrestling world was hampered by COVID-19. Shortly before the pandemic hit he signed a deal with Ring of Honor, a longtime alternative to WWE. A little more than a year later the pandemic brought ROH to its knees, and all active wrestlers were released from their contracts. Brooks had yet to have a match.
Brooks returned to the Australian scene and continued to work hard. The persistence has paid off, and he is now set to tackle the most important challenge of his wrestling career. With his best work ahead of him, he said he is “just going with the flow”.
“I want to kill it in Japan, and hopefully there’s an opportunity to continue going back there,” he said. “We’ll see what happens but what’s most important is me being happy. Let’s kill it in Japan and see what happens.”
The N1 begins on 6 August. To follow Brooks’ wrestling journey follow him on Instagram and Twitter @theadambrooksy