Kidd Bandit is a pro wrestler from Antipolo City in Calabarzon, the Philippines. As the Protagonist of Pro Wrestling, they’re on a mission to prove they’re one of the best in the world. Though young and relatively new to the business, Bandit has already shown potential with high flying stunts and martial arts-inspired fighting style. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Bandit and ask them a few questions!
You call yourself the Protagonist of Pro Wrestling. Could you explain a little about what that means to you?
There was a time where I was unfortunately consumed by my depression, alcoholism, nicotine addiction and just was in a very dark place mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I remember having no real sense of direction and purpose in life at the time until I made the decision to actually start training as a professional wrestler.
At the time, I was 249lbs obese and out of shape. I had short, basic hair and had no fashion sense whatsoever. I wasn’t really in control of my life at the time and I felt like I was just in a training class to be a side character in someone else’s pro wrestling journey. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t gonna be the stand out of the crowd nor would I be the best but I definitely did not want to give up despite how difficult the journey was.
To help cope, I watched a lot of shonen anime that helped inspire me to continue my pursuit of my dream. I watched My Hero Academia in tandem with my workouts and the main character Midoriya’s journey from a powerless boy in a superpowered society to a badass idealistic fighter inspired me. A big critical moment for me was when I was watching the anime Mob Psycho 100 when Mob said “You are the protagonist of your own life.” That just hit differently.
Eventually I lost the weight, dyed my hair, and vowed to never just be a side character of someone else’s story. I wanted to be the hero of my own. Hence the “protagonist” moniker. To be honest I was actually going to do a totally different tone and direction with my character but I heard from a coach of mine that the best wrestlers are literally just themselves. This person I am portraying is who I’d like to aspire to be so I definitely strive to be more and more like the ultimate version of Kidd Bandit both in and outside the ring.
Since you’re a Nightmare Factory alum, could you talk about your time training there? What was the daily routine, and were there any trainers in particular who helped you out a lot?
The routine was very grueling but it was made easier thanks to the bonds and brotherhood I shared with my peers. There were about four hours of physical training per day and outside of the physical training, we’re working on our gimmicks, or promos, our confidence, and our diets. I worked extensively with QT Marshall in terms of the moves I was trying to do and with Cody Rhodes in terms of the promos. They were hardly there simultaneously because at the time they had a huge falling out when QT turned his back on Cody. I’m hoping they’d make peace eventually but I do think I benefited from their separate unique styles of instruction a lot.
Outside of them, I had a lot of time working with coach Luke, Alan Angels, Ten, Baron Black, and Glacier. Coach Alan was the one who agented my debut match which helped a lot with clearing up my nerves for my debut. Coach Baron also helped a lot with me finding the voice of my gimmick albeit inadvertently. He made a comment one day about how I look like an anime protagonist and that’s where the moniker itself actually came from.
How would you explain your style of pro wrestling to someone who had never heard of you before? What kind of impression would you want to give them?
I would say it’s like RVD’s kicks mixed with Jeff Hardy’s daredevil aerial style mixed with Kenny Omega’s geeky anime references mixed with Asuka’s martial arts strikes mixed with Cody Rhodes’s idealistic nature mixed with Tetsuya Naito’s hairstyle mixed with Kevin Owens’s quirky humor.
I would like to give them the impression that they’re watching an anime fight every time I step into the ring!
Moving onto the future, what are your goals for the next year or so in your career? Are there any opponents you’d like to face or places you’d like to go?
My top one dream opponent right now is Speedball Mike Bailey but I’m not yet at 100% of my capability so part of me is like…”YO I WANNA FACE YOU!” But I’m also like “…ehhh I wanna unlock more moves just to be better.” I also wanna take on my peers from the NF since I wasn’t able to wrestle a lot of them before I moved back to CA. I also wanna wrestle Malakai Black because he literally knocked out my sensei and I wanna show him what a real Roundhouse Hook Kick looks like up close.
Lastly— and this is a bit of a sillier question— since I know you’re a big fan of anime, what’s your favorite show or manga?
Trigun is probably one of my top anime. Obviously Naruto, DBZ, and My Hero Academia as well as evident in my move names and moveset. I’m also really big into Mech anime with Cross Ange Redondo of Angel and Dragon being one of my top 3 anime. I don’t really watch One Piece but I try to be familiar with it. I’ll eventually get around to watching it at some point but I stopped years ago because I just couldn’t keep up. I’m also not as caught up in modern anime right now because I tend to check out lower-profile animes like Cross Ange, Darker Than Black, and God Eater because I’m lowkey an Otaku Hipster.
Photo credits go to XP Photography!