Skip to main content

This week we're looking at a wrestler that a lot of American fans may not have thought about in about two years. He's become a bit harder to find online, but with Wrestle Universe getting its English focused relaunch, I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look at Chris Brookes.

Chris Brookes has had an almost 15 year career, and is one of the standouts of British wrestling in the 2010's. In 2020 he moved to Japan to wrestle for Dramatic Dream Team Wrestling, or DDT. For many people, myself included, that was the last I saw of him. Between relying on Google translate, not the best interface, and my bank getting confused at the word Yen, I never joined DDT's streaming service. Now, with its relaunch, it's easier than ever, and when I started to dive in, I realized how fantastic Brookes has been lately. We're going to look at his rise, his dominance in the UK, his plethora of tag partners, and his journey to Japan before taking a look at some wonderful matches.

brookes

Brookes entered in wrestling in 2007 for Alpha Wrestling Entertainment. It's not the best known British company, and it ended in 2012. That was his home though for several years, as through 2011 that's where he had most of his matches. When that closed though he had to find a new home, and so he chose everywhere. Great Bear Promotions is where he fought more than anywhere else in 2013, but he also put in matches in WXW and CZW as well as Fight Club Pro and more. Chris would continue to be a multi country kind of wrestler for years, but in 2014 he decided to find a tag partner that would change the course of his career. Brookes would team with Jonathan Gresham and form the Calamari Catch Kings, otherwise known as CCK. Throughout the years people like Travis Banks, Kid Lykos, Kid Lykos II, Timothy Thatcher(Calamari Thatch Kings) and Masahiro Takanashi have teamed with Brookes under some version of the CCK banner. Outside of CCK, Brookes joined the stable Schadenfreude with Gresham, Lykos, Aussie Open, Lucky Kid and Ringkampf. Tag wrestling became a huge focus for Brookes, and was actually how I found him.

brookes 2

Brookes would became a staple of the British and German scene, putting in 60 matches in WXW and over the years would have 50 matches for Progress. He became the measuring stick, a point that is evident in his match with Cara Noir that is on this list. He would win belts in Progress, CZW, Attack!, WXW and more over the years, but around 2019 he started looking to the East. In 2019 Brookes did his first tour with DDT. It seems it went well for him, because in 2020 he said farewell to the UK and has been wrestling in Japan ever since. Of course, the pandemic plays a big role in that, but to this day he's been a mainstay of DDT. He's won several championships and just a couple weeks ago had a match for their top belt. Now that DDT has made it easier to access their Wrestle Universe service, and is offering October through December free if you pay for January, now is the best time to take a look at his work there as well. So without any further adieu, let's look at some amazing Chris Brookes matches. 

angelico vs brookes

#10: Chris Brookes vs Angelico

 Battle of the flippy boys with flippy hair: both my head and heart love this match. The reason I really wanted to make sure I included matches from different countries was to make sure the different sides of Brookes were highlighted. This match sees the more cheeky, playful side of Brookes on display, as well as his more serious wrestling. This combination is one that Progress prides itself on, and this match is an excellent example of that house style.

Brookes almost busts out that nasty streak of his early on by putting the ring apron over Angelico's face and double stomping him. Brookes's kicks are a thing of beauty like last week's showcase Mike Bailey, but in a completely different way. Bailey will hit thirty different types of kicks and make them all look good, while Brookes mainly uses a side kick and front kick, but they both hit equally hard. Either way he kicks you it's gonna sting. Angelico doesn't just take a lot of hits in this match though, he leaps off anything he can climb whether it's ropes or guard fences or anything else. He hits a flying knee that almost knocks the compression sleeve off of Brookes and the fact that the match didn't end there still has me confused. Brookes hits his gorgeous piledriver right after for the win, and it's just a true delight of a match.

money in the bag

#9: Chris Brookes, Maki Ito, and Atsushi Onita vs ALL OUT

 I can't believe this is real and I love it so much. Maki Ito, Chris Brookes and Onita seems like a punchline, but they get along pretty well. The members of ALL OUT that they're facing are Shunma Katsumata(get used to seeing that name), Yuki Ino, and as of writing the current KO-D Champion Konosuke Takeshita. This was a Street Wrestling show, meaning that theres' no ring. Instead they're battling around what looks like a film set or photo shoot stage. It's certainly not the best Onita match, but it's such a great representation of the sheer insanity that DDT can become.

This is just six lunatics beating the crap out of each other with whatever they can find. At one point in the match Onita grabs someone, takes them into the women's bathroom, and tries to drown them in the sink. Meanwhile, Brookes is being held in a chokehold, and his attacker is also being held in a chokehold by Maki Ito. The poor camera operators in this match have no clue where to go. All of a sudden Shunma is on top of a bar and leaps onto everyone. Trying to follow the action in this match is a fool's errand. Just sit back and enjoy the craziness. Brookes definitely has a nasty streak in him, but as we'll see again later, he is certainly the normal one in tag matches like this. He may be willing to go into deathmatch, but he's no Onita.

He seems like the traditional wrestler amongst psychopaths, and it's a role he plays well. This is also Maki Ito at her silly best as she climbs a ladder and is too scared to jump. Brookes helps her down and onto a small ladder that she then jumps off of. This is just a fun time and showcases why people love DDT.  

daisuke

#8: Chris Brookes vs Daisuke Sasaki

  This wasn't the first title win for Brookes in DDT, but it was him winning back the belt that Sasaki took from him. The first title reign definitely feels like a false start, while this feels like a proper coronation. Brookes was still working out who he was going to be in DDT, but this feels like an evolution. He settles into the weapon expert brutality role very early on this match. Sasaki is a great wrestler as well, and he makes sense as the first big singles feud for Brookes. As Chris is bringing in his sneaky tactics, he still has to deal with Sasaki's stablemates in DAMNATION.

This creates a great dichotomy where although Brookes plays a tweener, Sasaki is far enough on the heel side to make Brookes look like the plucky babyface. Throughout this article I've talked a lot about Brookes's kicks, but his chops shine through in this fight. This match is a true showcase for Chris Brookes, and he takes full advantage of that fact. He hits some amazing big moves and ends the match looking like an absolute start. As I said, his first reign wasn't much, and was only 26 days. This one would be much longer(and include another match on this list).

wxw night three

#7: CCK vs Ringkampf

 Coming on night one of the World Tag League, this is the first CCK match with Gresham that we're going to look at. They faced off with Walter and Timothy Thatcher, and it's everything you hope for in a match with these four wrestlers. WXW really does provide so many dream matches, and Chris's technical wizardry is on display in this one. Gresham and Walter is a match up I could only dream of before seeing this, and they certainly take advantage of the time they have. We get both some fun spots and serious grappling work. Walter is one of the few people who can make Thatcher look small, but in comparison both halves of CCK seem like the underdogs.

Brookes does great work here, and like I said it's a little more technical than high flying, but it's just as fast. The speed of this match mixes with the power to create something incredibly intense. The match sees more holds than I could name, and each of them more devastating than the lost. The fact that CCK pull this off is amazing, and easily one of their best showings as a team. For them to beat Ringkampf got the entire crowd hot, but it's still only my second favorite CCK match.

cara vs chris

#6: Chris Brookes vs Cara Noir

 as of now this is Chris's last match in Progress and it's a doozy. The story going into this match was that Chris was about to go to Japan, but he didn't want to go empty handed. He saw himself as a cornerstone of Progress and wanted to champion that belt in DDT. Also, Noir wouldn't even be champion if Brookes hadn't recommended him to Progress management. This was a student vs the master match, and as far as those go it's one of the best.

Cara Noir had just the title, and this was his first defense of the belt. The match begins and immediately ends up out of the ring with Brookes not ready to see his era of Progress end. Brookes brutally attacks Noir's bare foot, as well as his arm. This isn't fun flippy Chris, this is studied alongside some of the best technical and submission artists of our generation Chris. Brookes created the Progress world of Cara Noir, and he wants to end it. As Brookes just works the foot of Noir you just know that Pete Dunne is somewhere smiling.

Cara has some really unique offense in this match too, because of course he does. Noir basically shoves his toe up Brookes's nose at one point to break a hold. Eventually Noir gets an even footing with Brookes and the two trade massive strikes. Noir does get the win and continues his wonderful title reign, but Brookes puts on an amazing showcase here letting everyone know he's leaving Progress in good hands.

#5: CCK vs British Strong Style

  When making this list, I knew I had to include various versions of CCK. While originally it was Jonathan Gresham and Chris Brookes, I think Kid Lykos has become equally associated with the group. If there's one must see Lykos and Brookes match, it has to be this one. I mean it's a ladder match with Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, do I really need to convince you? It opens the show at Progress Wrestling Chapter 55: Chase the Sun, which is you see above is on Youtube for free now! Brookes belongs right alongside names like Seven and Bate in terms of the British wrestling scene, and this match shows that. He fits in perfectly with these fighters, and that's taking nothing away from Lykos. I feel 2021 has truly been the year of Kid Lykos, and in this match you can see how much the crowd loves him.

The action is fast and frenetic in this match, and there is truly no rest period. Tyler and Trent are at their best in this match, but CCK are unstoppable. This one of the rare times where I'd consider CCK the underdogs, but they work really well in this role. This match really has it all: brutal weapon shots, comedy, good tag action, and anything else you could want. All four men know that they're opening the biggest show in Progress history up to that point, and there's no way they're going to waste that opportunity. They put together a fantastic match, and one that is truly special.

jun kasai and chris brookes

#4: Chris Brookes and Jun Kasai vs the 37Kamiina

  I was not expecting to be writing about Jun Kasai in this article, but sure enough the Crazy Monkey finds a way. Facing off against Mao and Shunma Katsumata(more on him later), this is the first time since my Nick Mondo showcase that we have seen Jun Kasai. Just like in that match, he's teaming with our showcase wrestler, the difference being it's about twenty years later. This match is a hardcore match because, well Jun Kasai is in it what do you expect. Watching this match I began to realize how common the plastic tubs from the Parker match are, as Katsumata and Brookes run an extended sequence centered around a plastic tub and a kama.

It's an incredibly fast paced showcase of their high flying ability that ends with Brookes piercing the tub, and thankfully not Katsumata. Before getting too deep into the match, I wanted to point the one thing that surprised me more than seeing Kasai here: the stadium. If you look at the markings on the ground you'll notice it's an American football stadium. In addition to that, it was also the home of FMW's anniversary shows until its initial demolition, which makes the hardcore match make perfect sense. The match may not be that long, but it sees so much carnage as folding chairs, tables, and more LEGOs than you can imagine get smashed. The highlight of the match for me though is the way that Jun smiles at Chris. He's seen many generations of violent wrestlers, but Chris still makes him happy.

The actual best moment though is when Chris grabs a folding chair and the seat just falls off of it. All of a sudden he's holding an empty frame and everyone just stops to laugh as Chris works out in his head if this is still usable. More tubs make an appearance and shatter everywhere. This match, much like the Jun Kasai match on the Mondo list, is incredibly fun. You can't watch this without smiling, or maybe I just have seen so much deathmatch that it's my comfort food. Either way, this is far and away the least bloody Kasai match I've ever seen, but the barefoot LEGO fight is still brutal. This is going to be my new match to show people who don't like deathmatch so they can still see Kasai. Brookes isn't just support though, he really puts in his fair share of offense. This really does combine my two favorite kind of Brookes, as we see his hardcore streak and his tag team expertise. This was a delightful find indeed.

drew vs chris

#3: Chris Brookes vs Drew Parker

  41: that's how many times Drew Parker and Chris Brookes have met in the ring. I chose this match instead of any of 40 others because of the situation in which they found themselves. Instead of one of their many matches in the UK, this is a singles match in Japan. Brookes and Parker both went on expeditions to Japan: Brookes to DDT and Parker to Big Japan. I was so proud of both of them when their expeditions were announced, and I was so happy to see them meet again, and even for a title.

Even though it's the DDT Universal rather than the Extreme, they were smart enough to make this no disqualifications. At first, it's your standard stuff: tables, chairs, ladders. Then, however, comes the fun stuff. Plastic tubs that shatter on impact are a highlight, but the best weapon is the neon colored fork board. The forks are arranged by color, and it makes for a great visual. Brookes even takes a fork off the board to stab Parker with. Parker takes Brookes with him in a double stomp off the ladder through the tubs, and the fact that the match didn't end there shocked me.

As cool as the weapon spots are, Drew and Chris are also just great wrestlers. The put on some fantastic sequences in this match of trading holds and countering moves. Like I said earlier, 41 matches. You don't fight that many times and not know each other. Chris ultimately wins with a nasty piledriver, and it's a fantastic match from bell to bell.

cck vs lucha bros

#2: CCK vs Lucha Bros

  I said we'd take a look at another CCK match from the World Tag League, and so from night three we see CCK vs the Lucha Bros. We see tag team moves almost immediately and tag team ropes might as well not be a thing. The speed at which they're in and out of the ring is remarkable and leaves you speechless. The Lucha Bros do a wonderful job of isolating and attacking. Almost every second of the match sees either Gresham or Brookes getting decimated and possibly having their head taken off their shoulders.

When CCK finally get the momentum they hit the one, the only, Sick F%#ing Tag Move on Penta twice. Pentagon takes the brunt of the hits in this match, while Fenix hits the big splashes. The way Fenix walks the ropes reminds me of the magnetic feet on a Tech Deck Dude; any normal person would have tripped face first. Despite all the brutal offense put up by the Lucha Bros, in the first half, CCK manages to pull out the win. Not just this win, but their entire performance in the World Tag League is delightful and proves my point that both Brookes and CCK as a whole are in the upper echelon of modern tag teams. Hopefully after some of the matches on this list you'll put CCK in that list too.

chris vs shunma

#1: Chris Brookes vs Shunma Katsumata

  We already took a look at Shunma in the tag team match, but the bad blood between these two goes back almost to Brookes's DDT arrival. This match was for the DDT Extreme Title, and it's pretty fitting that it's a barbed wire casket match. The match starts immediately with the two trying to throw each other into a barbed wire board. The first thing you'll notice in this match, even before the insanity in the ring, is Shunma's attire. I've seen many clown, and more specifically Joker, attires in wrestling, but this one is my favorite. Katsumata isn't just dressed like a clown, he's truly acting like one. He hits Brookes with a confetti popper as a method of defense, and that alone puts him as high as Doink. Watching Brookes's deathmatches has taught me that Brookes is at his best reminding people how vicious the most common wrestling weapons can be. For example, he hits an elevated swinging neckbreaker DDT onto folding chairs on the floor, and it looks worse than anything with barbed wire in this match.

My favorite thing to point out though, is DDT's obsession with LEGOs. This match features a LEGO covered bat as well as LEGOs on the casket. This makes for an amazing misdirect later when Chris grabs a giant LEGO brick storage container. At this point you assume that it's full of more LEGOs, but then he dumps out thumbtacks all over the mat. Everything about this match just works, and I think it's a great example of a well paced, emotional deathmatch.

I really think that Shunma is becoming my favorite opponent for Chris Brookes, and as a matter of fact he is the only opponent to appear on this list more than once. At first I thought this match would probably be around #5 or #4, but the more I thought about it, and especially that ending, the more I knew it was number one. When Katsumata leaps off the top trying to hit Brookes who's laying on the casket, and Brookes just opens the casket sending Katsumata flying into it, I screamed. It's so hard to do a good ending to a casket match, but this one was perfect. It's a great match between two fantastic fighters.

Related Articles