ChocoPro Origins: An Exclusive Interview with Gatoh Move’s Baliyan Akki

ChocoPro Origins Baliyan Akki
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As Gatoh Move celebrates the 100th episode of ChocoPro with a two-day card that is sure to excite anyone, we had the chance to talk to one of Gatoh Move’s top stars, Baliyan Akki. Akki went into great detail about becoming a professional wrestler, the decision to move to Japan for his career, and how ChocoPro came to form at the hands of Emi Sakura. Check out this look at ChocoPro Origins as Akki brings us through his and ChocoPro’s journey!

Q: What or who inspired you to become a professional wrestler?

“It was mostly wrestling as an entertainment sort of thing,” Akki said. “When I was watching it, it in India, there’s only WWE there. I actually didn’t really know pro wrestling was a thing. I knew WWE was a thing. It’s like me watching American football while there’s not a single person in India who plays American football.”

“To me, it felt like it was the complete entertainment,” Akki said. “It really felt to me like that. Especially after I started watching the previous shows as well. There were romances there, there were friendships, backstabbing. There were groups, there were villains, there were heroes. There were stories going on and there was actually live-action. Literally, anything that I imagined there would be for entertainment, it was in there. And I really love the fact of the performance part of it. This was the best thing ever so I was really interested in it.”

“One of the reasons I did become a wrestler was because it felt impossible to me to be one. It was one of the biggest parts because I very clearly remember what I was like in middle school I think around 14,15. I remember thinking like this, I am I have no idea what they do, let alone, try to be or tried to do what they do it’s like if I like to say I’m being an astronaut is pretty hard, but I know how to be an astronaut. Like there’s a way to be astronauts. I didn’t even know the name of pro wrestling.”

“Like I didn’t know what they will do I just knew what do you do, do you like do gym a lot? Is that how you become a wrestler? But this factors as well like big dude, skinny dude, small dude, huge dude… like how? What do you do to be there? And I had no idea. So it felt like an impossible path to me. And in my own head, I actually once thought that if I ever got enough guts, had enough confidence. Enough courage to be an adventurer, this is what I would love to do.”

“It felt to me like I went through enough trouble before I closed high school that you know what? It only happens once. If it goes to shit, I’ll be a bum. So what? Let’s do this.”

Q: Was Japan something you decided upon early when you started training?

“It’s probably the same thing actually,” Akki said. “The reason I got stuck on Japan. Japan actually stopped my clock. Some people may be able to really relate to it. There are instances in your life that stop you in time. It might be a sad thing that might happen that would stop your time. People got stuck in just a frame of mind and a frame of time. And you can’t move on. You just can’t. That thing was Japan to me. Because after wrestling, this felt impossible. It really felt impossible for me to go to Japan.”

“It was very difficult and that really alerted me to it, even while I was doing it because it became enjoyment. Like hard things give you satisfaction. They really do. They are very hard to do, but if you can accomplish it they feel really well, they feel really good and it felt really good valid was able to achieve what I could with basically what I had at that point. Just one partner and then, a very scrawny ring in a guy’s backyard in the whole of India. One dude who’s crazy enough as me and one dude who loved wrestling enough that he had a ring in his garage and he would like to charge crazy money too. That dude bled me dry. Well, he was the only one in the whole, like he was the only one who had. India had 1.4 billion people, and he was the only dude who had a ring, and there were only two people who was practicing wrestling while I was practicing wrestling in the whole of India.”

“Just us two. It was stupid to think that something would happen. I actually didn’t know there was wrestling outside of WWE. The dude, his name is Zora, was actually a big fan of King’s Road. So he was a big fan of Misawa and Kenta Kobashi. He knew so much more about wrestling than me.”

“The first puroresu match that I ever watched was Tokyo Dome — Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki. I’m kind of happy that was the first match I saw because it was night and day from what I knew about wrestling. It has no big dudes beating each other, it had no big bumps, no set of rules. It wasn’t the always same rhythm TV wrestling. Nothing like it. They just slapped each other for 25 minutes. It was quite a long match and for most of it, it was just Minoru Suzuki just slapping. It was just a simple setup. It was a fight. The essence of the match was that it was a fight. And that’s not how you feel about America, especially the WWE. Especially during 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. It doesn’t feel like a fight. It just doesn’t.”

“When I first saw that match, I rejected it almost. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. And that intrigued me a lot because it was again something really unfamiliar to me and I became obsessed with it. And I realized it resonated with me more.”

“Okay, Japan is the place to be. I talked to a few people, found a company that wanted to me and the Japanese embassy said no because I am from India and that passport doesn’t really help you when you are going to travel. It’s not the best passport to have when you want to travel. And I was also 19. That doesn’t help you either. The things you need to travel from India, I had none of it.”

“So I spend the next two and a half years just building up so I can have a Visa.”

Q: What was your first impression when the first episode of ChocoPro was being planned?

“I was actually wrestling Minoru Suzuki so I was not thinking of anything,” Akki said. “But I was also doing the camera and the translation and the opening. I was doing the whole English part and the management. Not the management really, like how you telecast or something. I was trying to do the camera, did that, and I was wrestling Minoru Suzuki so I actually had no time to truly think about what we were really doing. We were just doing it.”

“No joking. Emi Sakura asked me 46 hours before we were actually doing the show. She asked me, ‘hey, can we do that? Can you check it out?’ because we were just got the next show canceled. All of my matches were canceled because I was supposed to wrestle the next day prior but I was here (Ichigaya Chocolate Square) training and Mei (Suruga) was training and news just spread. I just started getting messages like ‘your match is canceled, it’s canceled, it’s canceled, it’s canceled.’ And every match I had from that day on was canceled including all of Gatoh Move. As we were sitting, what’s going to happen? Then we continued talking and she said ‘can we do that?’ and I was like wait, hold on a second. Yeah! Of course, we can do that. You have all the criteria, you can do a live stream from the YouTube channel. You have the hours met, the subscribers, everything. And she was like, ‘alright, I’ll think about it.’ And then she goes a few hours later, ‘We’re doing it!’ And then the next day she goes that we are doing it tomorrow night and I’m like ‘what?'”

“It’s like 18 hours we talked about it and she goes ‘you’re wrestling Minoru Suzuki’ and I’m like ‘What? When?’ then she goes tomorrow night.”

“And she made it like a tag. Basically, she said in Japanese, ‘even in all of this, what’s happening right now. Dreams are still coming true in wrestling.'”

“It almost felt like wrestling was going to die. It really did feel like that.”

“In the beginning, we thought it was like the plague, right? Like 10, 15 percent of the population was going to die. And while it was still devastating, it felt like it was the end of the world. Literally, everything stopped. It felt like wrestling may never come back. And she said ‘in times like these, people still need at least one place where they don’t have to remember the pandemic. Just one place. Just one place that it’s never said. It’s like a place you can just visit that is not trouble. That is just an escape.’ We don’t want to complain about it. We want to have nothing to do with it. That’s why there’s no staff. Let’s make it as safe as possible. Let’s keep it a minimum with six people and do two matches and do whatever we can.”

“That’s why ChocoPro was created.”

Q: How much does it mean to you to be fighting for the Super Asia Championship at ChocoPro 100?

“It means a lot,” Akki said. “Saying it just means a lot kind of feels like I’m putting a lid on it. Let me just say this. This will tell you how much it means a lot. How much it means. After everything I’ve told if you have listened to it: I’m the one wrestling for Super Asia Championship. Not Emi Sakura, not Yuna Mizumori, and not even Mei Suruga. I’m wrestling for it. And the fact that Mei Suruga is not wrestling for that tells you a lot. Anybody who knows Gatoh Move knows how Mei Suruga came up here, how Riho left, where Gatoh Move is right now, what ChocoPro is. The fact that I’m wrestling is, I think, would tell you how much it would mean to me.”

If you want to listen to the entire hour-long interview with Baliyan Akki to hear his thoughts on possible names to enter the Ichigaya Chocolate Square including AEW stars, his hopes for the future in his own career, and his relationship with Best Bros tag team partner Mei Suruga, you can check that out here.

You can check out Gatoh Move’s ChocoPro 100 on their YouTube channel as well and see the archive of all the events they have had in the past here.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch Gatoh Move on YouTube and support ChocoPro in various ways, including Patreon.

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