For the better part of a decade, MCW World Champion Adam Brooks has been synonymous with Professional Wrestling in Australia and the ‘Loose Ledge’ is ready for the global stage.
Growing up in a scene that finds itself more and more in the international spotlight, Brooks has trained, battled with, and fought against some of the biggest names in the sport – all the while remaining a pillar for promotions like Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW).
After a career-making match against New Japan Pro Wrestling’s current IWGP Champion Will Ospreay in 2017, Brooks found himself travelling around the globe and wrestling in promotions like Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG), Revolution Pro, and Ring of Honor (ROH).
It is that last company, ROH, that The Loose Ledge will begin the next chapter of his career in, signing a contract with one of America’s biggest promotions – leaving a Loose Legacy here in Australia.
Before that chapter begins though, Brooks finds himself with unfinished business in Australia, where he is the current Melbourne City Wrestling World Champion. He will next defend his Title at MCW New Horizons on 8 May against a fellow countryman making waves internationally: Robbie Eagles.
As he gears up for that match, Chris Small had the chance to chat with Adam Brooks about his journey into wrestling, future stars to watch out for, and what exactly ‘Loose Legacy’ means.
Article submitted and written by Chris Small
Chris Small: You’re up in Adelaide right now, but you’re from Melbourne originally right?
Adam Brooks: Yep. Born and raised yeah. But I’ve been up here since Covid.
CS: Do you have family up there? Is that what prompted the move, or was it more of a ‘Victoria’s a bit fucked so I’m gonna get out of here?
AB: No, no family. My girlfriend is from here, but it was…yeah, more just Melbourne was fucked! You couldn’t do anything. I said to myself, I still want to be able to train and wrestle, and I can’t do that here, So I just packed up and left.
CS: That kind of ties into my first question if we just want to get right into it. Before going back to the beginning of you as a wrestler, talking about right now, the fact that you became a World Champion just a few short months before everything went into lockdown is absolutely insane.
There are interviews and video clips of other Champions talking about representing their companies in this ‘Pandemic Era’ and the pressures they feel. For you, it must be next level. Not only are you representing an entire country as Champion of one of the top promotions, but you don’t have that weekly television exposure as a platform. Has there been any pressure you’ve felt with the responsibility of being Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW) World Champion?
AB: Honestly, there wasn’t really tons of pressure, because I literally couldn’t do anything! Like, legit it was out of my control, and there was nothing I could do. So, it was really just disappointment more than anything because I was excited to have this good run, represent MCW with its World Championship. I had stuff lined up overseas, ready to go. I had defenses lined up against dudes like TJ Perkins, and then, the world just turned upside down and went crazy. So no stress, just disappointment because everything was totally out of my hands.
CS: For training, how did social distancing and pandemic protocols factor in? Were you able to do anything with a partner in the ring, or were you even able to get in a ring during lockdown?
AB: All the Wrestling Schools were shut down, so unless people had their own ring in their backyard, which I don’t have, that was your only access to a ring. Gyms were closed in Melbourne, and because I was still in Melbourne at the time I spent about $2000 on gym equipment, chucked it out on the decking at my parent’s place, just as a small little workout area. That’s all you can do, just try to make the best with what you have. And I was really lucky to get that equipment before Melbourne put those rules in where you could only drive 5km from your home, because I drove an hour to Melton to get all this equipment! I was really just trying to do the best I could.
CS: I think that was the mindset for everyone. Four months in lockdown, not knowing when we were getting out, it was a really horrible time. So, let’s focus on happier times instead! Going back to your beginnings. Maybe I’m completely off the mark, but watching you, your style, and using the Swanton Bomb as your finisher, I can only imagine that Jeff Hardy had a big influence on you. What sort of wrestling did you watch growing up, did you watch Hardy a lot, what made you a fan?
AB: You hit it on the head man. Jeff is the reason my life has gone in this direction. I was nine years old, hanging out on the street with some neighbours, and one of them said, ‘come to my house man, I have this VHS tape of this thing called Wrestling’.
So, I said ok, and we go to his house, and he was halfway through watching this tape that was Wrestlemania 2000. The next match he was up to was the three way Ladder Match; Hardy’s, Dudley’s, Edge & Christian. And I’m sitting there, watching this…thing called wrestling, and there’s this dude who’s just capturing my eye doing all this cool stuff. He’s got weird coloured hair, he’s not wearing traditional trunks, he’s wearing baggy pants and he looks really cool! And that’s how it started.
You’d go to the local video shop, and they had all these wrestling tapes…ok, WCW. You look at the back, there’s no Jeff Hardy, ok, I don’t want to watch that. WWF…Oh yep, Hardy Boys! That must be them. After that you just research, research, and it just grew from there.
As for the Swanton, I used to do it in the backyard and said to myself ‘if I ever turn Pro and decide to give this a real crack, I want to use that’, because he’s the dude that made me fall in love with this.
I met him in 2016, and he was really cool. He said to me ‘What’s your finish man?’ and I giggled to myself and went ‘well, I do a Swanton because you’re the reason that I do this [wrestling]. And he says ‘Aww that’s cool man! Do your notice your tailbone starting to hurt now?’ And I laughed and said ‘Yup, starting to!’
CS: So you mentioned thinking to yourself ‘IF I turn Pro’. What was the catalyst for going forward with that, deciding you were going to make this your career?
AB: I was 15 years old, and one of my best friends and I used to just muck around on the trampoline. He tried pro wrestling training, but he was only 14, and his body just couldn’t take it. But he said to me ‘You love this, all you want to do whenever you come over is wrestle on the trampoline, why not give it a go?’
So, I went to this local training school and since then it’s just been full steam ahead everything wrestling. But it wasn’t until I was 18 and met Matt Silva that things really started to get to another level in regard to making it a career.
CS: I wrote a piece for the MCW Website when you and Slex were going up against each other back in 2019 for the Title, talking about your parallel paths in wrestling, which is where I got a chance to learn about your history with Silva as a mentor, training, friend, rival prior to him leaving.
I came to Australia in 2017, and I feel like since the time I’ve been here there’s been a huge influx of success and signings of Australian and New Zealand stars across the major international promotions. It of course starts with Tenille Dashwood in 2011, then Matt in 2013. You growing your career during this time and with your own international success can you pinpoint, aside from sheer talent, a specific time or reason for this newfound recognition?
AB: I think the Tenille and Matt stuff sort of…I want to say slightly began, eyes being on Australia. You also had Shane and Mikey (TMDK) doing stuff in NOAH as well. Then, we had a tryout in 2014, which is when they picked up Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. I think that tryout and those guys’ success in WWE got people saying ‘Ok, there’s some talent in Australia’.
Then of course Ospreay came, and me and Robbie [Eagles] worked with him. I think when that happened, the independent fans went ‘well we know who Will Ospreay is! Who’s this Adam Brooks kid he’s wrestling, who’d this Robbie Eagles guy?’ I think that made the independent fans realize there’s some good talent in Australia. From there, me, Robbie and Jonah (WWE’s Bronson Reed) did some stuff down at PWG that gave more indie fan eyes on the scene when they realized all of us are Australian.
I think 2017-ish kind of got that indie crowd looking at Australia in a different way. And ever since then, WWE comes once every two years to look at some guys. They actually did a little secret tryout at the MCW Academy before the MCG show. And then the night before that show they went and checked out a PWA (Pro Wrestling Australia) show in Sydney.
Dude, everyone’s watching! Ring of Honor (ROH) scooped three of us up!
CS: Yes! You, Slex, Kellyanne are all now signed with Ring of Honor. What was it about the company that appealed to you, that made you decide this is where you wanted to take the next steps in your career?
AB: I’ve been a fan of ROH since 2005. Growing up as a wrestling fan, you hear and then you find these alternatives (to WWE) like TNA. Then you see guys like AJ Styles, and you hear that he doesn’t JUST wrestle at TNA, he also wrestles at ROH, so you check THAT out. It’s all research.
So, in 2005, I came across this music video of this guy from ROH. His name was CM Punk. And I thought ‘this guy’s pretty cool!’, And from there I just followed it.
April 2013 was the first time I travelled overseas, and I went to an ROH tryout seminar. I would have been only 21-22 at the time. Then years later, in 2018, I had the opportunity to wrestle Jay Lethal in Scotland for ROH. After that I tried to keep in contact as best I could, and then eventually just, BOOM! They offered me a contract.
It was cool because for so long, I thought I HAD to go to WWE because my best friend is there, I want to travel and hang with my best friend blah blah blah. But then the ROH contract came up and I started thinking to myself ‘I had this opportunity in 2013, I had the chance to wrestle for them in 2018, I’ve been a fan of ROH and a lot of guys that have gone through ROH over the years. Maybe this is where I’m supposed to be.’
Now, I just want to get there, start that next chapter of my career, and really make ROH my home. I want to take a different journey than everyone else. Everyone is going to WWE, and that’s cool, that’s fine, I’m excited for them! But I’m excited to have a different journey.
CS: Who on the current ROH roster are you most excited to get in the ring with?
AB: I’d like to get in there with Dragon Lee one-on-one. We did a little bit of scramble stuff in Mexico, but we didn’t get to work together as much as I would have liked. That would be fun. I’d like to get in there with Mark Haskins again. We wrestled in Ireland for OTT (Over The Top) Wrestling and that was a really cool match.
I’d really like to wrestle Slex there as well! Two Aussies going at it, showing ROH and their fans what these two can do and why they’ve given us this opportunity at ROH.
It almost happened! They announced it, but you know….
CS: I don’t think anyone could have predicted we’d go a full year without any live shows, so the fact Slex and yourself had the chance to Main Event MCW Homecoming, the very first show back for most fans, with an amazing match was incredible.
And speaking of amazing matches, you touched on Will Ospreay briefly earlier, and that match between him and yourself at Ballroom Brawl 2017 still stands as the best match I’ve ever seen live. I knew about Will Ospreay from clips, YouTube, that Ricochet match that had gone viral only a couple of months before he came over here. I didn’t know a lot about you at the time, because at that point I’d only been living in Australia for maybe 6 months total.
I was a fan after that match, it was truly amazing. I know opportunities for you came up after that match, and you became tight with Ospreay. What did you learn from Will, how did you feel coming out of that match, and did you have a feeling that it was going to be a turning point for you?
That’s a very long-winded question, I’m sorry!
AB: That’s ok, I’ll try to give you a nice long answer!
So that first Will Ospreay match. If that hadn’t happened, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me right now. I was going through some really bad stuff mentally at the time, and I decided that once the month was done, I was going to wrap stuff up, because I didn’t want to do this anymore. I had a month of bookings, and I knew how the month was going to end, with that three-way match between me, Will, and Robbie, where I was going to get the Belts. And I had in my mind, at that show, I was going to tell them to give the Belts to Robbie, I’m retiring. I was just fried mentally, in a bad dark place.
Will and I went out there, we had that match, and during it I felt, and I heard, the crowd. And mid-way through while I was out there, I thought ‘alright, maybe I’ll stick around, because these people are appreciating what the two of us are doing.’
After the match I got backstage and I just bawled my eyes out. And Will came up to me saying ‘Holy shit, did I hurt you?? Are you ok?’ and I told him I was fine, but that before the match I was planning on wrapping things up after my last few bookings of the month, because I don’t want to do this anymore and I’m over it. And he grabbed me, and he goes ‘Don’t you fucking dare! You have no idea how talented you are. I am going to help make you a star.’
What I learned from Will was that fast-paced style, which I had never done before. There are pieces of that I learned from him that I still try to do now, thinking where I’ll put it in matches, how it’ll work and all that. But I think the main thing I learned from him was to always try to LOOK like a star. I remember at the time I was wearing these torn shorts, and he said to me ‘we need to fix your gear, because I feel you look like a Backyarder’.
So, I moved to England and I was living with Ospreay for a bit, and he comes back from Japan and he has a pair of trunks for me, new kneepads, and kickpads. And I had NEVER worn trunks. But I didn’t want to turn them down and be rude; I mean, this guy’s paid for all this gear for me! But now I love trunks!
He just tried to make me look like a star, and I was in good hands because, whenever you look at Will Ospreay, he looks like a star; appearance, style, presence in the ring. Every now and then, he still messages me telling me to send him my stuff because he wants to look at it, and he’ll say, ‘try this thing or that thing’. So yeah, I owe a lot to Will. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Will.
Even when ROH offered me their deal, I rang him and asked him what he thought of it. He told me he liked it, so that was something else that helped my choice.
CS: The way you talk about Will Ospreay, you can hear the gratitude coming through. Although, my opinion, I feel he has some gratitude towards you as well. He’s gone on the record talking about how much he loves Australia and its wrestling scene, which begins with you as his entry point as his first appointment. And from there he’s been booked several times since, he’s come back whenever he can. You’re a big factor in that.
AB: If you ever interview Will, you’ll have to ask him about this, but the last time he was here, it would have been early 2019, I think. I rock up to the venue, and I see the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion helping set up the ring! And I’m thinking, what the hell are you doing setting up the ring? You’re one of the biggest stars in the world! And he goes ‘Nah, it’s all good mate, just want to help.’
The fact that he’s setting up the ring for us man, that says a lot about him.
CS: Aside from the Will Ospreay match, what are some of your favourite moments in your career you’ve had here in Australia?
AB: Definitely the stuff me and Slexy have done. The chemistry we have is unreal. When WWE was over for the MCG show, MCW did a show on the Friday night before, and there were WWE people there. Me and Slexy wrestled, and I remember we said to each other backstage ‘let’s tone it down a bit for them!’ Then the next month we got to go all out. So definitely the series of matches I’ve had with him.
Another favourite is Matt [Silva]’s last match here. That was pretty emotional. The guy was a mentor who has turned into a brother, so going out there and having a fun, emotional match with him was awesome. I had only been wrestling about three years at that point, and I think we went 45 minutes, which was the longest match I had done up to that point. That was really special.
I really enjoyed the MCW Intercommonwealth Title runs. That was a title they brought in around late 2016, so representing this new Championship and trying to make it the ‘Workhorse Title’ was something I took a lot of pride in. Even now when I see new guys gunning for that title; it means a lot because I want to see them work as hard as I did to make that championship feel really special.
I’ve done some really fun stuff at Riot City wrestling as well, especially my matches with Chris Basso. That dude deserves to be everywhere. He’s the most underrated guy in the country; so so good.
CS: Aside from Chris who you mentioned, now with the advent of the Australian Wrestling Network that will be available internationally, who are some other talents you believe need to be recognized on an international scale?
AB: I’d love to see the Brat Pack get more opportunities. They did that last ROH UK tour, where I’ll admit I was a little nervous for them! But I tuned in, and I was super proud of them. They’re good friends of mine, and ever since that experience with ROH they’ve been a lot hungrier.
Again, I can’t say enough things about Chris Basso, everybody needs to watch his stuff!
I think Jessica Troy out in Sydney is really good. She’s done SHIMMER, but she deserves more opportunities internationally.
Another two guys who were starting to break out before the world turned upside down are The Velocities. They’re a young tag team from Sydney who are really cool. They were advertised on the last PWG show, but then the world went crazy and that didn’t happen. That’s just to name a few people off the top of my head but there’s so many more!
CS: With this Championship run you’re currently on, you’ve taken on a new nickname ‘The Loose Legacy’. Can you speak to that, specifically what you want your legacy to be, both in Australia and globally?
AB: I think this is something that has just sprung into my mind. For so many years I thought that, if I wanted to be successful, I HAD to go to WWE. But as of late, my motivation has been that I want to be one of the best-known Australian wrestlers without having to go there. You don’t know what the future’s going to bring, but right now I want to take this path. People can talk about Buddy Murphy, or the Icconics, or Rhea Ripley, but I also want them in the same conversation to talk about Adam Brooks, who wrestles in this other place.
The way things are at the moment, with things being so unpredictable, not knowing when the world is going to open up, I look at everything right now with not knowing how long I’m going to be [in Australia]. I want to kill it as much as I can while I have these opportunities as the MCW Champion, or working in Riot City Wrestling. I want people to say that before he left, Adam Brooks was killing it.
So I think that’s the best way to answer that question in regards to legacy. I want people to say that Adam Brooks is up there with those guys on WWE TV. That he’s one of the best at what he’s doing.
MCW New Horizons takes place Saturday 8 May. Watch on demand at mcwondemand.com.au