Kotto Brazil prepares for New York and beyond and explains how pro wrestling is all he has known in this exclusive interview.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
Kotto Brazil is ready to wrestle anywhere, any time in order to make his name and stake his claim.
He has to be. Pro wrestling is all he’s ever known.
“As long as I can remember being able to watch TV, I’ve always been watching wrestling,” Brazil told The Gorilla Position during a recent interview. “Watching it with my parents, my grandpa and my cousins – it’s just something I always grew up with. I knew from 5, 6, 7 years old that’s what I wanted to do. Everyone already talks about trying to get a backup plan – I tried to figure out a backup plan but I didn’t have one. This is what I wanted to do. There was nothing else.”
Having been pro for about four years, Brazil has already logged an impressive resume of matches and promotions in that short span of time. The drive to succeed has always been part of Brazil’s arsenal, even when he wasn’t sure how.
“I didn’t know anything about wrestling schools or anything like that growing up,” Brazil said. “I knew they had wrestling in high school, so I started there. From watching Kurt Angle and Shelton Benjamin and people like that, I knew they started there. I started wrestling in high school and went to college in Ashland University up in Ohio.”
Brazil happened to fall in with a crowd that was well on their way in the industry and, fortunately, were happy to help.
“I was wrestling [in Ohio] on the same college team as Sawyer Fulton,” Brazil. “He was our heavyweight; he was a senior when I was a freshman. Fulton was actually don’t indie shows up there in Ohio while he was wrestling [on the college team]. So I got some information from him but he ended up graduating and going straight to the [WWE] Performance Center and I was still there.”
Ultimately, Brazil knew someone else who had some vital information – that current Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal had opened a wrestling school so close to Brazil’s old home in Florida that the signs were too obvious for Brazil to ignore.
“I knew that after I graduated that I was going to wrestle anyway so, I decided to do it right then,” Brazil said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do so I decided to leave and go train. I didn’t actually graduate – I just left.”
The scholastic experience helped Brazil hone his ring style. He can fly with the best of them, but he can also ground someone into the mat and wear them down to the point of no return if need be. That combination of styles, as well as his fluidity in the ring, has earned him a place on several big shows coming up WrestleMania weekend and beyond.
“[WrestleMania] week is a crazy week but I feel like every wrestler wants to be on as many shows as they can,” Brazil said. “Last year I was on a couple shows but the goal is to be on as many shows as I can. It’s about being ready. I don’t feel stressed because I feel ready for moments I’ve been waiting for. It’s more anxious than worried.”
One of the places he can be seen over this coming weekend is at MLW Battle Riot II, where he will be part of the 40-man free-for-all vying for a future opportunity at the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Brazil has an advantage over several over the competitors is that MLW has been a constant home since its return in 2017.
Brazil explained how he turned an opportunity into a residency. “[MLW Executive Vice President of Wrestling Operations] MSL used to do commentary at one of the other shows I used to wrestle at so he used to call a lot of my matches,” he said. “When he started working with MLW, I got in contact with him and he gave me the opportunity to come up. Nothing was really guaranteed at first – I just had to go in there and show what I could do. They gave me the opportunity and I took it and ran with it. I had to.”
Brazil’s in-ring repertoire is one of the factors that helped secure his spot as the sole representative of MLW in what promises to be an explosive Ultimate X match at Impact Wrestling’s “United We Stand” Pay-Per-View airing on Fite.tv.
I grew up watching the X-Division matches on TNA and picture one day you’re in it – it’s crazy,” Brazil said. “But I’ve got to go in and show out like I always do.”
When discussing the name of the show, Brazil points out how it represents the modern wrestling landscape. “The name of the show is ‘United We Stand,’ so it’s Impact working together with all the other companies,” Brazil said. “Back in the day, everyone used to be separated. They’re trying to change that and have everybody work together and bring the best show they can possible. Bring all the best wrestlers and be the best thing out there. That’s the goal of that show and that’s why I like our X-Division match. It has someone from every company to represent them.”
Brazil said this philosophy is representative of where pro wrestling is at as a whole. “The wrestling world is changing right now. A lot of people are going to look back at this era. You don’t have to go to just one place to get work and make money anymore. There are multiple places you could go to get your name out and to do some really good work. I feel like wrestling is in its best state right now.”
Looking past the biggest wrestling weekend of the year, Brazil has some unique opportunities further in the spring. The weekend after competing all over New York, Brazil will be in Thomson, GA at Viral Pro Wrestling’s third annual “Survival” event. Brazil has the opportunity to enter the Garden City Classic on May 11, which will feature 8 of the best wrestlers in the southeast compete for a shot at the Viral Pro Wrestling Championship.
To get there, however, Brazil has to get past a familiar face at “Survival” on April 13 in the form of Vandal Ortagun, a man Brazil said may pose a bigger challenge than ever.
“[Vandal and I] do know each other pretty well,” Brazil said. “We’ve got a little history in MLW. In fact, my first win in MLW came against him. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the last year. The thing about it with him is I’m actually undefeated against him. I know going into this he’s going to be watching those matches back and studying, trying to figure it out. It’s hard to beat someone three times in a row – eventually they’re going to try and figure out your tricks and you have to come up with new things. That’s basically how I’m going into this one – I want to keep him on his toes and keep him guessing. You think I’m going here but I’ll change it up and go here.”
Also in May, Brazil has the opportunity to challenge for the brand new Ignite Wrestling Tag-Team Championships on May 18 at “Valor” as he teams up with Hunter Law against champions Tech. To make things more interesting, Brazil will be teaming with Hunter Law, a man he knows very well but has never partnered up with before.
“It’s Hunter [Law] and I’s first time tagging with each other,” Brazil said. “We grew up with each other in the business. We were in the same wrestling class, we both trained together. Most of the time we were rivals, going against each other. But there’s always been that respect there. There’s a connection. So I think we’re going to do really good as a team together. We’ve faced each other and trained together many times but this is our first actual tag team match together.“
Looking past the spring, Brazil’s goals are simple. While he may one day be on the NXT roster or on the All Elite Wrestling platform, for now Brazil said establishing himself during the journey is the focus.
“I want to travel a whole lot more,” Brazil said. “I want people to know my face in every state. I want people to know who Kotto is so that means I want to be on every show possible.”