Interview by Edwin A. Santos
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Born in America, but trained and wrestled at Japan’s World Wonder Ring Stardom since 2014, Filipina American wrestler Kris Wolf recently embarked on her 2018 Wolf Tour currently competing at various wrestling promotions all over the world. Third time’s a charm as she returns to the Los Angeles region at Baldwin Park’s Bar Wrestling this Thursday, April 12 with a match against current Impact Wrestling’s Knockouts Champion, Allie.
The following interview is almost a year in the making since July, 2017 as I found Kris’ story fascinating; from how she began to where she is going. Not to mention, she is the first female wrestler of Filipino descent that came to my attention. Finally met up with her at the RISE 6 – BRUTALITY wrestling show in October, 2017. Intuitive and personable, her journey is universal — especially among creative artists.
For this month’s FAC In Focus Series (days shy after WrestleMania 34 weekend), I am happy to bring you this exclusive interview * with the Box Breaker, Kris Wolf.
There is no more a problem of truth in wrestling than in the theatre. In both, what is expected is the intelligible representation of moral situations which are usually private… What is thus displayed for the public is the great spectacle of Suffering, Defeat, and Justice. Wrestling presents man’s suffering with all the amplification of tragic masks.
~ Roland Barthes, French theorist, The World of Wrestling (1957)
Edwin Santos: This interview is going to be a bit about creativity and inside the wrestling ring, it is all about telling stories. Your backstory is close to becoming folklore. So please, introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit of your journey —
presented in a folkloric tale..
Kris Wolf: My animal beginnings started two weeks into my stay in Japan. Prior to my migration, I worked as a freelance photographer, running around hustling and juggling five part-time jobs. As my photography took off, I was able to shed the part-time work. Unfortunately, my fiancee at the time felt distanced and decided that we weren’t gonna work out. I was devastated but understood. Yanno? I mean feelings change, people grow
apart. It’s unfortunate, but these things happen. Nevertheless, I was broken. I had a friend living in Niigata, Japan who offhandedly suggested I come for a visit, and without much thought I bought a ticket and set out to another world. I spent two weeks crying on the sofa watching Breaking Bad. When I finished the series, resolved to GET UP. I rented a bicycle and tent, and cycled from Niigata to Hiroshima. It was almost 1000km and I spent twenty days crying up mountains and camping and pissing wherever I pleased. In the madness of hallucination, fever, hunger, and exhaustion, I think the soul of Kris Wolf was born…or released. Somehow I made it to Hiroshima. The biggest lesson I took from the experience, was that no matter what the odds, risks, or opinions of others are…if I want something I can get it…as long as I just keep going.
Edwin Santos: Wikipedia states you’re originally from Chicago, Illinois while other interviews mention New Jersey. Which is it? Or, are you one of those transcendent werebeasts?
Kris Wolf: AHAHAHA Good question! I flew out of the birth canal in Chicago, but spent much of my adolescent years in New Jersey.
Edwin Santos: Two years ago, I was there with my friends at the live taping of Lucha Underground when I saw the match between Pentagon Dark against Io Shirai, Mayu Iwatani and Kairi Hojo (currently Kaire Sane at WWE NXT). If it wasn’t for Lucha Underground, I wouldn’t have known about World Wonder Ring Stardom. Tell us about your home promotion and why you chose them to train at.
Kris Wolf: Stardom I imagine is like any other promotion that grows and evolves with time. The promotion I’m in is not the same as the promotion I joined in the beginning. I think there are many things that have improved since then and management knows how to handle their product. Believe it or not, was the first result in a YouTube search, and was also a suggestion from a friend. The fact that they were these little Asian girls, flying through the air doing all these amazing things made me believe I could do it too. Their image was much different from the image I had of the average pro wrestler.
Edwin Santos: Tell us about Oedo Tai? And to see original member Ruby Riott(Heidi Lovelace) challenging Charlotte Flair’s WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship title at WWE Fastlane? **
Kris Wolf: I may have grew up in Stardom, but Oedo Tai is my home. For everyone that didn’t quite belong, Oedo Tai became their family. Misunderstood monsters is how I like to think of it. Misunderstood outcasts with the biggest hearts. I…f**king…love Heidi…and her as Ruby Riott makes me so proud. She has worked so hard and continues to do so. I admire her and wish her all the best! Nikki Storm (currently Nikki Cross with the faction, Sanity at WWE NXT) is also Oedo Tai alumni. But yes, Heidi is OG.
Edwin Santos: Are there any wrestlers, then and now, you look up to, appreciate the work that they do or motivate you to keep on going?
Kris Wolf: Act Yasukawa, Kairi Hojo, Alpha Female (Jazzy Gabert), Kay Lee Ray, Nixon Newell, Deonna Purrazzo, Toni Storm, Viper (Piper Niven), Thunder Rosa, Santana..man…really there are too many. Reality is I admire all the girls I meet. I admire each and everyone for gambling their luck and health in this game.
Edwin Santos: Being from a Filipino American family, I take it that your parents weren’t too thrilled with your career choice? What did you major in college? And, what career choice(s) your parents wanted you (or still wants you) to pursue instead?
Kris Wolf: Haha yeah, my mom wasn’t exactly thrilled with my decision. I majored in photography and graphic design, which she eventually approved of….but really now. What Filipino family doesn’t want their child to be a nurse, doctor, or some sort of lawyer?
Edwin Santos: Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, Filipinos are the second largest group of Asian Americans in the U.S. and are the largest population of Asian Americans within the City of Los Angeles. Since your first visit to Los Angeles in 2015, how was the welcome like when you returned two years later with RISE Wrestling and the Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS)?
Kris Wolf: It was raaaad. I saw some fellow “Balut Club” members out in the crowd. I felt the love. I hope this time around I can grab some FILIPINO FOOD cuz it’s been a while yo.
Edwin Santos: What are your thoughts on the growing interest of women in professional wrestling overall (examples: the Knockouts at Impact, WWE’s Mae Young Classic / WWE’s pay-per-view main event women’s matches and Ring of Honor’s Women of Honor tournaments?).
Kris Wolf: I think it’s amazing that women are getting featured more all over the place. I love that women’s rights and issues are being discussed more openly. And I’m proud to have been in a ring with these awesome humans. Having these different talented women on TV and in these tournaments is great. It shifts the idea of who can be a wrestler and what’s cool or admirable. More variety and appreciation for all is what I’m after.
Edwin Santos: Tell us about RISE Wrestling, its mission statement and your involvement with the promotion?
Kris Wolf: They’re pretty neat! They’re a wrestling promotion that holds seminars and gives chances to new wrestlers of all backgrounds to connect with people in the business who can help them grow as wrestlers and within the business. I’m pretty new to RISE myself, but I assisted Bull Nakano as her translator and helped with a training session before. I will be doing the same again in Chicago, so I’m looking forward to that.
Edwin Santos: What would be your dream match?
Kris Wolf: A deathmatch with Jelly beans, dorito chips, and tacos…ah..and beer….Also I would like to wear a sumo costume…or something of that nature.
Edwin Santos: Who are your musical influences? I ask this based on your singing, guitar playing and piano playing from your videos. Were there thoughts of pursuing a musical career early on?
Kris Wolf: I grew up listening/watching Broadway musicals and old folk bands that my mom liked. So that definitely played a hand at developing my musical tastes. I thought about singing or being in a band for a bit, but not seriously. I don’t think I sing that well to be honest. I like to do it though.
Edwin Santos: If you were inducted into a wrestling hall of fame, who would you want to induct you and why?
Kris Wolf: I think they’d have to be some crazy mofo, I’m not so much for awards to be honest. I think I live too much in a realm of chaos where nothing means anything. My prize is energy and adventure.
Edwin Santos: If you could go back in time, what would Kris Wolf today say to Kristina Hernandez then before she made the big life change?
Kris Wolf: Keep going…you’re gonna hit something that’ll change your life…but stretch and do yoga!
Edwin Santos: Lastly, to end this interview, do a promo as Kris Wolf, or in a folkloric presentation (or both). Your choice.
Kris Wolf: DEAR UNIVERSE,
THANK YOU FOR ALL THIS TERRIFYING, EXCESSIVE ENERGY.
I WILL TRY MY BEST TO USE IT EFFECTIVELY AND SHARE MY JOY.
As mentioned earlier, Kris Wolf returns to the Los Angeles region, this time at Baldwin Park’s Bar Wrestling this Thursday, April 12 with a match (just announced) against current Impact Wrestling’s Knockouts Champion, Allie. For tickets, click here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3353092
She returns to Los Angeles with a match against Britt Baker at RISE 8 – OUTBACK in South Gate, California on Friday, June 29. For tickets, click here: https://pipeline.ecwid.com/Tickets-c21312717
And, on Saturday, June 30, she defends her AWS Women’s Championship title against Cheerleader Melissa at the 6th AWS Women’s Wrestling Tournament at AWS Wrestling in South Gate. Limited seating available and front row is already sold out. For tickets, click here: https://www.paypal.me/awspromotions
You can follow Kris Wolf on Twitter and Instagram at @wolfinjapan.
* This interview was conducted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 before her Wolf Tour began.
** The mention of Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott took place at WWE Fastlane PPV on Sunday, March 11.
At Los Angeles’ Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS Wrestling) in October, 2017, Kris Wolf won her second championship against then holder Nicole Savoy, the AWS Women’s World Championship title. Her first title win was the High Speed Championship at Stardom in 2014.
She made her American wrestling television debut at Women of Honor during Best In The World Weekend at Ring of Honor (ROH Wrestling) in Massachusetts. There she teamed with Sumie Sakai (the inaugural and current ROH Women of Honor Champion) to take on Deonna Purrazzo and Mandy Leon. And, the next night in a singles match against her tag team partner of which she won in the Summer of 2017.