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Q&A with the “Bounter Hunter” Bryan Keith at TOUKOUDAN in Tokyo

6 months ago

Q&A with the “Bounter Hunter” Bryan Keith at TOUKOUDAN in Tokyo

By: Thom Fain

Spike Spiegel. Gene Starwind. Bryan Keith. If he has his way, the next famous bounty hunter to make waves in Tokyo will be a Swishahouse OG who’s Still Tippin’ in Tokyo, and will be for years to come – like any other fighter worth their weight in tokon, Keith will tell you now’s his time to get that bag.

Although wrestling fans can catch him over on Ring of Honor and select AEW shows, BK also hopes to mix it up in DDT again soon — Japan has always been a goal for him, and he’s been having the time of his life in Tokyo the past couple of weeks. Given the breadth of talent and ongoing opportunities for AEW wrestlers to visit DDT, the former Booker T trainee is ready to roar after patiently waiting for the opportunities he currently enjoys after hitting the independent circuit pretty rigorously back in the U.S.

Catch a day in the life of the “Bounty Hunter” in our chat below, or watch & listen over on YouTube.

Monthly Puroresu:
I’m here at Toudoukan shop in Tokyo with Bryan Keith. He came all the way from Houston, Texas to join DDT. How are you, Bryan?

Bryan Keith:
I’m phenomenal brother. How are you man?

Monthly Puroresu:
I’m good. Why don’t we just start off by telling the fans about some of the goodies you’re going to be taking back home with you.

Bryan Keith
:
Man, good lord! There’s a bunch of stuff… T-shirts, toys, towels, DVDs, look books [laughs]. I had to stop myself, man.

Monthly Puroresu:
Yeah, you got it all. I heard you down there talking to Ninja Mack saying, “Hey man, can I use your card?”

Bryan Keith:
It was like, “Lemme borrow $5!” [laughs]

Monthly Puroresu:
Maybe he’s had a bit of a longer run than you had here [laughs]. Suffice it to say, you’re having a good time in Tokyo?

Bryan Keith:
Enjoying the hell out of myself.

Monthly Puroresu:
And how did, how did it come about? When did they reach out to you? Did you reach out to them or is it just kind of the next natural step for you after touring the independents so aggressively?

Bryan Keith:
A little bit of all that, man. I was kind of just tearing it up out here. And then I was reached out to by one of the guys that represent DDT, and they asked me to come out for an event. And of course I said, “Yes, I’ve been waiting my whole life to go to Japan”. So I made it work with the schedule I had because this has been a dream for me. So here I am, man, and hopefully I get to come back.

Monthly Puroresu:
I’ve talked to a lot of independent promoters and people who know you. They say there is not a better dude in the backstage of the locker room. For those of you that don’t know, the wrestling business is rooted in the carnival business. You can run into some pretty weird stuff back there. Bryan Keith – I’ve heard nothing but good stuff. You’re a family man. You’re a man of faith, but when you put on the hat and get in the ring? Different animal.

Bryan Keith:
Different animal.

Monthly Puroresu:
How do you balance that? How do you balance family life and working the independent circuit alongside that desire, that crave, to be the best. How do you balance those, the peaceful side and that warrior side?

Bryan Keith:
My dad, when I was growing up, was always like, “If you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life”. And ever since I was like 11, 12 years old, all I ever wanted was to be a professional wrestler. So I just made it my mission to work as hard as I could and cross all my T’s, dot all my i’s, and make sure I can get to where I am today.

Monthly Puroresu:
No shortcuts.

Bryan Keith:
Yeah, no shortcuts. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, you don’t grind, you don’t shine baby.

Monthly Puroresu:
Gimme that 64 cologne, switch the house. A couple of Texas boys.

Bryan Keith:
Yes, sir, yes sir. So that just always stuck in my head, man.

Monthly Puroresu:
That’s crazy. I have had that same slogan stuck in my head for 15 years now as a journalist. I always go back to that quote, that very same quote.

Bryan Keith:
It’s the truth.

Monthly Puroresu:
Grind in the wintertime so you can shine in the summertime.

Bryan Keith:
Yes sir, yes sir.

Monthly Puroresu:
So tell me about MAO. What was your experience? Maybe not the result you wanted, but you came out, you looked good. The Internet seemed to love it and DDT fans seemed to treat you really well. How was the match? How did you like mixing it up with “a fucked up man in a fucked up world”?

Bryan Keith:
It was everything I dreamed of, man. I always wanted to come to Japan and have great matches. The crowds are all different. They’re interactive in their own ways. They’re not chanting super loud or, you know, knocking back cervezas and throwing trash. I’m used to it in Texas and stuff. But, you know, it was always a dream of mine to hear the claps or the calls and just even hear my name… “representing Swishahouse, the Bounty Hunter, Bryan Keith”

Monthly Puroresu:
You got chills?

Bryan Keith:
Super chills man. It’s dream come true, man. I’ve had a great experience being out here with DDT so far and I hope I can only come back, man.

Monthly Puroresu:
I think you fit really well. There’s such a variety show there. You know, there’s like a hundred promotions here. Literally in Tokyo there’s a hundred or something wrestling promotions and there’s events every night of the week. For those of you who haven’t come to Tokyo that think it’s a dream: Put one foot in front of the other and come out here because you won’t regret it.

Bryan Keith:
No. You won’t regret it.

Monthly Puroresu:
But DDT seems like it’d be a pretty good landing spot for you.

Bryan Keith:
Definitely, definitely. And they got the OG Jun Akiyama there, man. So that’s number one on my bounty collection list. I came here to mix it up with guys exactly like Jun Akiyama.

Monthly Puroresu:
Better get in there. He is what, 54, 55? .

Bryan Keith:
He gotta save one for me.

Monthly Puroresu:
Save one for the Bounty Hunter. I like that. You know, when I first saw your promo photo, I was like, “Wow, that’s really original, really unique”. We were talking about earlier, it’s kind of hard to stand out in today’s wrestling scene. I feel like there’s just so much talent. So many people have gone through training schools. Walk me back through those steps of becoming the
Bounty Hunter.

Bryan Keith:
Originally I was like more of a cowboy; I started at Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling. It was younger in my career and I remember Booker sitting down with me and just pitching the idea. “Okay, you’re a cowboy now, but have you ever thought about being a bounty hunter?” And I was like, “I don’t know nothing about bounty hunters”, but the way he pitched it to me was Sammy Davis Jr. in the show The Rifleman. He plays the Bounty Hunter. And he was like, “You just gonna be a black bounty hunter man. You be yourself, but you always looking for the bounty and you’re always trying to collect”

Monthly Puroresu:
Get that bag.

Bryan Keith:
Yeah. Always, always trying to get that bag. I started to play with it a lot more, started adding different influences. Of course the Japanese professional wrestling influence, the Swishahouse, the gritty Houston culture influence and also just hardcore. I used to work at Hot Topic growing up and so the influence of the hardcore metal scene and stuff like that. Just mixing all those things together. It started just forming more and more. I’m also a big fan of the Undertaker, soI was almost like an homage to him because he’s also from Houston.

Monthly Puroresu:
Wearing that black brim hat.

Bryan Keith:
Wears a black brimm hat, man. He’s the deadman and I’m just the Bounty Hunter possessed by the black halo, you know?

Monthly Puroresu:
There you go. It’s like good old JR says. You put on that black hat and you become a different person.

Bryan Keith:
I do. I definitely do, man.

Monthly Puroresu:
I know you’ve loved your time here. Have you heard any whispers of a second match or maybe a full tour?

Bryan Keith:
I’m hoping, man, I know DDT’s gonna be coming to America for WrestleMania weekend. So I’m just keeping my ears open, trying to be available and things like that, man. But until then we’re grinding and we’re working, man.

Monthly Puroresu:
Tell us a little bit about what you like to do in your free time for fans who aren’t aware and what your Instagram and and social media handles are so we can follow along in your journey.

Bryan Keith:
Yeah, so in my free time man, I’m usually just chilling with my family, hanging out, playing some video games.

Monthly Puroresu:
What you playing right now?

Bryan Keith:
I just recently bought a switch, man. Especially out here in Japan, Nintendo Switch games are so lower price bro, I’m just buying all of them, dog. . I’ve playing Mario Wonder a lot and I just bought Tears of the Kingdom. So I’ve been playing that too. And then I got a PlayStation 5 at the house. I’ve been playing Elden Ring a lot. Elden Ring’s been taking up too much time. I love all that Dark Souls type stuff, it takes a lot of my time, but they’re really great games and it’s kind of like a mark of if you’re a really good gamerm then you’re gonna enjoy those games.

Monthly Puroresu:
For all those younger fans out there. When we grew up, you only had maybe three lives, and those games were hard.

Bryan Keith:
No memory cards.

Monthly Puroresu:
Savepoints were a revelation. I remember that first game. I was like, “Oh, there’s a savepoint”. Yeah.

Bryan Keith:
Yeah.

Monthly Puroresu:
Those games kind of take you back. You’ve got to know the exact combo, the exact weak point. You’ve got to slowly progress.

Bryan Keith:
And you gotta use your brain, man. A lot of things nowadays are just so automatic.

Monthly Puroresu:
Mindless, yeah.

Bryan Keith:
But as far as my Instagram and Twitter goes, it’s “bountykeith” – Bounty like the toilet paper: B-O-U-N-T-Y-K-E-I-T-H. I got that on Twitter and Instagram. And then there’s Bryan Keith with a “Y” on Facebook.

Monthly Puroresu:
And when you get back, where can we watch you wrestle?

Bryan Keith:
I’m trying to wrestle all over the world, man. So, you know, I recently did some work with AEW, Ring of Honor and stuff too,, so see what I get myself into.

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