Northwest Wrestling Profile: Daniel Makabe

Jabroni Journal

August 3, 2018

Photo by Vitz


I decided to do something a little different for my Jabroni Journal column this week. Instead of spotlighting an upcoming event here in Seattle or giving my predictions for the next major WWE Pay Per View, I wanted to take a closer look at an individual making waves in our local wrestling community. It would be an understatement to claim that the Northwest wrestling community has experienced a renaissance over the past few years. There are a handful of wrestling companies holding jam packed wrestling shows with rowdy audiences almost every week.

Every other Friday at Evolve Fitness, 3-2-1 Battle! proudly lets their collective freak flag fly, putting on a wrestling show that highlights everything from a tag team of reluctant grappling goths to a man-sized killer kitty cat. Daniel Makabe is the current 3-2-1 Champion and he is among the minority within the promotion, a no-frills wrestler with a mean streak that relies solely on his technical skills and seems to have no time for any gimmicks whatsoever. 

This is the first in a series of profiles spotlighting some of the stars of the ever-growing underground Northwest wrestling scene. Here’s a look behind the scenes with the “Wrestling Genius” Daniel Makabe. 
And if you have a further desire to learn more about Daniel Makabe after reading this, listen to his excellent chat with Steve Migs here in this episode of  “Migs Vs. The World Of Wrestling.” 


Kevin: How old were you when you first became interested in wrestling?
Daniel Makabe: I think I was aware of it when I was 4 or 5, but it wasn't until right before my 7th birthday that I truly became addicted.

K: What’s your earliest memory of pro wrestling?
DM: My Dad brought me to watch Wrestlemania 7 on Closed Circuit at the Pacific Coliseum here in Vancouver. From that point on, I was basically addicted to watching syndicated wrestling (WWF & WCW) every weekend.

K: Who was your first favorite wrestler?
DM: It's kind of hilarious in hindsight because of the style of wrestler that I grew up to become, but I was a massive fan of the Ultimate Warrior when I initially became a fan. As I grew a little older, Bret Hart became a favorite, as more of a technical wrestler (who was also Canadian).

K: You have an extensive knowledge of pro wrestling from all around the world, how did you become interested in wrestling outside of WWE/WCW/ECW? Were you a tape trader?
DM: I was a big time tape buyer/trader/dealer from the ages 14-19, right as the internet became more of a thing. It's how I met some very good friends of mine who I still know to this age as well as some other influential people on my foray into wrestling.

K: Who were some of the wrestlers that caught your attention outside of the mainstream pro wrestling world? Any matches that stand out?

DM: I'd like to say that I had unique tastes when I first got into tape trading, but it was pretty standard fare: ECW (which didn't air in Canada), Japanese Stuff (NJPW Jrs, AJPW Heavyweights, Death Match Stuff), etc. And my favourite wrestler during this period was definitely Mitsuharu Misawa. As I got deeper into that world, that's how I grew to discover my love for more submission/shoot based promotions like Battlarts, UWFi, RINGS which had a major impact on my taste to this day.

K: Where did you start training and when? Did you ever try backyard wrestling before you were training? 

DM: I was backyarding with my friends and we used to rent out a local wrestling school's ring to have our shows at. Eventually, the trainer there asked us to train and so we figured we'd give it a shot. This was in the summer of 2003 and the school was ASW in Surrey, BC (note: not the current incarnation of that promotion, a previous one that ceased to exist in 2005).

K: How did you find out about 3-2-1 Battle?

DM: Friends of mine had been asking me to come down and wrestling in Seattle since the SSP days (pre 3-2-1 Battle), but I wasn't all that interested. Once they got their current set up with Evolv Fitness/The Battle Palace, I got asked again and decided that the time was right. Little did I know, things would grow in the way that they did and 3-2-1 would become what it has.

K: What is unique to you about 3-2-1 Battle?

DM: The fans. Lots of promotions present a varied product with a good mix of action and humor and interactivity but no other promotion has a fanbase that I've seen, that has gotten behind the product SO MUCH and made it as much of an in demand place to work.

K: A matchup that has happened twice already in 3-2-1 Battle is you vs. Timothy Thatcher. What did it mean to you to wrestle Thatcher? I know you have been a fan of his for awhile…

DM: Honestly, I never in a million years expected to be given those kind of opportunities when it comes to wrestling, so getting the chance to wrestle Thatcher and prove myself as an in-ring competitor against him, was unbelievable. Then the amount of hype that our first match got which lead to me becoming someone whose work was worth looking out for/watching, was beyond my own imagination. It's all been amazing and I look forward to hopefully getting to wrestle him again because I truly believe that there is not another wrestler on earth who portrays wrestling as a real struggle/fight, as well as he does.

K: You’re currently the 3-2-1 Champion, What are some of your other goals in the world of wrestling?

DM: Every time I'm given the opportunity to perform, I'm definitely trying to have the best match that I possibly can. I'm doing this to hopefully bring more eyes around the world onto 3-2-1 Battle but also on myself. I'd love to get more opportunities outside of the PNW, against old friends that I haven't seen in a while and against some of the people that I feel are the best and most interesting wrestlers floating around on the Indies.

K: Not only are you a wrestler, but you also play in several bands. Tell us a bit about that. What bands are you in and what instrument do you play? What style of music?

DM: As much as wrestling is a huge passion of mine, music may be even more of a passion of mine. I play guitar in a handful of bands here in Vancouver. Currently the two that take up most of my time are 'Taxa', a post hardcore band reminiscent of Unwound or Fugazi as well as 'Griefwalker', an experimental band very much influenced by the instrumental, noisy, long form compositional styles of Swans and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. 

K: Are there any similarities between playing in underground bands and being an independent wrestler?

DM: Absolutely. They both require the same kind of hustle and taking your share of less than desirable bookings to try and get enough people to care about you and find themselves invested in your craft. Plus, both are very much creative outlets for me. 

K: If you had to choose one – full time musician or full time wrestler, which would you choose and why?

DM: I think I'm a better wrestler than I am a guitar player and I find wrestling to be more personally fulfilling; but music definitely has more longevity to it and it's not as hard on the body, so I'll go with music... but I'd love to do both.

K: What are a few of your favorite albums of all time?

DM: How much time do you have? In no particular order:
Slint - "Spiderland"
Neutral Milk Hotel - "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea"
Weezer - "Weezer (Blue Album)"
Sigur Ros - "( )"
Bad Brains - "Rock For Light"

KD: Do you still stay up to date with mainstream wrestling like WWE and Impact? How much wrestling do you still watch altogether?

DM: I don't watch much mainstream stuff unless I hear that something's worth going out of my way to watch. I do still watch a fair amount of wrestling though, Japanese, Mexican, lots of US Indies. It's important to keep up with what's going on/interesting, plus when it comes down to it, I'm still a fan.

KD: Pick a scar on your body and tell us the story of how you got it…

DM: I've had a scar on my upper left lip since I fell on my face at the age of 7, rough housing around with a family friend who was older than me. When I was 28, I got a matching one on my upper right lip from getting DDTed onto the apron of the ring and landing mouth first on the steel frame. I got 4 stitches in my mouth that night and wrestled again the next day.