Interview: Brody King on Becoming I Think You Should Leave’s Enforcer

[Note: This article contains spoilers for season two of I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson.]

Tim Robinson’s new season of I Think You Should Leave continues exploring the formula established in season one: sketches defined by intense, nearly excruciating commitment to a lie. When Mike O’Brien walks out of the bathroom with a couple of errant wet dots on his pants, Robinson swoops in to explain on O’Brien’s behalf how pants with piss dots are actually a cool new style that you can find at CalicoCutPants.com.

This naturally leads Robinson to repeatedly needle O’Brien, saying he needs to “give” to this user-funded website and support this deeply specific grift. Soon, O’Brien receives a full-volume threatening video from an unhinged and screaming tattooed wrestler—a surprise cameo from legit wrestling badass and Ring of Honor star Brody King. This is his promo: “I’m the Rock—Mike ‘The Rock’ Davis—from the W Doh W. If you use CalicoCutPants.com and you don’t pay, then you’re the problem. And if you’ve seen my matches, then you know that I DON’T LIKE PROBLEMS! AHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH!

It’s a perfect cameo from Brody, whose intensity gels seamlessly in a sketch featuring unhinged comedic screaming connoisseurs Tim Robinson and Connor O’Malley. Despite suddenly sharing an in-ring handle with Dwayne Johnson, Brody does nothing to change his usual in-ring appearance—he’s wearing the same chain and padlock around his neck that he wears to the ring. The only discernible difference between Brody King and Mike “The Rock” Davis is that the latter appears to scream way harder and way more, which is saying something for the frontman of the crossover thrash band God’s Hate.

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As a fan of both Tim Robinson and wrestling, it’s awesome to see Brody on a show that also enlists sketch comedy heavyweights like Bob Odenkirk and Tim Heidecker. It also just rules that when they went to cast a big man wrestler, they picked Brody—not a retired legend, not a current star in WWE or AEW, but a dude who’s been tearing it up over the past year in Ring of Honor and New Japan Strong’s crowdless studio shows. Brody closed out 2020 wrestling Rush for the ROH title, established his VLNCE UNLTD stable, and competed against Tom Lawlor in the New Japan Cup USA final. He’s had marquee moments, and in a just wrestling landscape, he’s got title reigns, a G1 tour, and dream matches in his future. It’s wild and hilarious that Tim Robinson’s unhinged viral Netflix sketch show is contributing to that rise.

On a Friday afternoon, Brody took my call while driving. “If you hear my daughter in the background, that’s what the crying is about,” he said. We talked about I Think You Should Leave, the motivations of Mike “The Rock” Davis, God’s Hate, Ring of Honor, New Japan, and if the so-called Forbidden Door will play a role in his future as a wrestler.


How did you get approached to do I Think You Should Leave?

It was actually pretty random. I think maybe one of the producers went to one of the Suburban Fight Pro Wrestling shows or they knew somebody who went to one of those shows, so they were aware of that promotion. So they reached out to my friend Madison [Woodward] asking if he knew of a big wrestler that was super intense that could do this part for their show, and he passed my name along. In the middle of quarantine, Madison had also gotten a music video for that band JAWNY, and I guess he reached out to I Think You Should Leave and asked if they wanted to piggyback on that since they would have a ring set up. It kind of all fell into place

Prior to getting asked to do it, were you a fan of the show?

Oh yeah. I was very familiar with the show, watched season one multiple times. Isn’t it the first sketch in the first episode where he’s trying to open the door backwards? That was my first exposure to it and I was like, “This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” Me and my friend Anthony, we love Tim & Eric, we love I Think You Should Leave, we love everything in that genre of comedy. Our wives just think it’s ridiculous and they don’t understand it on the same level, so we’ll be in tears in the living room, and they’re just staring at us like, “What the hell is wrong with you guys?”

What do you feel like the gimmick is for Mike “The Rock” Davis?

When they sent me Mike “The Rock” Davis, obviously it was hilarious and ridiculous. I sent almost a Macho Man-esque promo, just saying the lines that I did, and they were like, “Yeah that’s pretty good, but could you just scream it as loud as you can?” I was like, “OK.” That’s what the final product ended up being. My voice was smoked for a week after that too, because I kept yelling as loud and as hard as I could. I just tried to make it be like Brody King, but the most ridiculous, intense version of myself. If I had no filter on the level of my voice, that’s pretty much what you would get.

There’s this long explanation from Tim Robinson about Mike “The Rock” Davis’ intentions, how he wasn’t paid and is actually old friends with Rick who started the website. Do you think your character was paid to do the video, or did he do it as a favor?

Oh, you can tell the passion behind Mike “The Rock” Davis’ voice that he’s invested in this company more than just a payday.

Do you want to get into more comedy or acting work?

I would love to. I did a small role in my friend Ryan Nemeth’s short film called Heel. I had a small role in that, which I guess made me SAG-eligible, but this show actually sent me the paperwork to sign up and everything like that. I would definitely love to do more acting and especially more sketch comedy.

I watched the screeners of the show before the trailer came out, so I wasn’t expecting to see you in there and definitely popped for your cameo.

It was really funny, too, because since I filmed during quarantine, I only told a couple people about it. When the trailer popped up, I kind of forgot about it—I didn’t know it was coming out that day—and then everyone was just blowing me up like, “Why didn’t you tell me about this? This is incredible.” I was like, “Damn, I’m sorry, I didn’t know everybody was a fan of the show!”

I’ve been watching some of the stuff you’ve been doing in New Japan Strong. How’s that experience been wrestling on their U.S. show, and do you have plans in place to work in Japan?

Strong has been incredible. When we first started the tapings, we didn’t really know what it was gonna be, and I don’t even know if New Japan really knew—if it was kind of a tester, if they were trying to get a TV show out of it or what it would be for. It kind of just became its own thing. The bookers for New Japan, they had a really good idea with just getting a lot of talent that maybe didn’t have the biggest spotlight, but they had a lot of talent. They were able to showcase these new fresh faces on a bigger platform. I think that really worked out. New Japan expects a certain quality of wrestling, and I think that translates.

As for working in Japan, it’s really just about when borders open or when COVID restrictions get a little looser. I know that they were having issues with vaccinations and stuff in Japan. Obviously, they’ve had higher COVID rates, so that’s the biggest step to push forward. But after that, I’m sure there’s going to be some showcasing of Strong talent in Japan or Japanese talent coming over here.

In both New Japan and Ring of Honor, how has it been to perform consistently in an environment without fans?

At first it definitely sucked. It was weird because you’re so programmed to do things and then get the reaction, and that kind of gauges if you’re on the right track with the match. When you don’t have that, you have to trust your gut that you know how to do things properly. The fans are going to be in for a treat when we get a live crowd going, because we kind of programmed ourselves into being entertainers on our own without a crowd, so they’re going to get even more from us now. I feel like we’ve been on this strict diet of chicken and rice for a year and a half. Once we get to go to a five-star restaurant, the eatin’s gonna be good.

You lead the VLNCE UNLTD stable in Ring of Honor, and then there’s a song on the new God’s Hate album called “Violence Unlimited.” Does that idea extend further for you beyond wrestling and music?

The short answer would be yes. Violence Unlimited was a tag team I had with Tyler Bateman on the independents that then transferred into me starting a group in Ring of Honor, but aside from that, “violence unlimited” has become a mantra. I grew up with very violent tendencies, I guess, and I just needed outlets for that to be released in a safe manner. That became hardcore music, and later in life, professional wrestling. I believe that you can take all of that energy, all that violence inside yourself, and project that into something to trying to make it almost like a positive—to drive you to be the best version of whatever you’re doing.

Who’s someone you’ve worked with and is underrated in wrestling?

We just had a tag match where we wrestled Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson—they’re called the West Coast Wrecking Crew, and I think both of those guys are gonna be on the next level pretty soon. I know they just did a couple episodes of AEW Dark and they’re doing shows with New Japan, so if they keep that stuff up, they’re gonna be blowing up here soon. Both guys do great work, they’re great wrestlers, and I think they’re gonna be blowing up here pretty soon.

What’s next for you? What else do you want to accomplish in wrestling that you haven’t gotten to do?

I would love to be in the G1. That’s a huge bucket list for me to check off. Just being in that tournament and having my name against some of the greatest wrestlers in the world right now, that would be a huge bucket list moment for me. I think it would be awesome if there were a few Strong competitors in there like myself, Chris Dickinson, and Tom Lawlor. They have a lot of talent who have really developed in the U.S. who could really make a statement in Japan.

And I would love to hold the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Championship. I had an opportunity earlier this year to do that against Rush in Final Battle. He cheated and got one up on me, but you know, he’ll get his comeuppance soon, so we’ll be waiting to see what comes of that.

With wrestling becoming more porous across promotions, do you have any Forbidden Door ambitions of working with AEW or other companies?

Absolutely. The Forbidden Door term is kind of ridiculous because we are in a fan service industry, and I think not doing that stuff is a disservice to the fans. As much as we can cross over and have interpromotional matches and have these “dream matches,” we’re just making the fans happier and putting more money in everyone’s pockets. I’m all for everything.

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Evan Minsker

Evan Minsker is Pitchfork’s News Editor. He grew up in West Virginia, lived in Michigan for a stretch there, and now resides in Menomonie, Wisconsin. In addition to writing about punk music and Drake music videos at Pitchfork, his bylines for pieces about wrestling have appeared in Vice, The A.V. Club, Passion of the Weiss, and The Outline.

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