Q&A with Wrestler and Nobody Show Mastermind Miyako Matsumoto

Last April, DDT’s esteemed promoter, wrestler, and van target Sanshiro Takagi issued a challenge to his colleague, Miyako Matsumoto: produce a wrestling show that featured no people at all. Not just no audience, but no announcers, no ref, and no wrestlers. 

In both concept and commissioning, this was an inspired move. A Nobody Show was the perfect idea for the age of social distancing, and there was no one better equipped to take on this deconstruction of the pro wrestling medium than Miyacoco. 

Matsumoto, an art school grad, actress, idol, visual artist (her portrait commissions are a popular item in her online store), wrestler, and promoter, is one of the most innovative and boundary-smashing forces in modern wrestling. Her Gakenofuchi Pro-Wrestling promotion, which she founded in the early 2010s and sold to Takagi in 2019 while staying on as a representative, consistently challenges the notion of what pro wrestling is and what it can be. Every single match GakePro show is wildly different from each other, but they are uniformly fascinating and thrilling viewing. (Among many other accomplishments, Gake No Fuchi Joshi Pro Wrestling’s Snow White 2020, which pitted Miyacoco against a confused and increasingly terrified Chris Brookes, made Fanfyte’s list of recommended January matches, and stole WrestleKingdom’s thunder in some segments of the wrestling fandom.) If anyone could transform the Nobody Show from a lark into a work of art, it was her.

And that’s exactly what she did. Two months, untold amounts of brainstorming, and one misadventure with thought transference after it was officially announced, GakePro’s Nobody Show, featuring Matsumoto vs rapper Cypress Ueno, streamed live on Wrestle Universe. on June 5. It was a masterpiece.

After the show, I reached out to Matsumoto via e-mail to ask her about the show, her artistic inspirations, and the future of Nobody Shows. Here’s what she told me:

Sarah Kurchak: How did you come up with the idea for the Nobody Show?

Miyako Matsumoto: Marunage by Sanshiro Takagi (DDT and NOAH and Gakenofuchi-JOSHI president)

He did not know what that Nobody Show would be. I respect him.

SK: Did you know what it would be right away? Or did you need to think about what it would look like?

MM: No way. Only Puzzled.

SK: On Twitter, you were practicing telepathy while planning the Nobody Show. Did you have any success?

MM: Yes. But my telepathy was too strong that it attacked the person who made me sad, regardless of my will. ( smartphone is broken, the picture disappears, the event is canceled, etc.) It’s because I’m investing in a shrine and my guardian spirit is too strong. I didn’t use telepathy in unmanned Nobody Show because it was dangerous.

SK: How did you choose the right opponent for your match?

MM: Opponents that can only be achieved by unmanned professional wrestling:

  • Not a girl, not a wrestler.
  • Famous opponent in both professional wrestling world and Japanese music world
  • He knows professional wrestling better than me
  • My rap master (He is a famous Japanese rapper)
  • Human resources most suitable for unmanned professional wrestling

SK: You mentioned John Cage’s 4’33” on Instagram. Did that inspire you while creating the show?

MM: Yes. My fight style is influenced by art, music, literature, theatre, dance and anime, etc. I’m not affected by other professional wrestlers, because I hate plagiarism. I graduated from art college in Japan. I love avant-garde music and art. Nobody Show is avant-garde art.

Matsumoto and Chris Brookes in January. (DDTPro.com)

SK: Are there other avant-garde artists or works of art that have inspired your work?

MM: Movies like A Clockwork Orange, Daisies, Blue Spring, and Alice. Musicians like Urbangarde, Kinniku Shōjo Tai, and Jun Togawa. Artists like Salvador Dalí and Itō Jakuchū. Manga artists like Usamaru Furuya and Maki Kusumoto

SK: Was it difficult to stage and film the show? 

MM: No stage, no film.

It is Nobody Show.

SK: If somebody watched the Nobody Show and didn’t understand it, how would you explain it to them?

MM: I will not explain. Feel free. I like the pros and cons.

SK: Are you happy with the results?

MM: No. Nobody Show 2 will be better than Nobody Show.

SK: Has the response to the show been positive? What are people saying about it?

MM: Yes. People said “Miyako is a genius”. 

No, Takagi, Ueno, Shota, Sawa, Staff are all geniuses. Gakenofuchi-Joshi is a genius group.

SK: Do you think you will produce more nobody shows in the future?

MM: Yes. I encourage others to plagiarize the Nobody Show idea. I want the WWE to plagiarize it. However, the condition is that I appear on it.

SK: Do you think other wrestling promotions should try nobody wrestling?

MM: Yes. Nobody Show is the sensitivity that all over the world’s professional wrestlers need. This is common to all artists.

SK: You have called yourself a guru and cult leader. What are the tenets of your religion?

MM: Believe in yourself and love yourself.

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Sarah Kurchak

Sarah Kurchak is a freelance writer and retired professional pillow fighter from Toronto, Canada. Her first book, I Overcame My Autism And All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, comes out in April 2020.

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