Saving lives by day and—quite literally—killin it in the ring by night
Saving lives by day and—quite literally—killin it in the ring by night
- By Dannon Har
- | Feb 19, 2019
Off the ring, Danial Alias is a regular 24-year-old who serves the public good by teaching people first aid, training others to save lives. But on stage, the gloves come off and The Butcherman emerges from the usually tame young man, now brandishing a cleaver dripping in the blood of his last victim.
No, we’re not talking about his part-time gig at the local abattoir, but Alias’ wrestling persona with independent professional wrestling promoters Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW). It has been a long-time dream of Alias (who was also a medic, ironically) to be a professional wrestler and his dreams came true in 2016 when he first wrestled in the ring as The Butcherman. He’s like the local wrestler version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; docile by nature, but transforms into a flesh-carving madman when angered.
Ahead of his next showdown at SPW Boiling Point, the federation’s first major bout of 2019, we find out from Alias where his head-splattering signature move came from, what he does when he isn’t working, and the deranged method he undertook to become the spotlight-stealing persona that is The Butcherman.
Tell me more about Danial Alias, the person behind the persona.
Danial Alias is basically the antithesis of The Butcherman. I am just a laidback, quiet fellow who has never eaten human meat and most importantly, never killed anyone in my life. For the better part of 19 years, I grew up overseas with my parents and four siblings in countries like Sri Lanka, Dubai, England and more because of my dad's job as a station manager for Singapore Airlines. I would say my Singaporean sensibilities are quite low. I cannot speak Malay for the life of me.
What does your average day look like when you’re not wrestling?
I teach people how to save lives as a first aid instructor. I train members of the public on skills like CPR, bandaging injuries and how to be brave when doing so. Other than that, I spend most of my time with my girlfriend.
What got you interested in wrestling and how did you end up being a professional wrestler?
I remember the first pro wrestling memory I ever had was when I saw WWE’s "The Big Red Machine" Kane chokeslam his half brother The Undertaker through the wrestling ring. As an awestruck 5-year-old at the time, I truly believed Kane was the strongest man in the world and I was instantly hooked ever since. When I was about 13, I delved deeper into the realm of pro wrestling by watching many videos on YouTube of WWE matches, and even the vast galaxy of wrestling outside of WWE such as the independent circuit, Mexican and Japanese wrestling. This not only made my love for wrestling grow even more, but I was convinced and determined at a very young age that I wanted to pursue pro wrestling as a career.
In 2012, I was 17 and absolutely sure that I wanted to be the first ever Singaporean wrestler. So I typed on trusted Google "the first ever pro wrestler in Singapore". Much to my disappointment, the name Andruew Tang popped up, and so that dream sadly was out of the window. However, from that search, I found out that a wrestling school was newly formed in Singapore. I was absolutely elated. Unfortunately though, I was in Qatar at the time so I had to wait two more years before I could go back to Singapore to enroll in the school.
Are your friends and family supportive of this career choice?
This is quite a difficult question for me to answer because it's a little too personal. My parents (dad and step-mom) definitely hated the idea. In fact it got me kicked out of the house in 2016, just a few days before my wrestling debut. What happened was that I sat down with my dad and step-mom and told them I was going to be a wrestler and start my first match. As you would expect from any parent's reaction, my step-mom was very worried and upset at this. She shouted at me and told me that I would get injured, have brain damage and I could even die. She even slapped me in the face to "wake me up". At that moment, I had no idea what came over me. I was just filled with so much sadness and rage that when she said that, I grabbed her hand and bit it. My father then quickly forced me away and restrained me. I was immediately filled with regret and almost shocked that I reacted that way.
As you would expect, my dad kicked me out of the house without hesitation. Yeah it was pretty rough. I am grateful however, that my girlfriend is very supportive and understands the passion I have for my wrestling career. She is after all, a wrestling fan and cheers me on every single time I step in the ring.
What were your previous jobs before you adopted this crazed slasher persona?
I used to be a freelance medic before masquerading around society as a first aid instructor. During my medic days, I was exposed to a litany of gruesome emergency cases ranging from a typical drunkard unconscious on the sidewalk, to a person's entrails being dragged across the road after a horrific road traffic accident.
Why did you choose The Butcherman as your persona?
Well it was actually given to me by my promoter. I was a bit reserved because it is very much like a WWF ‘90s era cartoony, occupational character. However, since SPW gave me an opportunity to wrestle, I'd just go for it head on. In order to immerse myself into the character, I bought a plain white shirt, some jeans that I ripped and cut on my own, an apron, a cleaver, a few slabs of meat from NTUC and I would just lock myself in my room. I’d then cover all the windows so that it was pitch dark with just a candle in the middle of my newly made "Slaughter Room". From there, I would just focus on creating the mind of The Butcherman. I created habits like snorting my cleaver as if it was a Vicks Inhaler and lick the raw slabs of meat until I trained myself to love the taste of it. What helped a lot was just running back and forth within the confines of my room while swinging my cleaver around and just channelling every single bit of rage and ecstasy that was within me. After three weeks of dedication and focus, I finally awakened The Butcherman in me.
It was pretty difficult initially. I found myself angry often and extremely excitable. There was once a colleague at my workplace ticked me off by bossing me around more than he should have. I then proceeded to grab him by the shirt and just convulsed violently right in their face and told him: "Boy, I would really like to slice your throat open and dine on your jugular". I managed to cover up by saying that I was just kidding, but on the inside, I knew that my rituals were working. In fact too well. It was when I met my girlfriend that I was able to tame The Butcherman. Through her love and patience, she was able to help me find the "on” and “off” switches and to help me go through my daily life without casualties.
You’re part of The Horrors duo. How did the two of you end up together?
It was October 28, 2016. I lost my debut match. I sat in the SPW locker room pondering how I could bounce back from such a defeat. That's when I saw the man who would become my tag team partner, Doctor Gore, with ice on his neck after being defeated in his match for the Singapore Championship. We looked at each other and instantly knew that we would wreak an unparalleled havoc if we combined our dark forces together. And boy has it been one of the most thrilling, chaotic and fun rollercoaster ride teaming with him.
Tell me about your entrance sequence. What do you hope to achieve with it?
Whenever The Horrors entrance music hits—Little Cream Soda by The White Stripes—I do not think, I do not follow a method, I just flow; flow as violently as I can. I listen to the crowd and just swim through their ocean of emotions. I just want to soak in their energy, let it feed me as I rush into battle. There are three major things that fuels me and pumps me up in the wrestling ring: my girlfriend's embrace, a sniff of my cleaver, and the roar of the audience.
Do you have a signature wrestling move? What is it?
"The Bloody Hell Flatliner", otherwise known as the Reverse STO or simply a Flatliner in wrestling. I grab the person's head, whisper sweet, delicious nothings in my fresh meat's ear and splatters their head into the canvas. It is a very common maneuver in wrestling and has not been put to great effect by many other wrestlers around the world. In my hands however, I have sharpened it, perfected it and have slained many wrestlers with it. It has never failed me once and I am sure I will be splattering more heads with it for the rest of my career. There are many more signature moves that I will introduce in the future so stay tuned!
For someone watching you in action for the first time, what should they expect?
They should expect to see someone absolutely different from the rest of the pack and out of this world. You have your typical wrestlers in trunks, with their six pack bodies and their absolutely bland personality. I am a guy who smears blood all over his shirt, runs around with a cleaver and threatens to eat people. How much more exciting can I get?
Do you intend to wrestle professionally for the foreseeable future?
I am very happy with where I am at now, but I want more. I want to feed on more. I want to travel the world and just taste the different wrestling styles and matches that the wrestling world has to offer. In a world where you are encouraged to "be yourself" and just be another face, I want to show the world that The Butcherman can not only exist in this world, but stand on the mountain top with my cleaver up high. By the end of my wrestling career, I want to look back and say that “I came, I saw, I slaughtered.”
Tell me one thing about you that most people don’t know about.
I love cats.
See The Butcherman in action at SPW Boiling Point, taking place Feb 22, 7.30pm at the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations.