Makita made a name for himself in the pro-wrestling scene by becoming the first wrestler born in Cameroon to compete outside the African continent. He originally went to the United States so he could play soccer, but what he found instead, was even better. He made his dream of becoming a pro-wrestler a reality, thanks to the advice of a WWE Hall of Famer.
I had the chance to talk to the former Ring of Honor Top Prospect competitor and current Slamforce Africa wrestler himself in an exclusive interview regarding his time in ROH, who he wants to share the ring with before hanging up his boots and his upcoming match in South Africa.
SK: You made the jump to professional wrestling in 2010 after originally being a soccer player. When did you first decide: 'Okay this is what I want to do. I want to be a pro-wrestler?'
Makita: Uh... I would have to say as soon as I knew that, Uhm, actually—technically it was through Eddie. You know who Eddie Guerrero is? Yeah, I had met Eddie Guerrero once, Uhm, at a uh, it was like a press conference that they had for like a WWE pay-per-view and he—I-I we had a little talk and the talk was about, you know, my future in life and everything like my dreams and what I wanted to do and I had told him I wanted—I thought about wrestling but at that point I was so little in size and I didn't think, you know, wrestling was meant for guys like me who were really small. His advice was that him and Rey Mysterio were small, you know, so like, there's a possibility that, you know, a guy our size could become champion.
And I didn't believe him till I actually watched him become champion then I also watched Rey become champion. That year that Rey Mysterio became champion was the year I think, it was the—let me see now—it was the year Eddie was put in the Hall Of Fame that WrestleMania. I was actually there live in Chicago, and once I watched Rey win the title, that was the day that it clicked in my head. I went, 'Eddie told me this would happen.' And for it to have happened, uhm, it—I just—it was meant for me to do this. So then I got into wrestling. Right after that.
SK: You are the first Cameroonian professional wrestler to compete outside the African continent. Take us through the journey of how that started out.
Makita: Uhm... I was actually in the United States Army. I came to-I came to America, went to school here. I thought coming here I was going to start playing uh, soccer here, which was a bad choice of mine. My dad gave me an option to either stay in Cameroon and start working with the I, uhm, Cameroonian youth national team or come to America. And I thought 'oh well, America has good opportunities so I might just get to bigger-bigger leagues coming to America.'
Little did I know, when I came here, it wasn't like that. There were no leagues here that were that big. The MLS wasn't even—I don't think the MLS was created then or if it was it wasn't even that big yet. So... uhm, at that point I went through school and there was really no other ambition, you know, like I-I-I wasn't even interested in anything else so I joined the army. And while I was in the army, and you know, the whole story with Eddie Guerrero—met him all of that. Once my time with the army was almost up I said 'okay I need to do something else.'
So I figured, wrestling was going to be it. I had met a man by the name of Marvin Ward. And he uh, he came to one of my—he came to my former high school and I just randomly just said to him:
"Hey uhm, I see that you're bringing wrestling to my school. Can I help out in anyway to perform?"
He goes: "Yeah, sure you can. You can come and help us advertise."
And for some reason in my head, I just went: 'I've watched the referees and, you know, professional wrestling. I've seen how they do things. Why can't I just ref, you know? Just see if I can just do like just follow what they do in television, you know, it's easy. Just follow the rules and I'll get it down fast.'
So I just told him like:
"Hey, I've been training to be a referee," which is kind of a lie.
And he goes: "Okay, so I'll let you ref a couple of matches on the show."
Uhm, he gave me like a trial for like two matches and once I did it, he was really impressed with what he had seen. Then next thing you know he told me, he said:
"What do you think of becoming a wrestler?"
I went: "I don't mind that, I actually wanted to be a wrestler but I didn't know what schools to go to, I didn't have money to pay for training and anything like that."
So he sent me to a guy named Michael Taylor and his wife Tracey who live in Atlanta, Georgia. And I started training with them. And... here I am today (laughs)."
SK: You have wrestled all over the world and faced a lot of people. Who do you want to step into the ring with before hanging up your boots?
Makita: Definitely, that's an easy one. Uh, PJ Black AKA Justin Gabriel... South African's own. Yeah, that's the man.
SK: You competed in the 2019 Ring of Honor Top Prospect Tournament where you had an incredible match with Dak Draper. How did you feel taking part in the tournament?
Makita: Oh, Uhm. I felt like it was... everybody gets this moment where you do everything, but there's still like, especially in the country that you're wrestling, you still have that one big or maybe have a couple of big companies that you really wanna feature yourself in. I think Ring of Honor, as far as independency, is the biggest company there is, that's not WWE. Uhm, so being selected to be apart of that tournament meant that I'm actually one of the best, you know, if not.
At my weight class anyway because as far as cruiserweights, uh, you look at the whole tournament. I literally was the only cruiserweight that was picked up to be in that entire tournament with a bunch of heavyweights and middleweight guys, you know. So, to me, it was an honour and, it's always an honour for me anyway because it's like; everywhere I go, I'm making history.
You know, that Top Prospect tournament, I'm the first from my country to have featured in Ring of Honor. Uh, the first in a Top Prospect tournament, you know, competition. The first to ever try out for Ring of Honor. Uh, so, Uhm, and they-that also there's a lot of interest in the company, you know. They want to do more things with me, so right now its just 'ey, whoever,' uh, if the money is right then, you know, Ring of Honor will have me on their shows again. So...
SK: In October, you'll have your first match in South Africa. What can the South African fans expect from Makita?
Makita: Uhm, I will say this: I'm not the same kind of cruiserweight that they think of. In the aspect of—when you think of cruiserweights what do you think of? A guy who would do a couple of flips, you know, crazy dives. Right, the highflyer life. I'm not saying... some of them, but I do not do—I will not—I-I'm not the traditional uh Uhm... highflyer if I may say it that way. I'm more of a—you would see more aggression. Uh, more—I do a lot—I throw a lot of kicks.
Uh, martial arts is my style, so hm, you would see me kick people's heads off. That's pretty much it. Like, there is no—you will see just ruthless aggression. Because most of the time, me being an African wrestler, they go 'he looks little but tough guy.' So we're gonna put him with the biggest, the strongest guys, you know, and then I go out there. I can't go out there doing what Rey Mysterio does, you know, because that doesn't work for every big guy, you know.
So you have to come out to these guys and you have to bring the fight to them. And so like the biggest thing and the biggest weapons I have is my legs, you know. So, yeah Uhm, that's exactly what uh, South Africa is in for a treat. Just, quick legs."
SK: At Slamforce Africa 01 you'll take on SA's own X-Terminator in a qualifying match for the SFA Continental Championship. How prepared are you for the match?
Makita: I took time off this month just to prepare for that 'cause I already noticed he's like the biggest guy, if not one of the biggest. Uh, if I'm not sure how big, he might be the tallest, but I think X-Terminator is the biggest guy that is gonna be on the card. So, me being one of the smallest, facing the biggest, I think literally I know that there already is another David and Goliath match on the card.
I think that actually, this one is gonna be the first one, right? So I had to take the month off just to prepare for him. Uh, I've watched him wrestle, I've seen his [matches] that he did in the past, and I hope he's watched me because if he hasn't then he'll really be in for a huge surprise. But, I know what he can do, so I'm really training just to counter everything that he's, you know, he's got to offer.
SK: X-Terminator is one of the most dominant wrestlers in the entire continent. How do you plan on defeating him?
Makita: That-that's a secret. You know, I can't just give the secret out, because if I do, and if he finds out, then he'll know what my weapon is. You see what I'm saying? So I can't really throw it out there. All I can say is that; for the fans, they'll just have to come out there and be thrilled. At this point, it's wrestling, right? I'm the od—he's the odds on favourite to win. So, I'm the underdog. I have to outsmart him.
And the only thing I'm going to tell you is this: there is always a loophole to even the strongest and the biggest men in the world. Every man has a fighting chance with two hands. I have two hands and two feet. So, I'm gonna find a way. Where there's a will there's a way. And like the sayings goes; I'm doing this, not just for myself. I'm doing this for the entire continent.
I'm doing this even for South Africa itself, you know, 'cause I'm the name right now, that's going around making history everywhere I go. And even though they'll say "He's from Cameroon," I'm making a name for Cameroon, yes I get that. But I call myself the Rock of Africa not because—you don't hear say the Rock of Cameroon, right? It says the Rock of Africa. I represent the entire continent wherever I go.
I'd like to so much do a great job at it. So, why not—if I'm gonna say I'm the best and I come to America and say I'm the best here, I'm the best African, I go to Mexico and say the same thing, I go to England and say the same thing, how... you know, I have to do that at home, you know. So, I've done it in Nigeria and I think, you know, I have to do that in South Africa as well."
SK: Well, thank you so much and good luck on your upcoming match.
Makita: Thank you very much, see you in South Africa.
You can watch Slamforce Africa 01 this October here.