The Cypress-based indie wrestler is living his dream wrestling around the world

Over New Year’s weekend, Cypress resident Brenden Mack spent his time flying from Houston to New Jersey, then to Tampa and Orlando, before returning home. It’s been his weekly schedule for months now. But he doesn’t make a living in sales or in the corporate world; he is a professional wrestler.

Mack is more commonly known as Ninja Mack to fans of the indie wrestling scene.

Mack, 32, has been wrestling since he was 25. After taking a three-year hiatus following the birth of his son Leo Mack, he returned to wrestling shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Born in New York, Mack grew up in Cypress, where he attended Cypress Creek High School. He is athletically trained, competed in amateur wrestling in high school, and previously worked as a gymnastics coach at the Cypress Academy of Gymnastics until he decided to focus on wrestling full-time last May.

Prior to his wrestling career, Mack said he had touring experience with Cirque du Soleil, as well as other circuses in the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Belgium, before signing up for s training at former WWE wrestler Booker T’s wrestling school, Reality of Wrestling in Houston.

“With circus work, you get a lot of people to do a number,” Mack said. “I felt like I was doing a circus act, if there are eight acts in a show, I was lucky to be in a few acts, but I was never a solo act. With wrestling, you get more shine on you, you get more control over what you want to do.

Mack said he grew up as a wrestling fan, having watched not only the WWF, later named WWE, but also AAA, Mexico’s largest professional wrestling promotion, and Pro Wrestling Noah, a wrestling promotion Japanese. Since becoming a professional wrestler, Mack said he has been working for the AAA in Mexico and will be traveling to Japan in February to make his wrestling debut for Pro Wrestling Noah.

When he first started wrestling, Mack said he wrestled under the name Brenden Scott. He took up lucha libre, the Mexican style of wrestling, early in his career and became known as Capoeira kid, a Brazilian martial art that combines acrobatics and dance.

In Mexico, he played a villainous character, or as he is called in wrestling, a heel. His background in the circus came in handy as he adopted a style of wrestling with lots of high-speed aerial maneuvers, often leaping from the top rope of the ring onto his opponents or flipping them over.

“It was very easy to be a villain, to be a lucha gringo, so I was a natural heel,” Mack said.

When he returned a few months into the pandemic, he adopted his ninja persona, Mack said. He didn’t adopt a mask at first, but would later wear one while working for lucha shows, so he could get booed by the crowd when he took his mask off.

After working for AAA, Mack said he received help from Konnan, a legendary wrestler in Mexico. Konnan helped him acquire more professional gear, hence his all-black outfit.

Mack now plays a big role in Loko Wrestling, a Houston-based wrestling promotion.

Loko started just over a year ago and quickly grew in popularity due in part to Mack’s athletic and fast-paced matches with other local wrestlers like Dante Leon and longtime wrestler Low Ki.

“Loko Wrestling put Ninja Mack back on the map,” Mack said.

Mack’s first match with Loko was against Wes Warren on the promotion’s third show. He wrestled Aereo de Juarez on the next show which went viral online.

Last January, Mack said his match against Leon caught the attention of Game Changer Wrestling, a nationally touring independent wrestling promotion, leading them to come to Houston for the first time to work with Loko the last summer.

Since then, Mack has been a regular part of GCW, traveling across the country weekly to work for GCW and other independent promotions.

Loko quickly exploded in popularity, Mack said, selling out their venue with around 300 fans on their third show and consistently packing out their venue, Houston Premiere Arena at 7122 Avenue B, every month.

“For a year and four months, for a promotion to sell like that, it says something special about the people who work there,” Mack said. “The fans are great. We have a lady from Arizona, she loves Loko Wrestling so much.

The promotion has a vibe like Extreme Championship Wrestling, said Mack, a popular alternative ’90s wrestling brand with a small but voracious fanbase. The atmosphere of their shows is heated, with fans singing and shouting. The venue is essentially a large tin warehouse, so fans on the edges will be banging their fists on the metal walls behind them to make noise for particularly exciting matches.

“When you see Loko in that arena, you get that old ECW vibe,” Mack said. “It’s a bit of an ECW, AAA mix when you feel like banging on the walls.”

Loko’s goal next year, Mack said, is to attract even more people, potentially bringing 500 people to each show, and possibly even 1,000 at some point.

“WWE is all about kids. We want that other market,” Mack said. “We just want you to be here for a good time, but going forward in 2022 we need to grow professionally and we have eyes now; we make small changes to grow and take the next step. I think we have a very good fan base.

There are also several other independent wrestling promotions in greater Houston, such as Booker T’s promotion – Reality of Wrestling – which takes place in League City and Live Action Wrestling, which takes place in Katy.

Another wrestler from the Houston wrestling scene is Parviz Memari, although he wrestles under the name “Titan”, as he is over 6 feet tall. He trained with Tugboat Taylor before going to Booker T’s wrestling school and has been wrestling for 10 years. Although his day job is as an accountant for Goldman Sachs.

“Over the past two years, the level of camaraderie, friendship and willingness to help each other is something relatively new but long overdue,” Memari said. “I really feel that Houston has already exploded onto the wrestling scene. We may not have the publicity that a city like Chicago or LA or New York might have, but people who know wrestling really well know that Houston is one of the places to be.

A female wrestler who trains with Mack and Booker T has moved from Canada to begin her wrestling training here – Grace McBride, who wrestles as “GiGi Rey”.

“In Canada, the wrestling scene just isn’t as big,” McBride said. “(Houston) is a lot bigger than I thought. You can work for all promotions around. It’s good that in such a big city there is so much wrestling available.

When Mack is done working the weekends and returns to Houston on Mondays, when he’s not training, he spends time with his son.

“When I get home at 4 or 5 in the morning and I’m tired, little ninja Leo doesn’t care if dad is tired,” Mack said. “As soon as I get home, it’s daddy time Monday through Thursday, then I hit the road Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”

Mack will be away for a while when he leaves to work in Japan in February, having obtained a work visa to work for at least 10 to 12 weeks.

“I know it’s hard to be gone, but I’ll face him when I get there,” Mack said. “If you really want to take it to the next level and start making something of yourself, that’s what this company needs. I’ll do whatever it takes to get to that next level.

Mack’s next time wrestling for Houston will be for Loko Wrestling on January 21 at the Houston Premier Arena, where he will wrestle Ricky Reyes.

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Robert J. King