April has been a month for howling at the moon.
No, nobody’s become a werewolf, it’s something much sadder: two of pro wrestling’s favorite wolves — Kris Wolf and Kid Lykos — are both retiring prematurely.
In the case of Kris Wolf, we’ve had slightly more time to prepare. Her last dates were billed as a farewell tour. She formally announced her retirement plans in a live stream.
Curious about who Kris Wolf is? This short, short promo should explain a lot:
Beloved in Japan’s Stardom, where she was a founding member of the Odeo Tai stable, Wolf has gone around the world. A small, manic wolf (disguised as a human), Kris Wolf is all id. Frequently talking about subjects ranging from buns (the butt) to your mom (of whom Kris Wolf is familiar with), Kris Wolf improved any show she was on.
I’ve only seen her perform live twice. During WrestleMania week’s Shimmer 113 in New York, one of her last dates, I was a expecting to be blubbering mess about her retirement. Her theme — M83’s “Midnight Song” — is an electro-pop jam that definitely can feel sad when paired with what is essentially a goodbye. My mood was saved by her wonderful spirit. As Wolf entered, joining her team for a 4 on 4 brawl, her utter happiness broke through the idea of saying goodbye.
The first time I saw her perform live, though, I was dead on my feet, jetlagged at a Pro Wrestling Eve show in London. The show was good, but I kept dozing while standing, which always makes me feel awkward. Then, out came Nina Samuels who cut a promo about the spray bottle she brought, which wasn’t environmentally friendly and had probably been tested on animals. Out bounded Ms. Wolf to completely mystify her opponent with her signature style. I was no longer dozing on my feet.
And as for why she’s leaving? She said, “I’ve had some shitty symptoms of my concussion stuff come up.” Those symptoms included blackouts and memory loss.
Kris Wolf’s goodbye video reminded us of everything we love about her: “My heart wants to take care of my head ... Concussions suck,” a mix of wholesome and crazy.
Her farewell match in Pro Wrestling Eve is available on their pivotshare. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I will as soon as possible. I have to make sure I have some time set aside at home so I don’t ugly cry in public.
.@wolfinjapan has spread so much positivity and joy to everyone she has met around the world. It's okay to be sad seeing this chapter of her life come to a close, but remember just how fulfilling it is to know she is loved and ready for everything that comes next. #ThankYouKris pic.twitter.com/azXCdSRF0i— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) April 26, 2019
And then comes to the story of Kid Lykos, famously a member of the UK faction CCK. More visually a wolf than Kris is, Lykos is a masked wrestler whose retirement felt both shocking and inevitable. Perennially injured, to the point where it became fodder for his opponents promos (memorably by Zack Gibson in Progress) and a running motif in his merchandise, Lykos announced his retirement on April 17 at an ATTACK! Pro Wrestling show and via a tweet:
Beloved for his hateable work — he’d yell BRAINBUSTAHH, or something, and everyone (including his CCK tag partner Chris Brookes) would yell SHUT UP LYKOS — the small wolf boy’s injuries made him increasingly hard to hate. Still, he persisted to be a little asshole, smashing people in the heads with a small metal sheet, and assisting in the SCHADENFREUDE faction when injured. He once even did a bangup impression of Progress impresario Jim Smallman as an MC.
Lykos’ second to last injury prior to this announcement happened at the Progress Coast to Coast tour in 2018, the day after he and Brookes won the Progress tag titles for the second time. It was a glorious moment, at the ECW Arena in Philly of all places, regaining belts they’d never lost. That was in August. His next injury came the following January, and brought a Progress show to a screeching halt.
As with, I’ve only seen Lykos wrestle a handful of times, but he’s always felt like a soul with a mind for the business. While Kris Wolf seems to be moving on from wrestling (according to this interview with the Wrestlesplania podcast), I don’t know where Lykos will go, but I would tell every company they should hire him. Look at Katsuyori Shibata: he might not wrestle anymore, but the guy is helping train the next generation of talent in New Japan. With Lykos’ experience doing all sorts of things in and outside of the ring, I’d say he’d be a top employee for anyone who wants him — and I think NXT UK could definitely use him at the UK performance center.
It’s believed that Lykos announced his retirement at a mere 22 years old, in a moment that made #ThankYouLykos trend on Twitter. Ms. Wolf may not be as young — Wikipedia lists her as 34 — but that’s still a startling age for someone to have to leave their career.
Why write this hagiography? Well, it’s simple. These two lil wolves are being forced out of the ring too early on, and it gives us a moment to show how much they’re valued.
Thankfully, we already have evidence that real recognize real: