World Championship Wrestling (WCW) 1995-1999
Insane Plan: You were a well-known martial artist winning numerous accolades, how did the transition into pro wrestling come about?
Sonny Ono: Actually Eric Bischoff which everybody knows who he is traveled together in the pro karate circuit and every weekend to all the tournaments and competes and fights which is how me and Eric became friends, I was in Iowa where Eric was living in Mississippi and he approached Vern Gagne who owned AWA wrestling on different projects and then was hired as an announcer and the rest after that is history, worked his way to the WCW then called me to go work with him in Japan, started a relationship with New Japan wrestling and due to my martial arts experience and my friendship with Eric is what help me get into the Business in WCW and New Japan.
Insane Plan: were you a wrestling fan growing up? If so who were some of your favorites to watch?
Sonny Ono: Oh yea… the Territory in Iowa, Vern Gagne and all the wrestlers that traveled thru of course a lot of the NWA guys such as Rob McDaniel’s, I Also got to see the NWA First japan star and was his biggest fan…
Insane Plan: During your early start with WCW, you managed the majority of the Japanese stars on the roster, who did you enjoy working with the most?
Sonny Ono: Enjoyed everyone I worked with and most of the guys I still keep in touch with until this day when I go to Japan we get together when we can especially Ultimo Dragon, I stay close with him…I had the best time working with Bull Nakano & Akria Hokuto.. Those guys were superstars of Japan wrestling and how Amazing they were and all the other women as well from Giesa pro.. Those guys don’t get enough recognition they deserve. I am always impress with the women of japan, it’s not like it used to be… Akria married Kensuke Suzuki are now big TV Personalities in Japan and the last I heard Suzuki was one of the bookers for All Japan pro wrestling.
Insane Plan: what are some of your greatest highlights in WCW?
Sonny Ono: You know being able to be a part of WCW and given many opportunities I will never forget, I think the Sturgis show with Jay Leno was one of the greatest to watch and see Hulk Hogan take over the tonight show and the hype how wrestling was at the time and getting to work with Steve McMichael and all those guys was great such Bobby The Brain who always helped me along the way and Mean Gene which no one is like Mean gene, he’s the greatest interviewer.. Meeting people like Dennis Raodman, Shaq, and all the superstars from outside of wrestling coming in WCW, I think those would be my greatest highlights… as far as my Character is concern when Masa Chono turned on me and left me for the nWo, Just being in the Business and the hype it was during that time was great,. I remember Muhami Ali, Eric Bicshoff, The Steiner Brothers, myself and others traveled to North Korea and I would have never thought I would go to North Korea and come back home alive (Laughing).. Without Wrestling I would never have had these great opportunities and Moments
Insane Plan: Was there any pressure as a performer on Nitro during the Monday night wars?
Sonny Ono: No, not from my Place in WCW, I was a manager side kick to the stars and help give them the spotlight, never any pressure.. the whole raven & Perry Saturn matches, Eddy Gurerrero, Dean Malanko, and the stars from japan and the luchadores, and all those guys were great and very professional in the ring and what they did to impress the fans.. Always helping each other inside and outside the ring.. They were all pros!
Insane Plan: Name Game: You can comment, share experience, opinion or anything you like next to their names of people you worked with
Eric Bischoff… great Friend, spoke to him a couple days ago, longtime friend, one of the closest friends I have
Kensuke Sasaki… lucky man to be married to Akria Hokuto, she was the first and Last WCW women’s champion and I believe she still has the title when she retired with it in japan.. Great guy, he is training young talent in his dojo in north of Tokyo.. I have a lot of respect for him
Akria Hokuto…. Probably one of the top two maybe three top women in wrestling in the country, Everybody who is a fan of pro wrestling should really go on youtube and search for her matches… very amazing talent, one of the very few women who can ligament can kick your ass (laughing)
Bull Nakono… Disappeared after WCW and went back to japan and tried out in pro Golf, I still keep in touch with her and meet up with her when I go to Japan.. the Image everybody has of Bull Nakano in WCW is not the same image she has now…. She is very unrecognizable if you see her now, very slender, she’s on TV Shows in japan, owns a club as well very delight person, actually the last time I think I saw her was at the Ultimo Dragon Show and shwe was in the front row and nobody knew who she was..
Ernest the Cat Miller…. We talk every other day, very good friend of mine and another friendship that has a tide with me thru martial arts… he just appeared in Alanta Georgia martial arts tournament.. such a gentlemen and a very good friend of mine
Malia Hosaka…. Who?
Insane Plan: Malia Hosaka.. You managed her in WCW for a short awhile
Sonny Ono: yeah yeah..I managed her a little bit, when I knew her she was a very sweet young girl that never had the opportunity to blossom as a wrestler… I believe she is still out their wrestling..
Insane Plan: She actually officially retired I think last year.. she made a statement on facebook
Sonny Ono: oh did she… I think I saw her on a talk show, Murry Provich or something; she was married to a midget…
Insane Plan: really?
Sonny Ono: yup, look it up
Madusa……Debbie, we still communicate thru Facebook and sometimes on the phone.. Very beautiful and another lady that can ligament can kick your ass..She now does the monster trucks stuff, One of the last women who has worked out of Mexico, japan, and all around.. This woman is the real deal, she is a delight..
Hulk Hogan…I think hulk at onetime wanted to work with me and the Cat but for whatever reason it never materialize.. When You think of Wrestling, You think of Hulk Hogan.. he’s an icon. He made WCW to what it is when he signed back in 94/95Randy Savage….one time in Mississippi randy savage had a custom bike made,
a collector ( I am actually looking at it right now) he was not a bike rider, but I ended up with the
bike.. he is such a generous man and when WCW was on the road to my hometown of Iowa, My
kids had show and tell for their elementary school and randy offered to come to the school and
be the show for my kids and said let’s do this brother! (Laughing) , he truly is an icon!
There all great guys, very kind and generous..
Ric Flair……..Best wrestler, entertainer, he’s the kind of guy that can make anyone look good in the ring what you see Ric on TV is what you see him in real life….. nothing fake about that guy… great guy, he’s the real deal…
Miss Elizabeth…… She is very kind, I remember the one super bowl Sunday and we did a show the night before in Iowa and I had her, Debra McMiichael, Eric Bischoff, a few others all sitting on my couch watching the game.. She is very professional and classy outside the ring.
Ultimo Dragon…is a survivor; he had an accident in WCW with his hand and still continue in wrestling and showed up in WWE, he had a good run and is a great person, I still keep in touch with him when I Travel to Japan.. as a matter of fact he is coming out with a comic book novel.. Amazing Talent to ever grace us in this Business
Chris Benoit…. Chris was, well, I don’t know the terrible things that happened to him but I do know him as a Kind person, very nice… him and dean malanko was always about helping each other and others they worked with.. I only know him as very quiet and it’s such a tragedy what happened but you know it’s too bad what happened, I am not sure what the factor was in the case. I came to remember how I would like to remember the image I have of him and that is a kind gentleman and fearless..
Eddy Guerrero……You know it’s sad, just like the name you just asked me about Chris… Eddy died long before his time. I actually talked to Eddy the day before he passed.. he’s a gentleman, an amazing talent, always nice to the core, great talent the works…I miss him!
Insane Plan: What are the good and the bad working for WCW?
Sonny Ono: I don’t remember anything bad, I think it was difficult on the road when I have a family, I got to experience things and meet amazing amount of people and I got to live my dream I never thought I could have… aside from that, I think it was tough going on the road and I feel for wrestlers today that are doing it 300 odd days a year… so, I think that is the downfall, the tradeoff that would be just being in the business and working with amazing people
Insane Plan: Any interesting stories you can share from your time with WCW?
Sonny Ono: I don’t think People realize how tough these guys are ligament they are… I remember one time, Tonga King Haku known as Meng was In Main with us and I use to not drink liquor and he was approached about not drinking alcohol and we warned him who he was and where he’s from… his father is related to a royalty main island of the South Pacific island-kingdom of Tonga.. we told him do you know where he comes from.. his family eats people. (laughing)
Insane Plan: If giving the opportunity to return to wrestling would you?
Sonny Ono: Sure, under the right circumstances, The Business has changed so much now then it was back then, I talked to raven a few days ago and his matches with Perry Saturn were great.. We were A part of wrestling as we know it, great time and I was very happy that I was a part of it.
Insane Plan: after you departed from WCW, did the WWE contact you to work for them?
Sonny Ono: No, I had the opportunity to meet TNA a few times but no not the WWE..
Insane Plan: You left WCW on bad terms and not much longer after your release from the company, WWE took full responsibility of WCW. What are your thoughts on WWE owing WCW?
Sonny Ono: You know, I never worked for the WWE.. My complaint was when Vince Russo came in and things changed in WCW that I didn’t agree with. I left before this happen and I didn’t like it because of a lot of my friends lost their job but other than that.. it’s business