Sonny Onoo was recently a guest on Busted Open Radio, where he spoke about his relationship with Antonio Inoki and how it helped build the WCW Cruiserweight Division.
“He did those Peace Festivals if you remember all those. Like in ’96, we met with him and I think Eric and I got to meet with him in L.A. And we had a private meeting with him. I think that meeting, that invitation got us — probably no one here will probably know until now, is Chris Jericho, Ultimo Dragon, we were introduced to those guys through Mr. Inoki. And you know, Eric talks about how important the cruiserweight was to Nitro, the television show. And that’s when we started the relationship. As you know, doing business in Japan is all about relationships. You can have a better product, you can be the better wrestler, but you’re not going to work there unless you have the relationship. And that’s the beginning of our relationship… through that we got Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero into WCW which is the genesis of our cruiserweight division.”
On the Collision In Korea event:
“Because of Antonio Inoki and the relationship with Eric, we got to go to North Korea. That came about because Inoki reached out to Eric — well, actually Masa Saito did. Masa Saito reached out to Eric because we had such a great relationship, and we were great friends, actually. That led to Eric mentioning that he had a contact with Muhammad Ali. And of course, Antonio Inoki was working out with Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, to go to North Korea for a pro wrestling show. And despite — we were being told that, ‘Don’t go there, you may not come back.’ But we were young, we just said, ‘When were we gonna get a chance to go to North Korea?’ And we went and got Muhammad Ali involved with Eric’s contact and that’s how we went.”
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