Sonny Onoo speaks on WCW, Vince Russo, and WOO!
Just mere hours before @wrestorgonline began their Land NFTs General Sale, I had the immense pleasure of speaking with the one and only Sonny Onoo! We covered some of his numerous career achievements, his time in the WCW, and the discrimination lawsuit that came after. And of course, we talked about WOO and its impact for wrestlers!
Online you will see many people refer to Sonny as the 'inventor of the selfie'. A moniker earned from his habit of snapping a photo with his wrestler as they headed to the stage. He himself is much more modest about it, "I may not be the inventor, but I am an innovator of the selfie." Sonny is easy to talk to; he cracks jokes while detailing major wrestling history.
Although he is most well-known for his time as a WCW manager, Onoo was once named the world's best bantamweight by the Professional Karate Association! During this time, he received numerous accolades while competing in martial arts and kickboxing tournaments. It was then that he became friends with Eric Bischoff. While training and competing in the same spaces would bring these two together as friends, the WCW would bring them together as business associates.
Sonny recalls traveling to Japan with Bischoff, the idea in mind was that he would be a fly on the wall, letting Eric know what he overheard later. This quickly turned into him translating between his long-time friend, and three of the most intimidating names in New Japan Pro-Wrestling at that moment— one of which was Masa Saito.
It became obvious to Sonny that tensions were high for a reason, and communication issues were at the forefront. As Masa expresses that he needs a clear answer on what talent is coming before a tour, Eric says without missing a beat, "That will be Sonny." Onoo recalls being a bit shocked in the moment. This feeling would be temporary, answering these calls was a good fit with his simple life of running karate schools at that time. However, his role would rapidly grow beyond this lucrative gig.
Photo by Taikou Kuniyoshi, courtesy of Sonny
Having appeared in martial arts movies in the past, he felt confident when his role moved onto TV. As the liaison between WCW and NJPW, he forged connections that would lead to him being one the most influential managers of all time. Many of the wrestlers he managed went on to achieve incredible things, including The Great Muta, who soon will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Of course, a good deal of his talent would go on to be fired first, although you cannot blame that on Sonny himself. As the tides changed in WCW, Eric Bischoff was replaced by Vince Russo. I will allow this quote from him to lead into what came next:
"I'm going to tell you something right now that you will absolutely not agree with, but I've been a wrestling fan my whole life and I will live and die by this. It's hard enough, believe me, I write this shit, it is hard enough to get somebody over. You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestlers or the Mexican wrestlers over in American mainstream wrestling. I'm an American. If I'm watching wrestling here in America, I don't give a shit about a Japanese guy. I don't give a shit about a Mexican guy. I'm from America, and that's what I want to see." — Vince Russo 1999
Sonny speaks about wrestling with a passion for the artform that you can hear in his voice. In the territory days of wrestling, which WOO emanates, managers were just as big of a draw as the wrestlers themselves. Entertaining the stands and keeping plot lines alive, it wasn't unusual for things to get physical for the managers as well!
He laughs as he describes Bill Goldberg tossing him up over his head, threatening to throw him over the ropes. With the wrestler's lively nature, Onoo recounts feeling as if he might instead launch him into the audience, "Don't you do it!" he recalls yelling, thankfully Ernest Miller rushed in at that moment. Although the crowd didn't get to see Sonny launched, their appetites were slated by Goldberg performing a double takedown move on the pair.
In the coming months, Russo would fire nearly all of the Japanese and Mexican talent, in some cases ignoring pending contracts. While many wrestlers found themselves suddenly out of work, a dire situation for independent contractors, so did Sonny Onoo. "I had just signed a two-year agreement." he recalls.
Photo by Taikou Kuniyoshi, courtesy of Sonny
Because of the nature of how the lawsuits cropped up, many mistakenly believe that it was a class action. However, it was in fact a string of related but legally separate suits. During the varied proceedings, there is extensive evidence of Russo using derogatory verbiage in court. A fact that many point out as poor justice in hindsight.
Back in those days, this sort of language was often shrugged off. Sonny recalls popular backstage jokes which contributed to the invalidation of wrestlers, based on the stereotypes they portrayed. He also speaks of gimmicks which stars earnestly enjoyed performing. International wrestlers usually base their persona on their country of origin, and Onoo's memories seem to live on the fun side of this.
Where he could, Sonny provided a confident voice for his talent. This elevated stars like Akira Hokuto, who rose to be crowned the first, and longest standing, WCW Women's Champion. As evidenced by Sonny's continued fondness for the trademark sunglasses and selfie, not all of these personas had a negative impact on those who stepped into them.
Sonny surfs this delicate topic with decorum, highlighting the various sides of the lawsuit. One odd conclusion to the situation that he remarks on, is that he had a multimillion-dollar deal with NJPW, which WCW swept off the table by firing him. When details like this are taken into consideration, it is not a surprise that only two years later WCW was absorbed by Vince McMahon into what was then World Wrestling Federation.
Not too long after his lawsuit was settled, Jeff Jarrett offered Sonny a job at TNA. "Russo was there, and I'd be a hypocrite to go and work with him again." he remarks, stating that he thanked his friend Jeff for the offer, but declined. He has done a handful of appearances since then, but otherwise enjoys a quiet life.
As we switch onto the topic of WOO, Sonny begins to chuckle. "You know, I have friends that are into cryptocurrency, and they tell me that I'm the only person they know who made money off of an NFT!"
The difference that WOO made in the life of Perry Saturn, who Sonny has known for decades, leaves him with high hopes for the project @bookerman has started. He says that when Booker approached him, he knew that he would give his all to help guys like Perry.
And that's just what he did when he delivered on his promised 10%, taking the time to deliver it to Perry in person. The project is far from done yet, and has already had a massive success with the land sale that took place earlier this month for those who purchased WOObucks in advance.
Earlier today, @wrestorgonline started its general sale! You can find all the details on how to obtain your own piece of virtual property here, or head directly to the site if you already know the deal! With a real-life impact that aims to rectify the damages wrestlers have suffered, WOO is so much more than a blockchain video game!
Sonny Onoo is such a joy to talk to. We are so grateful to have such great people as partners in our project.
He was seriously AMAZING! It's cool to see someone who has experienced so much, and spent time with some of the biggest names in wrestling, yet is still so easy going! Thank you for setting the interview up, and giving me the opportunity to hear his story from the man himself— Innovator of the Selfie! 😁🤘 !LUV !PIZZA
@wrestorgonline, @grindan(1/4) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily
i loved watching sonny and booker talk. both such great stand up guys
They really are! It was amazing how down to earth Sonny was, it was a real pleasure to do the interview 😁 Thank you for stopping and commenting!
What a GREAT write-up!! I learned a lot from reading this!!
You GO, My friend!! Keep being YOU!!
Thank you so much Snook!! 💞😁🤗 !PIMP !UNICORN (remember that? LOL)
Hugs of Epic Proportions!!
You must be killin' it out here!
@grindan just slapped you with 1.000 PIMP, @snook.
You earned 1.000 PIMP for the strong hand.
They're getting a workout and slapped 1/1 possible people today.
Read about some PIMP Shit or Look for the PIMP District
The rewards earned on this comment will go directly to the people sharing the post on Twitter as long as they are registered with @poshtoken. Sign up at https://hiveposh.com.
Hehe, I do agree with Vinci's quote. I grew up watching wrestling too and I do admit they are just great.
You agree with the quote from Vince? That's... weird 😂 I'm thinking you didn't read it? 😅
I think it was an awful thing for him to say 😔
It's really cool that you watched wrestling too though 😁🤗 Thanks for commenting !PIZZA
I understand your point haha. What I meant by agreeing with him is that... Many people indeed think like that. I could remember how what a friend said to me at the beginning of this year when we watched together female wrestling.
He didn't care about the Americans in the ring but the Asians and said he wanted them to win because he loves the Asians.
Now, I have to say sorry for not explaining further when I said I agree. I hope this summed up my former comment. You write beautifully and missing a word while reading your post isn't in my dictionary. Thanks for the reply !LUV
@grindan, @balikis95(1/3) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily
Awesome post, thank you! I enjoy Sonny's style. Have you seen the twitch video Bookerman did with him after the Reward packs were sold out?
@grindan! Your post is buzzing, you were tipped 0.01 SLOTHBUZZ on behalf of @arkasz.
Learn more about the SLOTHBUZZ Token at Sloth.Buzz and consider sharing your post there or using the #slothbuzz next time
BUY AND STAKE THE PGM TO SEND A LOT OF TOKENS!
The tokens that the command sends are: 0.1 PGM-0.1 LVL-0.1 THGAMING-0.05 DEC-15 SBT-1 STARBITS-[0.00000001 BTC (SWAP.BTC) only if you have 2500 PGM in stake or more ]
5000 PGM IN STAKE = 2x rewards!
Support the curation account @ pgm-curator with a delegation 10 HP - 50 HP - 100 HP - 500 HP - 1000 HP
Get potential votes from @ pgm-curator by paying in PGM, here is a guide
I'm a bot, if you want a hand ask @ zottone444
Thank you very much for this great comment! Sonny really is just an amazing guy, it was a blast to get to speak with him! 😍 I haven't seen the video, but I'm going to go find it now! 😁😆 WOOOOOOO 💪 !PIZZA !LUV !LOLZ
@arkasz, @grindan(2/4) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily
A cartridge in a bare tree.
@arkasz, I sent you an $LOLZ on behalf of @grindan
Here is the link ;) https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1655687230?filter=all&sort=time
PIZZA Holders sent $PIZZA tips in this post's comments:
@arkasz(1/10) tipped @grindan (x2)
grindan tipped balikis95 (x1)
grindan tipped hiro.juegos (x1)
grindan tipped wrestorgonline (x1)
grindan tipped arkasz (x1)
Please vote for pizza.witness!
Curated and voted 100% by Selection of the best articles about Games and eSports in Hive
Thank you so much for the comment, curation, and including my article in your post! 😁 !LUV !PIZZA
@hiro.juegos, @grindan(3/4) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily