Sonny Onoo: “I had the heart attack while I was on a plane for 16 hours”

Nov 22, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

Sonny Onoo Joins In The Room on VOC Nation.

Sonny Onoo was a guest on VOC Nation’s In the Room program this week, fresh off of a health scare and a recent appearance at Starrcast. Here are highlights of what Sonny had to say:

On his recent health scare: “I had the heart attack while I was on a plane for 16 hours. I didn’t even know I was having a heart attack.”

On the evolution of professional wrestling: “I think wrestling as an artform has evolved; (there are) a lot of young guys who are very athletic. One of the things that I (think) they are missing is experience. New Japan used to send their young (talent) to WCW for years just to get seasoned, and vice versa. (Japan) will broadcast their shows, but they’re broadcasting a live wrestling event not a wrestling show designed for television. It’s different. The matches are a lot longer in many cases…you better be in shape when you go over there. There is an amazing amount of great talent right now. Because of the Internet, television, and exposure, wrestling as it stands is pretty bright. The only thing I would recommend (talent to do) is to get seasoned.”

On the availability of Japanese wrestling in the United States on TV: “It’s amazing considering the fact that only New Japan has English commentary. There are (many) Japanese promotions that you don’t get to see that have amazing talent. Take Kenny Omega, who came out of DDT: He spent six years in Japan honing his craft; then went to New Japan and got pushed to stardom with the Tokyo Dome show and ended up being in AEW. There’s (a lot) of talent over there yet to be discovered.”

On Japanese talent getting opportunities to work in the US: “One of the issues they have is (the lack) of an advocate being able to speak for them. If wrestling fans have to (guess what they are saying) then you lose the whole dynamic of what you’re trying to do. I was fortunate enough to be able to manage all of those great wrestlers like Masa Saito to Jushin Thunder Lager, Bull Nakano, Muta, Ultimo Drago…these are great wrestlers; WCW was way ahead of their time, brining them to the United States and giving them great exposure. That was the tip of the iceberg that started New Japan. I would encourage fans to go on the Internet and look for those other (Japanese) companies to see what is out there.”

On his thoughts about Asuka and Nakamura: “Asuka is without a doubt a main eventer. There is so much more they can do with her. Nakamura as well.”

On what he’s most remembered for: “I’m kinda known as the innovator of selfies. I’m the first guy who actually did that on national television. Not to say that I invented the selfie…but it’s one of those things that now I am known for.”

On his friendship with Eric Bischoff: “Eric and I are dear friends and we have been (for many years). We just had dinner in Baltimore at Starrcast. I have many, many, many amazing Eric Bischoff stories that I can’t say. We go back to our early 20s. If you ever get Eric on your show, ask him about when he scared a pizza delivery guy at my house wearing my wife’s fur coat.”

On Eric’s release from WWE: “Eric is a very smart business guy so I’m sure that he has some kind of parachute, and I’m sure that he did OK. At the end of the day, it’s Vince McMahon’s company. It’s his company, it’s his vision. I’m sure Eric had his plans. I didn’t discuss it with him, but I’m sure he’s OK…He’s known throughout the world; I understand he’s going to be heading to Qatar and Australia…he’s got enough on his plate to keep him going.”

On working the WCW North Korea show: “Scott Norton was trying to explain to his wife Tammy what a horrible time (it was). All of the sudden the phone went dead and there were armed guards at his door and they took him downstairs. They took him to the basement of the hotel and interrogated him. There were a couple of scary moments, but I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I got to come back alive.”

In the Room airs live on VOC Nation every Tuesday night at 9PM ET with Pro Wrestling Illustrated contributor Brady Hicks and crew, legendary guests, and listener calls.

Featuring guests from wrestling personalities such as Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Joey Styles, Matt Hardy, and Mick Foley, to entertainers like Lou Ferrigno, The Insane Clown Posse, Roberta Flack, and Kristy Swanson, VOC Nation has given listeners insightful programming for nearly 10 years.

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