As part of our festivities here on Hooked On Wrestling’s special WCW Monday Nitro week to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show’s very first episode, we were able to speak to World Championship Wrestling manager and backstage liasion Sonny Onoo!
The man who took ‘selfie’ photographs on WCW programming way before it became a trend discussed everything from working with the likes of Ultimo Dragon and Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller to working US-Japan hostilities from back in the day into his heel gimmick to his current projects, including providing English language commentary for Japanese wrestling on FITE.
Interestingly, he claimed the atmosphere among the boys in the back when WCW entered unchartered territory and went head-to-head with WWE on Monday Nights was actually quite relaxed and jovial.
“I think it worked out really well,” Onoo told Because WCW’s Dean Ayass. “That period of 1994-2000, I don’t think anyone can dispute that this was the best time in wrestling for the talent and for the fans.
“The product was better because of the competition, and we had nothing to lose. WCW were way down in second place, so when we started to catch them up and then beat them for 83 weeks, we were really having fun.”
Onoo also explained how the creation of the prime time show made it easier for international talents to get bookings, which led to the cruiserweights and NJPW heavyweights changing the style of televised wrestling forever.
“When they started Nitro, it meant they needed more talent for their shows,” Sonny continued. “So that led to us being able to get Jushin Liger, Masa Chono and others on American television.
“It was mutually beneficial. And out of that, guys like Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, Ultimo Dragon and Chris Jericho, all great international cruiserweights ended up signing with WCW.
“I was really blessed to be involved in that time with some really great talent, it was a really fun time.”
You can check out the entire interview with more great Sonny Onoo stories and anecdotes below on Because WCW, as well as tons of fantastic World Championship Wrestling nostalgia content from Ayass and Liam Happe.