Impact Wrestling is back on UK screens and on Friday this week from 9pm, Spike UK will be bringing us not one but two episodes - a double billing comprising last weeks action and the most recent episode. One of the faces you'll no doubt see on screen is the inimitable Low-Ki. We spoke to the man himself recently and in the first part of our interview he revealed his feelings about that Randy Orton tweet and much more besides. In this, the second half of our chat we find out what Low-Ki has planned for the future and his view of the UK scene. Read on to learn what's to come from the one and only Low-Ki.
You recently visited the UK. What was your view of the wrestling scene and when might you be back?
I loved it, it was a lot of fun. After I had wrestled Zack Sabre Jr, I believe it was in 2014, I spoke to the audience and said I thought the UK is on its rise. The reason I said that at that time was because I saw how intelligently the UK performers were approaching wrestling. From an intelligent position, rather than blindly going in. To me that creates better performers because you're allowing thought development at the beginning stages. With that being the case I think you have a higher return from your performers at a faster rate. Sure enough, now you have WhatCulture, Fight Club Pro, RevPro and all these different groups out there. It's a growing period and now performers have places to work. In the past, in the early 2000's and late 1990's the only names you heard coming out of the UK (if they weren't already on TV like Fit Finlay and Steve Regal) were Doug Williams, Jonny Storm and Jodie Fleisch. Now you have an explosion of performers because there's more opportunity to work and more options for people to see them - the availibity of online viewing, things of that nature - so it's a different time. The seminars I did in the UK were wonderful, I was able to challenge people physically but even more so mentally. I'd love to come back. I'm in discussion right now about setting up a touring seminar throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. If I can create different regions of very strong fundamental instruction that creates different environments of growth and if everyone's growing, you have less worry about people trying to battle with each other. It becomes a positive environment with more opportunities for performers to keep performing.
You've left and returned to Impact a number of times - that's unpredictable and exciting but is it best for business?
There's a lot the audience doesn't see or hear about. If you're a fan it's best not to get involved in all the nonsense outside of the ring. Just focus on what you came to see. You came to see wrestling, excitement of some form. A performer is there doing something you're either going to like or dislike, so you either cater to it or you don't. But to get drawn in and distracted by other stuff so easily is just an unfortunate experience. The men and women you see in that ring, these are pro-athletes. There is no off season to what we do. There is no union, there is no pension. There is no protection for these men and women and yet they're going in there and damn near murdering themselves because they love what they do and they do it at a high level. So you have to remember these are still people. Two men or two women in a ring battling, mixed tag or whatever it is these are still people. They still go through the same things you and I go through but you have to take into consideration and respect the fact that this is their profession. This is what they do for a living. If you want to enjoy it, enjoy it. If you don't want to enjoy it, go home. It really isn't that difficult but there are a lot of people that just want to complain. It's a waste of time and effort and it really doesn't do anything for anyone.
Your website shows details of seminars and training. Is that what you plan to do in the long-term?
I've been recruited by the Verbal Judo Institute and its mandatory de-escalation curriculum for all law enforcement and military in the United States. I was recruited by the institute and its programme strictly because of my background - military upbringing, martial arts background and obviously with my wrestling background as well. In development there, we have a secondary programme which is conflict preparedness. What I offer is conflict preparedness instruction. Because what we are taught as individuals is to not allow someone to take advantage of you. Fair enough. However when it arrives, we're not told what to do. So we've developed a programme to offer that for the civilian and business populations because there's a certain culture in law enforcement and military - just as there would be a certain culture in pro-wrestling - that not everyone is willing to exist in and function in. This is information that is applicable to the general population and for business but in the sense of business it becomes professional performance communication. So this is an advancement of developing relationships for positive constructive, respectful and dignified means so that there is nothing but benefit throughout any negative interaction despite whatever the circumstances may be because it's the nature of the individual and the professional to seek the optimum result.
This training is whats leading me away from wrestling. That's the reason why I haven't been doing much wrestling over the past several years. I've been moving into the next chapter of what I'm going to be doing in my life. I have to start making plans and putting structure in to how I can weave my way out. The beauty of it is I get to wrestle when I want to wrestle now. It's a good position to be in. I still love what I do. I still have great opportunities and with people who share the same views. So it's a win-win atmosphere. But with the communications work this is what I'm leading with going into the next chapter of my life. Realistically at the level of performance of what I do, my body can only take so much punishment. It eventually will give out. As much as I love the history of wrestling and the nature of the Japanese wrestlers wrestling into their 50's that's a very tall order because of the nature of the physicality which has evolved into what it is today. So, the goal has always been wrestling into my 50's at least but the likelihood of that seems to be riding lower and lower every year. So I'm making plans now and just moving towards much more favourable physical well-being.
You heard it here first- Low-Ki has his plans in order but readers might want to make sure yours include watching Impact Friday at 9 for the double showing and failing that catching up on My5. The company is on the upswing and with Low-Ki leading the way in the X-Division, its a high-flying ride.