MLW star Low Ki recently sat down with Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri to discuss the MLW Opera Cup. The full interview can be heard on tomorrow's episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast so make sure to subscribe to your preferred podcast platform so you don't miss this interview! On the podcast, Low Ki discussed what it's been like for him to step back into the ring after a long time away.
"For me, It's almost like if anyone's seen a big Pitbull sitting there trying to chomp or trying to go after something while someone's holding them back. That's pretty much the entire time I've been away from the ring," Low Ki described. "I'm a pure student of my craft, so being in the ring is like breathing, and being away from it, I had to find alternative ways to compensate for that inability to train in the ring."
Low Ki scored an upset victory over last year's Opera Cup winner Davey Boy Smith Jr. in this year's edition of the tournament. Smith Jr. is confirmed to be finished with MLW, and Low Ki talked about what it meant to him to be Smith Jr.'s last MLW match in a while.
"Bittersweet because I know how good he really is," Low Ki stated. "I've spent time with him in and out of Major League Wrestling. I know him personally for a long time. I've seen him grow up. I've trained with him in other places. We conquered Japan together in New Japan Pro Wrestling. So I mean, it's bittersweet to see him go, but it's not goodbye. It's more like see you later."
Giri noted the history of the Opera Cup along with the fact that Smith Jr. brought back the original trophy from his grandfather Stu Hart. Low Ki discussed what the Opera Cup means to him as well as being part of a "dying breed" in pro wrestling.
"Well, the Opera Cup is important because what we've tried to do in Major League Wrestling is uphold tradition and not uphold tradition as a gimmick," Low Ki said. "It's uphold tradition by honoring those that came before us, and the way that we do that is by going out there and putting our craft on display at the best of our quality and the best of our ability.
"With somebody like Davey Boy Smith Jr., I don't think he's ever really gotten the credit for being a student as much as he really is, and it's because he's usually been surrounded by other people drawing attention, whether it is Tyson Kidd, or Teddy Hart, [or Brian] Pillman Jr. He's always had other people around him, Lance Archer, but him on his own, he's a killer, and I know he's a killer because I've been in the ring with killers. I've been in the ring with the older guys, the older generation guys, Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, Shinya Hashimoto [and] Great Muta. I've been in the ring with that older generation. He's a part of that older generation in his approach to pro wrestling, and to me, that excites me because we're a dying breed.
"That moniker is used a lot by people, but they don't really mean it, and I know it because I can see it in the way that they operate. But the dying breed are people like myself, people like Davey Boy Smith Jr., the world travelers for our specific craft. We're not sitting here chasing money. We're sitting here because we love our craft, and we're constantly improving within it."
Low Ki's current MLW gear is a tribute to NJPW legend Masahiro Chono. He explained the impact Chono has on his career and why he chose to honor him during the Opera Cup.
"Masahiro Chono, one of the Three Musketeers from New Japan Pro Wrestling during the '90s. One of the greatest of all time for Japanese pro wrestling history and culture because he advanced beyond the ring with his Aristrist company, which was a fashion company, which is now celebrating its 20th year," Low Ki noted. "So it's a 20-year anniversary of Aristrist, which is represented on my outfit in the Opera Cup now. I brought that back not in celebration for his anniversary, but I brought it back in order to honor Masahiro Chono because I felt I let him down when I failed in the All Japan Royal Road Tournament in 2013 when they originally sponsored me.
"I had all intentions of going super hard because Japan is my territory. I went there to conquer, and I did. And I was ready to go for more, but Akebono being at his size, my body was nearly destroyed completely, and I'm not saying it lightly because it's a gimmick. I'm saying it lightly because at my size, I'm in the ring with a guy who's over 6'8", and he's over 500 pounds. It was like trying to hit a building, and no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I let Chono down even with my body failing the way it did.
"So with the opportunity of the Opera Cup, this is another high-profile tournament of respect, of lineage, and I want to do it the right way. So I brought it back to honor Masahiro Chono, the owner the Opera Cup and to go in for the kill and try to bring the cup home."
Low Ki's opponent tonight is Richard Holliday. Ki talked about Holliday praising him for being a lot more intelligent than most people understand. He also discussed MLW's philosophy in bringing in talent that have a variety of skill.
"Richard Holliday, he's most certainly an opportunist that's for sure, but he's intelligent," Low Ki stated. "That's one of the things that I think people disregard because they think, 'Oh, he's pompous. He's a prick. He's trying to act a certain way to draw this attention.' No, he understands what he's doing. He's intelligent about what he's doing, and that's the interesting part about Major League Wrestling. We're giving chances to not what's currently out there.
"We want variety, but it's variety of skill. He's good, and that's the reason why he's advancing. TJP is not easy. I've been in the ring with TJP. I traveled with him. He's not easy to surpass because his finesse is difficult to adapt to if you're not ready for it. So for Holliday to advance beyond TJP, that says something about Holliday. Now Holliday doing as well as he has within the short time in Major League Wrestling, he's another one of the young guys who's confident, maybe a little overconfident in some respect, but he has to believe in himself because of the environment he's in.
"He's in an environment full of killers. So he can't come in thinking that he's going to play this old chicken s--t heel nonsense that you see in other companies and in the past. This is a different environment, and I think because we presented it more raw and more sport, I think we're getting more return out of our guys. They're stepping up because you're seeing their attitudes. They don't look like they're wimps."
Low Ki's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.