MLW star Low Ki was on today's episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where he sat down with Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri about the state of wrestling today.
On a recent media call, MLW owner revealed that he has been in talks with multiple promotions for a potential crossover. Wrestling Inc. exclusively reported that the Impact - AEW partnership is likely a one-off, although Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson may appear on Dynamite, but many fans are enticed to see more promotions work together. Low Ki gave his thoughts on MLW crossing over with other promotions.
"Well I mean, just from a traditional sense, from promoter's sense, those cross promotions are always tricky just because you have two sides who want equal advantage or equal game, and then you have extra elements in play," Low Ki noted. Who's going to get what, and how's it going to turn out? With MLW, to me, it's who's going to step up because working with other companies, they've shown how lazy they are.
"I could sit back and watch and see, for one, how the companies operate, for two, how the wrestlers operate, which is clear a indication that there's no leadership there. So why on earth would I be risking my my company to work with somebody else who doesn't even show respect or care to operate their company responsibly? So there's always a double-edged sword in there. So I think somebody mentioned to me, I think AEW and Impact are working together. Okay, hopefully whatever their arrangement is has a good design method because that is a huge risk by doing that only because the lack of respect shown by all participants is rather apparent.
"So if that's going to be the case, good luck with trying to endure your idea because people are not stupid, and when they're treated as if they're stupid and their intelligence is insulted and they're being force-fed, that's arrogance and that's disrespect that will be noted. And if you're trying to stay in business, that's not something you do."
Low Ki continued noting that he is more interested in potential money matches. He noted that if a crossover were to happen, a promotion needs to bring in their top wrestlers to match up with MLW.
"So in regards to working with other companies, I'm a money match guy," Low Ki said. "I'm one of the few guys who, right now in my current position, can match up against all world champions on the planet. So I'm a floating money match. I did an interview a couple of weeks ago where they asked me, 'What haven't you done that you still want to do?' I want Georges St. Pierre. So I mean, I'm not sitting here playing games just because I'm a pro wrestler, and this is sports entertainment. Shut up.
"I'm tired of this nonsense. Why? These are grown men and women who are putting their bodies on the line for a specific craft. Pro wrestling is actually a lot more rigorous than people consider. Why, because everyone's focused on WrestleMania and Monday night. So rather than have them believe that that's what this is, no, that's what this could be if you're good enough and you endure long enough to actually turn this into a returnable craft, but the hard part is what most people don't see. And they try to shortcut it to get up there, and by doing so, they undercut all the experience and all the self integrity that they should be developing.
"So the double-edged sword is working with other companies, but bottom line, I'm a money match guy. You gonna work with somebody else, you better bring your top guys. Don't offer me some low-class guys because if not, then you're telling all of us, you guys are scared of us. Our roster, I can match up our champions right now against anybody. The guys who don't have championships, I can match him up against anybody. So that's the whole idea. If we want to do cross promotion stuff, what do you guys have to offer?"
When asked which MMA fighters would transition well into pro wrestling, Low Ki named Chael Sonnen. However, Low Ki noted that it would be difficult to find the right opponent for him in pro wrestling. He revealed that he pushed for MLW to have a more fight-based aspect to it similar to the Olympics.
"Well, one, I think right out the gate is 'The Gangsta' Chael," Low Ki named. "He understood how to use it at his time, at his era, and he turned it into a market. The only problem is who's going to match up against him and his is pedigree of wrestling. You don't have a lot of guys who can match up. So that's the hard part about getting pro fighters and having them crossover into pro wrestling, and to give a little background for everybody, this is what I fought for with MLW.
"I told them we have to recreate the Olympics. We have to have the best guys from all the different countries and have them go at it with each other. Why? It's simplest form. It's easiest thing not to insult people's intelligence, and you're letting the best go at it. It's the simplest thing to do. Why? It's easy to understand, and it shows respect to everybody involved including the crowd. So why are we doing anything different? So we're going after and attacking all the outlaws.
"Why? Those are the ones who usually draw the attention, but they're going to live and die. Everybody else, they get to experience them. This is not an outlaw company. This is not how we operate. We're very efficient, and we're very effective. Our guys are skillful. They're not gimmicks. So that's the difference. There's a difference between being a gimmick, which has a timeframe and being skillful, which is timeless."
Low Ki later stated his belief that Bauer would want to work with NJPW, but he reiterated that NJPW would have to offer their rope guys. He expressed his respect for Rocky Romero, who competed in this year's Opera Cup. He went on to reveal that he has been seeking a fight with former UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre ever since his time in WWE.
"No doubt in my mind that Court would want to work with New Japan, but again, who do they have? If you ain't offering me your top guys, what's the point?," Low Ki remarked. "Rocky Romero? Yeah, he's legit. I saw him go at it with [Tom] Lawler, and Rocky's one of our guys. I've known him for 20 years. He's one of our guys even going back as far as Ring of Honor, one of the Rottweilers with us, so don't think just because he's smaller than me that he can't bang. He can bang, and he proved it with Lawler. So there are certain guys, but if Court wants to work with New Japan, you better give me your best guy.
"I've conquered that company top and bottom. These guys are not the same as they were in my era. They've gotten soft, and they've been playing a lot. And the thing is I know New Japan management may not like me, but I can walk into that locker room and scare the s--t out of all those guys real quick, and they wouldn't like that, but that's the idea. That's what the crowd wants to see, who's the baddest? Let them go at it, but that's not the way that these companies are trying to book. Why, because they're trying to protect this guy. They're trying to protect that guy. You know who really wants these guys to go at it, either the guys or the people. Let them do it, but the thing is don't have so many fingers in the cookie jar that you're screwing up the opportunity because that's usually what happens.
"I went after Court to talk to him about going after Georges St. Pierre. This is not something that I'm just like, 'Oh, okay, I just want to do it just because I'm thinking about it today.' No, I pitched that idea when I was in WWE 10 years ago. They disregarded it just like the other stuff I told them, so 10 years later, I'm still thinking about it. 10 years later, I'm still doing research about it. 10 years later, I'm more skillful. I'm probably in better shape, and we're both closer to each other than we've ever been because now, he's not as active in UFC. I'm not as active at the highest scale of my career, but that's a money match that can happen at the drop of a hat. Why, because both guys are really really good."
On the current state of the business and trying to elevate the business back into a mainstream level, Low Ki discussed the amount of immaturity in the business. He talked about how there are people who are not TV ready that are on television on a weekly basis.
"Well, one is we have to let a lot of people fail because there's too much immaturity, and it being allowed and that's the problem," Low Ki stated. "There's so much immaturity that's being allowed, and it's reaching television. Television, traditionally, is meant for your polished wrestlers. The people who have experience, they have their developed nuances like Undertaker likes to talk about, and they're efficient at what they're doing.
"So by the time they reach WWE, MLW, WCW [and] things of that nature on that scale -- even AEW for that matter. AEW is on TNT on national television. Reasonably for television, you need to be polished, but unfortunately, that's not the case any longer, and I think that's something that needs to change. So I think there's going to be a lot of people who need to fail, and people get mad about that when I say stuff like that. 'Oh, you shouldn't say someone should be fired.' Of course somebody should be fired.
"If they're incompetent, they fire them. We're not trying to coddle anybody. We want people to advance. So in order for them to advance, we got to tell them the truth.
He continued noting that people need to be treated with respect. He used himself as an example of someone that got through many years in the business because of the respect he's shown to those before him.
"There's a lot of stuff that's out there, but it's because people are playing games, and the less games that are played, the faster they're going to advance because it's their body. There's so many people who are wrecking their bodies," Low Ki pointed out. "They have no chance of doing this as a career. So why are we sitting here wasting time? Why are we sitting here wasting an opportunity to do something positive, especially in regards to wrestling.
"I'm the freakin living proof. Where I come from, I should not be alive right now, but because of my discipline and because of the respect I showed the people who considered me something to offer knowledge to, I return that respect to them by applying it. And because of that and my ferocity of going after it, I'm able to honor them. Look at it, seven years later, I'm honoring Masahiro Chono's lineage. And that's respect for the people who came before me."
He stated that the immature behavior on television resonates to those watching both at home and in the audience. He elaborated that there are pro wrestlers that do not know how to wrestle, and he called it "false advertisement" and talked about the need for "the psychological pop."
"So what's going on now is you see a lot of immature behavior reaching television, and what that does is it's letting the audience know that this is what is acceptable. That is not what is acceptable," Low Ki expressed. "There's a lot of these guys who are on TV who would not last a day in my era. Why? It's simply their behavior, and it's not even that they're doing anything necessarily outlandish or wrong, but it's they're incompetent in their current position. You call this pro wrestling. Why isn't anyone able to wrestle, go hold for hold wrestling? That doesn't make any reasonable sense.
"You're lying already. So that's false advertisement. I'm not sitting here trying to cheat people out of their money. I'm not trying to insult their intelligence. I'm not trying to make them feel stupid by the time they finish watching whatever we're doing. I want them leaving almost with that in the way that they describe in pro wrestling is the psychological pop. That's the culmination of the excitement, and then you get the relief afterwards."
Low Ki elaborated further that the conduct of the wrestlers in the ring is disrespectful. He also talked about the need for more maturity in pro wrestling.
"So that's what we're working towards, but we want you to have that sense of relief, and this was worth your time," Low Ki said. "This was worth your effort and money while you were there, and man, I can't wait to see that again. That's what we're working for, but this is coming from me. I'm a pro wrestler. I'm a main event pro wrestler. I'm not a sports entertainer, but I understand the craft because I was traditionally taught, and the people who groomed me were the killers of the craft. So I understand what needs to be done, and I understand how to do it efficiently. That's what needs to return, but the only way it's going to return is when you see the respect from the wrestlers.
"The wrestlers conduct in the ring, unfortunately, is very disrespectful in a lot of senses because it is not at a professional level, and that's disrespect for the audience. That's disrespect to the people watching for television. That's disrespect for the people who are in that audience in the crowd. You don't treat them like, 'Ha, I got you here. I got your money.' You don't ever do that to them. That's very disrespectful behavior, and the thing is they're oblivious to it because no one's telling them otherwise, and I'm not singling any company out. You just watch the behavior of the wrestlers. Look at their behavior. What are they doing? Is this competent a pro level, or is this 'oh, they're playing.' I don't treat my guys with disrespect.
"I most certainly don't treat my girls with disrespect, and because of that, I got a healthy environment in Major League, but that's not the only place I've done that. I've done that in a lot of other places. So there's a consistency associated with it. Maturity is a big part of what we do, and if you want to do this at a super high level, you need to be mature. I've been in the ring with some of the greatest of all time, a lot of them. They all have common elements, respect. People talk about it, but the display of it is what's lost. The people who care about what they do, really show."
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.