Vader talks New Japan, CWA and returning to Raw
Former WCW Heavyweight Champion, WWE Legend and current NWA Ring Warriors star Vader joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. In a nearly 15 minute interview, he discussed his recent WWE return for the lead-up to RAW 1000, where he learned to wrestle and how he got into New Japan Pro Wrestling, using the moonsault and the logistics of using such a move, his upcoming match with NWA Ring Warriors, the classic series with Cactus Jack, his historic match with Ron Simmons, his interactions with both of his famous managers: Jim Cornette and Harley Race, the difference between Japan and American wrestling audiences and so much more.
About his return to WWE for the Raw 1000 lead up and the reaction he got: “You know what, as far as I’m concerned, WWE is a class act. I appreciated the opportunity; I had a lot of fun, saw a lot of old friends and caught up. (They were) just a class act from A-to-Z, so I was grateful… I was surprised; I wouldn’t go so far as to say overwhelming. I was surprised, it was a good reaction; a great crowd. (Heath) was a good worker, a good wrestler. I got the call a few days before from the office; I was actually in Florida on business so I went up there and it turned out very well.”
How he came to be in New Japan Pro Wrestling: “I was in need of things for a short time, so I went over to Europe with the CWA and Otto Wanz and I would actually go over and stay 4-5 months of the year; go over in the spring and coming back in November or December after the Bremen tour and there was 4 or 5 different cities we’d run that cumulated the European tour. I started over there in 1986-7 after a short stay in AWA; I was young, the beer was cold and the houses were full. It was just a great time; Otto ran a class act and there was some talent there, there really was a lot of good wrestlers there and really that’s where I learned to wrestle. I held the World Title over there three times for Otto. So, that was a good start, and from that point, actually, Masao Hattori, he was a referee and associate for (Antonio) Inoki and Inoki had sent him over. I had met Masa Saito in CWA, and he had had a little run in with the law and actually his first match back on television was with Greg Gagne, “Big” Scott Hall and myself against Masa Saito, Larry Zbyszko, and a third party, I can’t remember his name. There’s where I was introduced to Masa and I’m don’t know if he was really in great ring shape, but I guess he was impressed because it was from that match that my career started over in Japan.”
His use of the moonsault and the first time he performed the move life: “I think, and I’m making this claim on your show so, it was against Davey Boy Smith in the WCW pay-per-view, and I threw the first 400 pound moonsault ever, on a live pay per view. I have never done one in the ring; I had a trampoline at home that I had dug in for my son, ground level, and I was practicing there. I could do a flip and land on my feet on the trampoline and I got pretty good where I could do about three or four in a row. So, I got 2 Cold Scorpio and went out before the matches; of course, Scorpio could go out and do just about anything off the ropes, a very talented wrestler and good friend of mine, and we went out there and threw a couple and he said ‘If I can do it, you can do it’, so I did one before the show and it worked out well. So, I told Davey Boy, and if you knew Davey Boy you knew that was no way he was going to happen, so basically I had to work on him for an hours saying ‘I can do it, I can do it’ and he actually made me go back out to the ring with Scorpio and said ‘Let me see if you can do it’ so I had to throw a second one.”
His classic series with Cactus Jack and if they were given more leniency to be more stiff and hard hitting: “You know what, first of all, Cactus Jack; I call him Jack (Mick Foley), he’s a big strong guy and the reality of it and I’d say this to his face; he’s a good friend of mine, a great friend of mine, but he’s not the most athletic guy in the world and not the strongest guy in the world. He doesn’t spend much time in the gym and is not the big, muscled up guy, but, literally, he’s a genius in the ring. I mean some of the stuff he came up with, in that period and year after year throughout WCW and WWE, what he’s come up with; I mean, any guy that can make a living putting a sock on his hand, in my mind is pretty good and to get over with it like he did with it. He’s definitely a Hall of Famer, and I’m sure he’ll get his due soon. But, we did have some great matches, and it was a different era and we did what we wanted to do. I don’t ever remember going into a discussion, saying ‘This is what we want to do’, we just pretty much did what we wanted to, within reason, of course.”
For more information on NWA Ring Warriors’ “September Storm” event on September 8th, go to www.NWARingWarriors.com for tickets and information on ordering the event. Follow Vader through his Twitter (@itsvadertime). You can also follow Ring of Honor Wrestling on Twitter (@NWARingWarriors) as well as their website, www.NWARingWarriors.com and their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ringwarriors to get information on broadcasts through the Sinclair Broadcast Group stations.
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