Monday, January 30, 2017

HWI Wrestling: Interview with Death Kotegashi


 Who is Death Kotegashi?  Death Kotegashi is HWI’s version of Kevin Sullivan.  He is the ultimate heel.  There is nothing compassionate about Death.  He has no redeeming qualities.  Just like Ricky Steamboat never played heel during his career, you really can’t see Death playing a face can you?  He would take the knife right out of your hand and then stab you in the back with it.  And he doesn’t need a reason to do it.  He would do it just because he could.  Remember the Dark Knight when the Joker tells Harvey Dent he is an Agent of Chaos?  That is exactly who Death is.  He is an Agent of Chaos. 

What is your most memorable match in HWI history?  Most memorable match in HWI history was a match with Sensei Michael Parisi at Cooper River, where unfortunately, camera issues prevented the match from being taped.  Flow of the match was crisp.  It started on the island at Cooper River and then crossed over the river and match turned into an all out brawl.  Part of me wishes the match was taped to see just how memorable it really was.  But part of me likes the fact those memories are confined to that of Parisi and myself.  Most memorable match caught ‘on camera’ was also with Parisi at Camden County College, the match in which he forced Death to say ‘mattai’ which was a direct rip off of the movie Bloodsport.  Match was very submission based and physical.  It was also the first match back for Parisi following his arm injury, which is a nice piece of trivia.  Kind of cool I was his first match back. 

What is your favorite finishing maneuver?  I loved how HWI really put over the Asiatic Spike, which of course we called the Singapore Spike.  HWI really did a nice job of putting that move over as something special.  I was always a big fan of the Kenta Kobashi / Cactus Jack double arm DDT which I always incorporated into my matches, almost as a set up to the Spike.  Outside of my character, I was a fan of the Sensei’s claw.  Being a mark for Barry Windham when he turned heel and joined the Horsemen, the claw was a favorite of mine.

Tell us about the creation of Evil Domain?  My character was not really fitting into the scene.  I was basically a Road Warriors rip off, which would have worked if we had kept the masks on.  But once I unmasked, I was the youngest wrestler on the roster and definitely the youngest looking.  I did not have the ‘bad’ look to me and really needed another direction.  Decker had the book at the time and he made the decision to turn me heel.  Joining Evil Domain gave my character a sense of mystery.  By joining forces with such evil characters as Mortimer Bates and the Demonic Savage, what I lacked for in evil looks on the outside gave my character a psychological evil presence and in time developed even more so after the break up of Evil Domain, in which my character really found his place.  Death really developed into a character that was very believable.  It all started with the creation of Evil Domain, which really has a cult following too it.  Because the time all 3 of us were in the group was really short when you come and think about it.  Each one of us was always back stabbing the other one, which again, also added to my character’s depth. 

You had great success in HWI,  but is there anything that you never got to accomplish?  Because of the behind the scenes drama, I was never able to experience the ‘Ultra Mega’ period of HWI when we had joint shows with the North Jersey wrestlers .  I did wrestle Rick Silver on 2 occasions for the RPWA.  Also wrestled Lord David under the mask as Demonic, which would turn out to be one of my last matches.  But I would have really liked to have been able to wrestle King Mike, the Slayer, and Hubie Volk, among others.  I would have handled the ‘behind the scenes’ drama towards the end of 1993 better so I could have been involved in the success of HWI during the years at the Monster Factory. 

Would you care to share your thoughts on your legendary feud with Demonic Savage?  It’s funny because I am asked about that feud more or less all the time, but I found the feud to be boring from a creative standpoint.  I really felt the feud with Demonic held my character back.  It worked as a feud in 1990 when Evil Domain was turning on one another all the time.  But by 1993 my character had really developed and another feud with Demonic just did not inspire me to do my best creative work.  I really believe that Death and Demonic work better when they play off other wrestlers instead of one another.  When I left, Demonic did his most creative work of his career versus Steve Ignorant.  Demonic and Death are great characters, but not as great when they are feuding with one another.  I felt my character was more effective when I was feuding with Bobby Decker and Michael Parisi.  So in essence, the feud with Demonic is a double edged sword for me.  It’s the feud that I am known for.  But it’s the feud in which I don’t feel I delivered my best work. 

You are known for your interviews as much as your wrestling,  so I have to ask - do you have a favorite interview?  Death of Bates was a solid piece of wrestling cinema but that was more an angle that an actual interview.  Probably the interview I remember the most fondly is the interview I did responding to Rob Feinstein and his crew.  Interview was well received enough that when Rob responded, he commented on it and wanted me to turn and join his crew against the HWI.  I also really enjoyed the skits I did at the Valley of Tie, introducing the match, doing the cut aways, and being lost following the match.  Those were really fun.  I also had a blast cutting interviews towards Skeet Slander, who was always my favorite wrestler out of the non HWI wrestlers.  I always enjoyed doing interviews and being the heel.  I can’t remember an interview I did not enjoy doing and I am sure I am glossing over a few that some other people found enjoyable. 

Do you have any interesting HWI behind the scenes memories?  Most of us know the behind the scenes memories of my exit, which really began with the HWI split that happened earlier in the year.  Those hard feelings were never really cured once we all joined back together.  My return was anything but memorable and I felt like so much changed that I really did not belong in the new HWI.  I remember being on the phone with King Mike, and him and David had an angle planned to bring Death into their promotion.  But the travel was never going to work out for me to do that.  Besides my drama, I remember when Thunder Messiah tried to buy the belt as he was becoming a miserable bas1ard that complained about his push.  I remember always being on the phone with the California crew.  And then when I would finally hang up, the phone would ring and it would be King Mike from Jersey City.  LOL.  I spent so many hours on the phone back then shooting the sh1t about wrestling. 

Why do you think HWI was so successful?  I think HWI was so successful because of how creative it was.  All of us were fans of the booking process.  We grew up fans of Memphis wrestling, Bill Watts’ UWF and the NWA.  We all loved our wrestling, but more so loved our angles and interviews, and those are what set HWI apart from the other promotions.  We could kick a55 in the ring too, but nobody even came close to us when it came to angles and interviews. 

Where is Death Kotegashi now?  Dead.  Didn’t you watch the last taping? LOL.  That was my idea, for the character to come full circle and be a wrestling character that ‘dies’ inside the Squared Circle.  And the real world of professional wrestling is so blah anymore, that me as a wrestling fan is dead as well.  I don’t care for the current product, and my kid watches it more so than I do and I get all the news second hand from him. 

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