Throughout the mid-1990’s Sunny Onoo was instrumental in building a working relationship between New Japan Pro Wrestling and WCW. A relationship which saw the likes of Ultimo Dragon and Yuji Nagata perform with the American promotion.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Ultimo Dragon became one of the most recognisable wrestlers in the world. The star who popularised the ‘Asai Moonsault,’ rose to prominence in the mid to late 1990’s, holding ten recognised championships all at the same time. This coincided with eye-catching performances in WCW alongside Onoo.
After a brief stop in WWE during 2003 and 2004, Dragon has mostly appeared in his native Japan. However, according to Sonny Onoo things might have been very different.
Onoo who famously managed both Ultimo Dragon and Nagata in WCW recently appeared on Perched On The Top Rope. During the conversation, the legendary manager discussed not being present when Nagata recently returned to TNT to face Jon Moxley on AEW Dynamite. Onoo said he spoke with AEW but no agreement was reached.
“We met with some of their bookers like Arn Anderson and Dean Malenko. I was in Florida for other business and when I found out Yuji was going to be there, I made it so I was there at the same time. I was willing to help. It’s their call. I think it was a missed opportunity, but they didn’t ask. They knew I was there. Who knows, they might be saving me for [something else],”
Onoo then revealed that there were also conversations about bringing Ultimo Dragon to AEW, but again, things didn’t quite work out.
“When AEW first started televising stuff, Tony Khan did contact me and we were trying to work something out to bring in Ultimo Dragon. At that point, I was going to be on camera with him and manage him. Pandemic hits and he got stuck in Japan. Every time Yuji has been on camera, I was with him. I think it might have been a missed opportunity, but it’s not my call,”
AEW currently enjoys a strong working with NJPW. Something which was brought into sharp focus when reports emerged that there had been discussions between WWE and the Japanese promotion. In response, Tony Khan delivered a promo taking aim at WWE calling WWE President Nick Khan the “con-man from Connecticut.”
In the aftermath of the promo, Khan revealed that NJPW had given him the greenlight to poke fun at WWE.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.