The Great Kasaki is one of the most unique characters in the rings of British Columbia. As Bruce Banner might say he is a combustible mixture of comedy, aggressive wrestling with an Asian twist, and periodic loud yelling. Not to mention he is a hoot to watch!
Apparently, he’s equally entertaining outside the ring.
Vance Nevada shared a post-show tale from Enderby, BC, which proves that timing is everything.
A UFC pay per view had just ended at a nightclub, and “the bar was filled with a lot of alcohol fueled wanna-be tough guys strutting for their girlfriends,” began Nevada. There was a punching bag machine and “guys were lined up to show off how strong they were, rattling this machine and celebrating their own success.”
Kasaki turned to his fellow wrestlers and said, “Watch this,” and headed to the machine.
“When it’s his turn, he does this very elaborate martial arts warm up for about five minutes, and the whole room has stopped to see what’s going to happen next,” said Nevada. “Then, he launches a dropkick at this thing and our whole table roared. I think he reconsidered the wisdom of that when he came down on the hardwood floor with no kneepads.”
As for inside the squared circle, Alberta’s Black Dragon remembered their first match having twenty of The Great Kasaki’s family members at ringside.
“I thought it would be fun to throw him off the top of the bleachers in Cloverdale to the floor through a table,” Black Dragon remarked.
“His family was going nuts I had to. I almost didn’t make it out of there alive. He has always been one of my funnest people to work with ever since.”
So how did this unique character of The Great Kasaki come about? As the 5-foot-5 foot, 205-pound Kasaki explained, his in-ring persona is a tribute and homage to those that have influenced him over the years.
Demolition was the reason he paints his face. Then there was Iron Mike Sharpe: “One of my main influences on why I always yell in the ring really loud; he really commands your attention.”
Kanjyuro Matsuyama, who wrestles out of Osaka, Japan, and has wrestled The Great Kabuki, is probably the style closest to Kasaki’s.
Proof that everyone borrows from everyone else, Kasaki said he “took some of the female wrestlers spots, as well as some of the midget spots. I like doing some of the midget spots so that it’s kind of different for a full-grown sized person doing it.”
Yet, to sell The Great Kasaki as simply a comedic wrestler, particularly in the mind of ASW co-owner Disco Fury doesn’t do him justice.
“Kasaki is a hard working guy,” Disco Fury (Nathan Burke) said. “He can have a great match with anyone and makes them look better than they probably are. I feel personally that he is a leader in the dressing room and in life.”
ASW co-owner Michelle Starr named The Great Kasaki as one of his favorite characters.
“He always has been able to make me laugh in and out of the ring,” exclaimed Starr. “He can hang with any junior heavyweight out there. Now he’s helping me train the kids of the future.”
When you are always taking on new spots, you’re always learning. After a bout in July 2011, former WWE Superstar Val Venis advised him to give the fans a little bit more in the ring than he had been doing up to that point in his career.
“It was such an amazing learning experience,” recollected Kasaki. “At first I was kind of star struck because like this is Val Venis, he was in the WWE and everything like that. Once I met him and we were able to talk a little bit, then it wasn’t as intimidating.”
As a youngster The Great Kasaki was always intrigued by professional wrestling and attended his first independent show in 1994 at the Cloverdale Fairground in Vancouver. What appealed to him was that there was a great deal of personal interaction between the wrestlers and the crowd.
One of his high school football coaches wrestled as Dru Drastic and Kasaki kept pestering him to teach him how to wrestle.
“They never really had a good facility in a nice little area until a couple of years later,” explained Kasaki. “Then Drastic called me up and, ‘Hey we have a good facility, we have a ring set up and everything. Do you want to come train?'” Initial trainers at Wrestleplex were “Rocket” Randy Tyler and Fabio Chiesa, a.k.a. The Fabulous Fabio.
Towards the start of his career Kasaki decided he didn’t want to be a Japanese stereotype so he started out simply known as T Kasaki. However, a short time later when he wrestled for Seth Knight’s Canadian All Pro Wrestling promotion, he started being referred to as The Great Kasaki. After his first two years he decided to start painting his face to further build his character.
Knight first paired with the Great Kasaki in Top Ranked Wrestling back in 2004. “It was just supposed to be a one night thing I think,” Knight said. “I came up with the name Team Japanada and put on face paint to match Kasaki’s. The promoters liked the idea and we stayed as a tag team until ECCW bought TRW. When I started my own promotion, CNPW, Kasaki was one of the first people I called. From there CNPW merged with All Star Wrestling and Team Japanada became the first, and in my opinion the best, tag team champions of that promotion.”
The Great Kasaki has held the ASW Tag Team Titles on six different occasions with Seth Knight, The Might I-Ton, Disco Fury, Matt XStatic, and most recently Mr. India at WrestleReunion V on July 24th.
Kasaki believes championships are an affirmation of hard work.
“I feel lot of honor to have that championship and it’s always nice to team up with someone different. You get their style more incorporated with my style and we kind of mesh together; so it’s another learning experience for me,” he said, hoping the reign with Mr. India will continue for some time.
Another title that the Great Kasaki has held on three occasions is the ASW Cruiserweight Title, with his first title reign lasting a remarkable 490 days from July 2011 to November 2012. That included a number of best-out-of-three fall bouts.
Adam Ryder was a frequent opponent in those longer bouts. “He helped out with my cardio as well as a little bit of my ring awareness and how to perform and boost myself up from one level to the next,” said Kasaki.
Kasaki’s skill-set sets him apart, said Ryder.
“He has a unique set of offense mixed with comedy which makes him easily one of the very best things of All Star Wrestling,” declared Ryder. “The Great Kasaki’s promos alone for the All Star Wrestling shows are viral worthy to say the least. His one recently about him teaming up with Mr. India to become Team Rush Hour is easily some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen come from a professional wrestling promotion.”
Frequent opponent Matt Xstatic said that he considered The Great Kasaki very dedicated and always willing to go the extra mile.
“Our TLC matches have never been seen before in ASW and it was time to bring in new school wrestling to old school fans,” declared XStatic. “I hope to one day see him be recognized for all of his hard work over the past decade.”
In 2009, The Great Kasaki had the opportunity to challenge Vance Nevada for the ASW Trans Canada Heavyweight Title. The match would be a real eyeopener for not only the wrestling fans in attendance that night, but also for Nevada.
“I was matched with him one night in North Vancouver in a best of three falls match,” recalled Nevada said. “While I appreciated his comedy, I maybe took myself a little seriously and being a championship match, I didn’t think it was the right fit. He came to the match with an innovative offense, tremendous stamina, and left fans in shock that night. He’s easily one of the most versatile performers out there. It’s no surprise to me that he’s had the career longevity he’s had on the west coast.”
For his part The Great Kasaki remembers the match going very smoothly.
“I don’t really want to break kayfabe, but if you’re in the ring with someone that knows what they’re doing you don’t have to worry about anything,” admitted Kasaki. “Vance is an amazing ring general. It was just an awesome opportunity to be in the ring with him.”
Throughout the majority of his career The Great Kasaki has primarily wrestled in Western Canada, yet he would be interested in exploring new territories.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing how The Great Kasaki would get over in the east,” said Kasaki. “That’s one thing that I’m really curious to see how my character would fair out in Ontario or Winnipeg. To see what the reactions would be.”
As for Japan, The Great Kasaki felt that it might be more difficult for him to go overseas to wrestle.
“I think they’re looking more for the North Americans than actual Japanese guys,” said Kasaki. “I would at least like a little bit of a shot and see how it would go over. I think with what I have on my plate, because I recently got married last year, flat out honest, I think I’m more in the mood of just settling down now and getting my actual regular personal life in check and pursuing that more than the wrestling career.”
While The Great Kasaki wasn’t sure if the ASW Trans Canada Heavyweight Title was an immediate goal he did admit seeing himself making a run for it in the next couple years.
“I think everyone wants to hold onto that title at least once in their career, but I think with the character of The Great Kasaki I don’t really think he needs it,” acknowledged Kasaki.
“I think he’s more okay with the tag team belt, the cruiserweight belt to keep noticeable.” As for opponents he hadn’t yet wrestled he did express interest in current ASW Trans Canada Champion Gangrel, Jason Cage and Moondog Manson. “That would be pretty interesting.”
No matter who The Great Kasaki faces in the future the one thing that is certain is that it’ll bring a smile to wrestling fans throughout British Columbia!
- The Great Kasaki on Facebook
- Twitter: @Kasakisan
- All Star Wrestling Website
- All Star Wrestling on Facebook
- Twitter: @ASWCANADA