Mike Da Silva's Indy Interview: UWA Hardcore Wrestling Promoter Joe "Osiris" McCausland Talks About UWA Hardcore vs. Toryumon Japan Show Featuring Jushin Liger vs. Ultimo Dragon
By Mike Da Silva
Joe “Osiris” McCausland is a co-founder, co-owner and wrestler for Mississauga, Ontario, Canada-based wrestling promotion UWA Hardcore Wrestling. On May 25 and 26, 2007, McCausland and UWA Hardcore Wresting will welcome wrestling legends Ultimo Dragon and Jushin “Thunder” Liger for a UWA Hardcore vs. Toryumon Japan special weekend. Tickets will go on sale for this event this coming Friday, March 23. They will be available at Friday's UWA Hardcore Wrestling show, headlined by Canadian Champion Josh Prohibition defending against Dan Paysan. If you can't make that show, tickets can be ordered by e-mailing . Please list your name and the number and type of tickets you wish to reserve (Golden Circle, Balcony or General Admission).
On May 25 and 26, 2007, UWA Hardcore Wrestling will feature a UWA Hardcore vs. Toryumon Japan special event in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. How will this promotional rivalry play out?
In August and September of 2006, Joe and I had the honour of training at the Toryumon gym located in Mexico City, Mexico. From the minute we entered the gym the students treated us with honour and respect. All of the Toryumon wrestlers are disciplined individuals and are taught never to surrender and always maintain their humility. The Toryumon training is by far the best the world has ever seen. Although the students are humble they know one day they will reach great heights in professional wrestling. Toryumon is single handily responsible for creating many of the great Japanese wrestling names today. During my stay there I was training sick and the high altitude was very taxing on my body. During our hours of gruelling training it seemed we were always trying to one up each other in the ring. Thus a competitive energy entered the air between us and the Toryumon wrestlers. All of us pushed our bodies and minds to the limits everyday. By the end of the trip we had a mutual respect for one another but the competitive edge was still in our hearts. One question still remained, who is the better team? Who is the more cohesive family? And who would be victorious if both companies put everything on the line?
The weekend will feature the UWA Hardcore Wrestling debut of the legendary Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Which side will Liger fight for?
There will actually be two matches that will be non UWA Vs. Toryumon featured on the show. One I will leave a surprise. All I can say is our fans have been begging for this match for sometime now. The other matches will feature Liger who will obviously be representing his company New Japan Pro Wrestling. To have it any other way would just be just ridiculous.
How did you get in touch with Liger to sign him for this weekend?
Getting in contact with Liger was not an easy task. Negotiations began with him in March 2006. Ultimo Dragon acted as the mediator between us and New Japan head office. After months of negotiations, New Japan decided that Liger would compete for us and represent their prestigious company at our events in May. Bringing in Liger is by far one of my toughest tasks I have ever faced to date. Bringing Liger in has definitely brought new excitement and energy to my bookings. I now have my sights set on a few other names that will be tricky to bring in.
Ultimo Dragon, the founder of Toryumon Japan, will also appear on the 25th and 26th and has appeared semi-frequently in UWA Hardcore Wrestling in the past. How did your working relationship begin?
Our working relationship began with Ultimo in January 2006. In the summer of 2005 Joe and I were talking about how amazing it would be if Ultimo Dragon wrestled for us. We began to research him and contacted his amazing agent Gary. After a few phone calls with Gary the three of us quickly became friends. We had a great vibe about things before the show even began. The night before the show Joe, Josh, and Matt [Editor's Note: Joe E. Slick, Josh Prohibition and “M-Dogg 20” Matt Cross] went to the airport to pick him up. I remember Matt telling me he was in disbelief that he actually showed up. During his first stay with us we treated him with the honour and respect he deserved. Ultimo was very impressed with our show production and even more impressed with our locker room. When Ultimo left the next day I was very sad to see him leave. It felt like someone I had known for years was leaving and I was unsure if I would ever see him again. A week later he called me saying he wished to return but this time with his wife and daughters. Bringing his family to an event is something that Dragon does not do often. It really was an honour to have them come. That week I took them sight seeing and Ultimo told me that he considered me part of his family. His wife and two daughters are absolutely breath taking people. Ultimo is a very lucky man to have such a wonderful family. After his second trip he came a third time but this time with his top student Okada. Okada did an amazing job at our GP tournament and his amazing showing sealed the deal for our Toryumon weekend. Ultimo is one of my best friends and I know we will have a life long friendship regardless of our business dealings.
I understand that you joined Dragon on a trip to Mexico last year. How did this help develop your skills as a wrestler?
As I said earlier, Toryumon training is very difficult. This is a style of wrestling I was not used to. The only way I can describe it is Lucha in its most pure form combined with traditional New Japan training. Stepping into the ring with some of Lucha’s legends was incredible. Being under the tutelage of Skyde and Negro is something I will always be grateful for. These are men that helped innovate many of the moves and holds we use today. Training with them opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. Having Ultimo training with me was absolutely surreal. I remember one day he was giving the students a lecture and one of them began to cry. I have never heard a man speak with such passion before about our art. Ultimo truly is one of the best the wrestling world has ever seen. I walked out of that dojo not just a more well rounded wrestler but also a better man.
Since then, Japanese star Okada, who also wrestled with you in Mexico, has made appearances in UWA Hardcore Wrestling. How did your relationship with Okada develop?
Okada was one of my young boys while I stayed in Mexico. Mexico is a very dangerous place and Ultimo insisted that we never leave the dojo without escorts. Okada was there to take care of us. Out of all the wrestlers at the gym Okada was by far the best. He is unlike any other wrestler I have ever worked with. He is very meticulous in the ring and can do anything. Any drill or chain we attempted, Okada could already do to perfection. Okada is a total package wrestler. I guarantee one day he will be very famous in the wrestling world. I just hope he doesn’t forget about us. By the end of my trip Okada was one of my best friends. Okada lived with me for one month after the GP tournament. During his time with us he experienced many of our Canadian customs, like trick or treating. I also took him sight seeing in the U.S. and throughout Ontario. I have never seen anyone get so excited at Niagara Falls before. Okada is a very kind hearted man and I am very happy to call him my friend.
Did you meet any other wrestlers or business partners while in Mexico that will help UWA Hardcore Wrestling evolve?
While we were in Mexico I had the pleasure of meeting countless people. Ultimo took us out almost every night of the week. In one occasion I met the president of Cannon Cameras. That was awesome because I am huge photography nerd. I also met the owners of CMLL who were very nice men and many other promoters. I also got to meet many of Mexico’s Luchadores. One of the most interesting people I met was a man named Miguel. Miguel is the man responsible for creating some of the world’s top wrestling clothing. He has made outfits for Ultimo Dragon, Rey Mysterio Jr, and Liger just to name a few. This man is a true craftsman in every sense of the word. As his Miguel worked on our outfits his son apprentices him learning all of his father’s techniques. His work is a true art form and I was very happy to see that his traditions will not be lost. As far as meeting people that will help UWA evolve, I would have to say everyone I met will help UWA. I took away something from everyone I met. I feel like as I grow as a person so does our promotion. Meeting the children of Mexico is something I am very grateful for. These are children who have nothing and who believe in what we do. Every morning there would be small children with no shoes waiting to meet us outside our dojo. Joe and I would always shake their hands and often times give them money. Seeing the love in their eyes for us makes me realize how fortunate we are here in Canada. During my stay in Mexico I was very proud to be a professional wrestler.
Your website notes that there have been talks to open an Ultimo Dragon Gym in Toronto, Ontario. How did plans for this training facility begin and how close is the gym to opening?
Ultimo and I began to talk about opening a gym back in September. After experiencing the amazing Toryumon training I know first hand how diverse it is from other training I have been apart of. I recently sold my 3000 square foot gym in preparation to open the Ultimo Dragon Gym Canada. Our Canadian gym will offer students training that they would only be able to find in Mexico or Japan. We will also have a living quarters for our international students. Already we have students from Germany, England, and Italy who want to be a part of our gym. Opening up this gym in Canada will be a dream come true for me. Hopefully the gym will be fully operational in summer of 2007.
In our interview last year, you stressed the importance of M-Dogg 20 to your company's success. Since then, M-Dogg 20 has gone on to have considerable success in Ring of Honor (ROH) as “Iron” Matt Cross and has decreased his role in UWA Hardcore Wrestling. How has M-Dogg 20's ROH commitments affected UWA Hardcore Wrestling?
I still consider Mdogg one of my best friends. I have never controlled any of our guys. They are free to take whatever bookings they want. If Mdogg decides to take ROH bookings over ours that’s his prerogative. In private conversations with me he has told me “that the UWA fans have no love for him”. At this point in his life I think he is genuinely hurt by our fans. The first time he came to our shows he was blown away by the energy of our fans. Now he feels like we have spoiled them. He feels like the UWA fans are becoming like the CZW fans. In some ways I agree with him and in other ways I don’t. I still strongly believe that our fans are still the best in the world. They still create an amazing atmosphere at our shows which I am very grateful for.
What up-and-coming wrestlers do you think have the best chance of taking advantage of this free main event slot?
I would like to give all the guys the chance to wrestle in a main event situation someday. All of the boys deserve the chance to be in the spotlight. Guys on our roster who have really impressed me are Dan Paysan, Derek Wylde, Tyler Black, and Arik Cannon. These four men possess all the attributes necessary to become a champion. They have shown great heart and courage in the past. I don’t mean to just center these guys out because I respect all of our guys equally. You never know who you might see in a UWA main event.
You recently received rave reviews for your performance in the 2007 King of the Death Match Tournament in UWA Hardcore Wrestling's original venue in Bolton, Ontario. How does preparing for a death match differ from preparing for a regular wrestling match?
For this tournament in particular I trained very hard in the ring and at the gym. My goal at the gym was to take my body fat from 16% down to 12% which I was able to do in 6 weeks. I also wanted to increase my stamina and strength in case I ended up wrestling three matches. Going into the tournament I had my mind set on going the distance and I knew my training would be a big part of it. Wrestling in a death match situation is very different from a normal match. You have to always prepare for the worst case scenario. Before the show I apologized to everyone I love and care about. I knew it was time to throw it down and I intended to give my matches 110%. With how I envisioned my matches I had to apologize to all my friends and family before the show. The world has seen many great death matches and my goal was to give the fans something really special. At the end of the night I felt like we could have gone harder and done a better job but then again I am a perfectionist. The hardest thing for me about a death match isn’t the pain of the match it’s the pain I’m causing my family and friends. Directly after the show I contacted all the people who matter to me in my life to let them know I was OK. I am very happy that the UWA fans honoured our performances that night because I feel we really did put a lot on the line for them.
What did it feel to return to Bolton after your string of success in the larger St. John's Hall in Mississauga?
It felt very strange to be back in Bolton but at the same time comforting. I knew we couldn’t pull off some of our ideas in Mississauga so Bolton was our only option. Bolton is definitely a funny venue. There are no washrooms in it so people have to use the washrooms in another arena. At one point during the show Joe was relieving himself out the back door and fans came up to him to talk about the show. This situation could only happen in Bolton. In the past, wrestling in Bolton had it’s ups and downs. I am personally happy to be back in St. John’s Hall on the 23rd. The Bolton venue will always have a place in my heart because it is where we came from and I’ll never forget my roots.
This year's King of the Death Match, Christopher Bishop, is well-known both as a brawler and for his technical skills. He is not, however, as well-known in the Death Match arena as other workers in your company, such as the Black Jabroni. What makes Bishop a strong choice to be this year's King of the Death Match?
Bishop is by far one of the most diverse wrestlers out there. He can do it all from ariel manoeuvres to mat wrestling and grappling. Bishop has a very insane side to him as are fans have seen before. He has taken some of the craziest bumps out of any of us. It was only a matter of time before Bishop chose to reveal his true dark side. This is the side of him that helped him win the tournament.
UWA Hardcore Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) share many workers. Homegrown UWA Hardcore Wrestling stars Bishop and his partner Lionel Knight recently challenged for the CZW Tag Team Championships against BLK Out, a team that frequently works for UWA Hardcore Wrestling. Past CZW stars like Larry Sweeney have also been successful in UWA Hardcore Wrestling. Is there any formal working agreement between UWA Hardcore Wrestling and CZW?
Osiris- I am personally friends with most of the guys on the CZW roster. Whenever I’m in Philly they always open their doors to me and offer me a place to stay. In the past I have had a couple meetings with John Zandig. Zandig is a man who has worked very hard for his promotion and sacrificed a lot for what he loves. We share a lot of common day to day tribulations of owning a promotion. Whenever I talk to a fellow promoter or booker I can always relate to them best. To answer your question there is no formal written agreement with CZW, there is however a strong mutual respect between us. I wish those guys only the best.
UWA Hardcore Wrestling DVDs are readily available online at . They feature unique, seemingly hand-drawn cover art. Who does the cover art for UWA Hardcore Wrestling releases?
One day god smiled on me and brought a man named Derek Laufman into my life. The original first illustration composed by Derek was of the Blue Jabroni. As soon as I saw it I knew this guy was extremely talented. I asked him if he would be interested in doing a cover for us and he agreed. Since his first illustration he has done about 30 different designs for us. I consider all of our DVDs works of art and collectors items. From our camera work, to lighting, to editing we work very hard to put out an amazing product. We also work with an amazing layout designer named Mark, who recently did the layout for the Hour of the Dragon DVD. Derek’s illustrations give our company the unique look we are looking for. In an age where wrestling DVDs are readily available for download I pray that fans continue to support their home promotions. If you respect your home promotion and want it to continue then you must support them in all ways. Fans have to remember that promoting events is very expensive and most promoters walk away broke. Please don’t steal their hard work by downloading their DVDs.
Between your working relationship with Ultimo Dragon, Matt Cross's appearances in ROH, the continued emergence of Christopher Bishop and Lionel Knight as major players in the North American independent wrestling scene and the 2007 the King of the Death Match Tournament, a lot has happened in UWA Hardcore Wrestling since our last interview. What major plans to ensure the company's continued success?
Osiris- To continue our companies success I have one simple rule: Keep myself excited! I live, breath and sleep wrestling. If anyone should hate it, it should be me. Everyday all I do is focus on UWA and the next show. Sometimes it is hard to stay interested but when I have those feelings I know I need to do something to spice things up. I am very exited about some of the main events we have planned. One main event I have booked will pose our current Champion, currently Josh Prohibition, against the Toryumon Champion Ohara. I guarantee this match will rewrite the history books as one of the best. A more simple thing I am excited for is the drama between Derek Wylde, Jennifer Blake, and Britney Michaels. These three just keep me on the edge of my seat! Obviously the big question is who will Liger be facing? Well what better time then now to answer all the questions. We currently have 9 Toryumon wrestlers coming in for our May event, which is more than I initially hoped for. On night one there will be two men representing the New Japan faction the CTU. One of those men is the leader of the CTU Goto and the other is Liger. Together they will compete against Ultimo Dragon and his partner Okada. How that match concludes will determine the main event of night two. I have also started working on the GP tournament this year. This year the tournament will take place in September instead of October. It will also consist of 16 men instead of the traditional 8. I am hoping to have Japanese guests competing in the tournament once again. As far as dropping any other names I would like to leave it a surprise. All I can say is that our fans will be very happy with some of the amazing talent we have planned to bring in. I know I am.
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