Pat Tanaka im WrestlingFever.de Interview (English, 09.03.2015)

WF: Thank you for your time and for your approval to do this interview, it is a huge honor for us to welcome a true veteran of wrestling like you are! How are you at the moment?

PT I’m doing great thanks for asking and it’s an honor being on your show wrestling fever

WF: As a second generation superstar you have been trained also by your father, Duke Keomuka. Has there ever been a time where you didn’t want to be a pro wrestler? What was the reaction of your family when you told them your dream to give pro wrestling a shot?

PT: has there ever been a time that I didn’t want to be a professional wrestler absolutely I think every professional wrestler has had second thoughts about being a professional wrestler especially when times get hard when things don’t go their way but at the end of the day I think I know how lucky I was to have a career that I loved I think people dream about having a job that they love but I know that I was blessed enough to have a career that I really loved !!!what did my parents think when I wanted to become a professional wrestler?? I think all parents want to protect their children and I think my father knew how hard it was to make it in this industry he knew that I was very small and that my chances of making it or not very good but after you knew I was serious I think he was fine with my decision.

WF: You started your career in the NJPW-Dojo and had your first matches there. From the sight of a Pro Wrestler: Where do you see the differences between entertaining an North American or an Japanese audience? Is there something, that you would never do in front of a Japanese crowd, which is normal for a American crowd?

PT: there is a big difference between american and a japanese audience america we have the bad verses the good and in Japan it’s just competition between two athletes and there is no difference to me what I would do or what I wouldn’t do in either country

WF: After a short stay at Jim Crockett Promotions you moved to Memphis TN to work as a referee & wrestler for the CWA, which was under the lead of Jerry Lawler & Jerry Jarrett. In this time, also Asian talents like Akio Sato (also a later member of the Orient Express) and Tarzan Goto appeared there. Who campaigned for the NJPW-Talents to have a Tryout on US ground?

PT: you are absolutely right that I was with Jim Crocket promotions and then move to Memphis Tennessee to be with Jerry Jarrett promotions but then I was just a professional wrestler in Florida I was a referee and that was your way back before Japan and I think it was Jerry Jarretts campaign for the Japanese Jerry Jarrett was just looking for different talent and Akio Sato and Goto were the best fit at that time

WF: What many fans know is, that the Orient Express has also existed before the WWF-times in CWA and AWA as “Badd Company”. Who had the idea first to team you up with Paul Diamond (later: Kato)? When did you meet each other for the first time? Before the Tag-Team-Decision was made or thereafter?

PT: well it was me and Paul diamond before WWE and me and Sato before WWE but our name was bad company not Orient Expressand I asked to be Paul Diamonds partner cause we worked well together and that’s when I came up with the name bad company

WF: Before WWF, you had many matches against great Tag Teams like The Sheepherders (later: The Bushwhackers), Bill Dundee & Rocky Johnson, The (Midnight) Rockers etc. Which team did you like most to work against in the Badd Company-days.

PT Wow what a question every one of those teams that you mentioned were incredible teams I couldn’t say which one was the best or who I like the most I love working with all of them but we did have a certain chemistry with the rockers

WF: Most of your career you were working barefoot, Is it only because of your martial arts background or why did you make this decision?

PT: it was my decision to work barefoot I tried with boots and it wasn’t same and it was because of martial arts and my balance was so much better

WF: After another NJPW-Tour in 1989 you debuted in the World Wrestling Federation alongside Akio Sato and Mr. Fuji. Who campaigned most for you to get the contract and whose idea was the name “Orient Express”?

PT: I’m not sure who campained for me to be in WWE but it was Vince McMahon’s decision to have us there and his idea for the name of the Orient Express

WF: When Akio Sato left the USA and Paul Diamond was hired to replace him wearing a mask, have you been the person to recommend Paul Diamond? And, in your opinion, why do you think, hadn’t WWF given you a Singles run in this situation? Would you have liked this idea at this point of your career?

PT: I asked for Paul diamond to replace a Sato when he ask to leave and no I don’t think I could have made it as a singles wrestler at that time I was way too small

WF: When I think of the Orient Express, I always remember your awesome match at Royal Rumble 1991 against the Rockers. What are your memories of this match and do you have rapport with Shawn & Marty then and now?

PT: yes I remember that match that was probably one of the best matches in my career people always if they remember me they remember me for the Royal Rumble 1991 against the rockers and yes I’ve always had a good rapport with Shawn and Marty

WF: After your time in WWF, you (and Paul Diamond) worked for Eastern/Extreme Championship Wrestling in Philly. What are your memories of this product?

PT:I love working for Paul Heyman at the time he was a great man and a great company

WF: In 1994 you then got hired by WCW, where you had been until 1999. Whose idea was it to bring you in?

PT: I think it was Terry Taylor’s idea to bring me in to train Goldberg and Billy Kidman Endre Lloyd glacier but it was ultimately Eric Bischoff decision to have me there

WF: Not only you, also Paul Diamond got hired and appeared with a Kato-Ripoff named Haito. What was WWF’s reaction on the obvious Orient Express working in WCW? Did they try to file a lawsuit on WCW because of that?

PT: yes Paul came in under the mask but I don’t think that WWE had a problem with him using any name and there was no lawsuit

WF: You also appeared on WCW-TV in the future years, under the name Tanaka as well as under a mask as El Gato, you also had a PPV match with this gimmick against Konnan for the Cruiserweight Title. Who had the idea for this gimmick and why was it only short-lived?

PT: yes that was probably the worst decision I have ever made Eric Bischoff came up with the idea and him being my boss I had to do itI hated it

WF: The guys from Wrestlecrap.com wrote a rumour in their book “The death of WCW”, that, also in times of the very big WCW Roster with almost 200 workers, whatever if a worker had a match or not, everybody on the roster was flown to every taping until they made the big cost-cutting in 1999. Is this true and if not, what is the truth?

PT: guys I wish I could tell you what was true and what was not and I was not much into the political end of wrestling

WF: During your time in WCW, you are the original worker that used the later Goldberg Entrance-Theme. Did you ever meet each other? What is your opinion of him?

PT: oh I never had a problem with him using that music I didn’t even ask for the music we guess I knew Goldberg I had trained with him and he was a great guy

WF: There is a rumour, that one time you broke your leg on 3 locations during a match against the Legion of Doom, but because you did not want to lose your spot, you taped your leg and continued the match. This all ended in an open fracture, which made Paul Diamond puke when he saw it… what are your memories of this match, the moment of the injury and the weeks after it, how long did you have a break after that and most of all: IS THIS STORY TRUE?

PT: I did break my leg it was a compound fracture with a bone did come through the skin and I did try to work with it and it ended up where I tore out my stitches and had to take a leave of absence for 2 months but there is a lot of stories about that time believe me I’m not as crazy as it seems.

WF: Our fans love funny roadstories. Do you have one you like to share with our fans?

PT: I have a lot of road stories but one that comes to mind is the time that Angelo Mosca got me really good I remember Barry Windham drove by and he mooned us from the car and I was only 14 at the time I was the referee so I was the center of everybody’s ribs Angelo Mosca had asked me did I want to get him back good and I said yeah so he said great get in the trunk of the car and I did and he told me when I say now he would pop the trunk and I would come up pull my pants down in moon him so we drove a little bit and then he said are you ready Patrick and I said yes he said 123 and he pop the trunk and I pulled my pants down all the way to my knees and spread my butt cheeks and I sensed something was wrong as I turned around I looked and it was the front window of Denny’s restaurant and it was full of people they laughed so hard that the car was running and I fell out of the trunk and I was chasing the car with my pants down to my knees and tripping all over the place they still talk about that rib today

WF: What are you doing today? I read that you opened a Judo/MMA-Dojo?

PT: I’m doing a lot of private teaching right now for professional wrestling I do clinics and I do wrestle sometimes but mostly just enjoying life and taking it easy now

WF: Do you have some words for the fans out there?

PT I’d like to say thank you to all my fans that supported me through all my careerand I hope that I have given you entertainment that you will remember for the rest of your life god bless you all and it’s been an honor to entertain you all

WF: Thank you so much for your time! We wish you all the best!

PT: its been an honor thank you won’t thank you for having me on your show

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