Notes from the Nosebleeds #119
June 4, 2011
By: Matt O'Brien of Wrestleview.com
Earlier this week the wrestling community was treated to David Lagana's podcast interview with Low-Ki. The former Kaval had a lot to say about in the two-part interview. I want go over part of the podcast with you and talk about what that interview teaches us about Low-Ki. There is a lot there so for the sake of keeping of not getting bogged down with everything he said, I want to focus on part two of the interview, particularly the topic of his WWE tenure. If you have not listened to the interview and would like t listen to what Low-Ki had to say about his time with WWE, you can do so by visiting http://blip.tv/iwantwrestling/low-ki-talks-wwe-fcw-nxt-iwantwrestling-com-part-2-of-2-5228677.
I think what Low-Ki had to say resonates with a lot of wrestlers and wrestling fans, but the thought that shapes that attitude is misguided.
We are told about a WWE show on which Low-Ki took part that led to him joining the company. After his performance he had the privilege to meet Vince McMahon. After shaking hands, McMahon asked Low-Ki where he saw himself in WWE. "I want Rey," he answered. Low-Ki explained to McMahon that Mysterio didn't have the ultimate super villain counterpart for his size in WWE. Low-Ki felt he was the perfect fit as Rey's foil when it came to a smaller opponent. What Low-Ki described to McMahon was very important. It may seem odd to many that when asked by Vince McMahon where he saw himself in the WWE Empire that his answer would be to come in and face one guy. However, Low-Ki's answer was that he would essentially play a role on the roster. He would be a gear in the WWE machine. While Low-Ki had a good idea, he had come to that thought the wrong way. Instead of seeing himself as a part of a whole, he came across essentially as a mark who wanted to wrestle one of his favorite guys.
Low-Ki discusses his WWE journey concern his time in FCW. It was there he said he learned how to pace himself. One thing that constantly comes up in this interview is Low-Ki's experience. For all his experience he still had to learn to be a national television performer. He goes onto discuss a time when Dusty Rhodes made him act like a chicken in front of the WWE writing staff, and that he was upset and embarrassed by it. Low-Ki hated acting like a fool because that is not who he is. What becomes very apparent during this part of the interview is how seriously this guy takes himself. That seriousness is what cost him an opportunity.
Throughout the interview he talks about his experience in the wrestling industry. I understand he has a career that goes back several years. I remember watching the Super 8 finals a long time ago between Bryan and Low-Ki, thinking how interesting it would be to watch these two rise to prominence within the industry. He mentions Daniel Bryan as well as a guy with a lot of experience, yet performing on a show masquerading as a playground for rookies. A lot of people were surprised by WWE's decision to pair Low-Ki with Michelle McCool and Layla as his professional mentors for the show. Some people compare it to the Daniel Bryan-Miz pairing in the first season of NXT, and that is a fair comparison to an extent. When it came to Low-Ki, now known to the national audience as Kaval, he was an uncharismatic, hallow individual who really didn't pull in the audience. McCool and Layla played off that to make him an appealing character.
Kaval announces in the interview that he never asked for his release form WWE, but that he was let go. He then goes into detail about how he thought his WWE career would pan out. He tells us that he expected to be treated the same as Wade Barrett as an NXT winner and be featured as the next big star. He thought he would be featured prominently on the show. After all, he would say, he was voted by WWE veteran and the WWE audience to win the second season of NXT. He felt that not being featured in a prominent role was a betrayal of trust to the WWE fans.
It is simply astounding how seriously Low-Ki takes himself in this interview. He honestly believed that he would be given the same spot as Wade Barrett, but Barrett was a special case as he was the winner of the first NXT and WWE had launched the Nexus angle for John Cena's benefit, not Barrett's. He honestly believed that he was so respected by wrestling fans that they voted him as the winner of NXT based on his skill, and not the fact that WWE had put him with two of the most over heels on the roster in LayCool. They designed the second season of NXT to give him the win and use it as a launching pad into the WWE galaxy. Instead he fell flat. He had the skills as a decent professional wrestler. He just didn't fit any role WWE had. He was a gear that just wasn't meant to work in the WWE machine, and that's okay.
I do not mean to be hard on Low-Ki. He is a talented individual who could no doubt wipe the floor with me any day of the week. Nobody will take that away from him. The problem I see with Low-Ki's mentality is that he doesn't see the bigger picture, and neither do a lot of other wrestlers and wrestling fans.
You see it in your everyday life. You may even be one of these people. We tend to forget most aspects of our lives are us as a part of a cohesive unit. It may be your family, association, community, group of friends, or workplace. There are cases in which an employee of a company does deserve some sort of recognition, but there are those people who tend to forget they are fulfilling a role within the company. Just because you are the only does the company's books doesn't mean you are the only person who can. Unless you are beyond exceptional, you can easily be replaced so that the company can continue to move on as one. I think that is part of what Low-Ki is losing site of, and he is not the only one.
I mentioned earlier how Low-Ki continuously talks about his experience. At one point he says that he had more experience than ninety percent of the WWE roster. He says it as if he is owed something. There are a ton of people in the world, not just in wrestling, who have more experience than people higher than them. Just because you have been doing something longer than someone else does not by default mean you are better than them. Low-Ki is very confident in his abilities, which is good to an extent, but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Low-Ki may not be an arrogant individual, but he certainly came across as one.
Another thing Low-Ki mentioned was that he did not feel he was being used properly. As opposed to what? He won NXT and was placed on a brand that would allow him to grow. He competed for the Intercontinental Championship by feuding with one of the best working heels on the roster in Dolph Ziggler. This was all in just a few months. Was he upset he had not yet wrestled Rey Mysterio?
He mentions the names of Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit as guys he saw himself following in that he would have a slower climb to the top than bigger guys. Again there is the misguided thinking. How did these guys have a slow ride to the top in WWE? Chris Benoit was headlining pay per views within six months of his debut. Eddie had his ups and downs, but that was due to personal problems. As for Rey, he was an integral part of the WWE roster long before he became a champion. Even if he really did think he would have a slow ride, how far did he really expect to go between June of 2010 when he debuted on NXT, and December when he was released?
I use Low-Ki as an example because his comments are perfect examples of those who take wrestling too seriously and forget there is a bigger picture. There are people out there who believe Low-Ki did not get a fair shake in WWE. Wrestlers and fans with this type of attitude act as if the business owes them something. They feel that he should have been utilized better, but there is no reason that the most successful professional wrestling company would take their show, which has a very well-defined structure, and throw all of that out the window to build up a guy because he has experience on the independent scene and Japan.
My apologies to anyone offended by anything I have expressed here. I am grateful to David Lagana for providing this interview and I appreciate Low-Ki's talent and ability. My concern is the tendency for so many of us to forget the bigger picture and focus on what they want to see happen for their own sake. Losing that perspective only serves to hinder than to help one's self.