Chris Van Vliet interviewed Rikishi on his YouTube channel/podcast. A portion of the interview is up now (see below) and the full interview will be posted soon.
Here are some highlights from what was posted on Tuesday:
Rikishi talking how he met Bow Wow and if he will be training him to be a wrestler:
“Back in the day, I was coming on a flight to Atlanta. As I was coming to first class to sit in my seat, Bow Wow was there. I think Bow Wow was 9 or 10 years old back in the day and he was already making hit records. I was on my way to work. I knew who he was. My father figure kicked in. I said, ‘I’m very proud of you. Continue the hard work. Make sure you do good in school, blah, blah, blah.’ Twenty some years later, maybe more than twenty some years, I see this tweet of him that comes on Twitter. I put out a tweet to him and I felt like I knew this kid for a long time. I get my passion for the industry and for those that are wanting to come in. I feel like I’m obligated to teach them the right way. He’s out in Atlanta, but he will be coming down here sometime soon this month to be able to start to get it going. I’m going to train him like I train all my students. We know his celebrity status, but, in order for him to really understand the industry, we have to put that all aside to really prepare him for what’s about to happen in the future…I’m very excited to be the guy to give him this knowledge and help train him. For me, it’s good for business. If Bow Wow can come into our industry and put as*es in seats at WrestleMania, why not? Why not have him come in there? Everybody should motivate him or help him because him coming in, or anybody coming in from Hip Hop or the movie industry, anybody that comes into our industry, obviously they’re green and they need to be smartened up. There is no time for jealousy or those that hate on the poor guy who is just trying to come in and live his dream.”
Rikishi feels that pro wrestling saved his life:
“Pro wrestling saved my life. In San Francisco, where we were raised up back in the Bay area, I was raised in the swamps of Sunnydale. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t the best of kids who followed the rules. My grandparents are preachers of church. My mother, who is the daughter of the preacher and we go to church all the time, but I was going opposite. It was rough back in the Bay. I was running with the wrong crowd. At 17, I got hit by a drive-by shooting and damn near lost my life. I was dead for three minutes. I woke up in an ambulance and all I could see was my mother’s face. Being taken to the hospital, I could see my mother’s face. I was in the hospital for two months and when I got out, my mother made the decision that I was going to leave California and she was sending me to her brothers, Afa and Sika. I was 18 by then, and away I went. I fell into the industry. My mother felt like it was time for me to leave the Bay area. I’m happy she did what she did because who’s to say me getting back out after getting shot, I could have been running with the same crowd again. That’s how that all started. The rest is history.”
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription. Also, be sure to subscribe to “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” on your mobile device by clicking here if you have an iOS device or here on your Android device.