Atsushi Onita: FMW

April 12, 2007

This is another installment of my ďPromoters Iíve worked for ď series. I did only one tour for FMW, back in Oct. of 1991. A lot of this particular commentary will be subjective as my FMW booking came through Fred Jung (see previous Promoters commentary) and with Fred as a middle man a lot of my difficulties with FMW may be partially attributed to Fred being a pain in the ass more so than Onita being such. That being sad I wonít have a lot of great things to say about Atsushi Onita as a promoter. Iíve worked for 3 companies in Japan, FMW, WAR, and NJPW (Sky Diving J event) and when I compare how I was treated in all three companies Mr. Onita comes up very short.

The FMW booking is another one I need to thank Chris Jericho for. Fred contacted Jericho about going to Japan for FMW and Chris insisted we get booked as a team so yet again I owe Chris a debt of gratitude. The FMW trip happened almost to the day of our 1-year anniversary in the business. I had been in the business one year had but 30 matches and was headed to Japan for my first over seas trip. I was so excited about this trip, but due to the huge fiasco of dealing with Fred I almost didnít get to enjoy it.

The date of the trip kept changing, and Fred fed us endless lines of bullshit to explain the delays. We also never got the require work visas for the trip, and had to enter the Country as visitor and lie to immigration, which scared the crap out of me. I am absurdly honest and not a very good liar so I thought for sure weíd get busted at immigration and sent home before ever getting to work.

Once we cleared customs and got picked up at the airport, the trip was a lot of fun. It was far and away the biggest promotion Iíd worked for at that time, and I was on cloud nine figuring my career had just taken a huge step forward. Looking back however, that was a naÔve impression. FMW did not treat the foreign talent all that well. We were put up in some lower quality hotels, and on one occasion actually stayed in a Japanese style hotel that was so dirty I slept in my clothes on top of the bedding with my own towel covering the pillow, for fear of touching anything.

A lot of the hotels we were in were also poorly located and on several occasions we had a difficult time finding decent places to eat. At the time I didnít think anything of this but years later when I was working for WAR, I was shocked when Tenryu san regularly checked with us about our accommodations and the availability of places to eat.

I guess my biggest problem I have with Atsushi Onita is that I feel he lied to me. The one time we spoke to Onita (He really isolated himself, which made me feel like he looked down on us all) he praised our worked and promised us a return date in January of 92 as well as 5 tours that year. The January booking never happened and Onita next contacted us with a booking in Sept of 92. I was quite offended and turned the booking down, while Jericho opted to accept it and went with a different partner. This not following through on his word may have been Fred related but I doubt it. I think if Onita contacted Fred requesting our return in January as he promised, Fred would have had no choice but to offer us the tour. Fred and I had completely severed ties at the time the September offer came in and he still reached out and offered me the tour.

This brings me to the last and most important part of the commentary, does Atsushi Onita and FMW owe me money? They absolutely do. The contracts we signed for the tour were for $800 us per week each, and at the end of the tour when we were paid, we were only paid $600 per week. It was a 2 Ĺ or 3 week tour, I donít recall off hand, which means they owe me either $500 or $600 us. We questioned our pay at the time and Tarzan Goto (Onitaís #2 man at the time) said he thought $600 was a low amount considering our work-rate and that he would figure out what happened and send us the balance of our money. The money was never received.

For a green as grass kid, I was thrilled to have had the booking and very glad that I got to do the tour, but after working for other promotions in Japan and seeing how things are normally done over there, I certainly canít give Atsushi Onita a thumbs up as a promoter. Below par treatment, and yet another promoter that still owes me money.

Till next time and my journey to Lebanon for Abe Awad
Lance Storm