Violence is Forever is one of the best tag teams in the world right now. After speaking to Dom Garrini, a little while back, it only feels natural the next target on our MLW hit-list would be his tag partner, Kevin Ku. Despite his quiet demeanour, Ku is an absolute killing machine between the ropes, and we here at SteelChair got to talk all things tag team, MLW, and dream opponents, as well as a whole host of other topics with him. Enjoy!
Since it’s your first time being interviewed for SteelChair and as you’re a recent addition to the MLW roster, can you please give us a brief introduction as to who you are, your style, and what brought you to wrestling?
“My name is Kevin Ku. I’ve been wrestling for about seven and a half years now or something like that. My style is more of a technical brawler as I’m not afraid to get into a scrap or fight or to get into a mat-based match. What brought me to wrestling was actually that I used to tour with bands, like I’d play music for and be the tour manager for bands for like ten years of my life. That started slowing down, and I had a buddy who we always watched wrestling every week. I lived in Boston Massachusetts, at the time, and we’d just mess around. I’d do backyard stuff when I was younger in my hometown, and he was just like, “If you want to do this, you should.” It became this kind of weird bet between us that I wouldn’t do it, so I just went for it and never really looked back.”
MLW has been making a big deal out of other sports in your background too, like Karate and Jiujitsu…
“I did a bit of Karate; some Taekwondo, and I have done some Jiujitsu training, but not extensively. Dom (Garrini) helps me with that stuff.”
What brought you to MLW then?
“It was a bit weird. Dom had been signed there for about six to seven months before I even really talked to anyone there. I was trying to figure stuff out, and wrestling was going really good for me. The tag team was really taking off between me and Dom (Violence is Forever). We’d done a lot of international shows like World Tag League for wXw, I know we’re not supposed to talk about other companies, but this was a big accomplishment for us. I was doing okay as a singles wrestler, but we were really just focused on tag team wrestling. He just asked me if I was interested in MLW at all. It never really came into my mind, like super hard, about signing somewhere. I was like, I’m having a good time with professional wrestling, that’s all I really wanted to do, just have fun with it. But I got into more conversations and looked at the locker room. A lot of my wrestling friends were and are a part of the MLW wrestling roster. So, I had a lot of good conversations, and once I’d talked to Court, I felt really good about being there. That was about it really. The funny thing is, I was in Disneyworld when they gave me my contract offer, so at the same time I was at Disneyworld, I signed my MLW contract.”
I guess they call it the place of magic for multiple reasons then.
“Yeah, it was awesome. Dom and I talk about doing a tour of all the international Disneyworld’s and things. Like, Tokyo Disney Sea, the Paris one, there’s one in China. We just want to go to all of them.”
How’s it been with Court Bauer?
“Honestly, he’s like super personable. I was kind of intimidated because he’s been working in wrestling for a long time. He worked for WWE for a long time, and he knows so much about the professional wrestling business side of it, and that’s crazy to me. I can just text him about anything, and he’s down to talk. We’ve never officially met in person because my first show was supposed to be the first show when everything shut down due to COVID. So we might have not officially met, but I feel like I can talk to him about any issues, small or big, with wrestling or anything like that, and that’s just very welcoming to me. I really appreciate that.”
Since coming to MLW, you’ve joined Team Filthy. What persuaded you to join that stable?
“It was a pretty easy thing to decide on. One of my best friends and tag team partner, Dom is in Team Filthy, and I’ve known Filthy Tom Lawlor for nearly three-ish years now. He’s always been nice and cool and cordial with me, so there was never really a question, you know? When I joined the faction, stable and people I wanted to be around was always Team Filthy.”
That brings us onto the Von Erichs, what would you like to do to the Von Erichs when you get your hands on them?
“I feel like it’s been a long time coming for Team Filthy, and I feel like I’m in an odd position because I’m just coming into this, so I only really know them from a surface level. I can only really go off what Dom and Tom tell me and what I’ve seen on MLW Fusion. It feels like I’m supposed to be fighting them for a very long time. For some reason, I just feel it, and I see it. Business is business, so at the end of the day, no matter what, if they’re good boys or not, we need to take them out. Me and Dom need to be at the top of the tag division there.”
The funny thing is they’re no longer the top of the tag division, that belongs to Los Parks. Does this present a new dynamic to your plans? To the tag team battlefield?
“It does because I haven’t wrestled a lot of Luchadors. I’ve trained in some Lucha, but I’ve never wrestled anyone who is a true Luchador like a legendary family like the Parks. That’s crazy to me that I’m on a collision course with them at some point. Dom and I have to go head-to-head with them if we want the tag titles. So, it doesn’t really affect our training for what we want to get to the tag titles because no matter who we’re in the ring with, we’re going full-force, straight through a brick wall. We see the tag titles, that’s what we want.”
Violence is Forever has achieved a lot on the indie scene, you hold countless tag titles and are a successful established team, what do you think you are going to bring to the MLW Tag division?
“Honestly, I think that we bring actual tag team wrestling. They’re people who are good wrestlers and end up good together, but I think there’s something to be said for a true team that actually adheres to the rules of tag team wrestling. That’s what Dom and I try to focus on a lot. We want to be, when people talk about tag team wrestling, we want to be in that conversation. We bring a different level of actual tag team wrestling. He’s legit one of my best friends, so we talk about everything.”
It’s also always a great weapon to have when you can curb-stomp someone’s head in. You still hold the record for nastiest curb stomp I have seen in a match.
“That’s honestly such a really good honour. I’ve seen Super Dragon, and a lot of other people curb-stomp the hell out of people’s brains, but hearing that makes me feel weirdly good.”
There was something that happened on Fusion recently that I’d like to address. What happened with TJP and Bu Ku Dao?
“I said before that we’re laser-focused. I think that we may have lost ourselves a little bit in that match. That’s only our second tag match in MLW. Our first one was rather short. We’re not paid by the hour. We get in, we get out, so I’m not really going to make excuses for us because there are no excuses. They came out as the better team that day. But, as I say that, they’re obviously not on the same page. You saw during the match; Bu Ku Dao was going to do something, and TJP pulled him back and used him as a weapon. I think that’s very indicative of the type of team they are and maybe where TJP’s alliances are. So, maybe they got the win during that, but I don’t think they’ll get the titles. I don’t think they’re a true tag team.”
Vicious combination from Violence is Forever!#MLWFusion
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) January 28, 2021
So, it’s safe to assume Violence is Forever will be tag team champions regardless of this outcome?
“There is literally no question in my mind that Violence is Forever will be the MLW tag team champions and will be for a very long time. How long were the Von Erichs tag champs? Like 400 something days? We’ll crush that.”
A lot of their title reign was boosted by the fact they couldn’t actually fight…
“Yeah, exactly. That’s another weird thing about wrestling right now, in my mind, the time when we were locked down and the promotion wasn’t even running, I don’t count those days as champions.”
What was it like trying to adapt to wrestling in a pandemic?
“Honestly, it was really weird. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, where I live was pretty well locked down for a long time. I couldn’t even go to the gym. I had to do at home workouts and go on like four-mile walks so I could do something with my mind. I slowly started doing shows I felt comfortable with because I talked a long time with the promoters. It was still pretty weird because my first couple of shows were as a singles wrestler because Dom lives eight hours away from me in Ohio. We can’t co-ordinate physically, a lot unless he comes to me, or I come to him. We both have other lives where we can’t always just pick up and do that all the time. I feel like at The Collective we got into a super good groove. I feel like that was some of the best that I’ve felt that we were as a tag team. It felt really smooth, and we went with it. But it’s a very weird thing to go from wrestling every weekend to having like eight months off, then just wrestling every once in a while. I’m sure everyone’s feeling like this, but I’m a fidgety person, and I constantly need to be doing stuff. It’s hard not to man. Wrestling has fully consumed me for the past seven odd years. Now, it’s been taken away from me and a lot of other people, and that sucks.”
How has it been without fans present?
“It’s obviously very weird because wrestling is a fan-driven sport. We all go off crowd reaction. That’s how we get our adrenaline pumping right? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, MLW is one of two places still doing closed-set tapings that I’m watching the shows of and not super-missing fans. Just because the in-ring product is so, so good. Actually, doing the tapings is a bit odd because me and Dom are very vocal people, and I feel I’m just screaming into the air, but that’s fine. I’ll yell at whoever. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s definitely an adjustment period because I felt like I was on an island in Cast Away yelling at a volleyball named Wilson.”
Has it forced you to adapt how you work in the ring?
“Not really. Mine and Dom’s styles are very straight ahead. What you see is what you get with me. I’m a brawler, I’ll be a technician when I have to be, but my light switch just turns on the second I step into the ring. I’m a pretty docile and happy go lucky person outside the ring. You wouldn’t see me as a weird psychopathic masochistic person when I’m not wrestling, so this hasn’t really forced my style to adapt, which I think is thankful for me.”
It might be a blessing actually because you can hear how hard you’re hitting people…
“The first chop I hit during the first no fans show I did, I was like oof, that sounded like it hurt a lot.”
Bringing it back to MLW and the tag division, are there any dream teams you want to face?
“Obviously Los Parks because they have the titles and are Los Parks, that’s a crazy legendary team. I would love to get in the ring with (Jacob) Fatu and Simon (Gotch.) Fatu is the champion for a reason, but is also the most wildly athletic big man I’ve ever seen in my life. Simon is just like a wild mat technician; I think that’s a very good match-up for us. Then like, Injustice, too. I love Injustice, but they seem to be more singles title aspirations at the moment, me and Dom fancy ourselves to go after real tag teams.”
When the tag run ends after going well and you lose the titles to willing opponents, are there any singles goals you want to pursue within the company?
“I definitely want to fight ACH. Just speaking for myself. Since he joined the roster, I’ve never actually wrestled him, and I think that that’s a really good match-up between us. Fatu again, I can’t talk enough good about him, maybe I’ll get a shot at the World title one day. That would be awesome. Just because we’re tag team wrestlers doesn’t mean we don’t support each other. We’re still representing Violence is Forever no matter what we do. Who else? Laredo Kid. Whoever wants to step up really. Let’s go. I have no preferences, but they are the big ones that come to mind that I’d love to have a singles match with.”
It’s funny, you and Dom share the same dream opponent for me, for very different reasons. Simon Gotch. For Dom, it was the technical mat-based stuff. For you, it would be because you’d beat the hell out of each other…
“That goes back to me not having to adapt my style with no fans or not. It’s just a fight, I’m in it. I don’t need fans to fight. We don’t even need a ring. Let’s just go out to the back alley, it’s fine. There’s cameras there? Cool, let’s go.”
Would you like to implement any match types like that? They’ve had the no-ropes fight. But are there any specific match types you’d like to see used?
“I say this as a semi-joke, but I’d love to do a Punjabi Prison match. That is the wildest cage match I’ve ever seen in my life, and that’s just something I want to do before I retire. That’s like a weird pipe dream of mine. As far as what’s feasible, I’ve never done a cage match or a ladder match. So those would be really cool. I don’t need ropes or anything for that. Outside of fights I got into as a younger man, I’ve also never just done a brawl in pro-wrestling.”
You make the joke but with CONTRA, anything is possible. The Baklei Brawl is coming up which is just some kind of underground fistfight…
“I know that Court is going to read this, so if he can somehow get me a Punjabi Prison match or something like that, I want it Court, give it to me.”
My last topic is, if you could bring anyone into the MLW roster, who would it be?
“I’m going to go based on tag teams because that’s what’s fresh on my mind. Dom and I really want to wrestle FTR. They tout themselves as the best tag team, and they are a true tag team that actually likes to adhere to the tag rules, so I think that’s a really good match-up. We want to test ourselves against that. Another would be Ethan Page and Josh Alexander of The North. They’re two people we’ve been around a lot, and they’re another real true tag team. Wrestling’s a crazy thing right now. All these promotions are working together, people are showing up wherever. Who knows what’s going to happen? It’s not that far-fetched to think those things could happen in an MLW ring. I feel like MLW is really open with that type of stuff as long as it makes sense, and it’s good business on both ends. The realm of possibility is open to anything right now. I don’t assume anything anymore, and I hope for the best with everything.”
That seems like a really nice mindset to have. There are way too many cynics in the world, myself included…
“Trust me, man. I spent a long time being a pessimist. Ever since lockdown, I’ve tried to look, not necessarily on the brighter side, but more what could possibly go wrong that hasn’t already? I just try to keep that mindset, and it’s really helped my mental stability.”
I’m glad to hear it. That wraps up my questions. Are there any closing statements you want to make?
“Really, just watch MLW. That helps us out tremendously. You can watch them on YouTube, FUBO, Pluto TV, just a litany of different services. I truly believe that MLW is one of the last true combat sport wrestling promotions in the world. There’s not really any frills to it. What you see is what you get. Obviously, there’s still storylines, but the in-ring product is where we shine. I’ve shown a couple of people that aren’t wrestling fans or that have just watched WWF Attitude Era wrestling, and they’ve been super into it because it’s so easy to digest, and they know what’s going on. I think that’s a credit to the roster. Be sure to check out Filthy Island on February 17th. I think that is the best MLW product to ever come out.”
All images courtesy of MLW, Harry Aaron, MLW YouTube