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An Interview with Former Wrestler Loren K. Miyake a.k.a. Riki Ataki

by Dale Pierce

March 2016

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Before entering film, you spent several years as a professional wrestler, no?


Yes. I wrestled from 1987–1991. Since then, I’ve had a few matches but never went back to the same amount of wrestling I did then.


Who were some of your major opponents?


I’m sure I’m going to miss a bunch of people, so I apologize for that off the bat. My first match was against Bill Anderson and Mark Starr (Gorgeous Michelle Starr) with Tim Patterson as my tag team partner. Along the way, I also wrestled Stephan deLeon, Louie Spicolli, The Beast, Demolition, Brutus Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Barbarian, Warlord, Akeem, Big Boss Man, Honky Tonk Man, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Nikita Koloff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Ken Patera, Dino Bravo, Ted DiBiase, Jacques and Raymond Rougeau, Bad News Allen, Haku, B. Brian Blair, Colonel DeBeers, Los Villanos, Los Brazos, Konnan, Colibri and more.


You also had a lengthy feud with the late Stephen de Léon who was killed later in a motorcycle accident?


We fought a number of times, but I would say it wasn’t really a feud. Stephan did have a great feud against Tim Tall Tree. That was one of the great feuds in California wrestling. Very underrated. Stephan was a great talent and my best friend.


You were also good friends with the late Louie Spicolli?


Stephan, Louie and I broke into the business at roughly the same time. Louie and I were trained by Bill Anderson, and Stephan was trained by Alex Knight; but we all ended up on many of the same shows. We became good friends, and being young, we acted like fools on the road. Bill dubbed us “The Three Marks Brothers” for our behavior. That never stopped us from having fun. I miss them every day. They truly are my brothers.


How and why did you decide to make the transition from the ring to film?


Wrestling is something that I love. I first loved it as a fan, and then, of course, as a wrestler. In my brief career in wrestling, I was fortunate to get to both meet and work with many people who I truly admired and respected.

Stephan and I both loved to draw, and we’d sketch a lot when we were on the road. We were both pretty good, and when some of the wrestlers and agents would see our work, they’d ask,”If you can draw like that, why are you wrestling?” I heard this a lot from a lot of people who, as I said, were heroes I respected, so it struck a chord with me. Two people who influenced me greatly in the business were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Chief Jay Strongbow. From conversations I had with them, I kept it in the back of my mind that if there was a path I could take as passionately as wrestling, I owed it not only to myself, but perhaps the entire locker room, to try it.

It turns out I was lucky enough to find that one day at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I was inspired by a reel of student work, and I knew that was both what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it. So, that calling must have been the right one, because I was accepted into what I later found out was a difficult program to enter.


You have done work as a producer?


I currently work as a promo producer, and I’ve also produced other short form projects.


You have also done other fields within film, such as editing, correct? This is a line of work that does not get much attention? Can you provide some details on what an editor does?


Film and video projects are generally not shot in order. An editor takes all the materials available to make the film and puts them together in an order and manner that will hopefully tell the story with the most impact.


Haven't you also done some camera work?


I’ve done some documentary camera work as well as camera operator for some awards shows and live concerts.


What about acting?


I did one play with East West Players prior to my time in wrestling, but I haven’t done any acting beyond that, other than in scenes for classmates.


Was the transition to film an easy one for you to make?


It was both easy and hard. It was easy to pursue another true passion, but it was hard to leave wrestling, for the most part, behind.


One of your friends and I think trainers, Bill Anderson, has also done a good deal of film and television work as well, correct?


Yes. Here’s the IMDb link


Do you have any unusual or interesting stories to tell about your work in film?


It’s all usual. Interesting, but usual. So, there are many stories. I wouldn’t know where to begin.


So which do you prefer, wrestling or film?


I love them both. I wouldn’t have done either if I didn’t.


What are your future plans?


I’m going to make and eat a cheeseburger. It’s going to be great.

After that, I’m hoping to do some more live theatre and maybe do some more feature film work.


Do you have a webpage or place where readers may find out more about you and your work?


Not at this time, but here’s my IMDb page. Maybe there will be some projects added to that someday.


Closing comments?


Thanks for asking some interesting questions. Please let me know if you have any others.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Dale Pierce

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