Ian Sison ’10 was just 5 years old when he started watching professional wrestling.
A Long Island native, Sison quickly fell in love with the athleticism and showmanship of professional wrestling.
“I signed up for the youth amateur wrestling team. I was expecting the big ring with ropes and lights and crowds,” Sison laughed. “When I realized what I thought was going to be the ring was just a floor mat, I wanted to quit, but my dad made me stick it out.”
So he did. Sison wrestled throughout school and again after transferring to SUNY Oswego from Suffolk Community College to pursue a bachelor’s in broadcasting and mass communication.
“I wanted to learn everything possible in college—PR, marketing, video production, theatre—that could possibly help support a professional wrestling career,” Sison said. “Broadcasting made sense.”
Who is Kai Katana?
Kai Katana is my ring name. There are two types of wrestlers—people who play wrestlers and actual wrestlers. I’m not playing Kai Katana. I’m channelling the wrestling and fighting spirit inside of me. It’s my warrior state.
Are the matches predetermined?
The outcome of the match is scripted, but the quality of the performance is up to the people in the ring. I’m a blue belt in Jui Jitsu, and I was in the Judo Club at Oswego. Professional wrestling is a way to showcase a bunch of different martial arts disciplines in a theatrical way. It’s sports entertainment, and we’re trained athletes. Our goal is to make the stunts look as realistic as possible and to leave the audience entertained and wanting more.
Why did you decide to come to SUNY Oswego?
I visited a high school friend Joe Bond ’08—he’s a technology teacher now—and I really liked the Oswego culture. Plus, the broadcasting program is well recognized.
What was your first big break?
I heard that Donna Goldsmith ’82 [Oswego Alumni Association board member and former COO of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.] was going to be on the panel of the Media Summit. I took off work and I drove up to Oswego with my resume and portfolio in hand. She put me in touch with someone at WWE—a woman I had been trying to contact for a year: I heard back the next day.
Are you wrestling full time?
I was working full time for a telecommunications company in a management position—and wrestling full time. It was a dream job, but my heart was in wrestling. So I put in my two-week notice, bought a plane ticket to London and packed my bags. I traveled throughout Europe for six weeks wrestling in exhibition events in Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Hungary, Switzerland and England. My outlook on life is completely different after having traveled. I’ve never looked back.
You have more than 50,000 followers on Facebook. Does that surprise you?
My following has been growing a lot lately. I was fortunate to be included as an alternate in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic this summer and that gave me great exposure. It’s humbling and surreal to have so many fans. A lot of my online fans are from the Philippines, and as a Filipino-American, it means a lot to have their support. Interacting with kids who are fans at events is one of my favorite parts of wrestling.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m working on a documentary film that tells my story and gets my name out there more. We don’t have a release date yet, but it is an exciting project to be working on. It’s all because of the connections I made at Oswego.
—Tyler Edic ’13