Ricky Ortiz Talks Playing In XFL, Joining WWE, Being Brought Up Too Fast, His Release, UWF & More
Now, don't get me wrong: I don't think it's translating completely like you'd like it to at the start but that's kind of where it all started with me. Al Snow had me working as a baby face like "Superstar" Billy Graham when he started off if you're familiar with him in Canada. With what the Dungeon did with him, it was kind of synonymous with that. It just started moving really fast and the Atlas DaBone stuff was all getting over. It was all kind of corny/catchy. "He's a bit of a womanizer. Giving them nothing but DaBone." It was a fun, little thing ... It was a good time.
I got over and when I got over in the development territory, it started changing. The black went to fluorescent, the little afro went to, "Don't cut your hair and grow this completely out. No, you can't get many more tattoos. No, you can't cut your hair. This is how you're going to talk." It was a learning experience. Once again, you can't trade experience. It doesn't matter whether it's sports, business or trade. It's experience. That's also kind of why I made the decision to train with MMA, training with America's Top Team down here and just fighting. Doing this new breed of jiu-jitsu and grappling tournament... just doing all this real stuff... core, roots stuff.
I always enjoyed when I saw those old time guys and it's like, he's for real. He's got real cauliflower ear. His face has been beat up. This guys been in all these fights, he knows how to hook, he knows how to shoot. Here we are and WWE's bringing back Brock [Lesnar] and Lord Tensai, older men that know what's going on and it's kind of interesting to see where the product is headed. Especially with this big MMA craze.
WrestlingINC: How do you feel about Brock Lesnar coming back to WWE?
Ortiz: It's very interesting. I'll tell you what, there's not too many things that perk my ears but that perked my ears. Lord Tensai perked my ears and it drew me back in. When you have grown men and they can really do stuff with their hands and their grappling and they've paid a lot of time into their field of work, I think it's awesome. It's that feel you get. It keeps getting back to these grown men, tough dudes and not boys. Guys that have spent time who have sweat and bled a lot.
WrestlingINC: When you got the call to go to ECW, that was about a year and a half after you debuted in OVW, right?
Ortiz: Yeah. It was maybe a year and two months that I have been working. I was trying to put the brakes on it but the thing is that I'm trying to learn the correct etiquette. Every locker room, every dojo, every place of business has an order of operation with the way things are running. Everyone's got their role. I was just trying to take the whole scene in and whatnot and it was completely different than in the sports world. I had a lot of trust and understandingly, it comes with time.
WrestlingINC: It sounds like you thought that you were being brought up too soon.
Ortiz: Right, but I didn't want to question the industry. I had put 22 years into a different industry and I was starting all over. So, I knew what it takes to dedicate your life to something. I knew that with timing and what feels right as a competitor and professional athlete, so my natural instinct was to pump the brakes. But, what do I know? Know what you don't know and just shut your mouth and do as you're told. Trust them.