I recently spoke to Konnan, who will be a part of WaleMania on Thursday, March 26th at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA during WrestleMania week. In part one of the interview below, Konnan discussed working for Lucha Underground, his brief WWE run, WWE holding a grudge, TNA's problems, Triple H not getting behind Alberto Del Rio and more. Make sure to check back later this week for the second and final part of the interview, where Konnan discussed Rey Mysterio's WWE departure, WWE not issuing a statement on Rey, if he can see Rey going back to WWE, Bill DeMott, his favorite match and time in the business and more.
WaleMania is Thursday, March 26th at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. Tickets start at $15, while VIP tickets are $60 and include a special meet and greet with Rey Mysterio and friends as well as Don Julio Tequila. There will be a fan Q&A with Mysterio and the panel where fans can ask any and all questions. There will be a major after party featuring Rey and other wrestling luminaries after the live in-person MLW Radio session where Wale will perform songs from The Album About Nothing. The event begins at 6:30 and goes to the club's closing. You can pre-order Wale's "The Album About Nothing" at this link, and purchase tickets for WaleMania at WaleMania.com.
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You've worked all over, now you're with LU and AAA. How different is LU compared to other American companies you've worked for?
Lucha Libre has never been at the forefront of any promotion, they've always been to the side, diluted. We went to WCW in 1997, Juventud, myself, Psychosis, La Parka. We were only able to reach a certain point. Even Eddie Guerrero in WWE, it was diluted into American wrestling moves. Now lucha is front and center. We're the main event. We're showing that our wrestling can be more creative and exciting than what the American companies can put out there. And of course when I was in WCW, you never had any Latinos in any position of power. If you go to all three companies and look back, there were no writers, no producers, no agents, no executives that were Latino. You can't give that demographic what they want without someone like that working in a position of power. We have a lot of key Latinos working behind the scenes.
You had always said that WWE and TNA would have to step up with Latinos or someone else would, and now you have Lucha Underground.
TNA always tried to get a Latino superstar, but they don't even know what they're doing. Even if WWE wasn't around, TNA would still be the number two company in America. They just don't know what they're doing. WWE doesn't know how to treat their employees. You saw what happened with Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, ADR, Rey Mysterio, the list goes on and on. They way we're treated here, the way wrestling is shot, lucha libre is finally getting its chance. It's never been done before. A lot of the things Lucha Underground is doing the fans our liking. Our fanbase is very negative and it has a right to because the promotions have s--t all over them and not listened to them and thinks they know what's right for the fans. The fans would hijack a lot of shows and say "No, this is what we want." You don't find that with us. Most of the comments are positive, so we're doing something right. A lot of the things we're doing are things WWE might start doing in the future. That's something they've always been able to do is better than anyone else, which is adapt.
Speaking of TNA, when you were there with LAX, it seemed like one of the few hot acts they had and they kind of dropped the ball on it. Do you think there's anything they can do to get out of where they are, and what are some of the problems you've seen with the company?
It starts at the top with Dixie Carter. She doesn't know s--t about wrestling. She pushed herself on TV as hard as she could with as bad as she is. She let AJ Styles go, he was the heart and soul of that dressing room. She let guys like Sonjay Dutt go, Samoa Joe just left. They really put a lot of stock into ex-WWE and WCW guys who just took their money and bounced. They pushed Robert Roode and James Storm and Eric Young, who had been there so long they were kind of stale. They don't know how to brand their product and they do a lot of stupid writing that doesn't make sense. They have some good talent, but losing Joe was a big blow. I'd have done everything possible to keep him. They have a small roster, it looks kind of stale. The only cool stuff there to me is MVP's stuff.
You were with WWF briefly in the early 90's. Were they thinking back then to give a little more of a push to the Latino audience when they brought you in?
Absolutely not. When I was there I got along great with Vince. He really believed in me, but at no time ever did he bring up that I'd be for the Latino audience. So much so that I was called Max Moon. There was nothing there that led you to believe that I was Hispanic. Even back then he was missing the boat. His money isn't made off of the Hispanic stars, except maybe Pedro Morales. I don't expect him to get it, he probably didn't grow up with Latinos or hang out with Latinos. I think now he understands the purchasing power and political power we have because he's going crazy looking for a Latino superstar. I was called the other day by someone who works for WWE and said "hey we're looking for a Latino superstar," and he started to tell me what they were looking for and I said "right there is your problem." They don't have to be six feet. If you were thinking like that Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio would have never been stars. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio got over on their own and then WWE followed suit. Back then when I was there, there was no thought of using me to draw a Latino fanbase.
What exactly happened with the Max Moon character, and do you think that left bad feelings with the WWE to this day?
They never got over it. There were a lot of people there that were very envious of the fact I only got flown in for TV tapings, they brought in Mexican wrestlers to work with me. I wasn't on the road, I was getting special treatment. There were a lot of people hating on the gimmick, and it didn't help that I got tired of lugging the Max Mon costume around. I'd have to lug around 8 boxes and take two taxis. It was just a pain in the ass. Meanwhile I was blowing up in Mexico, I had just done a soap opera, so I didn't show up to work. Then they gave it to Paul Diamond. I'm sure they didn't like that because when Eddie first came in he went to Triple H and said "you should bring Konnan over, we could do good (stuff) with him." Triple H came back and asked Eddie if I had heat with Vince, and I said I thought so because of the oufit. Bruce "The b---h" Prichard always treated me bad too, so he might have had something to do with that.
After the Max Moon gig, did you never have serious talks with WWE after that?
One time I called over there and I spoke to Bruce Prichard. He knew me, because when I was there he was Brother Love. We had actually talked backstage a lot. There was one time when I wanted to leave WCW, when Eddie and Dean went over there. I was originally going to go over there with them, but Eric (Bischoff) wouldn't let Rey Mysterio leave. So I said I'll leave and just wait for Rey. I called and Bruce Prichard said "Who? Oh. Send me your tape." I'm thinking to myself "send me your tape?" Do you not watch WCW? I'm on there every week. Chris Jericho told me that Bruce Prichard said I was very pretentious because I called and said my name was Konnan. That mother f-cker doesn't know my real name.
What's it like having Alberto El Patron back in AAA?
It's incredible because he's very enthusiastic; he loves the business, he's really happy to be out of (WWE). He was a guy that Vince was behind and Triple H wasn't. Since he wasn't one of Triple H's guys, he felt like he was getting buried. He was really mad that people were using racial slurs and he got fired. So they kind of told him to wait and let everything blow over and they'd bring him back, but he told them "No, I'm not coming back." Not a lot of people would have said that, so I have a lot of respect for that. He's nothing but professional and he's a great addition.
Why do you think Triple H wasn't behind Alberto?
I'd have to ask him. I'm going to have him on my podcast and I know he'll answer all of that. I know he was one of Vince's guys, and I know there were a couple of times that he said "I want to hear this from Vince," and Triple H said "Well I'm the one who gives the orders here." There was definitely butting heads between Triple H and Vince because each had their people. I've heard this complaint from a lot of the boys, if you're not one of his boys, you're going to get f-cked. To me, everyone should be his guy. I have a similar position to AAA as Triple H. If you're signed up in AAA, you're one of my guys. You're AAA. If there are guys you don't want, you shouldn't have signed them in the first place. I don't understand how he can have that division in the dressing room.
You've been vocal in the past about racism in the wrestling business. Do you think it's gotten better than it was in the 90's? You still see a lot of things on TV with gimmicks, a lot of stereotypes.
It's gotten better, but it's still there and it shouldn't be there at all. When you have all these crackers from the south and they grew up hearing stuff from their dad or granddad. It just shocks me, if you're watching the news about Ferguson, Missouri, where half the population is black, you have police officers making racial jokes about the citizens and about the President. Really? Are you that ignorant that if someone's a different color, you don't like them? I'm Cuban/Puerto Rican, and there are Cuban/Puerto Ricans I don't like. There's people in my family I don't like. It's just ignorant to me. At the end of the day I don't care. Are you a cool guy and someone I would want to hang out with? Racism is ignorance at it's highest.
Pro wrestling has a reach to all ethnicities and groups, too.
Exactly, and his Dad got it. Vince's Dad had the Polish guy Putski, the Puerto Rican guy Morales, he had the Mexican guy Mil Mascaras, he had the Italian guy Santino. It's a big melting pot and he understood that. Vince Jr. doesn't really do that. Vince Sr. did.
Make sure to check back later this week for the second and final part of the interview, where Konnan discussed Rey Mysterio's WWE depart?re, WWE not issuing a statement on Rey, if he can see Rey going back to WWE, Bill DeMott, his favorite match and time in the business and more.
WaleMania is Thursday, March 26th at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. Tickets start at $15, while VIP tickets are $60 and include a special meet and greet with Rey Mysterio and friends as well as Don Julio Tequila. There will be a fan Q&A with Mysterio and the panel where fans can ask any and all questions. There will be a major after party featuring Rey and other wrestling luminaries after the live in-person MLW Radio session where Wale will perform songs from "The Album About Nothing". You can purchase tickets for WaleMania at WaleMania.com.