"I heard about Lucha Underground before because I wanted to try out for them. I was getting ready to go through the tryouts for them, but then somebody else contacted me in Florida and I wanted to see what that was all about. That didn't work out too well in Florida, then Lucha reached out to me and I thought, "What do I have to lose?" It was right in town for me and it was the best decision I ever made. It's fun being down there."
Lucha Underground is the most unique wrestling promotion out there right now and it's been a great alternative for the fans. As someone who's worked in multiple companies, what are the main things that set Lucha Underground apart from the others, and what has the transition been like for you getting involved in such a non-traditional wrestling company?
"The thing about Lucha Underground that everybody loves is it caters to everybody. Some people aren't wrestling fans, but they still tune into our show because they get captured by the storylines and everything else. Then they watch the wrestling along the way so it transitions them into a wrestling fan without actually being a wrestling fan. As far as the wrestling style, I actually trained in lucha libre, so I was already used to the style. I have already wrestled on TV before so I knew how to do that and it wasn't anything new to me."
You became an instant favorite of ours when you made your debut in Lucha Underground and I think part of that was because we didn't expect to see such a fast-paced, high-flying style from somebody with your size and power. How much do you enjoy surprising people with your wrestling style since most fans probably expect somebody completely different when they first see you?
"That's why I got into wrestling because I watched the smaller folks like Bret Hart and Rey Mysterio do their thing. I have always been big, so I transitioned what they do to my style and I started doing it. Every time I step out into that ring and do those moves, I see the reaction on peoples' faces. They think at first I am going to be a typical big dude and be slow like a tank, but when I jump off the top ropes and run around a couple of times you see their jaws drop, and I think, 'Yeah. That's what you get for judging someone so quick.'"
One of the key storylines in Season 2 has been you teaming with Sexy Star to take on Marty the Moth and his sister Mariposa. How did this storyline come to fruition and what were your initial thoughts when pitched the idea?
"It really just came up out of nowhere. She was trapped in a basement somewhere and I just happened to run into her in the hallway when she escaped. I showed her concern like anyone would in that situation. When there is a moth and a crazy person most people would run the other way and not help Sexy Star. My character is more like to help anybody because it's the right thing to do."
Lucha Underground's storytelling and ability to build characters is something we always praise, and they manage to do if effectively despite only having one hour of TV programming per week. As a performer, do you like that the show's only an hour long, or would you prefer to expand an extra half hour or hour in order to get more talent on the show every week?
"There is that old saying about if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Right now the only two-hour show is the Ultimate Lucha. We get so much done in one hour compared to people doing a three-hour show that you get a few matches and a bunch of talking. With us its action, action, action. It's like on the internet, if you all want to see something, you just type it up. Same thing goes for us. As soon as you flip on that channel, you know what you are going to get; fast paced and in-your-face action right off the bat."
We love it when you use the Stunner. Since the move is synonymous with Stone Cold, have you ever spoken to him about you using the move and why did you choose that as one of your signature moves?
"Actually, if Stone Cold likes it, he doesn't care. A lot of the fans don't like it and say I stole Stone Cold's move. I say why aren't they getting down other people's throats every time someone throws a dropkick and say they stole that from Mr. Perfect? I would be down to meet him one day and talk about it. As far as I know, he doesn't have a problem with it. I grew up watching Stone Cold, and when you see someone get hit with the Stunner, you knew that was it. You hopped up off the edge of your seat. Now I am trying to bring that back, and it's been doing its job so far.
One note I found interesting while researching for this interview was that you were signed to WWE in 2014, but you were released before you even started with NXT. What was the signing process like for you and why do you think it didn't work out?
"The signing process is a pain in the ass. The whole thing is like a six month waiting process, so I was already signed when people found out about it. They just caught on at the end part of it. They put you through a whole process including flying you out to Pittsburgh to meet their doctors and background checks. The whole thing is stressful. Then at the end of the day, they said they didn't like how the doctor read one of my test results, how my blood pressure was and how one of my knees felt. So they said they couldn't use me. They didn't offer me anything else, just said that they couldn't use me down there. The funny thing about that is, when I asked to see the reports from my medical stuff to see what was wrong, do you think I have seen any of that stuff yet? Nope. Now you see me on Lucha Underground, so obviously someone isn't telling the right story."
Had the situation with WWE and NXT worked out I imagine there could have been so many potential dream matches involving you, but we've gotten a lot of those during your run in Lucha Underground as well. Who are some wrestlers you've never gotten a chance to face that you really want to lock horns with whether they're part of Lucha Underground or any other company for that matter?
"Bryan Danielson back in the day for sure. Bret Hart if he was still in wrestling shape. Mil Muertes would be a good opponent if I ever get the chance to tangle with him. There are so many good people, it's hard to pick them out. There's Kenta, or Hideo Itami as they call him at NXT, I would love to wrestle that fool. Stone Cold and I could go Stunner for Stunner. Instead of Rock vs. Austin all over again it would be Austin vs. Austin."
At Ultima Lucha last year, you and Cage put on one of the best and most brutal matches of the year. What are your thoughts on the hardcore style that Lucha Underground has showcased, do you prefer that style in the ring or do you prefer matches without the hardcore element?
"Both. You hear people talking about how wrestling was back in the day with all this crazy stuff. You had Dusty Rhodes all bloodied up and busted up from the cage or even during his regular matches. Terry Funk did more hardcore stuff back then compared to now. I think we're taking it back to where it started and just adding some more fire to it, so I am all for it. Me being a California, dude, I grew up watching that XPW stuff so you know how that goes."