Interactive Wrestling Radio, courtesy of WrestlingEpicenter.com, recently spoke to Vampiro about the return of Lucha Underground Season 3. Here is part 2 of that conversation that covers his WCW run, his announcing style, and the importance of the El Rey Network. They sent us these highlights:
"I was beyond grateful. There were a few times he took the time to speak to me and give me advice. I kind of just watched him... American pro wrestling is a lot different than Mexico or Japan. I was very fortunate to learn from someone at his level. I think the matches were great. I don't think he was too excited about having a younger guy with face paint and a more updated version of that guy who was a lot more authentic than he was. He had no clue what the paint means. But, he was a phenomenal professional. It was a great experience for me. I don't think he liked it too much and he's said that. But, you know, to each his own. I'm very grateful he took the time to do that with me."
His match with Mike Awesome at Halloween Havoc 2000 and how serious the injuries were:
"I did break my neck and I did suffer a concussion. I've had a few but that was the bad one. That, in my point of view, that ended my career. I mean, I've done things after I've been around, in and out of the ring, after but that was it, man. I don't remember what happened! I just remember the police found me on the freeway parked on the side of the road. I didn't know where I was. I couldn't even remember my wife's name, when I was married. At the time, I lost the use of my hands. I couldn't walk. Even to this day, I suffer severe anxiety. I had major insomnia for about 20 years after it... Panic attacks. It was really bad. And, it was bad because WCW put me in the ring right away and it wasn't for like a month later that I got diagnosed. After filling me with pain pills and swelling my brain even more and chair shots with the concussion, I think that was the end of my career. I still suffer from it. I can't remember what I did this morning. I have to write things down. I have alarms on the phone to remind me of things. That was it. I'm still in therapy to this day fixing those injuries from that time. That was the end."
Why he never went to the WWE:
"Right at that time, when I was still recovering, that is when WCW was purchased by the McMahon family. I called Bruce Prichard who was in creative. I said, "I'm injured." He said, "I wouldn't worry about it because creative doesn't think they can do anything with your character and we're going to let you go." That is exactly what happened."
Going full circle doing Lucha Underground and now being back home:
"I'm a punk rock kid. I'm proud of that. I'm living back home, the town that I came from. I'm a single dad. I'm picking up my daughter from high school. I've got a martial arts studio. I'm still that rock and roll guy. I've lost 106 pounds since last season of Lucha Underground. My hair is long again. I've always been a musician before I was a wrestler. Coming from the Sunset Strip, coming from Melrose Avenue. Coming from, you know, that whole thing and then to be back and to be this punk rock, old school, life in the gutter kind of guy who came from that rock and roll scene... To be back there and to see some of the things that are still around and to still be around but now to be the guy who helps young guys achieve their goals. I think this is the best time in my career! It is the most fun I've ever had. I'm enjoying this a million and one times more than I ever did when I was Vampiro. I hated being Vampiro! I absolutely love doing what I'm doing now."
Who influenced him as an announcer:
"I steal a lot of stuff from my friend Kevin Gill and his way of doing stuff when he does the ICP JCW stuff. I told myself, when I took the position, that I wanted to do other things within Lucha Underground. I've branched out. I've got a producer's credit now. I help out with creative. I'm one of the agents there. I listen to Matt Striker... It is kind of like when you're playing in a band. If you have a lead guitar player who can play then you better become a really good rhythm guitar player so it makes sense. We let him be him. He studies, he takes notes... I can't do that, man. I never could do that in my career as a wrestler. I pretty much just go out there and feel the crowd. And the way I speak on commentary is pretty much how I speak in real life. I don't know if it is working or not... Apparently it is. But, I am out there giving it my best and I think people are digging it."
His talents as a wrestler:
"I was never a good wrestler, dude. I had charisma and could move the people. But, a good wrestler I was not. I was a good story teller or learned to be towards the end."
Working with Pentagon Dark and the huge swerve:
"It was easy, man. It is kind of like, that's what I do best... That brawling style. I'd much rather do that than try to wrestle the dude. I'm a real believer in horror movies and how they tell a story. My mission in that match was to make this kid famous. It's not because he's wrestling me. It was the story that we told that was going to give him that push, right? I think the fans appreciated it. Everybody said it was kind of brutal and gory. I watched it. It wasn't that big of a deal! The story, and how it was laid out, if you were there live, you'd have been blown away! What you saw on TV was only half the match. I think I've got to that point in my career where I can do that with pretty much anybody. It goes back to being authentic, right? It really elevated him. I was proud to say, and I do try to help a lot of people, I really, really helped somebody. And, look at him now!"
Plans for Lucha Underground Season 4:
"Well, lets just get a season 4 first, right? I'm going to get in a lot of trouble, dude. Everyone can read the writing on the wall! Don't make me say it! There's too much going on for it not to happen. Hopefully it does happen, and if it does happen, it is gonna rock! We all know that."
Being on Netflix and the importance of El Rey:
"This is what the fans need to grasp. The show is great. The stories, the athleticism. But, if it wasn't for the El Rey Network, and we ARE on Netflix... We are the first wrestling program on digital format. We are the first ones. But, it is not El Rey. If El Rey wasn't in the picture, this wouldn't have the flavor that it does. El Rey has that image, has that push, has that umph. If it wasn't for El Rey, the flavor would be different. it would be toned down, it would be watered down, there would be restrictions. El Rey is like, "f--k it, just don't kill anybody!" They are a big part of the equation. Wrestling is wrestling. There's only so much you can do in the ring. It is really hard in this day and age to tell a story and to swerve the people. You don't know how bad we were biting our lips and biting our tongues. Pentagon didn't even know the swerve until that night! We had that under wraps. He had no clue! Then it was like, "Oh my God! We got them!" Being that El Rey lets us do that crazy s--t, that is why we are who we are."