Konnan Comments On Jay Briscoe's Passing, Bringing Alberto El Patron Back To AAA, Prison Dom's WWE Work, & More - Exclusive

One of the most well-connected men in all of pro wrestling, former WCW star Konnan courted controversy this past week when it was announced that Alberto El Patron, known during his WWE runs as Alberto Del Rio, will be competing in AAA's Lucha Libre World Cup. AAA is booked by Konnan, and his decision to give the embattled former WWE star a platform certainly raised eyebrows and upset some fans.

El Patron's last run with WWE came to an end in September 2016, after he had tested positive for his first wellness policy violation the month prior. It was around this time that El Patron and then-WWE star Paige, now AEW star Saraya, went public with their relationship, which ended in 2017. The aftermath has seen accusations of domestic violence on both sides. In May 2020, El Patron was arrested in Texas for battery and sexually assaulting his girlfriend, the details of which were horrific, if true. In October 2020, he was formally indicted on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, but his trial was repeatedly delayed and the charges were dropped in December 2021. Nonetheless, the incident heavily damaged his reputation and public persona.

In this exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman, Konnan discusses his decision to welcome El Patron back into the AAA fold, Vince McMahon's return to WWE, Dominik Mysterio's work with The Judgment Day, Jay Briscoe's passing, and more.

The Passing Of Jay Briscoe

Nick Hausman: Konnan, this news just broke, I just wanted to get your thoughts about the passing of Jay.

Konnan: Yeah. Bro, just very sad. I just heard about it right now. Always very super cool with me. Loved those guys. The last time I saw them was on the Jericho Cruise, and they wanted to come to AAA. They were so busy that I asked them about eight times and they were always booked. So they were getting a lot of work. Bro, that last match I saw them had with FTR — well, I actually saw them in a couple matches with FTR — were great. I mean, they were finally getting some money and some recognition after being lost in Ring of Honor and only the hardcores knowing about them.

I remember the first time Homicide introduced me to them. I had gotten to Ring of Honor ... I remember he was like one of the locker room leaders, and he introduced me to them as the Delaware Hillbillies. That's exactly what they were. And they were really nice guys, I loved them. Rest in peace, my brother. My condolences to your family. And what a tough loss, bro.

Yeah, for sure. Well, and Konnan, give our flowers while we can, how are you doing? I know that you've been dealing with a lot of health issues yourself recently.

Well, I need a kidney transplant. This will be my second one. And I was in really, really, really bad shape. Just lost 70 pounds, was weak and had no energy. And basically what had happened was, I had gone to Juarez, which is on the border of El Paso, Texas, and it was really cold, and I was crossing the border from Mexico to Texas. When I got to the very top, because it's a long bridge to get over, my body almost gave out and I ended up going to the hospital and they were kind of like, "Well, you can either go on dialysis," which I was trying not to do, "or your internal organs will start failing in a couple months."

And then, when I did dialysis, the doctor actually told me, he goes, "Bro, your body was getting full of toxins. You were poisoning yourself. Your kidney wasn't filtering what it needed to filter." And it had been accumulating for a long time. I needed iron, I was anemic. They put iron into me, they put phosphorus, they put all the minerals that I wasn't producing. And I just feel like a different person with energy, happy, eating, an appetite, I'm my old lovable, huggable, bitter self. Yes.

You're looking and moving and sounding great right now. That's kind of what I'm surprised by at the moment. It's the best I've heard you in a while, Konnan.

Yeah. I'm just waiting on a kidney donor and hopefully... We've had a couple people inquire. You know, you got to separate the curious from the serious. So whoever's out there and is willing to do it and is not overweight and isn't on drugs, hit me up.

Because you've had wrestling fans offer their kidneys to you, right?

Yeah. And they're still doing it. Yeah. You know who else offered it? Dominik and Aaliyah. Or shall I call him Prison Hard Dom?

Prison Dom And His Dad Rey

Before we get to some other topics, you bring up Prison Dom.

Yeah. Prison Hard Dom. Yeah, he was in jail. He was in jail for a whole day. Or a holding cell. Don't mess with him.

With the purple bandana.

Yeah.

And the button-down.

Yeah.

Should we call him Dom-Dogg? I mean, you were K-Dogg. Because he kinda dresses like you now.

You could. D-Dogg, you could, yeah.

Because he's got that Dom-Dogg energy right now.

Yeah, he does. He's killing it, bro. He's killing it.

How many weeks away are we from Dom coming out and just straight K-Dogg NWO style? Because I feel like we're pretty close to that right now.

Whenever he wants. He knows that it's all love, man. I love what they're doing with him. You know, he was kind of getting stale with Rey and they really like that. They started up the show on "Raw" with them and the Bloodline, which was really good. And everything they've given him to do, I think he's done to perfection, so I'm really happy for him.

So what about Rey?

Yeah. Well, Rey's got a great segment coming up with somebody that... [Karrion Kross is] very polarizing. A lot of people may not like him because they're into, "Everybody has to have great wrestling matches." And they don't understand, characters get over more than wrestling matches. I can tell you that as a booker. And this guy's a great character. I mean, he's a guy that I could see in Hollywood.

Sure.

So I think the verbiage we saw between them on "SmackDown" was really good, especially [because] Rey never cusses, and they had to bleep him out, because he said, "I'm tired of this bulls***." Originally, the line was, "I'm tired of this nonsense," which would've done him no favors and wouldn't have gotten a pop. But when he said bulls***, it got a pop. And on top of that, it gave it credence and more seriousness. And I think him and Kevin [Kross] are going to kill it. I worked a lot with Kevin in AAA, so I know what a hard worker he is, how ambitious he is, and Rey's just a perfectionist. And the great thing about Rey... And bro, believe me, not because he's my best friend and because Dominik's my godson, because when they mess up, I bury them too, okay?

I know you do.

Yeah. So at his age, you got to think about it. Right now, there's no Undertaker, there's no Shawn Michaels, there's no Chris Jericho. He's the living legend on that show right now. And at that age, he can still go toe-to-toe. I saw him not too long ago go toe-to-toe with Ricochet. It wasn't like Ricochet had to carry him ... No, bro. He goes out there and he does work, and I think him and Kevin are going to have some really good matches. And there already seems to be really good chemistry through them. So I'm happy because I've worked a lot with both.

Booking Alberto El Patron's Return To AAA

One of the big reasons I wanted to set up this interview with you was, there was the announcement today that Alberto El Patron, Alberto Del Rio, whatever you want to call him, is returning to AAA. Talk to me about the decision-making process that went in to bringing him back to the company.

Yeah, I don't think he's returning to AAA. I think what he's doing is, he's in this tournament that is for juniors, or kind of sons of wrestlers, because in Mexico, everybody's "hijo de, hijo de." "Hijo de" means son of, all right.

Sure.

Or "So-and-so Junior". Or "So-and-so the second." There's a lot of that. Obviously, he's the son of Dos Caras Jr., who, in Mexico, is a humongous legend. If we would've had the crossover we have now with American talent back in his day, he'd be a star in the United States. His dad was that good. And of course, he's the nephew of the legendary — one of my idols, one of the reasons that I loved wrestling — Mil Mascaras. And there's another guy called Sicodelico, which has one of the baddest looking mask I've ever seen. So he comes from wrestling royalty. So we'll do this roulette, which is just pure sons of wrestlers, and whoever loses, loses their mask or their hair. To get to the final match, you got to do two matches. So he'll be with us just for three matches, and I think the World Cup, and that's it, so far.

But it's still within AAA proximity, right? It's still AAA.

Right, right. He's still coming back to AAA, but he's not coming back full time. That's all I'm saying.

You understand that there's a lot of people that are really not fans of Del Rio, whatever you want to call him.

Right.

Because of the lawsuit that played out, or lawsuits that played out over in the States. Allegations made by Saraya, who is over in AEW right now.

Right.

A lot of fans really not happy about the fact that he's being reintroduced to a prominent pro wrestling promotion. 

I'm going to tell you this ... I'm a guy that has given a lot of guys, from X-Pac, The Halloween. He's a guy that had a lot of issues —

Are you comparing X-Pac to —

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not comparing. I'm saying I'm a guy that's given second and third chances to a lot of people because I've made mistakes, okay? So my question is, he never did any jail time for this, that I'm aware of. Did he?

I don't want to say no or yes because I'm not entirely certain if he spent any time in a jail or a prison.

Right. Neither am I, but I don't think so. And if it was, it wasn't a long time.

Editor's Note: José A. Rodriguez Chucuan (Alberto Del Rio/El Patron) was arrested on May 9th, 2020, and charged with a second-degree sexual assault felony. He was released from prison the following day after posting bail. In October 2020, Chucuan was formally indicted on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, but his trial was repeatedly delayed and the charges were dropped in December 2021.

Response To Fans Upset Over El Patron's AAA Return

I correlate him with Trump. I think a lot of the things that Trump did were impeachable, and he should have gone to jail or court or something. And he'd always gotten away with murder, right? I don't know if he did it or if he didn't do it. Now, I don't know what happened between him and Saraya, only they know. Obviously it wasn't anything good, because it was a bitter separation. But he's got to live, bro, with that stigma for the rest of his life. And I'll give you an example. He told me that he had to move from his neighborhood because the other parents' kids, they didn't want to play with his kids. Everywhere he goes... He was like a hero in Mexico. And he went from a hero to a zero.

Bro, you got to live with that, okay? Now, how long do I keep punishing him? He's been out of the business two or three years ... I spoke to him, and he's told me he's changed. He sent me pictures of him at Christmas. He knows that we're taking a big chance on him, and he's under a microscope and a magnifying glass at the same time. We're giving him another chance. Everybody deserves another chance, because I can guarantee you, all these virtue signalers, and all these guys that like to talk about how everybody should be nice and equal, they're the biggest bullies. How long should he pay? Because I know for sure, you've done something in the last few years that you'd be embarrassed if people found out about, and everybody else is okay, but we bully on this guy because he is a public figure.

I'm not his lawyer. I'm not here to defend him. I'm telling you what went into my reason to say, "Okay." Because I think he suffered enough. He wanted to commit suicide; so did Saraya. She came out in a porno tape. So how long do you... These people that have not gone to prison. Obviously, they're in the prison of public opinion, and obviously, he was under substance abuse. He no longer is, according to him. And he says he's a changed man. I say, let's give him a chance. If he f***s up, he'll never work with me again.

But you are making this choice to stand by this guy right now and book him and give him a platform. And there are people out there that are upset, you know?

Good. They can be upset, and they can be offended, and I don't care. I'm not here to please people that are just out there waiting to pounce on somebody, easily offended or virtue signaling, because my question would be the same thing I just told you. All those guys that are pointing a finger, I want to know if, in the last one to three years, you haven't done something that you regret, you're embarrassed about and if it came out, people would look at you different. But you're not a star, you're not in the public eye, so you can f*** up, you know what I'm saying?

Possible Backlash To El Patron Booking

As the person who's putting your name on this guy right now to say, "Hey, I'm going to give him a second chance." Do you worry about any financial backlash for AAA?

Like what?

Like people not buying the pay-per-views, people not buying tickets.

No, bro. No. Look, Michael Jackson supposedly raped some kids, right? I keep listening to his music. R. Kelly had some girls as a sex slave, I keep listening... Bro, I don't care about that s***. That's his personal s***. Has nothing to do with me. It really doesn't. I don't know when it became cool to get into other people's things and make it your own ... If we know for sure that, for example, he was raping little boys, anybody, and he's in jail? Of course I'm not going to work with somebody. But he was jailed for that.

A lot of times, and maybe you've never had this instance, but a lot of times, girls will push guy's triggers, and I'm not saying this happened here. It could have been all him. Girls push guys' buttons because they know it'll trigger them. Some people lose control. When I was in TNA, I'm not going to get into specifics, but everybody that was there during my time saw it. She would push his buttons and he would push her buttons. And when you have two intense alpha kind of personalities, combustible, mixed in with substance abuse, what do you think is going to happen?

Well, at the same time, do you believe that pro wrestling has been a bit of a boys club where there's a protective nature toward...

1000%. 1000%. And there's a lot... Bro, when they did the #MeToo movement, I didn't see any big names.

Do you worry or know that there are other big names in pro wrestling right now acting like that?

1000%. I don't worry because I'm not in that club. They should be worried. They've been very lucky that when #MeToo came around, they must have been like, "Oh s***, I just ducked a bullet." Because a lot of major names should have been involved.

Are you talking wrestlers or are you talking management figures?

Both.

Okay. So, are you concerned now that there are bad players in the pro wrestling community?

Yeah. They're still there, and there are still guys that ducked a bullet. And if they're smart, they'll never do it again, because they're onto them ... Look at the s*** that just happened not too long ago with Riddle.

Allegations Against El Patron

Right. And that's the concern here, I think, that a lot of people have, Konnan, is like, if you know there are bad actors or people that seem to be bad actors, and they're getting enabled, and they're getting paydays, and they're walking back into the community, would the community be better off without that bad energy, those bad actors, that behavior?

Of course. You make a valid point. My point is, how long do we punish them, and do you think people can change if they have a second chance? He hasn't really been with us in maybe three years, four years, I don't know the exact number of years, but it's been quite a few years. He's been kind of ostracized in the United States completely, to the point nobody's used him ... How long do we punish him for? Forever?

I don't think that's for you and I to decide, Konnan.

What has public opinion decided?

It's different for everybody. And that's why I say, while there are some that are willing to look past it, others are not.

Well, that's their problem ... He's none of my family, and again, I'm not here to defend him and I'm not his lawyer, okay? I'm just here to tell you what went into my decision because I'll keep it one hun.

Yeah.

But I can guarantee you, for all those people that are pointing fingers and saying, "Oh, he shouldn't be... We should never work with him, and we should cancel culture." I bet you if it was a family member of theirs, they'd want to be afforded the same courtesy I'm giving Alberto. I bet you that.

So do you believe the allegations that Saraya publicly made about the abuse, mental abuse, physical...

Yes.

You believe all of that about what he did, but you're saying that on the other side of that is a guy who has learned from that experience and grown from it?

That's what he's kind of convinced me to believe. And I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I know how much this means to him. He's embarrassed.

They were very serious...

Let me just say this. Okay, we'll get back to it in a minute. You know me, I evade no questions.

I know you don't.

Eddie Guerrero worshiped his dad like I wish I would've, okay? He was a God to him. He was a wrestler also. Considered by many in Mexico, one of the top five, maybe number one wrestler of all time. Dos Caras is one of the greatest wrestlers, and he's a guy that everybody respects. He's like a man's man. Bro, he worshiped his dad. Bro, he was embarrassed in front of his dad, embarrassed in front of his family. He's a very proud guy. Embarrassed in front of his country, embarrassed in front of his kids. It was very embarrassing for him. And I think, because it's happened to me, bro, when you hit rock bottom, you either don't learn and you stay there and you get worse, or you learn and you grow ...

I've had long conversation with him and told him how he's f***ed up. And he has never denied any of it. And that's one of the things. When somebody is in denial, you can't work with that person. And he understands, and he just wants another chance, and I'm willing to give it to him. If he f***s up, he knows what's up.

Vince McMahon's Return To WWE

Vince McMahon is now 100 percent back in charge of WWE. Took over the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. How do you feel about Vince coming back into power at WWE, and do you think it's good or bad for the business as a whole?

I don't think it's bad, because much like Dana White, he's another guy that just slapped his wife and his wife said, "Hey, we've been together for 30 years since we were teenagers, and he's never done this."

To me, they should have done something to him. They should have fined him. They should have suspended him, they should have done something, but they didn't. And he's got to live with this embarrassment. But the reason I brought up Dana is because to me, Endeavor did something very smart, which Apple did when they brought Steven Jobs back,[which] was, "Here's the face of the company, which everybody knows and trust." They did that with Colonel Sanders after he sold Kentucky Fried Chicken. "Here's a guy you know and he's built credibility with you, so we're going to bring them back, the spokesman of the company." That's what they did with Dana.

Sure.

Which, I still think they should have suspended him for slapping his wife or done something. They did nothing, okay? And I think bringing Vince is good, because everybody knows Vince. So when he goes into a meeting in USA Network, he's going to get a better deal than anybody else, because he's Vince, and because he is a master negotiator. Now I've heard Nick Khan is really good, but he's not Vince, right? So I think that's good. At the end of the day, he's not Vince. He's very smart, he's done a lot of cool, smart s***, and I've seen interviews with him, he seems like a sharp guy. But when somebody says, "Hey, I have Nick Khan waiting in the office, and I have Vince McMahon," It's Vince McMahon.

But people were really kind of rallying behind Hunter as the new...

I think as the face of the company, he benefits them. He should not come near or touch creative. I think Hunter's done a great job, except for one thing. I think all these "NXT" people that he really likes and were easy to work with, and they got over in "NXT", like Candace LeRae, like Michin or whatever her name is, like Damage CTRL, Gargano, like none of those people have really gotten over on the main roster. And I don't think they want to admit it. None of those acts are really working. That's the only mistake I would give Hunter. But other than that, I think he's done a great job. And he should stay the creative guy, and Vince should leave him alone and let him do his s***. He had his time. He had 40 years or 30 years running it. Let somebody else that got the more pulse of the boys. I talked to the boys, you know, I got a lot of friends there besides Dom and Rey, and they all tell me how much better it is working with Hunter.

Playing The Game With WWE And Marvel

The reason I want to bring up Hunter is because Hunter's tried to do things differently with the company. We've seen him open the bridge with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, he's the one who negotiated all the UK stuff. Has there ever been any conversations between you and Hunter about doing anything with AAA in any capacity?

No. I've never talked to Hunter personally, but through other channels. There's been an interest in doing something. Now, this is very telling. For around, I'm not kidding, 15 years plus, I would ask Rey, almost like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football every year, I would ask Rey to ask Vince if he could send a promo for our TripleMania show, or show up. And the answer was always "no." And this last year, which was a special year, 30 years, and I was getting an award in Tijuana, the promotion that discovered Rey in the city that he first trained, in the city where he lives and represents, for the guy that's his best friend, and the answer was still "no." And I was like, "Motherf***er, how does this, in any way, hurt you?"

And he only asked Hunter once. Hunter said "yes." He sent the video to open up TripleMania this year, and bro, it was a humongous pop. The second thing, Hunter sent a Spanish digital crew and film cameras to record when Dragon Lee, which is Rush's brother, who's a hell of a talent, he's going to kill it in "NXT." When Dragon Lee announced that he was going to WWE, that had never been done before. Hunter gets it, he gets that you got to play with others and have relationships, where Vince was like an island unto himself and didn't play well with others.

Let's talk about the Marvel relationship.

Right.

What's going on here with AAA and Marvel?

So we've been working with Marvel for around two years, and it's been really great because they're the best, the most creative professionals on Earth, really. And so, sitting in on these creative meetings — where not only do they take some of my ideas, I learn from them, which makes me a stronger writer and producer — has been incredible. This is an experiment. They've never done anything with lucha. We've actually never done nothing with Marvel, which is weird because lucha fits into their world. The masked superheroes. We first started off... This was where we knew if they were going to like us or not. They originally had 14 characters in mind, just so you know. These characters are part of the Marvel Universe, which means they could show up in a movie, or somebody from a movie could show up on their Disney Plus show that they're going to come out with.

So they're now in their universe, which is cool. So they're all Marvel characters, and there's 14 of them. We started off with around four, and then we added two and then another two. Now we've gotten to 14, which means they're all in. It also means they're all in because they're going to be doing a show on Disney Plus. The other thing is, these guys are only going to wrestle each other in their universe. So the 14 characters always wrestle each other. Nobody from AAA can wrestle them, okay? So it's still an experiment ... We've never done this before, but if this is a success, I'll be very proud to be part of something from the embryonic stages that worked out.

El Patron's Possible Effect On AAA Ties

I'm going to wrap this up by pointing out the very positive Marvel stuff, the Disney stuff, the WWE stuff, and bring it back to... You brought Del Rio back into that realm.

Right.

I mean, that's the thing that I think is a little mind-boggling to me, Konnan, is, this seems like something that is going to bring nothing but negative attention to you right now, at a time where the company is seeing such positivity, such momentum, such ability to cross-promote. I'm just really... I'm a little surprised by it.

Well, it is what it is. I don't mind. At the end of the day, like I said, our fans aren't as sensitive. I know I'm never going to make everybody happy. It's a controversial decision and I stand by it. And if they don't want to watch a product because of something that he did, that really has nothing to do with them, that's not really on me, that's on them. I don't think we're going to lose a lot of fans over this ... I'm going to ask you one more time.

You keep questioning me. I'm going to stop answering these questions.

You're kind of talking for the public. You're talking for the people that aren't here to speak for themselves.

Sure.

How long should we punish him for?

That's not our decision to make, Konnan.

Whose is it?

It's an individual's decision to make ... Tons and tons of individuals who are making their own decisions right now, and you can't paint a broad brush and just say, "He's done this amount of time. He hasn't done... I've decided... He has decided..." You're dealing with a lot of people, and it's not public opinion, it's individual opinion. And you're dealing with individuals.

Final Thoughts

So individuals... I'm going to say this. I'm going to say this.

Okay.

I've been in this business over 30 years, you know all the contributions I've made. So from a creative standpoint, I think I've contributed a lot to this business, both in Mexico and the United States. And even changed the face of American wrestling that's become more lucha-centric as the years go by. Having said that, you don't know how many concussions I've had, how many fractured bones, dislocated shoulder. I've lost my kidney because a ladder fell on it ... I've given everything to this business. I'm the last person that would hurt this business. If you don't think that I love this business and if I have no credibility with you, that's really on you. I don't worry about other people. I got to do what I got to do. I got to do the best business.

Right now we made a business decision, and Alberto works for us, and I think he's... Bro, he will never, ever get away from the stain and the stench of what he did. Bro, that's bad enough. That's a bad enough punishment. So I stand by my decision. If somebody's offended, I sleep cool. If somebody's pissed off, that's on them. If somebody doesn't want to talk to me because I'm using him — which I think is stupid, because you're talking to me right now — I think that's dumb because it has nothing to do with them. Has nothing, really, to do with me. I really don't think so, you know. You may think I'm wrong, but I don't think it really has... Whatever he did with Saraya, or whatever happened with him and the other girl in...

With the other woman that was in the...

Yeah, in Texas, right. That's their problem. He was not incarcerated for this. And even if he was incarcerated, after a while... MVP was incarcerated nine years for robbing a cruise ship, some money on a cruise ship. He paid his due, bro. This guy's still paying it. So I'm willing to give him a second chance like I've given many people. We could go down a long list of names.

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