Former FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion and SmackDown star Eric Escobar was the latest guest on the Pancakes and Powerslams Show. Escobar was a mainstay in FCW before getting called up to the SmackDown roster in late-2009 and being inserted into an immediate heel push aligning himself with Vickie Guerrero. However, Creative decided to halt his push, and he was released in January of 2010. Here are some highlights of the interview:
Creative poorly booking midcard wrestlers:
“[Zack Ryder] got over by himself. They [were] giving him a little bit, and then he went out there and got over huge. What happened? Why doesn’t he get the ball? Or, at least, they give him the ball and they take it away right away. I don’t think it’s fair. You have an amazing worker like Dolph Ziggler. What’s wrong? Why isn’t he a main event guy right now? Even another guy like Heath Slater. I’ve always been a big fan of his work. I remember when he first got hired in Deep South [Wrestling], and I worked with him a ton back in FCW. Why aren’t you pushing these guys and you’re trying to push the same guys over and over again? If it doesn’t work with this guy, try another guy.”
Sheamus being difficult to work with:
“He always wanted to be the dominant big guy. If I stand next to you, we’re basically the same size, so there’s no big guy/little guy situation going on here. When he got in the mindset that he was big guy and I was little guy, he got a little bit more hesitant about a few things in the match. Before I started working a program with him, I had a couple of guys approach me [and said] that he was getting a little bit too stiff with them. As a joke, Fandango started calling me Uncle Perez, because he said that I was like the Bull Durham of developmental because I was there so long. Some of the guys would approach me and say, hey, I need your help. I’m like, what’s going on? They’d say, can you talk to the office? I’d say, for what? You can talk to the office. You can talk to Dusty [Rhodes] or Tom [Prichard], I don’t care. [They’d say], I’m working Sheamus, and he’s a bit stiff. He keeps hitting me a little too hard. I’m like, you know, tell him to ease up! Pop him back! He’ll understand what’s going on! [They’d say], well, I’m fairly new here, and I just don’t wanna ruffle any feathers. I’m like, so you want me to ruffle the feathers for you? Is that what it is?
“When I got into the program with Sheamus, I do remember one time we were working, and he popped me a couple of times. I always give the guys a ‘three strike rule.’ So he pops me one, and I go, okay – one. He pops me twice – two. He pops he three times – okay, my turn. So, after I popped him back, I left my hands stamped on his back for like a week. I think after that, we had no more problems. He wasn’t stiff or anything.”
His failed push on SmackDown:
“To be honest, I don’t understand if I did anything wrong when I got released. John Laurinaitis, he didn’t say exactly why, they just said the only thing they had for me was to job me out. I’m like, why? From getting called up to beating Matt Hardy to be on the PPV, and having the biggest heel (Vickie Guerrero) by my side, I was on cloud 9. Wow, this is amazing. But, to be completely honest, when I got hired after a bit, there was someone very close to the head honchos, or someone up there did not like me. I came to that conclusion after one of the creative would call me and say, “Hey. We have you penciled in for this.” A few weeks later, boom. Nothing. “Oh, we have you penciled in for that.” Boom, nothing. Then I started to get conflicted reports, like they’ll put me over and say this guy’s ready, but feedback from the office [would be different]. I’m like, who’s saying this? There’s only one trainer here! Who’s crapping on me? What did I do? So I knew right then and there that somebody had it out for me. Someone was gunning for my head. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but I kept to it until [I got released].
When he plans to retire:
“I’ll probably say like a year, year and a half. After fulfilling my [current] commitments, I’ll hang up my boots and focus on acting.”
Escobar also discussed the Ryback situation, why the SmackDown Bragging Rights 2009 team was switched, the one thing he regrets in his wrestling career, and more. You can listen to the full episode by clicking here.