AEW performer Luchasaurus, whose real name is Austin Matelson, spoke with Chris Van Vliet about his career in and outside of pro-wrestling. One of the main talking points throughout his interview was how his outlandish the Luchasaurus character came to be. Speaking on the characteristics of Luchasaurus, Matelson said there are elements of the dinosaur species crossed over with human traits.
"Luchasaurus character is a very sarcastic guy," Matelson said. "He's so out there. He thinks he's 65 million years old. We haven't really broached how crazy we're gonna take this character's backstory. As of right now, I like to say that. I also like to say I'm two tons plus Jungle Boy when they announce my combined weight."
Matelson admitted the Luchasaurus character didn't stem directly from his own mind. Matelson stated the origins of Luchasaurus started from Dusty Rhodes while the two worked together during his time in NXT. Matelson said Rhodes saw potential in him early on with his unique look and his history of education.
"It didn't come from my brain exactly," Matelson said. "It just kind of molded over time organically and I think that's why it works. When I was in developmental in WWE, I was working with Dusty Rhodes. He was one of the few guys that really believed in me because he saw this weird guy that had this Master's degree have an interesting look. He didn't know how to place it. He knew there was something like this Luchasaurus in his head and we just couldn't put our finger on it and every week we'd try something."
Before signing with AEW, Matelson was working in Lucha Underground. It was during the Lucha Underground phase where the physical appearance of Luchasaurus, along with a connection with the audience, began to take shape.
"When I got to Lucha Underground on the day I started, they were like here we got this character with a giant snake and helmet mask," Matelson said. "Before I went out there, I ask them to cut my hair out. So we started to cut it up a little bit and then when I went out there the crowd just started chanting something to me. I thought they were making fun of me ... I got to the back and they're like 'dude, they were chanting Luchasaurus. I don't know why but that's pretty cool. You should just run with it on the indies because you're trying to resurrect your career. I was like 'you know what, I'm just gonna do that. It's crazy and it made me think of Dusty right away because he wanted me to do something like that but I was like I'm not gonna talk like I'm a dinosaur grunting. I'm just gonna be myself with the Master's degree but now I have a mask so all those rough edges are kind of smoothed out because I have some crazy character that lets me really just be myself. So it's almost like an ode to Dusty for me. I just started to run with it but it was hard at first because everyone looks at it as this is just some stupid gimmick, this must be some guy from the middle of Mexico that just walks around and is really big so it took me a while to kind of knock down the doors and have people give me opportunities and let me create the characters throughout my indie career."
Prior to wrestling under the marquee of a major promotion, Matelson said it was a friend that got him to first attend an actual wrestling school. It was at the wrestling school where Matelson met his now AEW in-ring partner Jungle Boy.
"I was at the gym and a friend of mine said, 'Hey, my friend does a wrestling school.'," Matelson said. "This guy named Ric Drasin, who's like a bodybuilder wrestler in the 80s and it was right by my house. He was just like, 'You should just go and check it out. we're always talking wrestling in here.' So I went and checked it out and it looked cool and that's where I met Jungle Boy. This is 2009 when he was a little kid. We started like the same week.
"[Teaming with Jungle Boy] happened at Bar Wrestling for Joey Ryan," Matelson said. "Joey said, 'Hey, I want to put you and Jungle Boy together as a team because I was trying to get Jungle Boy there to wrestle.' Then I was like, 'Wait a minute you're right, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy sounds like a good combo.' So he put us together as a team and we came out to the ring and I said, 'Why don't you come out on my shoulder and let's do something together.'"
Matelson admitted the full circle moment came to fruition when Cody reached out to him about signing with AEW. After all, it was Cody's father Dusty Rhodes who kicked started Matleson's now popular character.
"Originally, it was Cody," Matelson said of AEW contacting him about signing. "Cody reached out to me. I had a discussion with The Young Bucks at Bar Wrestling and then the next thing you know I have Cody reaching out to me on my messages saying, 'Hey man, are you signed with anyone else?' They thought I was signed with Ring Of Honor. I never signed with them. I did some matches but we never got to contract negotiations and I was probably just gonna keep coming back here and there. I was like, 'No, I'm not signed.' [Cody said], 'Well, we want to bring you into Double or Nothing and don't sign anywhere else.' It was really cool that Cody reached out like that because I felt like this character was kind of his dad's idea for me somehow that we never got to so it was like a special moment for me."
Malelson appeared at AEW Fyter Fest last weekend to accompany Jungle Boy to his Four-Way match. Matelson was also featured on CBS television series Big Brother.