When MJF joined AEW full-time earlier this year, that left an opening in MLW’s The Dynasty. Gino Medina eventually joined the group alongside Alexander Hammerstone and Richard Holliday.
But Medina doesn’t see himself as just MJF’s replacement and he talked about that when he joined Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“It’s kinda funny because I do get a lot of people thinking I’m here to take his spot or fill that void but that’s not what it is. I feel that I’m here to make my own spot,” said Medina. “Everybody’s always trying to be the next Eddie or Shawn Michaels or this guy or that guy. But me, I’m just trying to be the next Gino, man.”
Medina is a generational talent as his father was also a Mexican wrestler known as El Sanguinario. He talked about being a part of the famous lineage but also trying to stand out from other famous Mexican wrestlers.
“Yesterday I was talking to somebody about this and [laughs] I’m kinda sick of, ‘Oh, that guy’s Mexican. Let’s compare him to Eddie Guerrero. Or that guy’s Mexican, let’s compare him to Rey Mysterio.’ I feel that comparing us puts us in a little bubble where we could be a lot more than that,” stated Medina. “They’re even comparing [Angel] Garza right now to Eddie Guerrero but nobody could be Eddie Guerrero. There was only one Eddie Guerrero and I feel like it’s gonna be like that for a while. Hopefully Garza can make his own path and maybe be better than Eddie Guerrero. Maybe I can do that as well. Same for Andrade. Same for Kalisto and all of these other Hispanic wrestlers out there right now.”
Medina trained in both Mexico and Texas prior to reaching MLW and he talked about working with Booker T at his Houston wrestling school, Reality of Wrestling.
“I started back in Mexico with my lucha libre roots. I started training in Texas as well, lucha libre as well, with one of my dad’s friends and I linked up with him in Texas. He said, ‘Hey, I heard you’re wanting to wrestle’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, that’s all I’ve been wanting to do since I was a kid and actually wrestle and not just have an exhibition match.’ It just kicked off from there and I used to wrestle under a hood for probably like two years,” said Medina.
“Eventually Booker T was looking for a luchador and one of the guys with Booker knew about me and knew how interested I was ? and not just in lucha libre but wrestling as a whole. He said, ‘Hey, there’s this kid who wants to get into American-style wrestling’ and they called me and asked if I could wrestle that night. I said, ‘Yeah of course. Of Booker T wants me to wrestle then of course.’ So I went to a show, I wrestled and Booker gave me some feedback and said I should come back.”
After the match Booker asked how old he was and Medina lied to him by saying he was 17, he was really 16. He thought if Booker knew he was 16 he would think he was too young to train. Medina also said that Booker told him he would use him but only if he took his mask off.
“He goes, ‘You’re a good-looking kid. You’ve gotta take that mask off’ and I was like, ‘Alright, cool.’ That’s where the whole Latin Heartthrob came about,” revealed Medina. “He gave me that boost of, ‘Hey kid, take that mask off and you’ll make some money without that.’ Booker’s been very supportive ever since and he legit told me on the first day, ‘Hey kid, when you’re about 21 I’m gonna get you a tryout.’ And when I turned 21, he got me a tryout and I went out there and killed it. I thought it was cool he said that back then and he gave me that chance to test my skills.
Medina said Booker’s encouragement at 16 motivated him to work on his skills and it allowed him to stay sharp and stay in shape until he turned 21. At that age Medina did get a WWE tryout and he talked about why he didn’t sign with them.
“I went there and I don’t know how to say this in a nice way, but they play with you a lot. ‘Yeah we like you but we can’t say yes or no right now’ and it was a whole lot of that. For me, I wanted to go there at 21 and test my skills and see what they think of me. I got positive feedback and they said I had one of the best matches of the tryout which was pretty cool they were saying that,” stated Medina. “‘Booker T loves you and he recommended you highly’ and I was like, ‘Ok, cool.’ Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but it’s not too unfortunate because I was 21-22 and I feel like I was too young. I feel like if I was there then I would be chilling at the Performance Center and not doing anything. I’d rather go out and do what I’m doing right now. I’m at MLW now and that’s been a lot of fun.
“If I ever do make it there or AEW, I feel like I wanna be ready for those opportunities. Right now I feel pretty confident but back then I was still finding myself and who I really was. Now I’ve got it pretty figured out but I still wanna help MLW as much as I can.
“We’ve got Hammerstone and Holliday and what not. I feel we’ve got a good group of guys and I feel like we can make MLW as big as WWE or AEW. We can compete with them and we’ve got a great roster. We’ve got Holliday, Hammerstone, Fatu, a bunch of guys that can compete with a lot of the top companies. I feel like we’re just as good. I watch Impact and ROH and all of these other companies and MLW keeps up with all of these guys. I feel like our roster can compete with any other roster out there.”
Gino Medina can be seen every week as part of MLW on BeIN Sports and DAZN. For more information please visit MLW.com. Gino’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.