Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with MLW’s Konnan on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where they discussed ACH recently falling short in his title challenge against Jacob Fatu. Konnan gave his thoughts on why he thinks MLW did not put the title on ACH.
“I love ACH. That’s my boy,” Konnan expressed. “We worked a lot together, very talented guy, and I was happy when he was in MLW, but I don’t know. I don’t know where he is mentally and if he (Court Bauer) wants to give the title to someone that has mental issues who one day may disappear.
“Look at what happened to Kylie Rae, and I like her a lot. She was going to win the title that night (at Impact). I have mental health issues, but my mental health issues haven’t gotten me to the point where I don’t show up for work. Mauro Ranallo, who’s my boy, I saw his special on Showtime.
“The guy was breaking down and crying and not going to work. How bad is it? I haven’t had it that bad, but ACH actually left the business once or twice. I don’t know if that’s somebody you’re sure right now if you want to give the belt to, and I may be speaking out of line here.”
On the topic of mental health, Hausman asked Konnan how MLW approaches mental health issues internally. Konnan said that MLW is very understanding, and MLW owner Court Bauer does his best to help out talent when they need it.
“They’re very understanding,” Konnan noted. “I think MSL, who works there, he’s probably gone through some of those issues himself because I’ve talked to him about that. Court’s very empathetic to the talent, and he always has really good relationships.
“And if he finds out that somebody needs help, he’ll go there, and he’ll give them a pep talk. He’s very understanding that way, that’s who I like working for, but of course it’s hard. It’s something that you have to deal with daily.”
Konnan then compared the wrestling locker rooms of the past to his experience in the military. He said the mentality to “weed out the weak” is similar in both environments as well as the atmosphere of bullying and hazing.
“You got to remember Nick, for so many years since I got into the business and we’re already talking 30 years at this point, the business, not just here but in Mexico and just about everywhere, Puerto Rico too, they’ve always fostered an atmosphere of bullying, and hazing and cutting out the weak,” Konnan explained, “It almost reminds me of when I was in the military, and I went to boot camp.
“And the boot camp, they were separating the curious from the serious. ‘We ain’t here to F around. We may have to go to war, and if your dumb ass is afraid or is going through s**t, I don’t need you by my side.’ That was a mentality. I had a lot of disciplinary problems to the point that I almost got dishonorably discharged, but I stayed in there, and it’s very hard because even the the soldiers themselves, they weed out the weak.
“And I almost felt that it was that way in wrestling. ‘We don’t want,’ back then what they would call ‘pu**ies’ in the industry. ‘We don’t want nobody that can’t take a joke or go out and drink and womanize.’ That was the mentality.”
Konnan also compared today’s wrestling to back then noting that almost anyone can break into the industry now. He noted the downside of that being people coming in with a lack of proper training. However, the plus side is the increase of diversity from minority groups that did not see many opportunities.
“You also went into the dressing room, and I might have spoken to this to you about this before, but imagine this, in my mind, I’m walking into the dressing rooms in the late ’80s – early ’90s,” Konnan described. “Just about any dressing room and it was all veterans. It was all guys that had been in the business for 10 years, and finally, the big company said, ‘You’re ready.’ You’ve been in long enough, but now, anybody, and I do mean literally anybody, can be an announcer, a commentator, a wrestler, a manager [and] a promoter.
“It’s so easy to get into the business now. So you’ve got a lot of people that are hastily trained. Before, in Mexico, when I broke in, I was very lucky because I was kind of an anomaly, but you had to be in wrestling training for about four years, and you had to go in front of these veterans, old school veterans.
“And they had to say, ‘Okay, you’re going to get a wrestling license.’ Compare that to now, which everybody gets in and then the good part and the bad part about that is you have a wider net to collect talent and a lot of that talent that wasn’t given chances before. And let’s be real, a lot of African-Americans, a lot of minorities, Latinos, women, short guys [and] thinner guys. A lot of those people were not given opportunities. Now they are.”
Konnan continued with his critique of the hastily trained talent of today. He pointed out that the indie style has now reached the main event scene and critiqued how many heel talents seek applause from the fans rather than try to get heat.
“So now you have that talent that you can pick from, but then you also have a lot of what I call semi-professional talent,” Konnan said. “All this talent that came off the indies that wasn’t trained correctly because they need — it’s like the Wild Wild West. They show up late. They don’t want to do finishes. It’s f**king brutal.
“They’re just trying to get applause from the fans whether their heels or faces. If you’re a heel, why are you trying to get applause from the fans? You’re supposed to be getting heat. You’ve got this indie style that now permeates the main events because everybody’s coming from the indies untrained.”
That led Konnan to recall his favorite wrestler growing up Chavo Guerrero Sr. He recalled Guerrero telling him that you needed 10 years to truly learn the business.
“Chavo Guerrero, Eddie’s brother, who is my idol when I was a kid because when I was watching TV, there weren’t a lot of Latinos in wrestling that were putting it down,” Konnan noted. “They were mostly jobbers, and Chavo was a star in LA. And I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s so cool.’ He used to do this thing called the MexPlex, which I thought was a great name, and nobody was doing that back then. He was out of this world.
“He could cut promos. He was a great wrestler. And I remember the first time I met him, and this was me marking out, like, ‘Wow! Chavo Guerrero.’ And he told me, ‘It takes about 10 years to learn this business.’ I’ve been in the business, at that point, four years, and I thought I knew it all. ‘You must be a slow learner. I kind of know it all.’ He was right. It takes you about 10 years of learning just like being a stand-up comedian. You talk to a stand-up comedian and ask them how long did it take him to really hone their s**t. About 10 years.
“Obviously, there’s anomalies to everything, but it takes a while to learn this. How to sell, how to work the crowd, how to hit and it look credible [and] how to hit somebody without hurting them. Now, it’s f**king the whole match’s scripted. Before it was just a couple things. That’s why it looks so organic because only a couple things were choreographed, but now everything is mostly choreographed, and that’s how it looks.”
Hausman then asked Konnan if he sees the bullying culture of wrestling locker rooms fading away. He said it does and talked about how unnecessary that culture is as well as how everyone’s more friendly to each other nowadays.
“I do see that fading away, and that’s good. It’s not necessary,” Konnan stated. “It was not necessary. A lot of sophomoric stuff. A lot of the top guys looking down at the talent underneath. It’s really changed. It’s different, and it’s kind of funny because I didn’t read it, but I just saw the headline. And it said ‘Big Show said today’s talent is too nice.’ I kind of agree with that, and you see it in basketball.
“I’ll give you an example. There is no way somebody from the Boston Celtics would have helped somebody from the Philadelphia 76ers up from the floor or would have hugged them after a match. There was heat, and I kind of like that. I like heat between my teams. I like a little animosity. I like a little competition but without it getting over board, having to drive people out of the dressing room because you’re hazing them so bad, but it’s changed.
“Everybody’s friendly. Everybody’s happy now. Everybody’s happy to be working together, and it’s very different. It’s not as bad as it used to be. Still needs a lot of fixing but it’s not a bad as it used to be.”
Konnan can be seen every Wednesday night as part of MLW Fusion on MLW.com. Konnan’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. You can find the full interview in both video and audio form below: