In an appearance on Insight With Chris Van Vliet, recently released WWE star Kalisto talked about coming back from injury and COVID in 2020. After missing eight months, Kalisto wanted to come back in the best shape of his career and detailed how his new physique caught the eye of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
“So coming back, that was my major goal,” Kalisto said. “I got hurt in 2019 and I got COVID, I was out for about 8 months. I did my own therapy, my own fitness and workouts. I started going to the Performance Center here and there. My main focus was ‘when I come back, all eyes are on me. Not only are they going to see my new look, they are going to see my new body.’ That is exactly what happened. When I went to talk to Vince, I decided to show up at The Amway Center. I had a shirt on that said ‘impossible.’ I wondered if he got it. So the shirt was covered so he didn’t know I was ripped. We (Luchaa House Party) did a segment and I go back and they are in a meeting. I think it was Shane, Vince. I kid you not, I turn around and say ‘hey Vince how are you doing?’ He goes ‘goddammit pal! You’re f*cking ripped!’ Man that was awesome. I looked at myself and said ‘this is my I don’t give a f*ck body, thank you boss.'”
Kalisto also discussed his mental health struggles while in WWE. He came to the realization that he wasn’t happy while being injured and realizing he was focusing on making other people happy over himself.
“Me being injured, I thought about so much,” Kalisto said. “When I was driving and I was in a bad place, I thought about driving off tracks sometimes. Because no matter what I did, I couldn’t do anything to make people happy. Then I realized I was not happy. I had to change and stop thinking about what people think about me. I had to think about myself, and I have never done that. I’ve always been nice, always done everything right. I worked so hard, Vince even said I am a hard worker. We always had a good relationship, I just wished we talked more. We just never got that chance, that’s one of my biggest regrets.”
Later Van Vliet asked Kalisto what his favorite moment while working for WWE was. After taking a moment, Kalisto recalled a moment where he faced off with another luchador during the WWE Royal Rumble.
“Man it’s hard to say,” Kalisto said. “My favorite moment throughout my whole career in WWE was that one minute where I had the faceoff with Rey at the Royal Rumble. I never stepped in the ring with Rey. My whole life and my whole career I have been compared to Rey Mysterio, which is great, it’s awesome. But I am my own person. I want to create my own legacy.”
Kalisto was also asked about John Cena, and more particularly the times he adopted the lucha libre based character Juan Cena. Kalisto found it to be a good idea, and described Cena as a cool person who was easy to approach.
“It was cool and it was interesting,” Kalisto said. “Me, Lince and Metalik got together and were like ‘he (John) has a mask, he is Juan Cena.’ Lince, Metalik and I went to talk to him and he was like ‘what do you think?’ We were like ‘it’s cool.’ So he went ‘OK, I will bring it next week.’ He brought it and he was like ‘si cabrones [yeah f*ckers]. Lu-cha Lu-cha.’ I’m like ‘alright this is so dope man.’ I love the fact that John never says no. He will sit down if you have a question, he is always willing to give you time. It’s a whole different world to how it was when I first got there. I was feuding with Alberto Del Rio when I first got there. I was picking John’s brain a lot. He gave me such great advice on how to hear the crowd, how to control the crowd, so many good techniques and advice. He is a great person to talk to, he is so cool. I wish I could have talked to him more.”
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of Kalisto’s WWE run was when he defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the WWE US Championship on January 11, 2016. Kalisto described the first of his two US title victories as one that came out of nowhere, and that it wasn’t until after he won it that the moment really sank in.”
“It didn’t hit me until I got in the back,” Kalisto said. “2 weeks before that, Sin Cara got hurt. We were supposed to be in a tag team feud with The New Day. Sin Cara did a dive onto Big E and he hurt his shoulder. I’m like ‘oh great, what’s going to happen now?’ The following week I went to Vince’s office to the first time, I’m like f*ck it. I had a great conversation with him. I called him boss or ‘hey sir.’ He’s like ‘you have a lot of potential, you’re going to go far.’ I was going to talk to him next week but the writers were like ‘you are in a program with John Cena.’ I’m like ‘okay cool.’ Then its ‘you are in a match with Del Rio for the title.’ I’m thinking ‘how is he going to win?’ But the professional that I am, you throw something at me, I will put on a show. When that the title win happened, they told me the finish right before I went out there. Del Rio helped me so much. We went at it, and when I won, I’m in the back and I start tearing up. I’m in the back and it started hitting me when Del Rio in front of Vince and me said ‘you see this kid. This kid is ready. You need to do something with him.'”
You can watch the full interview below.