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" The Gravel Pit "
Konnan Shoot Interview
Posted by Brandon Truitt on Apr 7, 2003, 20:45
This is slightly late because the weather sucks where I'm at right now and I had some problems with my 'net connection as a result. I'm going to skip a lot of what I'd normally do in a foreward as a result.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Konnan Shoot Interview (2000)
We open with a Konnan and Jake “The Snake” Roberts promo which breaks down into a brawl. Next is a few clips from Sandman vs. Konnan in ECW, Konnan vs. Perro Aguayo in a cage match from AAA: When Worlds Collide, and a random tag match where Konnan whips everyone’s ass.
How did he get into the business? He grew up watching Florida Championship Wrestling when he was a kid then watched the WWF in its prime. He ended up getting into a fight with a guy in San Diego later and handled himself well, so he was approached by a wrestler about entering the business. He ended up being brought to train with Rey Misterio Sr. (who is actually Rey Misterio Jr.’s uncle and not his father), and the guy told the trainers that Konnan thought wrestling was fake. He said that he did at the time and figured that he could just whip someone’s ass if they tried anything on him. They ended up beating the shit out of him and gave him a concussion, but was the only one of the students who started that day to ever become a wrestler.
Who trained him? Rey Sr., Super Astros, Negro Casas, Eddy Guerrero.
Who was in his class? Rey Misterio Jr., Psicosis, Halloween, Damien, etc.
Who was the standout guy in the class? Rey Misterio Jr. and Psicosis, as they were MUCH better than himself.
Before he goes on to anything else, he says to find tapes of Thunderbird and Cardinal. He says they had an influence on both Rey and Psicosis.
John Roberts- The guy who saw him get into that fight and then got him into the business.
Initial impressions Lucha style- It was very foreign to him, as he wasn’t used to the masks, the three-fall matches, the blood, the crowd heat, etc. He says that it’s a byproduct of Mexico’s love of violence, which is greater than that of the United States, something he finds ironic considering the bloody history of the US.
Learning under Super Astros and Negro Casas- He puts them over for being great teachers. He says both Casas and Eddy Guerrero don’t get the credit they deserve. Negro Casas looked like crap when he finally got to the WWF (Royal Rumble 1997) because he was working with old guys who had trouble going, while Konnan had brought Rey, Psicosis, and other exciting wrestlers with him to WCW. Casas brought crap guys with him because Konnan had left AAA and taken a lot of guys with him to start his newest promotion, and things got worse because the WWF didn’t know how to use the guys and let Victor Quinones take care of it. Apparently, Quinones knows a lot about Japanese wrestling but not much about Mexican wrestling. Quinones actually came up to him and asked him who to send to the WWF, and one of the guys he suggested was Aguila (Papi Chulo, Essa Rios). Aguila is a good wrestler but needed to be introduced in a way similar to Rey in WCW, as he was programmed with ring general Dean Malenko. People in the WCW locker room were laughing at Rey when he came in but he quickly made his mark. The match Rey had with Malenko (the PPV one at Great American Bash 1996, I think) was the only time he ever remembers the entire WCW locker room applauding two guys after a match. He also puts over the mask vs. title match between Rey and Eddy Guerrero at Halloween Havoc 1997.
Promotions he’s worked for- Eugene Mora’s promotion, Red Bastien’s promotion, Stampede, and in Juarez, Mexico, where he made his name. His first big feud in Juarez was with El Kineck (spelling incorrect, I’m sure). I don’t know much about any Mexican promotion but AAA, so I’ll skip this part.
Moving over to EMLL- He got sick of Kineck holding him back, something that happened a lot to him, so he moved on. Konnan was compared favorably to The Ultimate Warrior at that time because of how quickly he got over and how over he was. He then starts talking about the Clique of the Juarez promotion and how it was six guys who would only lose to each other, which sounds very familiar. He went to Monterey, Mexico, which was about 150 miles from San Antonio, Texas, and it had a very Americanized style as a result of it. They would work about 3-4 days a week and do multiple shots in a day because the villages they’d work at were only 50 miles away and, since the highway system sucked, they’d be flying around from place to place. He says that a place that’s 50 miles away in Mexico is like a place that’s 150 miles away in the US. Eventually, the son of EMLL’s owner saw Konnan and decided to bring him in.
EMLL- One of the best times of his careers. It was the first time in 30 years that wrestling had been on regular TV, so a wrestling boom resulted. Their popularity went through the roof and they were instant celebrities. Guys like himself, Vampiro, Octagon, Art Barr, etc. all became legends overnight.
Solomon Grundy- This was the name that Haystacks Calhoun (Loch Ness from the Dungeon of Doom) used when working in Mexico. He heard that someone in one of the promotions got jealous of Calhoun and put Immigration on his ass about working without a permit, which got him deported. Konnan notes that the same thing happened to him at one point.
Perro Aguayo- He figured that he didn’t need the mask to be popular in Mexico, so he agreed to lose it to Aguayo. At the time, few people who had lost their masks had gone on to bigger and better things, partially because a babyface that was de-masked had to be good looking and a heel that was de-masked had to be ugly in order to stay over. In order to make sure he was over as a face, he introduced a little kid as his “brother” and he was dating the Queen of Wrestling from that year (each sport in Mexico had its own queen or princess to help promote it throughout the year). He compares Perro Aguayo at the time to Ric Flair, who the fans loved even if he was a heel, and said that he had heat from the crowd to begin with since he was a foreigner. “Kind of like Americans being ultra-racists, Mexicans are ultra-nationalistic.” Their match ended due to blood when he had Aguayo pinned, due to the ref making a heel turn (Sounds like Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle at Summerslam 2001, where Austin kept decking referees until WCW referee Nick Patrick DQ’ed Austin for abusing the officials, saving his title after Angle had him beaten) The crowd was PISSED at that ending, which he claims had the same kind of reaction that Andy Kaufman got in Memphis. After the match, he had the little kid cry and take his mask off, only to cover his face with it so that the crowd couldn’t see him. The audience was chanting for him by that time, so everything worked out like he intended it to.
AAA- Antonio Pena (Espectro) was working for EMLL and had his guys while another person had his own set of guys that would get pushed. Pena started by working for Juan Herrera in the office and was treated like a gopher until he came up with the design for Masca Sagrada’s mask while screwing around in the office. He got a booking position with Paco Alonzo as a result and, when wrestling got huge,
The wrestler’s union in Mexico- They actually had a union and got some bargaining power but the union management stole a ton of money. They’d be working supercards with all the famous names in Mexico and not be getting much more than their average payoff. Pena took up the matter with Paco and Dos Carras, Mil Mascaras’ brother, started going around and trying to set up a new union. Konnan compares Dos Carras’ effort to Fidel Castro’s replacement of Batista in Cuba or the Sandinistas replacing the Somosas in Nicaragua, mainly in that everyone was so sick of the old regime that they’d take anyone else instead. Dos Carras ended up stealing even more money from them than the last set of union guys. Things started turning ugly when Paco flew down to the southeastern end of Mexico where they were touring and everyone thought he’d fire Dos Carras over it, but Paco looked the other way and everyone realized that Paco was getting a cut of the money. The last straw was when Konnan won the inaugural Lucha Libre World Champion (I can’t transcribe or translate the whole name of the belt) by beating Cien Caras and Rayo del Helisco (I believe this roughly translates as “ray of sunshine”), two old-timers who didn’t like jobbing much “kind of like some of the guys we see today in WCW.” It took four months to get the belt made and, in his first title defense, he was beaten by Cien Caras. This was despite Pena trying to convince Paco that Konnan was so hot that they needed to keep the belt on him. Pena was approached by a money man about opening a new promotion soon afterwards and AAA was born. Pena, by the way, was in the same boat as Konnan since he was doing a lot of the office work but getting dicked over by other people and not getting his fair share.
Bringing in Rey Misterio Jr. and Psicosis- He was the lead recruiter to bring in new guys in addition to the older wrestlers brought in from EMLL. They wanted to bring in a lot of young guys and push them because they were tired of the Guadalajara Clique (Rayo, El Dandy, etc.) calling the shots based on name recognition and friendship rather than talent. Pena told him to bring in young good-looking guys, making snide remarks about Pena’s reasons for doing so, and he brought in Psicosis, Rey Misterio Jr., “Love Machine” Art Barr, etc.
Working in the WCW Tag Team Tournament in 1990- He was brought in by Jim Barnett, he thinks, in 1990 because they’d heard good things about him. He came up for a tryout, which was a house show match against Bobby Eaton. He puts over Eaton tremendously as both a worker and a person, as Eaton was willing to put him over in the ring every night when Konnan was a nobody and he was a star. He says he returned the favor to Eaton in his Alabama hometown in 1998 by putting him over when he was in the Wolfpac but that he didn’t want to seem like an asshole about saying why he did it. He ended up tagging with Rey Misterio Sr. against Chris Adams and Norman Smiley. Adams “didn’t want to do shit, then OR now” (This was when Adams was a WCW jobber. Adams died of a gunshot wound in the latter half of 2001) because he still thinks he’s a big star like in his World Class days. Smiley did the job and Konnan noticed him due to this match and later brought him down to Mexico. They wrestled the Steiner Brothers in the next round of the tournament. Scott Steiner was unwilling to talk about spots before the match but Rick Steiner was more than willing to. During the time he was there, Brian Pillman kept asking him about Mexican moves because he wanted to learn everything he could. Kevin Nash was there at the time but they weren’t buddies then, as he doesn’t even remember him then. He mentions that Ole Anderson is one of the rudest guys he’s ever met and that he was thick-headed. In particular, Ole asked him why he wanted to be there and he talked about the quality of the wrestlers in WCW at the time like Ric Flair, the Steiners, etc. and Ole was like “I don’t want to hear about that bullshit. Why are you here? Money? Fame?” etc. Soon thereafter, Ole was fired and Dusty Rhodes was coming in as a booker and Jim Ross had discussed the possibility of teaming him with Brian Pillman.
WWF- When he went home from WCW after that, he started getting calls from Pat Patterson but told him he was about to enter WCW, which never ended up happening. Eventually, Patterson’s persistence paid off and Konnan agreed to come to New York, where he got the full treatment Vince McMahon gives to a guy they’re courting. Paul Bearer (Percy Pringle) was also coming in for his initial meeting with Vince that day and they shared the limo provided by the company, all the while Bearer was talking up the treatment they were getting. He then met with Vince and they discussed some preliminary plans. Vince then told him that he would be taking Owen Hart’s spot, as Owen was hard to deal with because “He would only wrestle certain guys”, although he’s not sure what that meant. (I’d say it meant “He didn’t want to get squashed by Typhoon” or some other oversized and undertalented wrestler)
The retirement match against Cien Caras- He wanted to do something different in order to bring wrestling to the Mexican mainstream. They ended up bringing a lot of the wrestlers onto the hottest variety show on Mexican TV and held an exhibition match, which sent business through the roof. He and Caras got into a fight on the show, which scared the crap out of the variety show’s host at the time. He said that the feud got so much mainstream coverage in Mexico that the country’s equivalent to the CBS Evening News interviewed both him and Caras before their match and reported the results right after the finish. The arena was packed with celebrities and he should have enjoyed that night more except Caras came up to him before the match and said “If I lose this match and retire, I’m a man of my word and I’m NOT coming back.” They ended up pulling a screwjob on the finish as Konnan lost but came back soon thereafter. He says that he and Caras drew 58,000 for their match while the first ever joint AAA and Arena Mexico show only drew 20,000 and that was heavily papered (free tickets). Part of why the feud was so hot was that the media was following both him and Caras and whenever they’d be at the same place and the media was there, they’d work everyone in order to build up the match.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts- When he fought him in 1992 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, they drew about 17,000 or so fans which Dave Meltzer claimed at the time to be the largest crowd in LA for 25 years He says that it was amazing to do that because the only TV stations west of the Mississippi river to carry AAA was GalaVision, which people had to pay to see, and the crowd was mostly composed of Mexicans. He was feuding with Jake then because Jake had interfered in his retirement match with Caras. Jake, with Diamond Dallas Page as his valet at the time, had so much heat that people were throwing diapers full of feces, cups of urine, batteries, and all kinds of stuff at him. Jake had refused to go out due to the heat but he claims it was a work to get more money. They ended up firing Jake because he was drinking and “there were prostitutes every night, some of them underage” and then Jake’s wife came on tour with them and started calling problems. One of the smartest men in wrestling but he’s got a lot of demons.
“Love Machine” Art Barr- He was capable of making the crowd do anything. “He showed me more about wrestling than anyone” as he taught him how to work the camera in addition to working the crowd, how to turn your gimmick on only when you’re in the ring and not live it 24/7, etc. He says that he, Art, and Eddy Guerrero all used to ride together and that they were all hotheads, so one day Eddy would be ranting and raving about how he was going to kick Konnan’s ass then Art would rant and rave about wanting to kick Eddy’s ass, etc. but they were all friends in the end. Art was probably the most charismatic wrestler he’d ever seen and Art’s big plan was to come back to the US and show everyone how much they’d screwed up by writing him off, WCW in particular. (Art played a Beetlejuice character in Portland and, later, WCW but a sexual misconduct conviction due to an encounter with a ringrat in Portland hounded his career. It killed his gimmick in Portland and, eventually, got him fired from WCW. He finally went down to Mexico and they didn’t care about his past as long as he could work.)
Louie Spicoli- Hard worker and knew a lot about the business. His size allowed him to take great bumps. He refers to Spicoli and Barr as “products of the business” because the schedule they followed caused their addictions to prescription drugs and alcohol, which ended both their lives. (If I’m correct, both of these guys took a lot of Soma pills, a muscle relaxant, and washed them down with booze, which turned out to be a fatal combination.)
Drugs in the business- They’re a necessary evil in the business because the promoters use a guy until he’s completely used up, at which point they bring in a different guy in his spot. To prolong the time until they’re replaced, a wrestler will take all kinds of stuff to keep going including painkillers.
Initial impressions of Vince McMahon- He’d heard so much about his reputation as a swindler that he was wary of him but he impressed him a lot. He says that most people call Vince lucky but that you can’t be that successful for about 6 or 7 years in a row without being very smart. He feels Vince would make him work twice as hard if he came back, so he’s wary about returning because he doesn’t think he has it in him anymore to pull it off.
The Max Moon gimmick- It was his idea, based off of something he’d seen in Japan. It was a robot suit with blue smoke and so forth. Vince loved it and put a lot of money into it but the boys in the back immediately started bitching about it because he seemed to be getting preferential treatment and he wouldn’t shut up about how good things were down in Mexico. He was only on a TV taping schedule and would bring in guys like Art Barr as his own personal opponents. Eventually, he just got paired with Louie Spicoli, then a WWF jobber, as a compromise between him and the boys, who’d complained about the preferential treatment. He then made a huge mistake by going up to Vince and asking for a guaranteed contract at a time when the only guy who had a guarantee was Hulk Hogan. He says he wanted it because of what he was having to give up in Mexico by working there, but Vince said no dice. He ended up no-showing until the company put Paul Diamond in the suit so they could justify all the money they’d spent. There is also a story about how he took a cab from Boston to a city like Cape Cod or Hyannisport for a TV taping and, when he got to the building, he was approached by Arnold Skoaland, who asked where his costume was. He told Arnold “They’re keeping it in the cab until someone pays him.” His understanding was that the WWF would take care of his cab fare out of his nightly draw but he got a LOT of heat for making an ex-marine, let alone one of Vince’s top guys, pay for his cab fare. He didn’t know what Arnold’s position was in the WWF hierarchy at the time because he wasn’t used to wrestling a lot in the US. He says that he knew that Vince and Patterson were the #1 and #2 guys and that was about it and that him getting heat over it would be like bringing Scott Hall to Mexico and expecting him to know the hierarchy of the top 5 guys there.
AAA: When Worlds Collide- Gary Juster and few other promoters had run some successful shows with AAA in the US and decided to run a PPV just for the Latino audiences. It did VERY well despite the lack of promotion for it. He was pissed that he was supposed to cut a promo at the end but Eric Bischoff, who headed WCW and whose production team was running the PPV, decided it wasn’t something that people wanted to see. He and Pena booked it and it was one of the best PPVs ever. (He’s not blowing smoke out of his ass either… While Konnan’s main event cage match against Perro Aguayo sucked, the semi-main event of El Hijo Del Santo and Octagon vs. Los Gringos Locos (Eddy Guerrero and Art Barr) 2 of 3 Falls Hair vs. Masks match was one of the best matches of the 90s.)
Ending up in ECW- He wanted to expand out of Mexico and went on a tour to Singapore. Paul Heyman was on the tour and he’d known him from when he was briefly in WCW during 1990. He recalls telling Paul back in 1990 that his father was Cuban, his mother was Puerto Rican, and they’d met trying to pick each other’s pockets. They started hanging out together during the tour and, when they came back Paul E started with ECW. Paul E had wanted to bring in Hugh Morrus, Pat Tanaka, Eddy Guerrero, and others. He ended up playing phone tag with Paul E (one of those constants in dealing with Paul…) and Paul eventually came back with a date that he wasn’t able to be there, so he sent Rey Misterio and Psicosis in his place. Paul E figured that they’d just be good but they had one of the best matches in ECW history when they came in.
Matches against Sandman- Respectful, although it helped that Woman (Nancy Sullivan) kept reminding him that Konnan was a huge star in Mexico which kept him from just Hak-ing out as guys like Mikey Whipwreck would call it (some nights, Sandman would get into a zone where he’d just start beating the shit out of people with his Singapore canes). He says that Sandman was great in WCW because he’d lost a lot of weight and stopped trying to do all the ridiculous spots he did in ECW, making him a much better worker. “He got a raw deal” there though. They also worked a AAA-ECW co-promoted show in Chicago where Cactus Jack whacked him with some of the hardest chairshots ever because Cactus was trying to protect Konnan’s badass gimmick. He puts over Paul E’s soap opera storytelling as well as his ability to hide wrestlers’ weaknesses and show off their strengths.
Sabu- He knows Sabu was mad at Paul over getting fired because he wanted to go on a tour in Japan. Sabu also got pissed one night that Public Enemy were breaking all the tables they could find because he considered tables to be his gimmick. When he asked Sabu why he did all that kind of stuff, he said it was because he promised his uncle, The Sheik, that he’d make his own gimmick.
World Peace Festival- Terrible show, terribly booked, the people didn’t like the matches, etc. He wrestled Chris Jericho and Bam Bam Bigelow that night. Bammer was pissed about jobbing but Jericho was just happy to be there so Eric Bischoff could see him wrestle. He tried to talk to the WCW wrestlers that night since he’d just signed with them but they told him to screw off and go hang out with the other Latinos.
Leaving AAA and, later, Promo Azteka- They gave the fans everything that they wanted on the first night, so they were stunned at first. They were doing HUGE business with hardcore Mexican wrestling and their opponents were trying to screw them at every opportunity but they just kept on going. He talks about changing up some of the more tired elements of Mexican style, such as three-man teams pinning all three of their opponents at the same time, and made it more American in style.
Initial impressions of Eric Bischoff- Very intelligent, honest, savvy, cool, hip, etc. He thinks that Eric didn’t know what he was getting into by bringing in Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and a bunch of other overblown egos.
Expectations upon entering WCW- Become a huge star to the Latino community and the hip-hop fans.
Working with Ric Flair- Flair likes to call his own matches and would call old-school spots that most people don’t use anymore or have never heard of.
Talent being wasted- Kevin Sullivan signed a bunch of hot talent around that time like himself, Eddy Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and others but they went to waste because most of the roster refused to work with them. He compares Kevin to a guy who doesn’t know how to drive a car yet owns a Lamborghini, a Porsche, and a Dodge Viper because he had all that talent and had no clue what to do with it.
Locker room atmosphere- The top stars there were obviously on a higher level than the midcard guys, which was the opposite of ECW where Sabu and Cactus Jack and others would associate with the jobbers.
Hogan- The whole vibe around him was “Why is he still wrestling?” He’s very intelligent but doesn’t know what’s hip anymore. He is very business-savvy though.
Kevin Nash- Charming and witty but he thinks he’s smarter than he really is and that being smart means he’s a good booker. The main problem is that he didn’t realize that, even if someone is your friend, there are certain people who the crowd doesn’t like and they WILL shit on them if they’re getting a bigger push than the crowd wants them to have. He contrasts this with his feud with Vampiro, which went on hiatus because Vampiro was looking for work and wanted to come into AAA. Konnan agreed to let him in as long as he followed certain conditions, such as reimbursing the promoter for advertising costs if he no-showed. Even if he hated guys like Pierroth or Masca Sagrada, he knew they’d do business and would work with them. This was the opposite of WCW where people would freeze out a certain worker because they were threatened by their promos or their style or their charisma, etc. He says that Nash got a lot of built-in paranoia due to what he learned about politics from Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, and others.
Feuding with the Dungeon of Doom- Kevin Sullivan made him a lot of promises that he didn’t go through with. He was supposed to work with Hogan in Mexico but never ended up working a match against him. He’d rather wrestle Flair anyway but that wrestling Hogan would result in a big push. He doesn’t know if Sullivan screwed him over or just got overruled when he tried to keep up his end but he didn’t get what he was promised.
Joining the nWo- Kevin Sullivan was at war with him and several of the Radicalz (Eddy, Benoit, Dean Malenko) because he’d made a lot of promises that he didn’t keep. That’s why they all threatened to walk out when Sullivan regained the book after Vince Russo’s firing in early 2000. Sullivan then came up and got in his about it and Konnan’s response was “I didn’t say I’d leave but that I’d rather not be here if you were booker.” When Sullivan played the “I got you hired” card, Konnan threw the No Limit Soldiers angle back in his face (The Misfits in Action were paired off with rapper Master P and his No Limit Soldiers against the West Texas Rednecks, lead by Curt Hennig. As anyone can tell you, it took WCW-level stupidity to make rappers the babyfaces in a feud against country-music loving rednecks when your company is based in Atlanta and you draw big money all across the South instead of in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, etc.) He was also being persecuted over some comments he made in USA Today and he gave into joining the Wolfpac as a way to keep from REALLY being screwed over by Bischoff, Nash, and others. He also mentions that Sullivan wanted to job him out to Jacqueline around the time Disco Inferno got fired for refusing to job to her. He says that Sullivan was also feuding with Nash and that he thinks their problems go back to the early 1990s when Nash wrestled as Oz. “Nash don’t really like you unless you’re stroking him.” (I’m sure that one is certainly true with the female talent in WCW)
The Wolfpac- Nash, Hall, and Syxx (Sean Waltman, X-Pac) were cool as all hell. X-Pac would go to the ring to “Kung Fu Fighting”, both the men and the women loved Nash and Hall (they had no negative heat from the guys for being too good looking, unlike Shawn Michaels “who looks like a fag.” He saw it as an honor to team with them.
How did Bischoff change? Everyone changes when they become famous. You start thinking you’re indestructable and you just start screwing up. “Eric was a prick” but he was under a lot of pressure because of dealing with all the egos and the guaranteed contracts. He would get short with the midcarders as a result. He was also an arrogant asshole in other ways, such as thinking that Konnan used to work in barns in Mexico instead of grand arenas. When Bisch went to France in the late 90s, he decided when he came back that he couldn’t take it too much longer, which was a shock considering how Konnan claims Eric broke the spirit of him, Nash, Hall, Hogan, and others.
Rey Misterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera losing their masks? The Mexicans and Chris Jericho, who had wrestled down in Mexico for years, were pissed off over it because WCW didn’t respect what the mask meant to Mexican culture. He wishes they’d given a storyline to losing the masks instead of just doing it just for the sake of doing it. They didn’t care about the culture and saw the situation as “He’s a good looking kid… why’s he wearing a mask?” He wanted Bischoff to go to Mexico to see what the mask meant and have Kevin Nash powerbomb Rey through a table in Tijuana if they were so intent on Nash taking Rey’s mask.
The treatment of the Mexicans in WCW- Usually, people only watched someone’s matches if they were looking for reasons to bury them. In their case, people watched them and congratulated them afterwards. He feels that the Cruiser division was a main reason they held out against the WWF for so long. (I agree with this… things started hitting rock bottom around the time the Cruiser division contained Eddy Guerrero, Juventud Guerrera, Rey Misterio Jr., Billy Kidman, etc. and yet the champions at the time were Evan Karagias, Madusa Micelli, and Oklahoma (writer Ed Ferrara).)
Did the inconsistency of the nWo kill WCW? Yes… putting himself, Scott Norton, and other people who didn’t belong there as a part of the group helped kill it and, by extension, WCW. He says that the company tried to push people by making them a part of the nWo and the fans were too smart to buy into it. He says that the day of the dumb fan is over and that you can tell just by the difference in quality between the toys he had as a kid and the ones today.
Scott Hall- He’s surprised he’s still under contract. He knows that there’s a thin line between genius and insanity and that Hall’s binge drinking puts him over it. He compares Hall to Jake Roberts and Steve “Mongo” McMichael in that they’ve been through a lot and that drugs and/or alcohol are the only way they know how to cope. He goes off on a tangent about OJ Simpson for a minute before getting back to people dealing with their demons with drugs or alcohol.
Working a possible Filthy Animals-Nash feud- He starts at first by talking about how Diamond Dallas Page had a feud with Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch and that, as a part of some on-tape interviews backstage, DDP asked him if Nash refused to work with them. He doesn’t know if it’s true but they didn’t work with them. He threw it back in DDP’s face and asked “Why haven’t YOU worked with us?” and DDP talked about not having a chance to do so. He says he told DDP if he didn’t work with them within three months, he’d get him back in front of a camera and ask him why he’s refused to work with them.
Was he surprised that Bischoff was rehired in 2000? Yes, but Bisch was always a fighter and that was something that Sullivan, Bill Busch, Kevin Nash, and the other people in charge didn’t have. Vince Russo had huge balls, though.
Hogan and Russo at Bash At The Beach 2000- He says he was worked the whole night by everyone and it was bullshit. He thinks it’s dumb to try and work the boys in the back or the Internet fans and says that the Internet fans know they have power and abuse it. “They’re going to watch regardless because they’re smart, hardcore fans. They’ll watch unless it’s a preposterous, horrible show.” (I agree with him on this and think that Vince McMahon needs to listen. Bland shows with no elevation didn’t really chase off the hardcore fans too much… stuff like the Katie Vick angle chased a LOT of them off at once, something like 0.4 ratings points worth of them, they didn’t come back until Steve Austin returned, and they've since left again.) He wants to think that Vince Russo worked him but finds it hard to believe that Russo would be allowed to go out on PPV and do what he did because Hogan would just call up the office the next day and say “What the fuck was that?” (Konnan’s right in a way… Hogan DID call up the office the next day and ask what was up with that and he DID launch a lawsuit against WCW and Russo, which has yet to be resolved.)
Bill Busch’s meeting with the talent- Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Shane Douglas got their releases and walked out. Benoit and Kevin Sullivan never got along since Nancy Sullivan left Kevin for Benoit, Guerrero was in tight with Benoit and pissed at Sullivan over his handling in WCW, etc. Billy Kidman and Kevin Sullivan didn’t like each other, so he almost walked out too. He then starts talking about how Sullivan screwed the Filthy Animals in the Rap vs. Country feud because the West Texas Rednecks beat the Animals even though they were outnumbered, “a bunch of black guys in fatigues was a bad idea because everyone thinks it’s a gang”, 20 of the Animals and the rappers beat up on the four Rednecks, the Rednecks were allowed to sing the whole song “I Hate Rap” and not allow them to go out and attack them, etc. Nash and Sullivan blame each other over the incident but they were both bookers at the time and, thus, it was both their faults. This was when he’d fallen from Nash’s power clique because he got tired of listening to their shit about Benoit, Jericho, etc. because they didn’t want to admit the true reasons were that they were talented and they just didn’t want to work with them.
Did he ever want to leave? Yes, and he was talking both with Mexico and the WWF when Vince Russo came in, at which point he decided to stay.
Does he have a lot of control of his angles? Not much… Disco Inferno is on the booking committee and, despite being a friend of theirs, forgets to put them over in the meetings because he’s just so happy to be in on them. He feels that himself, Disco, Rey Misterio Jr., and Juventud Guerrera are all entertaining in their own ways and should be a force to reckon with in WCW.
His promo style- He likes to feel out the crowd and get them into it, which is why he does the “Bowdy bowdy and rowdy rowdy” stuff. His catchphrase evolved after Wolfpac started doing “4 life” in promos. After that, everyone started trying to do it, at which point the crowd got sick of it.
Has Bischoff changed this time around? It seems like it, although that depends on whether Bash 2000 was a shoot or work. He puts him over as one of the best guys on the mic ever. Since he’s not having to deal with contracts or talent issues, he’ll probably be just fine.
David Arquette winning the belt- Most people were pissed but he didn’t care. “Most people know this business is a work” so why get upset over it? (I say it’s a mistake because the fans know it’s a work but are only willing to suspend disbelief so far before that just don’t care. A title may be a prop but the fans won't take it seriously if it's TREATED like a prop.)
How would he change things if he was running the company? All the top guys would have to elevate all the guys on the bottom but they wouldn’t be fired afterwards. Guys willing to do business like Ric Flair would always be kept around but guys not willing to do so would be fired. He thinks it’s very selfish that some people refuse to elevate anyone when it took someone elevating them to even get into that position. He’d also put on a lot of Cruiser matches and keep them segregated unless someone really stood out, at which point they’d be promoted to the heavyweight division. He gives the example of Shawn Michaels as a guy who doesn’t look too big but is taken seriously on top because guys like Undertaker, Nash, and Hall would sell for him. “I don’t think anyone could have taken out Bruce Lee because he’s a bad motherfucker but he wasn’t but about 5’5.” He’d also have co-promoted with various media outlets like VH-1, MTV, divisions within Time-Warner like CNN, etc. He talks about how of all the guys on the WCW roster, the only people who ever end up on TV are Hogan, Savage, Sting, and Piper.
Who does he watch now in wrestling? A lot of guys in the WWF especially The Rock, Triple H, Cactus Jack, the Radicalz, the Hardy Boyz, Kurt Angle, the McMahons, Undertaker, Patterson and Gerald Brisco, etc. “There’s nothing to be excited about on our side because they’re trying to hold everyone back.”
What would it take to change things in WCW? It takes something like what Russo’s doing, which includes elevating the younger guys. Improving the production facilities would also help.
His recent injury- He was wrestling Van Hammer and Hammer plays the Sid Vicious “I’m big and bad so I have to do a power move in every match even if I suck at it” game. He agreed to do a spot with Hammer where Hammer would pick up Juvy and throw him at him. The problem was that Hammer “threw him like a Randy Johnson fastball” and he ended up shielding his face instead of trying to catch Juvy. Juvy’s elbow ended up ripping into his tricep and tearing it. Dr. James Andrews ended up fixing it. He’s out for another 3 months.
Scott Steiner- Reminds him of an android, The Matrix, a Tasmanian Devil, and LSD experiment, “and that’s when he’s sleeping.” VERY intense. He doesn’t know if it’s his temper or something he’s on, but he’s always intense. He watches him just to see what will happen next and thinks Steiner will end up in jail one day.
Goldberg- Good friend, reminds him of the early days of his career where he got so much so fast. Goldberg doesn’t want to seem stupid but he will shoot down a lot of stuff because he doesn’t understand it. It’s just a by-product of not being in the business long because he’s really smart.
Raven- They hated each other when they first met. Raven once gave him a free psychological evaluation and told him they hated each other because they were so much alike “and I thought it was pretty cool until I heard he said the same thing about Paul E.” SUPER-intelligent and really cool to hang out with “as long as he doesn’t end up too fucked up.” Raven and Saturn perfected the “shameless maul”, a clubbing technique in which they start grabbing on women in a club until they find one that doesn’t slap them, then leave with them. “He also comes from Shameless University, where DDP is a professor and the chief graduates are Chris Jericho and Raven.” Raven also used to joke about how little he and The Flock would do.
Greatest rib he’s ever seen- He can’t pick one but he talks about one he pulled once. There was a referee who was intent about searching everything before a match, so he stepped in dog shit before he came to the ring that night.
Where does he see himself in 10 years? He and Nash talked about this recently. Nash wants to go back to the WWF, have a big run against Triple H and Rock, become a booker, etc. He says that Nash needs to learn to push TALENT instead of pushing his friends. He personally hopes he’s given a chance to show what he’s capable of.
Being held back- Recently, Hulk Hogan asked him what happened to his career, as he used to be pretty hot when he was in the nWo. He told Hogan “You know what happened”, meaning that people had screwed him over although not Hogan himself. Hogan said that he understood and that his son used to be a big K-Dog fan. He then goes on to say that everyone who starts getting hot gets held back because people on top get scared. Amongst the guys he says were held back were Chavo Guerrero Jr., Norman Smiley, Rey Misterio Jr., Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, etc. He says that Lance Storm will get that treatment soon but, “since there are less sharks in the tank”, he may survive and become a big star.
He says he’s writing a book and he’ll release it in a few years and that some of the things that they’re doing now (Booker T as world champ, Stevie Ray being rehired, some of the Nitro Girls working as valets, etc.) ate a sharp contrast from the way things worked for years there.
Cien Caras vs. Konnan- Cien Caras looks vaguely like Paul Orndorff. This is the retirement match referred to earlier and Jake “The Snake” Roberts is at ringside as a second. Konnan wins the first fall by catching Cien Caras on a blind charge and rolling him up. Cien Caras wins the second fall by getting a weird pin move that starts out looking like a Breakdown (Russian leg sweep falling forwards instead of backwards) but turns into a crucifix-like pin. The third fall comes as Konnan brawls with Jake at ringside, losing by countout. Konnan retires as a result of this match but comes back soon afterwards to feud with Jake.
Konnan vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts in a cage match- This is a big-ass cage here… the same used for Konnan vs. Perro Aguayo at AAA- When Worlds Collide in 1994. Unlike most chain link cages, this one is double-height and appears 8 to 10 feet tall. This would be the grudge match set up by Jake costing Konnan a retirement match against Caras. There are quite a few seconds at ringside including Blue Panther, Perro Aguayo, and Sherri Martel, who looks like an 11 on the Skank-o-meter here. The in-ring action is secondary to the action at ringside, as Panther beats up Martel and Aguayo, both of whom are stretchered from ringside. I REALLY wish that Sherri hadn’t been stretchered out whilst upside down… that’s a sight I really didn’t need to see. Konnan attempts to escape by going over the top around this point but Panther stops him however he can, such as by biting him and kicing him. Around this time, Masca Sagrada and Mini Sagrada start whipping Panther’s ass. Mini Sagrada does a cross body from the top of the cage onto Jake, who then starts ripping his mask off and making the DDT motion. Konnan comes back to life around this point, slugs Jake with a metal bolt, and throws him into the cage for the win.
Cien Caras and Konnan vs. Perro Aguayo and Satanico- I don’t speak fluent Spanish, so I can’t tell what the Hell is going on for most of the match. In the first fall, Aguayo and Satanico start arguing amongst themselves and appear to both get counted out. During the second fall, all hell breaks loose. Los Gringos Locos (“Love Machine” Art Barr, Eddy Guerrero, and a third guy I don’t know) start beating on the Tecnicos (faces). Octagon and Hijo Del Santo run out at this point and get their asses beaten. Konnan joins the Gringos Locos in laying out the other four men in the ring and other wrestlers such as Fuerza Guererra, Juventud Guerrera, La Parka, and Psicosis sit in the walkway debating whether they want to get involved, which they finally do. Big brawl here which ends with the Gringos Locos backing their way towards the locker room while Aguayo and Santanico start fighting each other again in the ring. I’m sure this is an epic night in AAA but I don’t know the stories going in and can’t understand Spanish THAT well, so it’s all lost on me.
Konnan vs. Sandman (ECW Champion, with Woman at ringside)- This is from ECW in 1995 and is at the ECW Arena. This appears to be a Last Man Standing match as Sandman wins being up on 9, but only because Woman pulled him up by his hair.
Konnan vs. El Cobarde- I’m not going into the side-stories on this one. Konnan wins with a sidewalk slam.
Konnan Christmas promo- It’s in Spanish and has no subtitles. I know some but not enough to translate THAT.
Konnan, Perro Aguayo, and Blue Panther with Some Guy at ringside vs. Los Gringos Locos (Barr and Eddy) and Jake “The Snake” Roberts with Diamond Dallas Page at ringside. This is a Lucha-rules tag match, so a fall is lost if the captains of each team are pinned (and honestly, I don’t know who they are in this match) or if the two other members of each team are pinned. The intros and pre-match stalling alone feels like it takes 30 minutes. Due to time considerations and the fact that the thing turns into a HUGE schmoz around the third fall, I’m not even bothering to cover it.
Thoughts- Konnan certainly has no problem saying what’s on his mind or being funny about it. The problem is that the only things he discusses of interest to me are his runs in AAA and WCW. I know a little about Lucha but not much, so it’s hard for me to get into parts of the shoot dealing with promotions besides AAA in Mexico. Highly recommended.