INTERACTIVE WRESTLING RADIO INTERVIEW - VAMPIRO

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Vampiro
Date: 05/10/2017
Your Host: James Walsh

 

When Lucha Underground started, Vampiro was announced as its co-announcer with Matt Striker. Vampiro had not done commentary in the

US before si it was a surprising pick. But, the duo of Striker and Vamp has become the standard by which all wrestling announce teams

follow.... Or, at least, it should!

 

Vampiro joins us to discuss the return of Lucha Underground to El Rey on May 31st. We also discuss his feud with Sting, Lucha's relationship

with TNA Impact Wrestling, and even a little Wrestling Society X. We go around the dial here in an epic 35 minute interview!

 





Download the MP3 here:

VAMPIRO:

 

On the return of Lucha Underground Season 3 on El Rey on May 31st:
"I think everybody's kind of waiting on it, you know what I mean? There's such a cool vibe around the show. After such a long time, people are getting used to the idea that we are a TV show based on wrestling and there is going to be a season split. I think in this day and age, it is refreshing to have that. The other companies that are going strong, you really don't mind it if you miss a week or two or even a month. It is almost too much sometimes. TO have us coming back, we've got people ready for it. It is a pretty good feeling. We're all motivated!"

 

On why the Lucha Underground fan base is so loyal:
"I really think it stems from a couple things. One of them is the way that we interact and relate, treat, co-exist with the fans live. It is the right environment. It is the right size. It is extremely intimate. The fact that we have that and really, really play off them. Before the show, I'm out there and I'm getting everybody ready. For me, it is a way to really extend that Vampiro thing that had that connection with the fans. It is real. We don't have a dude standing off camera telling you when to react and who to cheer for. El Rey Network, they are the Rockstar Network, right? The fact that we've got El Rey backing us up, the people in the crowd, the people at home want to be part of it. I think that's the magic, dude."

 

On why Lucha Underground has surpassed other companies Vampiro was part of after WCW such as XWF, MLW, and Wrestling Society X:
"Well, all those other companies blew balls. All those other companies you mentioned (not WSX) were run by fans with daddy's money. Just because you get it, you think you can dominate the wrestling business overnight. You can't! It takes a lot of back story, you need a lot of power, a powerful network... El Rey, for example! You need the right creative department. You've gotta have the right team before you put the buffet table out there, you know what I mean? If the kitchen ain't happening, the food is gonna be shitty! I think we're a complete package at Lucha Underground, my friend."

 

On Wrestling Society X being the precursor to Lucha Underground:
"It was and it wasn't. All those guys there were too worried about making money. Everybody wanted to treat it like a wrestling company. I think Kevin Kleinrock's original vision, he was more hip. It was a great thing to get rock and roll and punk rock involved. We're friends of ours, we're fans of theirs! But, I think too many people had their fingers in the pie there... MTV goes through changes every now and then. When the new management came in, they were more Jersey Shore type thing and they didn't want to fit us in the rotation. We kind of got caught up in that. There were too many people who knew nothing about it and expected to make money right off the bat... Touring. How can we tour when you don't put us on the air? That was the cool thing about that, the rock and roll. Looking back on it today, a lot of stars got their start in that promotion.

 

On if Lucha Underground stars will be part of a talent exchange with Impact Wrestling:
"No, that is not going to happen. That is a deal between AAA and Impact. Impact will have matches on AAA shows, for example. We will integrate some of our talent into TNA. Hopefully, eventually, way down the line, maybe do some inter-company angles. Baby steps. We want to do it right."

 

On who influences him as an announcer:
"I steal a lot of stuff from my friend Kevin Gill and his way of doing stuff when he does the ICP JCW stuff. I told myself, when I took the position, that I wanted to do other things within Lucha Underground. I've branched out. I've got a producers credit now. I help out with creative. I'm one of the agents there. I listen to Matt Striker... It is kind of like when you're playing in a band. If you have a lead guitar player who can play then you better become a really good rhythm guitar player so it makes sense. We let him be him. He studies, he takes notes... I can't do that, man. I never could do that in my career as a wrestler. I pretty much just go out there and feel the crowd. And the way I speak on commentary is pretty much how I speak in real life. I don't know if it is working or not... Apparently it is. But, I am out there giving it my best and I think people are digging it."

 

On his talents as a wrestler:
"I was never a good wrestler, dude. I had charisma and could move the people. But, a good wrestler I was not. I was a good story teller or learned to be towards the end."

 

On his tag team and eventual feud with Sting in WCW:
"I was beyond grateful. There were a few times he took the time to speak to me and give me advice. I kind of just watched him... American pro wrestling is a lot different than Mexico or Japan. I was very fortunate to learn from someone at his level. I think the matches were great. I don't think he was too excited about having a younger guy with face paint and a more updated version of that guy who was a lot more authentic than he was. He had no clue what the paint means. But, he was a phenomenal professional. It was a great experience for me. I don't think he liked it too much and he's said that. But, you know, to each his own. I'm very grateful he took the time to do that with me."

 

On his match with Mike Awesome at Halloween Havoc 2000 and how serious the injuries were:
"I did break my neck and I did suffer a concussion. I've had a few but that was the bad one. That, in my point of view, that ended my career. I mean, I've done things after I've been around, in and out of the ring, after but that was it, man. I don't remember what happened! I just remember the police found me on the freeway parked on the side of the road. I didn't know where I was. I couldn't even remember my wife's name, when I was married. At the time, I lost the use of my hands. I couldn't walk. Even to this day, I suffer severe anxiety. I had major insomnia for about 20 years after it... Panic attacks. It was really bad. And, it was bad because WCW put me in the ring right away and it wasn't for like a month later that I got diagnosed. After filling me with pain pills and swelling my brain even more and chair shots with the concussion, I think that was the end of my career. I still suffer from it. I can't remember what I did this morning. I have to write things down. I have alarms on the phone to remind me of things. That was it. I'm still in therapy to this day fixing those injuries from that time. That was the end."

 

On why he never went to the WWE:
"Right at that time, when I was still recovering, that is when WCW was purchased by the McMahon family. I called Bruce Prichard who was in creative. I said, "I'm injured." He said, "I wouldn't worry about it because creative doesn't think they can do anything with your character and we're going to let you go." That is exactly what happened."

 

On going full circle doing Lucha Underground and now being back home:
"I'm a punk rock kid. I'm proud of that. I'm living back home, the town that I came from. I'm a single dad. I'm picking up my daughter from high school. I've got a martial arts studio. I'm still that rock and roll guy. I've lost 106 pounds since last season of Lucha Underground. My hair is long again. I've always been a musician before I was a wrestler. Coming from the Sunset Strip, coming from Melrose Avenue. Coming from, you know, that whole thing and then to be back and to be this punk rock, old school, life in the gutter kind of guy who came from that rock and roll scene... To be back there and to see some of the things that are still around and to still be around but now to be the guy who helps young guys achieve their goals. I think this is the best time in my career! It is the most fun I've ever had. I'm enjoying this a million and one times more than I ever did when I was Vampiro. I hated being Vampiro! I absolutely love doing what I'm doing now."

 

On working with Pentagon Dark and the huge swerve:
"It was easy, man. It is kind of like, that's what I do best... That brawling style. I'd much rather do that than try to wrestle the dude. I'm a real believer in horror movies and how they tell a story. My mission in that match was to make this kid famous. It's not because he's wrestling me. It was the story that we told that was going to give him that push, right? I think the fans appreciated it. Everybody said it was kind of brutal and gory. I watched it. It wasn't that big of a deal! The story, and how it was laid out, if you were there live, you'd have been blown away! What you saw on TV was only half the match. I think I've got to that point in my career where I can do that with pretty much anybody. It goes back to being authentic, right? It really elevated him. I was proud to say, and I do try to help a lot of people, I really, really helped somebody. And, look at him now!"

 

On plans for Lucha Underground Season 4:
"Well, lets just get a season 4 first, right? I'm going to get in a lot of trouble, dude. Everyone can read the writing on the wall! Don't make me say it! There's too much going on for it not to happen. Hopefully it does happen, and if it does happen, it is gonna rock! We all know that."

 

On being on Netflix and the importance of El Rey:
"This is what the fans need to grasp. The show is great. The stories, the athleticism. But, if it wasn't for the El Rey Network, and we ARE on Netflix... We are the first wrestling program on digital format. We are the first ones. But, it is not El Rey. If El Rey wasn't in the picture, this wouldn't have the flavor that it does. El Rey has that image, has that push, has that umph. If it wasn't for El Rey, the flavor would be different. it would be toned down, it would be watered down, there would be restrictions. El Rey is like, "Fuck it, just don't kill anybody!" They are a big part of the equation. Wrestling is wrestling. There's only so much you can do in the ring. It is really hard in this day and age to tell a story and to swerve the people. You don't know how bad we were biting our lips and biting our tongues. Pentagon didn't even know the swerve until that night! We had that under wraps. He had no clue! Then it was like, "Oh my God! We got them!" Being that El Rey lets us do that crazy shit, that is why we are who we are."