The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 299 – Savio Vega
Release Date: April 28, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson
– Savio Vega recaps his time in Puerto Rico and U.S. wrestling territories
– Colt Cabana talks about his potentially ruptured eardrum
0:00 – Introduction
8:26 – Song of the Week
11:10 – Savio Vega Interview
15:15 – Vega talks his early love of wrestling
24:27 – Vega talks getting into wrestling
33:44 – Vega talks coming to America
39:57 – Vega tells stories of wrestling for Bill Watts
45:53 – Vega talks returning to Puerto Rico and TNT
57:34 – Vega talks current Puerto Rican wrestling scene and his current ventures
1:01:40 – Colt wraps up the show
1:05:19 – Easter Egg: Vega speaks Spanish
0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show talking about an interview he did with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats for Consequence of Sound this week, and encouraged listeners to go look for it. Colt brought up his ear, and mentioned having a doctor look at it at a recent Wrestle Pro show in New York. Colt said it might have been a ruptured ear drum, but it was gross regardless of what’s wrong. Colt segued into talking about Savio Vega, and mentioned that Vega thanked him for not bringing up Bruiser Brody, which most people do. Colt regretted not touching on WWF in the interview, but he hopes he can hang out with Vega in the future. Colt brought up the Wrestle Pro show he was at over the weekend and said that he wrestled Kimber Lee in his first solo inter-gender match. Colt got all new microphones and equipment after the audio issues over the last handful of episodes.
8:26 – Song of the Week – The song of the week this week is “The Manny Fernandez Receipt” by Spider Kitten.
11:10 – Savio Vega Interview – Colt opened the interview talking about the current wrestling product. Savio Vega said he doesn’t sit down and watch wrestling, but he still likes following what’s going on through social media. Vega mentioned after he left WWF and was starting the International Wrestling Association, and he was working so much he didn’t watch any wrestling, or any TV for that matter, until he had kids. Vega talked about his pattern of watching IWA shows he was working on.
15:15 – Vega talks his early love of wrestling – Colt mentioned seeing Vega on WWF television as his first true exposure to Puerto Rican wrestling, and asked how Vega became the guy to come to WWF from Puerto Rico. Vega talked about the Puerto Rican companies and American companies touring Puerto Rico and the legacy of Puerto Rican wrestling dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. Vega recalled seeing wrestling on TV as a child and briefly talked about growing up in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. Vega said he loved watching wrestling on TV, and was in a bad mood if he wasn’t watching. Eventually, Vega found out about live shows Carlos Colon was putting on, and he started going frequently. Vega didn’t have a favorite, but just loved taking in the show. Vega got in to martial arts, completely independently from his love of wrestling, and he got free classes by storing the equipment for the class in his house. Vega had a friend who left martial arts, and a year later returned saying he was a wrestler.
24:27 – Vega talks getting into wrestling – Colt asked if Vega thought his friend was in amateur wrestling, but he knew if had to be professional wrestling. Vega started training in Dorado, which is a 40 minute drive that he would often do on his bicycle. Vega traveled twice a week to train, but he didn’t have an official trainer who made sure he knew what he was doing. Eventually, Isaac Rosario saw him wrestle on a show and talked to Carlos Colon about getting him on other shows. The following week, Vega was doing security at a show and he was told by Colon to be ready for TV tapings the next week. Vega’s came in as a jobber with a pirate gimmick, El Corsario, and was sent to train by Vader at a local gym. Vega had six wrestlers try to break him, but with his martial arts background was able to earn their respect as a tough guy who can go in the ring.
33:44 – Vega talks coming to America – Bushwhacker Luke was going to send Vega to Tennessee, but ended up working for Bill Watts in Louisiana. Vega flew in to Baton Rouge and his bags got lost and he considered flying back home immediately because he did not know any English. Vega didn’t know who was supposed to pick him up, but eventually he got his bag and was kicked out of the airport at midnight. Around two in the morning, Grizzly Smith showed up to pick him up, after being in the airport since five in the afternoon. Grizzly Smith started talking to him, but Vega didn’t understand most of it and he said, and there was only one referee who spoke Spanish that left shortly after he got to America. Vega credited Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ted DiBiase, and Bruce Pritchard as wrestlers who really helped him during his early years.
39:57 – Vega tells stories of wrestling for Bill Watts – Vega was still wrestling as El Corsario but as a “Puerto Rican terrorist” and told a story of running in to interrupt a match where he accidentally hit a police officer he thought was a security guard. Vega told another story where he was watching a match with a mask on from the locker room and he scared a little girl at a concession stand. The little girl’s mother went to the cops, and Vega was almost arrested until Buzz Sawyer intervened to translate. All in all, Vega called his time in Louisiana a good experience.
45:53 – Vega talks returning to Puerto Rico and TNT – Colt asked Vega about his Kwang gimmick which Vega said he developed in New Japan. Vega discussed making connections in Mexico and Japan where he would go learn styles then go back to Puerto Rico to get “polished”. Vega was very complimentary of this style of learning how to wrestle. Eventually, Vega went back to Puerto Rico and the promotion was starting to go under because Carlos Colon wasn’t drain any longer. Vega talked about the basic booking of the territory and Colon’s similarity to Hulk Hogan. Vega was then told to shave his head and start showing his martial arts skills as his new gimmick, TNT. The TNT gimmick became a babyface and Vega was told this was his one chance to make it, so he took full advantage of it and started a year-long winning streak. Vega said that the TNT helped bring sellout crowds to every TV taping. Colt was in awe when Vega described selling out three stadiums in the same day, showing some matches live and some on the screen. Vega talked about wrestling being the only real sport in Puerto Rico and the pure spectacle of wrestling in the 1980s.
57:34 – Vega talks current Puerto Rican wrestling scene and his current ventures – Colt asked how the Puerto Rican scene has changed. Vega brought up IWA in the late 1990s and all the large houses they would draw, and said he’s tried to do something good with the World Wresting League. Vega said he was willing to be anywhere to be in the business, and he tells people he still does “bad behavior” in the ring. Vega said he’s working with Puerto Rican companies who call themselves “independents” but he says “independent of what?” because they are a wrestling company. Vega tries to help people out like he got help starting out and said it may be his calling. Vega plugged his social media and Colt ended the interview
1:01:40 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt joked about Vega being a part of his childhood, along with rappers Big Pun and Fat Joe and thanked the person who set up the interview with Vega. Colt plugged his website, social media, and upcoming events, then thanked Vega, his tech help and sponsors. Colt talked about putting in his eardrops to hopefully fix his ear, and started to complain about healthcare before he remembered he didn’t care about political stuff, and signed off.
1:05:19 – Easter Egg: Vega speaks Spanish – Vega rattled off a long string of Spanish, I believe talking about the podcast and plugging his social media. Colt said “comprende” when Vega finished, and Vega asked if Colt got all that, to which Colt replied, “No comprende.”
SCORE & REVIEW
Score: 7.2: This episode of The Art of Wrestling was a very good episode. Now that Colt has upgraded his audio equipment, the sound is better than ever and didn’t have any hard to hear sections. Aside from the stellar audio, there seemed to be a lot of content they could have covered that they didn’t. Colt led off the podcast mentioning that he didn’t talk about Bruiser Brody or much about WWF, and I think if he had, there could easily have been another whole hour of podcasting. That being said, what they did cover was fascinating, and a great look at the territories in the 1980s, especially in Puerto Rico which is unique from many of Colt’s guests.