The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 297 – Konnan
April 14, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson
– Konnan covers his early career in Mexico and WWE
– Colt Cabana remembers Kris Travis
0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show saying this was going to be a good episode, and that he has been trying to get Konnan on the show for years. Colt thanked Declan “Creaky” Quinn for audio assistance, because this episode was taped in a hallway with a lot of echo. Colt brought up a recent three-show trip to England that turned into a one-show trip, where he flew to England and back over the weekend. Colt acknowledged that, while some people may think it’s terrible to fly to England for one day, there are a lot of other people who wish they could travel freely like he does. Colt told a story of a fan apologizing that Colt had to be at a small show at a run-down club in Sheffield, England, but Colt said he prefers to wrestle at the weird places across the world. Colt brought up memories of deceased wrestler Kris Travis, who recently passed away due to cancer.
8:28 – Song of the Week – The song of the week this week is “Muy Perro en la Disco” by Konnan.
12:08 – Konnan Interview – Konnan opened the show with a story about being on Chris Jericho’s podcast and Jericho burying him for smoking after the interview. Konnan talked about smoking marijuana, and credited it for helping him tap into parts of his sub-conscious that aren’t otherwise accessible and help with rapping or with booking wrestling.
14:36 – Konnan talks growing up – Konnan grew up in Miami and ended up moving to California and joining the Navy to avoid going to jail. Konnan grew up around people involved in drugs and a judge told him he would either go to jail, or he could join the military. Konnan discussed parenting in the 1980s, including parents being allowed to physically discipline their kids, and about his parent’s jobs. Konnan’s step-dad owned a dress company, so he utilized the colors and fashions to stand out when he went to wrestle in Mexico. Konnan said he was a ham growing up.
20:35 – Konnan talks starting wrestling in Mexico – Colt asked if there were people in Mexico that Konnan didn’t want to piss off when he was getting started. Konnan didn’t care about making people mad, but he mentioned getting wrestling licenses and “paying dues” when it was hard to break in to wrestling. Konnan was into wrestling as a child, but fell away as he grew up, and got back in to wrestling when Cyndi Lauper was involved, because he liked MTV. Konnan wasn’t really “in awe” of anybody when he came into wrestling, but he quickly became a good draw. Konnan “got into wrestling by accident” after leaving the navy. Konnan briefly talked about his time on the navy boxing team and hazing while serving in the military.
After he left the military, Konnan was boxing in the park and spotted by a “champion,” who introduced him to a promoter and started training him. The first show Konnan went to, he was introduced as someone who wrestled in Florida, and got booked in a match before he had any training. Before his match, Konnan didn’t want to wrestle unless he knew how to hit the ropes, and was trained by Rey Misterio, Sr., where he learned that the “champion” he met, John Roberts, was actually a fan who didn’t wrestle. Konnan talked about spending time with Roberts on the road and all of the injuries he sustained while training.
33:37 – Konnan talks stardom in Mexico – Colt asked what happened that made Konnan a star very quickly. Rey Misterio Sr. took Konnan through the deserts to different towns to live the wrestling life, and Konnan left his job at an adult book store to go on the road. Misterio took Konnan to Juarez where he met the Guerrero family. Konnan ran in to make a save with a chair, and when he took off his shirt the crowd went crazy. From there, the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger and Konnan started doing more and more in the ring, eventually forming a tag team with Eddie Guerrero. Konnan said he was one of the biggest draws, and he is very proud that he didn’t have to deal with politics or racism in Mexico, which he had to deal with in the United States. Konnan was able to avoid many of the issues other wrestlers face and use his fame to go onto soap operas and make rap records. Konnan said one of his proudest moments is that he holds the all-time attendance record in Mexico for his retirement match.
43:08 – Konnan talks about crossing over to mainstream entertainment – Colt asked if, because Konnan got back into wrestling because of Cyndi Lauper, he recognized the importance of crossing over to mainstream entertainment. Konnan believed it had more to do with taking lucha libre from very one dimensional storylines and chain wrestling to a more flamboyant, exciting style with his outfits and move set. Konnan broke into mainstream to make more money, and compared luchadors at the time to NBA players today. Konnan credited his likability with him being able to sell himself to people and make money.
46:43 – Konnan talks AAA When Worlds Collide – Colt asked about AAA When Worlds Collide in 1994, which he called a pivot point in wrestling. Konnan praised Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Juventud Guerrero as guys who were doing great work at the time and helped make that show huge. Konnan said When Worlds Collide was supposed to be the start of a relationship with WCW and AAA, but that never materialized and he didn’t end up in WCW until he had gone to ECW. Konnan said it didn’t change the business right away, but it showed people what lucha libre was. Konnan told a story about talking to Paul Heyman and telling him if he hires Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psicosis, they would steal the show. As soon as they wrestled, Heyman booked them for the next week and brought in Konnan.
51:03 – Konnan talks WWE – Colt asked Konnan about his time in WWE. Konnan discussed the Max Moon gimmick and the struggles with getting the costume from town to town. Konnan left WWE because of the drug scene, as well as his burgeoning soap opera career in Mexico. Tito Santana called Konnan and told him he was about to get fired, and that they wanted Paul Diamond to take over the Max Moon gimmick. Konnan didn’t care about WWE, and praised Colt as someone else who has made it without WWE. Konnan said he doesn’t care if he goes to WWE as a writer, or in the Hall of Fame, because he’s made all his money without WWE.
54:56 – Konnan and Colt end the interview – Colt said that Konnan is someone he really likes, and he passes the Sanjay Dutt test of people who Dutt likes. Konnan told a story of going to Sudan with Dutt and realizing they should have gotten vaccinations on the plane ride over. Konnan plugged his podcast, and joked about Colt being very professional when recording his show. Konnan plugged his social media and joked with Colt about Walemania before signing off.
1:00:26 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt briefly ran down all the topics he didn’t get to with Konnan and said he would have to have him back on. Colt plugged his website, social media, and upcoming events, then thanked Konnan, his tech help and sponsors. Colt started speaking Spanish, and signed off.
1:03:23 – Easter Egg Clip: Konnan and Colt speak Spanish – Konnan said something in Spanish and Colt said some basic Spanish words in a joking manner. Konnan called Colt “Twinkie the Kid” which caused Colt to say “No bien” over and over.
Score: 8.0 – This was a stellar episode of The Art of Wrestling. Konnan is clearly someone who, without being overly boastful, is comfortable talking about his life and career highlights in an open way. The audio quality on this episode was also phenomenal, especially considering it was recorded in a hallway and had to be fixed in post-production. Konnan was the quintessential Art of Wrestling guest, covering both Colt’s fascination with facets of wrestling he isn’t familiar with, like Mexican lucha libre, and weird relics from WWE’s past, such as the Max Moon gimmick. It would have been nice to touch on WCW or anything Konnan has done recently, but for someone with such a jammed packed career, a one-hour interview was never going to do it justice. This was still a highly recommended episode to anyone interested in professional wrestling.