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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: Talk Is Jericho w/ Rico Constantino on being the “Forrest Gump” of WWE, his late start in wrestling, and the strange reason Booker T was mad at him

Talk Is Jericho with Chris Jericho

Guest: Rico Constantino

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Recap by: Armando G. Ureña, PWPodcasts.com Reporter

Top Newsworthy Items

-WWE earned a GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award for the positive portrayal of the Rico Constantino character.

-Rico’s mutton chops came from a suggestion by Raven.

-Rico is battling health problems and has a PayPal account set up to help him pay his medical bills.

-Steve Austin helped to save his job when he was nearly fired.

-Rico was originally going to be paired with Daffney, instead of Jackie Gayda.

Timestamps
00:00: Sponsor Ads
00:37: Podcast Introduction
08:09: Rico Constantino Interview Part 1
33:28: Sponsor Ads
37:52: Rico Constantino Interview Part 2
1:17:33: Sponsor Ads and Closing

Recap

Podcast Introduction

Rico Constantino is a winner of American Gladiators and a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion. Constantino has been battling with some health problems, causing him to rack up pricey medical bills. You can send money to Constantino’s PayPal account, wwericonstantino@gmail.com, to help him out. All the money goes directly to Rico. After that Jericho plugs some of his upcoming dates and does a few advertisements.

Rico Constantino Interview Part 1

The interview is being conducted from the home of Rico Constantino in Las Vegas. Jericho describes Constantino as the Forrest Gump of WWE, having done it all and had many crazy experiences. Rico started his wrestling career at the age of 38. While in the secret service, Constantino met four different presidents from around the world and traveled the planet protecting high-level diplomats.

Rico talks about his experience winning American Gladiators. The money he won allowed him to travel and work with several charities. He also talks about his time as the bodyguard for TV Evangelist Benny Hinn. There was a lot of security involved to protect Hinn.

Rico Constantino Interview Part 2

Rico eventually quits protecting Benny Hinn, doing too much for too little pay. After working as a private investigator for a brief time he started working for his brother’s bail bonds business, to help manage the place. His brother was involved with Jesse Hernandez’s Empire Wrestling Federation. Constantino started wrestling, having eight matches in twelve months. He had a tape made that WWE eventually watched. Rico got a call from Howard Finkel to try out in Connecticut.

Rico impressed during the tryout, earning himself a developmental contract. He shocked Jim Cornette, who thought Rico was much younger. Constantino also got words of encouragement from Yokozuna. He was going to get cut, but Cornette, Jim Ross, and Steve Austin all asked that he get a chance. Cornette told management they should give him 90 days before cutting him because he’d done everything they’d asked of him so far. Rico grew his mutton chops after advice from Raven to grow some facial hair and change up his look to be a better heel. He says to this day Raven will deny giving him that advice. Rico talked about getting to the main roster, performing as a manager for Billy and Chuck.

He talked about the infamous wedding angle, and how he was “sweating” because he had to learn a five-page monologue and remember everyone that was coming out. He thinks it ended up turning out great when Billy and Chuck attacked him and 3 Minute Warning jumped them and he switched teams. Jamal (the later Umaga) got in trouble with the law and they had to break up the group. Management talked about making it “2 Minute Warning”, but realized that it wasn’t going to work.

Rosey was moved off to join The Hurricane, so Triple H approached Rico, saying that Vince McMahon wanted him to be an Adrian Street character. Not wanting to plagiarize it, Rico requested to meet Adrian and talk to him about it. Constantino would be flown out to meet him, where he got tips on performing as the character, like not actually telling the audience that the character was gay. Constantino revealed that Stephanie McMahon was the one who came up with the Street-like gimmick he played. He also convinced her to let him have Miss Jackie as a manager because they were planning to send her down to OVW. Originally, they were going to pair him with Daffney.

An interesting anecdote is that Booker T became angry with Rico during this time period because his wife Sharmell thought he was going to strip clubs because he had glitter all over him (which was part of Rico’s makeup). Booker went to Vince McMahon and Rico was told to “tone it down.”

They start to talk about Charlie Haas, and the tag team Rico formed with him where they won the tag titles. The duo started after Haas and Rico had a feud going and Pat Patterson approached them backstage and said they’d make the “perfect” tag team champions. Later on, after being hurt in a match against Bubba Dudley (he tore his hamstring three times in the match), Rico discussed coming back and working for six months before being released in November of 2004. Vince told him the character wasn’t over anymore. After, they moved on to Constantino’s very brief time in All-Japan Pro Wrestling, where he would also win Tag Team Championships with Bull Buchanon. Rico decided to retire from professional wrestling after deciding he didn’t want to keep traveling back and forth to Japan at 44-years-old. He then got a job as a police officer in Boulder City. Jericho put him over as possibly being the only guy to enter WWE for the first time when he was 40 (not counting people like Diamond Dallas Page who had prior major league experience).

Rico mentioned that WWE earned a GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award for the positive portrayal of the Rico character. Rico talked about enjoying his time as the character, feeling he filled a comedy role that allowed audiences to laugh and get reenergized for the main event match. When asked, Rico says that he does not have a favorite angle, given that he was never in a well-defined program due to being moved around a lot. He also said that wrestling Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio are two of his favorite matches.

Memorable Quotes:
An interaction between Jim Cornette and Rico Constantino:
“How old are you?” Jim Cornette
“Thirty-eight,” Rico Constantino
“What the hell are you talking about? I thought you were twenty-four!” Cornette

Score and Review (7/10)
Rico Constantino has one of the more unique wrestling stories I’ve heard—starting his career at the age of thirty-eight and living a very interesting and well-traveled life prior—provided for entertaining pre-wrestling stories on the podcast. His perspective as a mostly comedic, mid-card wrestler is different from top of the card, main event wrestlers. Rico described his role as being less focused on selling tickets and more focused on playing a role in the show that helps change the pace for the benefit of the audience. The stories about Jim Cornette and Jim Ross wanting to give Rico a chance before he got cut by management are my favorite from this podcast. This episode may not be as interesting to other people, due to it being about a mid-card wrestler with a relatively brief career, but I think it was a solid episode that you could consider listening to.

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