Release Date: December 13th, 2017
Recap by: Sean McGraw
X-Pac is joined by Jimbo, Denise, Bill, and TK. This week’s guest will be Konnan. The roundtable is happy that Roy Moore was not elected in Alabama.
A WWE Superstar is suspended indefinitely:
Rich Swann was arrested for allegedly putting his wife in a headlock and false imprisonment. Pac hopes the reports aren’t true, and if they are, it is very unfortunate. He has been suspended indefinitely.
The last time something like this happened it was Adam Rose and WWE came to terms on his release before the legal process played out. Kevin Nash and Jerry Lawler have also been suspended for similar situations in the past. Pac doesn’t know about Lawler, but he knows about Nash. WWE immediately suspended him. It was right before either his or Scott Hall’s HOF induction. They suspend anyone for things like this – even members of the Kliq. There have been no charges pressed against Swann.
Does negative publicity when being involved in any sort of angle play into suspension/releasing procedures? Pac says no. The company can’t afford to pick and choose with things of this magnitude. Personal feelings are one thing, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have to do what they have to do. From reading the reports, it is hard to not feel like they are accurate.
Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho are heating things up
They start by playing a clip of Jericho attacking Omega after his match in Fukuoka. They put over the attack on both Omega and Don Callis. They also talk about the attack at the press conference. X-Pac likes that Jericho used profanity. The “realism” presented in this angle is praised. Pac likes the press-conference usage. You can manipulate things and make your own angles if you’re smart. He also says he likes how NXT does things kind of similar.
WWE Women make history in Abu Dhabi
Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss wrestled a match in Abu Dhabi. They had to fully cover themselves, obviously, but this is a big step for women’s empowerment. Pac says that this is bigger than pro wrestling. When he was supposed to go to Kuwait one time, they weren’t going to let the women perform there. Hopefully this opens up for more women to do things in public in these parts of the world. X-Pac tips his hat for making this happen. They could have easily just not gone against the grain but they didn’t. Apparently TNA had a Women’s match in Abu Dhabi in 2010 but it wasn’t televised and nobody made a big deal about it then. This is a much bigger deal because of WWE’s platform. X-Pac is speculating that the TNA match didn’t happen in a public forum there.
Interview with Konnan
X-Pac starts by asking Konnan how Aro Lucha in Nashville was. It was incredible. Konnan thought when he brought the luchadores over that Lucha Libre was so much more colorful and creative than the “cookie –cutter, boring” style in America. A lot of people thought it wouldn’t last and 20 years later its influence can’t be denied. While he was in TNA, he filmed a promo where they went to the Latino area of Nashville and he saw a thriving community. He had also read a story about 30,000 people show up to see Team Mexico play in a soccer game in Nashville so he knew there was a strong Latino population there. X-Pac remembers Konnan bringing it up to him years ago about huge Mexican communities in a lot of major markets. Konnan says 70% of the crowd ended up being Latino and 30% was Anglo.
Konnan says a beautiful trend that is happening in Lucha Libre is that more non-Mexican wrestlers are becoming luchadores. This is resulting in a stronger Anglo fan base of Lucha. Konnan is ultimately trying to get a TV Deal for Aro Lucha. He saw the negatives of Lucha Underground – not touring and not making any money off of merchandising after such a hot product – and wants to improve on that. Lucha Underground opened the doors to something that hasn’t been seen since WCW. It was no longer the appetizer, it was that entrée. Aira Lucha wants to take what Lucha did and improve on it.
What is the hardest and the easiest part of presenting Lucha to an American audience? Konnan says it’s not as hard as it used to be. He’s been trying to sell it for many years and he remembers vividly 25 years ago trying to get prominent people in L.A. to do it. They equated it to the “Hulk Hogan thing.” They didn’t understand back then. People are more informed on what it is now and the product speaks for itself. Who from Mexico will have a breakout year in the U.S.? Fenix and Pentagon are doing a great job of that, Jack Evans also. Dragon Lee from Mexico is special. Rush will probably be booked a lot more too.
X-Pac asks if Konnan remembers the first time they met. He doesn’t. Pac says it was at Sturgis at Road Wild. Konnan was one of the first people that came up to him when he got to WCW. People don’t realize how close Pac, Nash, Hall ,and Konnan and his crew were. Konnan says you can’t get any closer than riding together. Plus he and his crew already liked Pac because they were all Jr. Heavyweights. They would all hang out with Hulk and all of the big names after Nitro and drink beer. Pac says nobody was better than anybody else and it was a fun time. Konnan says he treasures those times now. You can’t really appreciate the moment you’re living in until you stand back.
Back in the day Konnan didn’t like Eric Bischoff at all. When he came on Konnan’s show Konnan said he wasn’t going to start anything, but if Bischoff even popped off in the wrong direction it was going to go down. Bischoff was a perfect gentleman; they didn’t even need to take it there. It was squashed right there without anyone even knowing. It’s cool to be on good terms since Bischoff was the one that hired him. Pac says it’s cool to not be carrying grudges around.
Pac has a good relationship with Bischoff now, but back in the day he resented him for mishandling a lot of the talent that he introduced – specifically the luchadores. Konnan says that at the end of the day being mad at people is a waste of time and like taking poison and thinking the other guy is going to be affected by it.
Konnan contends that the ignorance of people about Lucha Libre back in the day led to silly matches like Rey Mysterio vs. Kevin Nash in a hair vs. mask match. Pac says that poor Rey was put in a position where he had to lose his mask or lose his job and they had no idea what the consequences of that were. Konnan says he did tell Bischoff about it. He suggested matching Rey vs. Juventud Guerrera. He says that Rey is evergreen with the mask on and that Vince is a genius for putting the mask back on him. How did Rey losing the mask go over with the people in Mexico? It went very badly. Wrestling is like a religion in Mexico next to soccer, so people don’t really care about the circumstances of the loss. Some people are still hot about it to this day.
Pac asks about the mentality in Mexico about the guys going out there and “taking all the candies for yourself” and how it led to some bad matches in contrast to Aro Lucha where everyone seems to work for making the match better. The problem in Mexico is that all of the heels want to be cool and get applauded. Sometimes they’ll even ask for it. It divides the crowd and it’s not fair to the babyface. They’re too busy trying to get little chants.
Konnan says that when guys work for him they know what he expects of them. He will do his part in promoting, and it’s on the wrestlers to make the matches and show entertaining. He won’t mix words. He compares himself to Dana White in that if a match is bad, he will come out and say that it’s bad. Pac asked because when he went to Mexico it was a foreign way of thinking. He was approaching a match by thinking of ways he could make the other guy look good. Most of the other guys were trying to figure out how to get all of their stuff in to get themselves over, instead of how can I make the other guy look good. When both guys approach a match trying to figure out how to make the other look good the matches are much better. Konnan says Pac was instrumental in helping to change the mindset of the company. The way the guys were thinking and working were killing the business.
Konnan is asked about how close Rey Mysterio was to being put in to the Mini division before Konnan stepped in. It was very close to happening. Back at the time Rey was 17 and a pretty boy. The rest of the guys in the mini division were older and some of them were bitter. They were going to whip Rey’s a** and send him home. Konnan saw that Rey was special and somebody that people could get behind as an underdog. “There’s very few guys that revolutionize the whole sport. He’s one of those guys.”
Pac tells a story about working with Rey in WCW. The NWO was white hot at the time and Pac would bring Nash and Hall with him to the ring. During the match Nash and Hall interfered but ended up taking punishment from Mysterio, which then allowed Pac to get the win. After the match Bischoff was furious that Nash and Hall were flopping around the ring for Rey, but it turned out to be a great piece of TV. Konnan says that’s why Hall, Nash and Pac were so ahead of the game. They knew how over it would be. Pac says the main thing that is understood is to make their segment the most entertainment that they could.
The conversation switches and Konnan the T.K. and Denise what they thought of Jericho’s “bikini” comments while promoting his cruise awhile back. They say they weren’t offended given Jericho’s overall demeanor and personality, but context is huge with things like that. Everyone pretty much agrees that a lot of things get blown way out of proportion nowadays.
The conversation shifts to talk about the women wrestlers in Mexico. Pac remembers that they used to beat the s**t out of each other every night. Sexy Star took a lot of punishment on almost a nightly basis. He wasn’t shocked when she shot on Rosemary because that’s the way things were down there when a new girl came in. Konnan says if you had 50 guys in dressing room and 5 girls – the girls are a way, way bigger headache than the guys because of the jealousy between them. Pac says it was the same in the WWE when he was there. He doesn’t know if that’s still true today. Konnan says he had to talk to the Mexican girls when Angelina Love came in one time because of how badly they beat her up. He says you won’t find any of that in Aro Lucha.
Denise asks if there is anything that Konnan can tell us about the barbed wire match that happened at the latest Impact tapings? It happened a while ago and it was a crazy match. One thing that he’s proud of is getting the locker room standing ovation. Pac says there’s no better feeling. Konnan is actually surprised that he is back with the company because he left there initially on really bad terms. He sued them for racial discrimination and they tried to drag it through court for years but he won. When Jeff Jarrett went to Mexico, Jarrett and Konnan had a sit-down meeting to discuss what had happened. Konnan was surprised that Jeff considered it water under the bridge and how easy he was to work with.
Konnan attended a PWG show with Rey Mysterio a while back. What was his experience like and is there any talent there that he would want in Aira Lucha? Konnan had an incredible experience. The reason he went there the first time was to take some guys that were going to be working on Lucha Underground. Konnan recommended a bunch of talent including Kevin Steen, The Young Bucks, Ricochet, Brian Cage, Willie Mack. He said the guys from Lucha Underground didn’t get The Young Bucks gimmick saying they should get better ring gear. He said they were really stupid because he was going to get The Young Bucks into Lucha Underground for a three man stable with John Morrison – because they are all from L.A. – but the L.U. guys only offered The Bucks $200 each. The Bucks were insulted and came back saying for them to work in that company they want $1,500 each. Non-Negotiable. Pac says good for them. Konnan chastises the L.U. talent relations for not doing their due diligence.
Konnan is asked more about coming back to Impact. He says they initially wanted him to be a mouth piece for Bobby Lashley. He said Lashley doesn’t need a mouth piece. The Lashley character has a legitimacy that he really can kick your ass. When there’s that legitimacy people know that. If Lashley goes to WWE someday, he vs. Lesnar would be a money dream match. Since Lashley didn’t need Konnan they asked what Konnan wanted to do. He wanted to reform LAX. They knew what LAX was, so they put together a great team with great chemistry and people like it.
How do all of the companies that Konnan are involved with feel about him being involved with other companies? Aro Lucha doesn’t care. Impact had their questions about it but they aren’t marketing to a Lucha crowd, plus he can use Impact guys on other shows for cross promotion. He’s had to leave other companies because they questioned his 100% dedication. Konnan doesn’t see why guys can’t go to work for as many places as they can if the work is there for them.
Is using Lucha Underground guys on Aro Lucha going to be a problem? No, Lucha Underground let all talent know that they can work for other promotions even if they have TV. Konnan was also happy that Impact is allowing people to keep their IP. It allows the talent to be able to make money and if they ever want to come back it will be an easier transition back.
Pac says that it’s not like the promotion can’t still take advantage of the likeness to make some money at the same time as well. Konnan is happy to see the power starting to go back into the hands of the worker, because when the company has all power all they do is exploit. Pac says one person doesn’t have to lose for the other to win. Konnan says at the end of the day if you make friendships with the wrestlers, they will make the extra effort for you.
Konnan is asked who owns the Max Moon intellectual property. It was his idea but Vince owns it. Vince came up with an idea for that character to use a jetpack to fly to the ring, but they couldn’t do it indoors because the fire marshalls wouldn’t allow it. Konnan says he thinks that idea would have gotten over big time with the kids and probably would have made a lot of money. He would have gotten in trouble though because of his mouth and the political climate backstage. Coupling that with him doing whatever he wanted to in Mexico led Konnan to not show up to TV tapings and he got fired. He’s seen Vince a couple of times while he’s been visiting some friends. It’s a cordial encounter but doesn’t go much beyond saying hello and shaking hands. He did go in for a tryout with WWE when he was on his way out of TNA but Johnny Ace said he was too old – even though he’s close to the same age as Booker and Booker was there at the time. He tried out for commentating as well and Chris Benoit heard his commentary and gave him really high praise.
The discussion ends with Konnan plugging his Keeping it 100 podcast as well as his Twitter and all of his wrestling appearances. The show then wraps up with social media plugs and appearances by everybody on the panel.
Overall this episode was a solid listen. It’s always interesting to hear what Pac thinks about some of the news items because of his history. He has unique insights and opinions. The discussion with Konnan was interesting to listen to as well. The conversation was obviously very heavy on Lucha Libre. If you don’t follow Lucha too closely that could be a bit of roadblock on this episode. I personally don’t follow a lot of Lucha stuff so a lot of the information was new to me but I have to admit there were parts where I had a hard time concentrating. From my perspective, Konnan is an interesting figure in the wrestling business because of his relationship between the Mexican and US promotions – acting as somewhat of a mediator. At the end of the day, if you are a fan of the Lucha Libre style of wrestling then this podcast is definitely worth a listen.
00:00 – 22:52 Intros and News Discussion
22:53 – 23:42 Ad Break
23:44 – 1:42:18 Interview with Konnan
1:42:19 – 1:47:38 Show wrap up
Sean is a media professional from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sean’s earliest memory of wrestling is seeing Kane on WWF television in 1998. Sean watched primarily WWF in the Attitude Era and dropped off just before the initial brand split. Seeing recap promos of the Undertaker building up to WrestleMania 20, he became hooked and has been an avid fan ever since. Sean’s wrestling preferences currently lean more towards NJPW/ROH/NXT but he remains a fan of it all. In his spare time Sean enjoys cooking, baking, and going to the gym. You can follow Sean via Twitter @stmcgraw and Instagram @stmcgraw09.