Why It Ended – Rico Constantino
Release Date: October 31, 2018
Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle
Why It Ended – Rico Constantino
Rico talks about growing up in Las Vegas, watching Big Time Wrestling and attending military school as a diminutive kid (says he was just 82 lbs and 4’11” as a freshman, graduated at 119 lbs, 5’9”).
Rico says he Wrestled in high school and was a fan most of his life. He became a manager at his brother’s bail bonds business in 1998. He was 37. His brother convinced him to begin training and wrestling under Jessie Hernandez at Empire Wrestling in San Bernadino, CA, where Rico’s first match was against Christopher Daniels.
Somehow, a tape of Constantino at Empire Wrestling made its way to WWE, and he was called by Howard Finkle & offered a 10-day WWE tryout at the Funkin Dojo, alongside future WWE talent like Mark Henry & Nicole Bass.
After the tryout, Rico was offered a $500/week developmental contract, which he almost turned down, but would ultimately accept following an opportune conversation with Yokuzuna.
Constantino moved to Louisville, KY and worked at OVW, training under Danny Davis & Jim Cornette for about a year and a half. Rico discusses his time in OVW, where he portrayed a character inspired by his real life history as an American Gladiators Champion.
Constantino was actually the American Gladiators Champion for the first half of the shows 1990-1991 season, when he was in his late 20’s.
Rico talks coming up to WWE’s main roster as the stylist/manager for Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo, getting wardrobe advice from the Godfather, and believing he was being “set up to fail” by Vince McMahon.
Of the homophobic undertones to his WWE character, Rico says he didn’t wan’t to “show that lifestyle in a bad light or embarrass them,” and that he thought the key to his character was keeping it ambiguous.
*NOTE: Rico says Billy Gunn’s ‘Mr. Ass’ character was dropped because The Undertaker came back as the American Badass, and Vince didn’t want 2 ass guys. Thought that was fun.
Rico talks about Eric Bischoff’s surprise reveal as the officiant of the Billy & Chuck wedding, calling it the biggest kayfabe of all time, and saying that Vince came to the arena with Bischoff, who was already in full makeup.
Rico discusses working with 3 Minute Warning, asking Adrian Street for permission to play the “Exotic Adrian Street” character, and requesting to work with Miss Jackie instead of Melina.
Talks about his issues with Bob Holly and Bubba Ray Dudley.
Says Holly is just mean, while Bubba is a fat kid who was bullied in school who now “takes it out on you in the ring.”
WHY IT ENDED
When Rico’s 3-year contract came to an end, he says he asked Vince McMahon for a raise, but Vince didn’t like it, and said his character was no longer over. He was soon released via a phone call by Johnny Ace.
Rico says Vince and the agents never gave him any direction, and that the only advice Vince ever gave him was to “strap a rocket to your ass and I’ll tell you when to calm down.”
Rico talks about briefly working in Japan after WWE, retiring from the ring at 44, and spending 11 years as a part-time US Marshall/State of Nevada Investigator.
Rico paints a poor picture of his current health, saying he’s in bed 20 hours a day, that he has a degenerating neck, curved spine, neuropathy, blood clots, concussions, vertigo and ringing in left ear.
Rico says he doesn’t put his medical issues on WWE, saying, “How could I blame this on Vince and wrestling when I’ve done so many high contact things?” He explains that’s why he didn’t join the class action lawsuit against WWE.
Rico talks about the Go Fund Me account that Kenny Bolin launched for Rico’s medical expenses, and says Chris Jericho donated $3,000 to him.
Rico says he now lives with his ex-wife and raises his granddaughter.
Rico says he’s proud of the role he played in the WWE, working semi-main events and helping the crowd to laugh, breath and rest up for the main event.
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