As long promised. If I wait any longer, it’ll be completely irrelevant.
A few points to make before I start, really no different than for any other interview
- This is an interview from two weeks ago. Things change. Obviously, if Cibernetico’s departure is as sincere as those involved would like us to believe, the circumstances of AAA are much different when when this was done. As Konnan mentions, this was done before the Irapuato taping.
- This is a off the top of the head discussion. In any opinion based Q&A, there are going to be answers that you give one day that may conflict with the answers you give the next day – maybe you forget something, maybe you confuse something, maybe you say it in way that sounds one way in your head because you know the contest, only the listener doesn’t. This has happened to me almost every time I’ve been the interviewee, so I ready to allow leeway.
- This isn’t the Pile On Konnan thread. I’m going to force myself to refrain from commenting on Konnan’s points so they don’t get diluted. If you want to argue his points, go ahead. If you want to complain about Konnan because you hate Konnan, save it for another post. If you want to complain about how much the TV show sucks, wait for a thread about the TV show.
One last plea: sign up for the Wrestling Observer & Figure Four package. If you’re going to pay for anything wrestling related on the internet, it should be on that. And I don’t even really care about MMA. (Konnan does enough for the both of us.)
I’m also going to skip over Steve Sims/UWA discussion. It’s worth listening to and would love to hear the rebuttal, but I rather concentrate on Konnan thoughts on the current scene
- The current downswing in CMLL is the start of something really bad for the company, unless they do angles, storylines, and up their production. Paco Alonso is famous for staying in the past and modernizing too slow, and they were lucky Mistico exploded when he did, and Perro Aguayo and Hector Garza jumping to CMLL and Wagner getting hot at the same time. The novelty of that stretch has worn out. They’ll always stay in business as long as their are wrestles in Mexico, but they won’t grow anymore unless they radically change how they do business.
- “As a matter of fact, they had a meeting like two weeks ago, and they cut all the wrestlers guarantees in half, and that’s one of the reasons Perro Aguayo Jr. left”
- CMLL’s office is all 50 years old, who don’t have their finger on pop culture.
- Blue Panther losing his mask was an incredible surprise. He was told by a wrestler that Panther dropped his mask, because the guy who takes Villano’s mask is someone they want to make a big star. “But that was a great swerve, and we’ll see what it does for business.” (Related: Konnan loves MMA because of the unpredictably of it.)
- Perro Aguayo had the same problem as Konnan and Vampiro, and John Cena had – they’re so popular, the promotors and media focus on them because they’re so hot, everyone else is complaining about them privately. “They all had a meeting and said they were tired of Perro being pushed, when they’d been there so many years, and guys like Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero, Blue Panther, who all happen to be from the same area of Mexico, Torreon, they’ve got all the power now, and Perro saw the writing on the wall. And Perro said, ‘if you think you can do business without me’ – because, let’s face it, their biggest program is Mistico & Perro – ‘then I’m going to bounce.’ Plus, they wanted to cut his guarantee in half. So, Perro was just the victim of the jealously of the wrestlers, and again, you can’t let wrestlers dominate your business because they’re not always looking at the company’s best interest.”
- re: Pena’s ashes. Wasn’t surprised with the reaction for the angle. Mexico is very religious, and it was a very scarilgious angle. Kidnapping the urn just before the Pena memorial, because the press really bit on it for that timing. Konnan notes this is part of a continuing pattern of media attracting angles: Roldan breaking his face after tripping into a turnbuckle at TripelMania, Konnan being forced out of the ring, the urn angle, and the control of the company.
- Konnan strongly disagrees with Steve Sims claim that only the yellow (gossip) media was covering it – the mainstream media has been in on it.
- Konnan isn’t concerned about fans coming after him. During the shows, they’re wild (cage match mentioned), but they don’t act like that outside the show.
- Konnan is sure Antonio Pena would’ve loved being part of this angle. Konnan learned the importance of Shock Value – as long as it’s not gratuitous – is going to bring press. You’ve got to do angles that are shocking enough for the mainstream to cover it, but not too shocking for them to just laugh at it. There’s still credibility for lucha libre in Mexico. Most people know it’s fixed, but don’t know it fixed, and it makes the entertainment shows.
- The Antonio Pena angle is offensive, because it was meant to be offensive (and draw people.) The Tailbanes wasn’t a big deal, because Mexico wasn’t having an issue with the Tailban, the guys were a midcard act, and Americans aren’t as respected anymore.
- Cibernetico, La Parka Jr., and Octagon (the Old Guard) took control of the lockerroom after the WCW exodus and wanted Konnan and Vampiro (and Latin Lover) to pay their dues when they came back. The guys who were there before are jealous because they now have to share the spotlight/angles/storylines, “with guys, some of us who have been considered icons.”
- Dorian Roldan is too worried about what the Old Guard thinks, and those guys don’t have the best interest of the company in mind. He and Vampiro aren’t great friends, but Vampiro’s interested in building the company and Konnan wants to build the company he started, and the other guys are not. Konnan is trying to convince Dorian not to be like Eric Bischoff and just cater to his stars at the expense of the company. Doing what’s best for the company and making everyone happy doesn’t go hand and hand at times.
- The people complaining aren’t the young guys looking for a bigger shot, because Konnan’s track record is positive for those people. “We made Rey Misterio, we made Juventud Guerrera, we made Heavy Metal, we made Psicosis.” He’s always been for young guys & the junior heavyweights. “We” push a lot of guys, Super Fly and Aerostar. “That’s one thing I can never been accused of doing, holding people back.”
- Bryan: “How involved are you in the day to day booking of AAA at this point?”
Konnan: “No, I only book my stuff. When I first came back, I booked a lot of the stuff you were seeing on TV. But it got really hard to work with Dorian, because he waits to the last minute, sometimes even a couple hours before the show to book stuff, and I can’t work like that. And I just felt, if these guys are going to be complaining about me booking, because some of the wrestlers were ‘oh, you’re giving too much power to Konnan again’, I said, book your own shit, I’ll book my own shit, and we’ll see whose gets over the most.”
- Billy Boy has everything to be a star, he’s a good looking kid, a very good worker and the people like him a lot. “For whatever reason, he’s been slotting in that position where he’s always wrestling against his girlfriend wife Fabi Apache and that’s where Dorian maintained him. I think he’s a guy who should be pushed and a guy who will be pushed. He’s got a lot of talent.”
- Super Fly – Konnan talks about the Air Force, naming Fly, Aero, Pegasso, and Rey Cometa. (He’d remember Laredo a moment later and is high on him.) Dorian wanted to push these guys to the next level, and Konnan told him he couldn’t push all four at the same time, people will get confused. So they’re pushing them by the one. “They’re starting to give Super Fly the ball, but the problem with Super Fly is, he’s brutal on promos and he doesn’t have any charisma. And when you’re brutal on promos and don’t have charisma, I don’t care how talented you are, it’s pretty hard to do anything with you. But we’re working with him and he’s a project that we’re working on right now, and if he doesn’t pan out, we’ll go the next one. The good thing about AAA is we’ve got a lot a lot of young talent. You got to remember, this is a country where over half the population is under 15 years old, so we have an incredible stream of young talent.”
- Q: Who can be pushed into a spot to replace Cibernetico? Zorro, Vampiro, Jack Evans (high on Jack). “I think Cibernetico is a guy who got really really hot off an angle, not because of his wrestling.” Kawashi angle recap, credited with making Cibernetico because of the media coverage. “He’s mostly charisma and image, and everything that comes up, must go down, and I see his popularity waning.” Latin Lover, if he was able to wrestle full time, would also be on Konnan’s list.
- The guy in charge of AAA’s US expansion is a concert promoter and was in over his head promoting the shows, but they’re stuck in a contract with him for three years. Konnan hopes he gets better people to help him, becuase they should be making millions of dollars with all the Hispanics in the US.
- At the beginning, AAA felt it was a slap in the face for WWE to get their time slot. Televisa must’ve thought RAW would get monster numbers, or maybe WWE paid for the slot, and once the ratings came out and were close, AAA got it’s timeslot back. The last ratings Konnan saw, two weeks ago, they did a 7.4 and we did a 7.1 and CMLL about 3.5. They’re close on WWE, despite their edge in production and stars. Konnan’s proud of how close they are, because he credits much of it to bringing in Hector Melendez from TNA to do the video packages. AAA’s been relying on storylines, while CMLL’s been giving you “great match after great match”. Konnan thinks great matches are like strippers – after you’ve seen two or three, they all look the same. CMLL doesn’t do variety, AAA does variety, the people are voting for variety and CMLL is going to suffer.
- WWE’s popular, so Konnan and Dorian and Hector have tried to take the elments of WWE which appeal to the Mexican fans and add them into AAA without losing the essence of AAA. “One of the main things I’m pushing for, and you’re probably going to see it next year, is – WWE doens’t let guys like Teddy Hart and Jack Evans get over on their TV, because they’re going to eat the main eventers lunch. Just like Rey Misterio, they had him tone down his style. And one of the things – Jack and Ted have been real big hits here, and now Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero, who are really good, they’re going to be a big hit, and now X-Pac when he starts wrestling, when he’s got his working boots on, he’s awesome. So what I want to do is bring in guys like Ruckus, Generico, the Briscoe, Pac’s from England, and I want to give them that type of wrestling, that there’s no way they’re going to see in WWE, because that’s not the style they push, and you can’t see it in CMLL, because they don’t have those type of wrestlers, they have Mexican high flyers. The Mexican high flyers are real different, than that ROH hybrid that I like a lot.”
- Your ratings, and your house shows are driven by TV stars
- Konnan watches everything, no matter how good or how bad, just to know his industry as best he can.
- Konnan’s cool with Cary Silkin. They wanted to do a working relationship with ROH last year, but Gabe was completely unfamiliar with the AAA product. Konnan still can’t get over a guy with a junior heavyweight promotion is unaware of what’s going in Mexico. He still likes the job Gabe did.
- one of the reasons wrestler is tougher now: you’re not allowed to take steroids.
- If Konnan was a guy around 19 or 20, he would’ve gone into MMA. If he didn’t have to watch wrestling, because it was his business, he wouldn’t be watching wrestling. “It’s become stupid, it insults my intelligence, and it’s the only show I watch every week hoping it gets better. If it was any other show, I wouldn’t watch it.” Konnan liked Flair/HBK, Jericho/HBK, the clips of the Attitude era on the 800 RAW, and the nWo, but the writing sucks today. “You’ve already got morons as fans, why don’t you try getting intelligent people to watch your show?”
- he’ll forever be on anti-rejection drugs and visiting a doctor once a month, but his kidney is doing good and getting out of TNA and that stress has helped his health.
- “Keep watching AAA. The wacky storylines are not my idea, I scratch my head at a lot of the stuff I see myself. Everything that has to do with me, that’s me. And I think next year, you’re going to see a lot of the ROH wrestlers coming in, you’re going to see us improve our production values, and you’re going to see us modernize the product, because the WWE is in the house, and they’re making us up our game, and that’s good for everyone in the business. And I hope I’ll be doing some indies in the US soon, and I’ll be able to shout at some of the people like my style.”