Alberto El Patron (Del Rio) recently spoke on Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast on a number of topics including his time in WWE, difficulties with his gimmick, differences between Mexico and U.S wrestling, failure of Sin Cara and more.
On working without a mask in WWE: “When I started in pro wrestling, I didn’t want to take off my mask, it was very important for me in the business to keep it on, but now I’m happy I made the decision to remove the mask because when I did that I was able to do other stuff, other business. Sometimes I just think about my Uncle, Mil Mascaras, and he’s a perfect example; nobody knows him without his mask so he can’t do anything besides being Mil Mascaras. I was just worried about my dad not being happy with my decision, but I remember the day when they presented me with the ‘Alberto Del Rio’ project and immediately called my dad and my dad was like, you have to do what you have to do because you have the talent and I know you’re going to be one of the most successful wrestlers in history in WWE. If that is what you need to do in order to get to that place then do it, you have my full support. After my dad said that then there was no doubt that I was going to succeed without the mask.”
On the difficulty of playing the Alberto Del Rio character: “Of course it was a little difficult at the beginning because the business in Mexico is different than the business that is here in the States, but I picked up on it really fast and had a lot of people helping me when I started with WWE, with people like Dean Malenko, Edge, Rey Mysterio Jr were there to help me, and because of them is why I got to the place that I got to.”
On the differences between working in Mexico and working in the United States: “To start, in Mexico you wrestle on the right side, in the States, you wrestle on the left side. It’s like writing with your right hand your entire life and then starting to learn to write with your left hand. It was difficult; I was in the ring and was going right left right left, it was just really difficult and confused, but after a month or two I was fine. When I got there I was 32 or 33 years old, and the place was filled with young people in their 18’s, 19’s, and thought to myself—my gosh, what am I doing here? To be honest, it was a nightmare to be there but I’m glad I did it because my time in FCU I learned everything about the American style, especially how to use a microphone, how to cut a promo, and working in front of a camera, so even if I hated it I’m happy that I did it.”
On the failure of Sin Cara: “I remember Joe Laurinaitis was in charge and I remember him telling me that you have to go to FCU, just trust me, go there a couple of months and then you can come back here and kill it. When they signed Sin Cara, because he was the first project of Triple H, he was their baby. It was around the same time he created NXT, so the first project for NXT the guy said that he didn’t want to go to the developmental school, he said that if you guys want me you will have to put me on the main roster right away, and it was a complete failure. He had the opportunity to do amazing things; he had his own referee, had his own guy that used to drive him around. He had a translator and everything, but it didn’t work.”
On losing his passion working for WWE: “It’s because they needed new stars. When that happened all the big stars were retiring or going into movies or soap operas or whatever, but they weren’t working for the company and that was why they needed new stars. This was one of the main reasons why they began pushing me—and they did that well in such period of time, I became one of the most relevant wrestlers in like 10 months, and then the incident happened and had to leave the company the first time, and then when they brought me back I just wasn’t happy. I feel like when I retire from MMA and stop fighting and then all these organizations try to make me fight again, and I even went back to the gym again, but I was just there training with no strength and no will to do it, and then I decided that this wasn’t for me and I wasn’t hungry to do MMA anymore, which I feel as though the same thing happened with me going back to WWE the second time. I was there but wasn’t happy and that was why I decided to quit. I let them know that my contract is going to be up in two months and I’m not coming back. They did everything in their power to keep me there, but I just didn’t have it in me to return.”
On not blending in with people from the new era: “It’s because the storyline the company had for me was pretty stupid with the ‘Mex-America’ storyline was so stupid because nobody understood what we were trying to do. I couldn’t understand what we were trying to do so the people didn’t click with it because it was just really confusing, and nothing but respect for Dutch Mantell, I mean, he’s hurt, he couldn’t really walk, so he wasn’t really helping me out there, but even though my work in the ring was fantastic, and I’m in amazing shape. When I came back to WWE I said okay, this is my second opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it so I went back to the gym and started dieting and really working hard. I am in amazing shape and I did everything in my power to make it work, but the storyline wasn’t there. From there I started to feel like I wasn’t comfortable with the company; all my friends were gone. All my friends like Edge, Chavo Jr, Rey Mysterio, and was there in the locker room with great kids, great guys, but different generation; they’re into their comic books, playing video games, looking at their I-Pads, and whatever and I’m just completely from a different generation. I remember Vince [McMahon] saying this to me; ‘hey, why don’t you try to blend with the kids, with the guys.’ I said because we’re so different. I read books, they play video games, they read comic books, they’re 19, 20 years old and I’m 38 so we have nothing in common. I have three little kids, I’m a father, so we have nothing in common.”