This was filmed on November 7th, 2014
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
It runs at two hours and one minute long.
The first question for Alberto is what was it like growing up in a wrestling family. His dad was Dos Caras and his uncle was Mil Mascaras. He said that he has been involved in wrestling ever since he could remember then talks about how while kids at school had their heroes, he had his at home. When asked, Alberto said that his dad kayfabed him until he got into the business. Alberto then talks about how the fans in Mexico truly believe that wrestling is real then jokes about how his dad would give him bullshit answers as a kid when asked why he let certain guys beat him.
He is now asked about amateur wrestling as Alberto said it was a great time and how you could just go out and kick some ass. Alberto then talks about how he wanted to become an architect as a kid then said his father did not want him in the business and as a father today, Alberto completely understands where he was coming from.
Alberto then talks about how in Mexico there is an old saying about how in order to be a wrestler, you have to look like a wrestler then laughs a bit as he says about 60% of the Mexican wrestlers have big bellies before saying how his family were all bodybuilders and amateur wrestlers so they passed that along to him.
On the AAA promotion, Alberto said that business was awful when he first started and considered quitting because the money was that bad. Luckily for him, he went to Japan as they were interested in him coming into work. From that he talks about how starting out on Mexico is tough because they want you to wear a mask and have a cape as he talks about the difficulty of wrestling with a mask.
When asked about the guys he worked with in AAA, Alberto said that the veterans there all went out to have fun and were not worried about getting in their spots or anything else as they just called it all in the ring. On if anyone tried to take advantage of him, Alberto said no as they knew he would kick their asses due to his amateur background.
Alberto said that he went into MMA for the money. He said that he knew Randy Couture, who told him to try it as he could make some money. While in Japan, Alberto was offered $20,000 to fight and he gladly said yes. That fight was when he broke the arm of Kengo Watanabe. After the lost to Mirko a few fights later, he was offered a contract that was for less money then was told by his friends in Mexico that he could make a ton of money there as business was booming so he decided to leave.
In CMLL, Alberto said that he was making about $3,000 a show as they worked about 8-10 shows a week while Mistico (Sin Cara) was making $5,000 per show. When asked, Alberto said that he did not face any resentment when he came in and got a lot of money as he was i it for the long haul and not just to coast around. He said that the locker room was great as he was friends with Atlantis, Ultimo Guerrero, and Volador among others.
Now he is asked about several of the guys he worked with in CMLL. He puts over Hector Garza as a great guy and unbelievable worker as someone his size could fly in the air with ease. He says that Ultimo Guerrero can carry anyone in the ring, no matter how bad or messed up you are. He said that Shocker was also a fantastic worker but got caught up in a lot of things (drugs) and was missing shows and other media events.
Alberto said that the first time the WWE approached him about coming in was when he was in Japan for an MMA bout while they were in the country on tour. Alberto said there was no reason to go there at the time as he said he could have made what they offered him in Mexico in two months. He tells the story of John Laurinaitis telling them that he was passing on a big opportunity as Alberto said that he could not pass up the money he was making in Mexico as he tells all the young wrestlers out there today that they need to remember that this is a business and you have to make money so always ask for as much as possible when you are younger and are not broken down.
On being a heel, Alberto said he liked it a lot more as he was in control of the match as that fit his personality better than a babyface, who had to kiss the crowd’s ass. He jokes how he always controls everything in his life. He remembers Dean Malenko, who he cites as a mentor, told him that in the ring, you are the king and that no one can touch you.
He talks about finally signing with the WWE after getting offered a few more deals with each of them going up in money so he signed when they offered him something that was comparable to what he could make in Mexico. He started off in Developmental at FCW and did not want to be there as he was 30 years old and from wrestling in front of sold out crowds in Japan and Mexico to wrestling in front of no one while a majority of those down there were in the early 20’s and just starting out in the business. At the end, he said it was the right decision as it helped him learn the American style of wrestling.
Alberto talks about how they had all sorts of rules that he described as stupid they went by down there such as you are not allowed to use your phone at any point and if someone from the main roster showed up you were supposed to immediately stop whatever you were doing so you could go and shake their hand. Alberto said they made you feel like a little kid with their rules and he was 30 years old, married with a kid on the way. He said that they no longer abide by some of these practices. He then talks positively about the trainers, saying that they were great and understood when they told him how he could not get treated any differently from the others despite his experience and status. And Alberto knew that they others would hate him too if he was getting preferential treatment so he played along. He puts over Tom Prichard, Norman Smiley, Dusty Rhodes and Steve Keirn for treating him with respect and helping him learn the American style. He then credits Dusty for stopping him from quitting as he told Alberto he was going to make money here and that he had a bright future when he was getting frustrated. On why he was frustrated, Alberto said he hated wrestling in front of 10-15 people in FCW and how they had to set the chairs, clean the arena, sell the tickets and act like the bouncers as he was back to doing stuff he was doing as a kid in Mexico when he paid his dues and was doing it all over again.
The hardest part for Alberto was working from the right hand side in Mexico to the left hand side in America as it took some time for him to adapt.
He started off as Alberto Banderas in FCW. He was asked to come up with a name as they wanted him unmasked because he had a good look. He said Dusty came up with the name because he thought Alberto looked like actor Antonio Banderas. He then talked about how Mexican fans were up in arms because he unmasked and threw away his legacy and a big payday for putting his mask up in a match. Alberto called his dad and asked him if he would get upset about this, even going as far as saying he would go back to Mexico if he was but his dad told him that he had a great opportunity there and to do what he wanted so he stayed. He then said how when he did wrestle in Mexico for the WWE that Laurinaitis let him wear the mask out of respect. Alberto then said that Johnny was always great to him.
Initially, Alberto said that the WWE locker room was sold as something like a concentration camp to him when he was in developmental as you were told to always shake hands and stand in certain parts of the locker room among other things prompting Alberto to say that this is wrestling and should be fun so why worry about this stuff. He talks about his first experience on the main roster on a tour of Europe as he was in the airport where no one talked to him during the trip until Chavo Guerrero joined the tour a few days after it started when he told him that the others were just testing him and would appreciate his talents in the ring. After that, Randy Orton approached him and put over his ability and after that guys like John Cena, MVP, and Christian did the same. Alberto puts over Christian a lot for helping him out when he first started. He said that he was initially afraid to approach Christian, who has a serious demeanor backstage, then when he did, Christian was very friendly and asked Alberto what he wanted to do in the match.
Feinstein then asks him about HHH and Stephanie. Alberto said nothing bad happened but never had a great relationship with them as they had their favorites, just like others did. He also respects both of them as people. When asked about Vince McMahon taking a liking to him, Alberto confirms that and said that Vince liked his aggressive in-ring style as Alberto said that is what got him his run at the top of the card and said that is what a true heel is supposed to do in the ring.
On comparing the politics in the WWE to Japan and Mexico, Alberto said that it is a “Snake Pit” in the WWE while it was fun in Japan and Mexico. He talks about how everyone is stressed before the TV tapings and towards the end of his run there he stopped having any fun at all. He does put over the way the WWE produces the show and how he liked that better than what they did in Mexico.
When asked about the Del Rio gimmick, Alberto said he was given a lot of names that were mostly stupid and some of them translated in English meant “pussy” or “asshole” and when he confronted the creative guys who handed him the list, they had no idea that is what they meant as the names they picked were the result of searches on Google. He saw the Del Rio name and picked that one as he wanted to use his real name with that because they cannot take his first name away from him and how he could use that when he left the company.
Alberto loved the vignettes for the Del Rio gimmick. He said shooting it was like filming a commercial as they shot in a beautiful home and had a ton of production people there.
He said that in the WWE you have to wrestle the way they want as you cannot think outside of the box as you have to follow the same steps as everyone else until the end of the match so he had to change his style completely.
On Ricardo, he found out that he was going to be with him when he made his WWE debut. He arrived to the arena and found out that he was getting a car and had a bunch of Mexican wrestlers there who were trying out to be his ring announcer. Alberto said at the beginning he was very nervous but grew into the role. He said Ricardo was always good to have in his corner as he always added something every night in his corner.
He calls Rey Mysterio once of the nicest guys on the planet and was gratious when he had to put him over in his debut. Alberto credits Rey for putting him on the map and said that they had plans for them but Rey’s injury halted them.
Alberto said he would call his dad for advice. After his third match, his dad told him his kicks looked like shit and he trained with him in Miami and since that, his kicks have been great.
On working with Matt Hardy in his final match, Alberto said Matt was great to him and gratious enough to put him over and wanted to put him over big on his way out as Alberto suggested he win by a rollup out of respect.
He then talks about how the WWE wants you to be a “lovable heel” as they will come up to you and say you need to get more heat as he would ask them how would they want him to do that as they do not want you to acknowledge the crowd, use weapons like chairs or other illegal heel tactics like choking to get any heat. Alberto then talks about how it is getting harder and harder for heels to get over in the WWE. Alberto then talks about the hypocrisy of the WWE telling you to go out and have fun while giving input yet you are only allowed to follow the step-by-step instructions they provide to you, questioning how can you have fun under those conditions.
On the TLC match in 2010, Alberto said that he was not comfortable taking those bumps but that in wrestling you have to do what you have to do. He was told to just relax and have the mindset that you were going to get hurt and he did.
Alberto said that he hated being a mentor on NXT because the show was lame and he was extremely busy with the shows on the main roster and very tired as he was on the top of the card and had no time at all.
He liked getting paired with Brodus Clay,saying that Brodus helped him get over, then talks about how he always asked why wasnt his character using his money to pay off the referees or to hire a hitman to take out John Cena or to help him win as he says that he was told to pitch ideas but they never used them and if they did use them it was for other people.
About when he found out that he was winning the 2011 Royal Rumble, Alberto said that he found out the day of the show when they called the last five guys in the match into the office and got told about the finish.
Alberto says that he prefers calling the match in the ring and tells a story about how when he started to work with Dolph Ziggler, they never spoke and thought they did not like each other. They went out and put on a match that went well and they got congratulated backstage as Alberto talks about how when you put two good wrestlers in the ring together and let them go, you get a good match. When asked why the company does not get behind Ziggler, Alberto said it is all politics as he is a great worker and goes out and has fun.
On working his first WrestleMania, Alberto said it was great as his whole family was there and he had a good match against Edge and accomplished everything. When asked, Alberto said he was not disappointed that he opened the show as he was the newcomer and as long as you put on a great match it does not matter if it was the opener or not. He was originally supposed to win but two hours before the show he was told that Edge was winning and that got him upset initially but he got over it then said that Edge gave him an amazing match and never told anyone he was retiring until the next day. He knew Edge was hurt as he was having problems moving an arm and even walking so had a feeling that he was leaving at some point.
Alberto puts over Christian again, saying that he is very underrated, and is amazing in the ring. He calls Christian the only guy in the company that he did not have to think up anything before the match as he was a genius in the ring.
He said he found out that he was winning the Money in the Bank briefcase the day of the show and said the crowd was throwing stuff at him after the match after he ripped off Rey’s mask.
Alberto then talks about how he does not care if he is the champion or not as long as he is in a good storyline then says how he has pride and does not go out to the ring just so he can collect a paycheck as he loves this business.
On John Cena, Alberto said he is fantastic and does not get the credit he deserves for working the crowd. When asked, he says that Cena does play politics, because he is so important to the company, but does not believe he is going to the office so he can bury other talent. Then when asked if the company relies too heavily on Cena, Alberto said that it is tough to say as they have had a lot of talent leave to pursue film roles and other interests while he is the only one who is drawing a lot of money and selling merchandise so what can you do.
He likes CM Punk and says that he is a great guy who started from the bottom. Alberto said that he is also a fantastic worker. He talks about how he has a difficult personality to deal with at first but is a great friend and someone you can trust, saying the business needs more guys like that. He was not surprised when Punk walked out on the WWE because according to him about 80% of the roster would have walked out if they had the options Punk had because just about everyone was going out of their minds at that point because the company atmosphere was generally terrible. Alberto even jokes how he texted Punk the day he quit and Punk texted him back Alberto said he wished he could have followed him. He then said that the WWE never appreciated what Punk brought to the table and believes he will eventually return to wrestling but not necessarily the WWE.
On the Miz, Alberto said that he didnt speak to him at first but talked to him a few times and thinks he is a pretty cool guy. When asked if it was fair that the Miz got to main event WrestleMania 27, Alberto said that it is hard to define what is fair in wrestling as they are following orders and it is not like the Miz is going to go up to Vince and ask to get removed from that spot.
Alberto likes Sheamus and says that they are friends outside of wrestling and they had fun in the ring. He also said that a lot of people talk trash about him. He then talks about losing several matches in the row and how you cannot come back from that, even telling a story of Dean Malenko coming up to him saying how the WWE thinks wrestlers like him, Rey, and Ziggler can come back from anything but sometimes there is just some things you cannot come back from.
He expressed frustration over a proposed storyline in which he fired Ricardo and replaced him with Rosa Mendes, which would eventually lead to them getting married inside of the ring. Alberto said he was not letting this happened and told Vince he was not comfortable with it and thought the idea would fail.
Alberto then talks about how he never told the company when he got hurt as he ended up working with several concussions because the first time he got hurt they removed him from the PPV and he lost his spot and money as a result. He then said how he was not the only guy who hid injuries for the same reasons.
On why Dolph Ziggler does not get a big push, Alberto said it is due to politics and heard that someone who is high up in the company is not a fan of his. He denies that it is due to injuries and doesnt think he gets hurt that often. He is then asked if there was an argument backstage the night Dolph cashed in his MiTB Briefcase that also involved Vince and HHH. Alberto confirmed and said even though he would like to talk about that, he is unable to.
He felt that the angle in which he tried to get the Brogue Kick banned was “lame and stupid” then talked about how the last 18 months he was in the company creative gave him any crappy storyline but he went out there and tried to be a good soldier because that is what you have to do in this business.
While on the road he started off spending time with Rey, Chavo, Edge, and Christian. Then later on he traveled with Drew McIntyre and Ricardo.
On Sin Cara and why he failed in the WWE, Alberto said that it was not the language barrier because his character was faceless and did not need to speak English to succeed. He said that Sin Cara never bothered to learn the American style and refused to go to Developmental but the company was so desperate to hire him and catered to his demands.
Alberto said that he almost snapped after over 30 straight days on the road then Laurinaitis saw him and knew he was distressed so he flew in Alberto’s family to be with him for a few days.
He is asked about his babyface turn. Alberto said he found out that day he was turning then goes on about how when he first started in the company, they had everything planned out for the year but now the change everything weekly. He said that the decision to turn made no sense at all.
Alberto had a lot of fun working with Jack Swagger and Dutch Mantell. He also never had a problem with the Rock getting a main event match because he brings in a new audience. He never felt like the chemistry was there when he worked with RVD but does like him as a person.
When asked about Daniel Bryan and how the company uses him, Alberto said that he does understand why the WWE did not want him to win at WrestleMania and that it was the fans that made them switch plans. Alberto said he was one of the best wrestlers ever and a great guy and cannot believe how the WWE does not see this.
Alberto tells a story about working against Bryan in a match. He accidentally knocked him out with a punch and yelled at him to get up then told the referee to call the match but the ref was told the match had to continue so Alberto put him in the corner. Bryan finally woke up and asked where he was as Alberto told him that he accidentally knocked him out. Bryan then started to feel better then when Alberto asked him if he wanted to “go home” Bryan said no and to continue getting heat on him and after that Alberto told Bryan the finish of the match and it ended up going well. He then talked about Bryan giving him a receipt by kicking the shit out of him in the corner as Alberto said he deserved that.
Unfortunately, Alberto is not allowed to talk about the events that got him fired from the WWE has they settled with him and that was part of the deal. All he says is that they both made mistakes and he is going to go on and live his life and be able to wrestle where ever he wants.
He talks about returning to AAA for Triplemania 22. Alberto said that at the airport, there was about 2,000 fans and 50-80 media outlets waiting for him. On teaming with Sin Cara there in his return and whether or not his WWE experience humbled him, Alberto said he has no idea as he calls Sin Cara a weird guy.
Back to his overall WWE run he said that it was great up until his last two years when it no longer felt fun and that he started to make less money. He laughs when asked if HHH replacing Laurinaitis was the reason, saying he has no idea.
Alberto does not feel that the WWE will ever hire him back. He said the incident was pretty bad and they operate differently now as they do not want to bring in guys who are going to be asking for money when they have a lot of young, cheap talent.
He said that when the WWE Network was launched that was it for the wrestlers as they started to see significantly less money. Alberto said he was not going to re-sign with them because of that as the money was not worth it any longer as he would go home and see his check and it was a lot less. He said they tried to work all the talent by shafting them on pay because they knew most of them had nowhere else to go. Alberto said that he did well enough in Mexico and Japan before coming to the WWE and has his homes and cars paid off as well as funds for his kids so he can retire in 3-5 years.
When asked if he would go to the WWE as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, Alberto said not now as he is having a blast wrestling in Mexico and everywhere else. He talks about the locker room is better and the money is good as no one is waiting to stab you in the back. He then said that he is already making what he was at the end of his WWE run in Mexico now and that is not even including the other dates in the U.S., Japan, and Europe that he is working. Feinstein then mentions to Alberto that every person who he spoke to who was left the WWE within the past year was completely miserable there.
Alberto closes by thanking his fans.
Final Thoughts: I thought this was a solid interview. Had the WWE not reached a settlement with him, Alberto seemed like he would have went in depth about the incident that got him fired. He did not seem like a guy who would hold back. At the same time, he did not come here with an ax to grind nor was he interested in burying anyone he did not like. He was more interested in talking about his experiences rather than bad-mouthing others.
I’ve watched several interviews with talent who have recently left the WWE and they all said the same thing: they are getting paid significantly less since the roll out of the Network and its the work environment has gotten worse when Laurinaitis was let go. And to touch upon what Alberto said about the company moving away from guys who command money and using the cheap talent they have stockpiled, he is 100% correct.
After the interview ended, I came away as a fan of Alberto as a person. He was calm and relaxed here and gave credit to all of his peers. Sure, he had his frustrations, and they were legitimate, but he did not whine about them. There were no insane stories of people holding him back as he just simply said towards the end of his run they weren’t using him for anything. I was really interested when he talked about his time in developmental and how he just swallowed his pride and did what was asked of him, despite feeling it was beneath him at times, and even said he came out of it thankful for helping him adapt to the American style of wrestling.
Overall, I recommend the interview. If you are fan of road stories and gossip though, I would pass as you do not get much of that here.
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For next week, I have decided to please the vocal minority and will be reviewing the Curt Hawkins RF Video Shoot. It is a tremendous shoot that gives a ton of insight into the company and entertains with all sorts of funny stories on just about everyone, including tales of America’s favorite trainer, Bill DeMott.