Recently I had a chance to interview “King” Danny Faviano. Faviano has been around the SoCal scene for eleven years, and in this interview we discuss his start in wrestling, how the scene has changed over the last decade, his incident with Pogo the Clown, why he is calling out Super Dragon on the Internet, and more.
Steve: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Now I read through the interview you did with Josh Shibata for SCU a couple years ago at an MPW show and I’m not sure if you want to go over any of that stuff again or not, such as how you got your start, etc.
Faviano: That’s ancient history bro. I can’t remember what we talked about then, but I actually got started by a guy named Pistol Pete out in Pico Rivera. I’d actually went to Bill [Anderson] and Jesse’s [Hernandez] maybe eleven
years ago because I wanted to check it out and they were like “I don’t know bro. I don’t know if you can make it or not. It’s going to be at least two years before you get a match.” So I was pretty turned of to it till I met this guy Pete, and he was like “You got what it takes” and I started working a few shows for him for like two or three years, maybe one or two matches a year, until I got hooked up with Martin [Marin]. Once I got hooked up with Martin I started training and that’s when I started to get some work on a full time basis, you know what I mean? And that there was maybe six years ago, and we were all over there. Me, the Ballards, the Hardkore Kidd, Bart Kapitzke [AWS promoter], all kinds of people were there. There was some good training going on, taught by Adventure and Misterioso. Once those guys kind of left everyone went their separate ways.
Steve: Is that when you joined up with UIWA?
Faviano: Yeah. UIWA approached me because Martin [WPW] started doing
some American shows during the week, and I saw Johnny Hemp and Doc Marlee and they said “why don’t you come over to UIWA and work a couple of shows?” and I said “Yeah, no problem.” A couple of years before that I got hooked up with Kiss and Karisma and a lot of lucha shows up in East LA. Like I said before, I can’t remember if I said this to Shibata or not, but lucha was always easy for me to get over in. All I had to do was say “you stupid Mexicans” and no problem, they hated me. So I kind of liked the American style more because it was more of a challenge.
Steve: You’ve always worked a lot in Mexico, correct?
Faviano: Oh yeah. As a matter of fact this was maybe about a year and a half ago, I was working for Kiss and Karisma, I would work till about two o’clock on the afternoon on Thursday, then drive all the way to Ensenada, work there, get home about four o’clock in the morning, go back to work at seven, get off at three-thirty, and then drive to Tijuana after. Then I’d stay in Tijuana and also work Mexicali on Sunday, then Puerto Penasco on Monday. The only reason
I worked the Monday show is because it was a big CMLL show that day that they
put me on that got me some good work. It was me, Blue Panther, and Braso de
Oro against Phantasma, Super Astro, and Kiss. That was a good show out there.
Real good. That’s the only reason I would do that. I wouldn’t do that again because I only got paid thirty-five dollars.
Steve: Yeah, that’s not a whole lot of money.
Faviano: No, not even. That’s why I don’t work for him as much. Also because he doesn’t do as much down there. He’s got a good thing going over on 68th Street, you know South Central [Los Angeles]. He’s packing them in.
Steve: That’s the Sunday night lucha shows?
Faviano: That’s the Sunday night shows. I worked the third show he did.
My partner Unholy and I went over there. We worked like the second match I think and when I stepped out of the dressing room I thought “Oh my God, this
is like Wrestlemania”, there was so many people. I mean there was people standing and by the time we wrestled and came back every soda, beer, coffee,
nachos, everything was completely sold out. So he’s making money hand over fist.
Steve: Yeah, those guys are crazy. They’ll send me lineups but no one ever sends results.
Faviano: That’s how they operate. It’s weird. I got a call from him maybe three weeks ago. He says “hey Faviano where were you?” And I said “What do you mean?” and he goes “I had you booked” and I was like “You never called me or anything” and he said “It’s in La Opinion”. I don’t read the Mexican paper every day. You have to call me to tell me I’m booked. So that’s kind of the way they work over there. Once in a while he’ll call me, if he wants to do a specific show or whatever. I’ll work for him any time, because that’s one of the few promoters who’s not afraid to put me against name talent. He’s booked me with Lizmark, Vampiro, Dr. Wagner, and all those guys through Kiss. He tells me “just do what you do.” He doesn’t tell me “I want this” or “I want that” and nine times out of ten it’s been a good show.
Steve: When MPW started, you were involved since the beginning. What do you think of your overall experience there?
Faviano: It was OK. I have a little bit of sour grapes from them, only from the standpoint that when MPW first started I was in the mindset where I was tired of being a clown. I try to bring something different to the table, because everyone is used to holds and people get bored. You know it’s really hard to keep that crowd’s attention. So I tried to bring something different and I kind of got pigeonholed as far as that’s concerned, you know what I mean? It’s like promoters would call me and say “we want you to come down and do your comedy stuff.” I mean I don’t just sit there with a stool and tell jokes, I can actually wrestle. But since I do comedy I got looked over a lot for matches. I got bumped twice for the Messiah. I was supposed to wrestle Vampiro one time and got bumped for Messiah. They said “you’re out” and just put him in. Same thing happened another time too. Messiah showed up and they put him in my match. So I started to get a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Other than that though, MPW was cool. They told me what they were going to pay me and that’s what they paid me. As for my matches, some were OK, some left a little bit to be desired. As a matter of fact I guess Larry Park and someone else are trying to bring it back up and they gave me call not to long ago and asked if I wanted to be a part of it, and I was like “sure, just let me know what you guys want.”
Steve: Around that time you started working Rev Pro regularly, feuding with Matt Sinister. You got a lot of credit on the Internet, as far as how bad the matches would have been if you wouldn’t have been there to save them.
Faviano: That’s kind of like the whole reason I went to Rev Pro. I’ve been friends with Ron [Rivera] forever, I mean a long time. We working sort of the same shows. We were working for a promoter named Antonio who was running shows in East LA. He had a bowling alley in Lynnwood and Ron started bringing
guys like Super Dragon, Disco Machine, and Yakuza to work the first or second matches. Those guys were super young. Dragon was a little kid. And that’s how I got to know Ron. We went our own separate ways for a little while. When he started Rev Pro I wanted to work for him but I hadn’t heard from him in a long time. Finally he calls me up and says “I’m looking for somebody to wrestle Matt because he’s a big dude and I don’t have that many big people. Can you come in?” And I said “No problem. Whatever you want. I’ll put him over, whatever.” A lot of those guys, I don’t want to say they were scared, but he was just a little bit to big for them and they couldn’t follow him. So me and him had some pretty good matches at that dojo they had with the upstairs [Dojo 1], and even Matt was like “Things are going good, I want to work with you a little more here and there.” So that’s how I got into Rev Pro. Later I started working for them on a full time basis. What the hell happened I’ll never know.
Steve: That brings me to my next question. They gave you the Rev Pro Heavyweight title after it had been pretty much abandoned for quite a while…
Faviano: Dude. Usually you try and keep the dirty laundry and stuff in house, but I’ve been screwed so bad. When Matt had that belt it had a little bit of something to it, then it really lost it’s luster. Ron told me he’s going to put me against Black Metal and I was going to go over, because he was going to try and start bringing the belt back up. So I won the belt and the next match he puts me against Lonestar, who you know, nothing personal but there is a certain type of wrestler who just can’t follow me because I mix a lot of styles. Lucha, American, comedy, and what have you. So the match got no crowd reaction what so ever. That’s one thing that really kills me. So I talked to Ron and said “Let’s make this belt mean something. You don’t even have to pay me. Spend some money and bring some guys in. Bring anyone. Samoa Joe, Chris Daniels, anybody. Just give me the chance. If the show is crap then you don’t ever have to book me again. We’ll still be friends but I’ll leave.” And he says “Well, you know, I’ll try.” So I wrestled Babi Slymm after that. Now Babi Slymm is starting to get up there, but at that particular point he just could not follow me. Nothing against him at all, it was just kind of hard for him to follow. Not that I’m great or whatever, just certain people gel. Once again the crowd was dead. So I talked to Ron and said “Look man, book the match with Dragon. I’ll even put the dude over, no problem. Just build it up so we can have some good matches and we’ll go from there.” And Ron says “Well, I got things going and he’s hardly ever here.” He’s on every show! So I say “Look man, it’s in house, you wont lose any money, let’s book it.” He said “OK I’ll see what I can do.” So the next match I wrestle Shamu and lose the belt. Whatever, no problem.
So I see on the Internet where people think the belt is a joke and I tell Ron “The people think that belt is a joke. They don’t want to see it. They don’t care about it. Have something going with Dragon for it.” This is the whole point where I got mad. I said “Let me come out in a pair of coveralls and a mask. Have him wrestle for the belt and go over then I’ll come out and start pounding him, pull off the mask and it’s me. We’d then have a little bit of an angle going. We can draw some people. At least it brings something to that belt.” I never really got a reaction from him. The God damn next thing I see is the next show Babi Slymm does the same run in and beats up Dragon which sets up their title match. That’s when I really got mad. I told my wife “What did I do? Why is this guy rubbing it in my face?” That started the whole Dragon and Faviano thing.
This is crazy. I called Bart to tell him I’ll pay half Dragon’s booking fee so that him and I can wrestle. I’ll put the dude over. I just want the people to see that the match between him and I would have been a good match. I just want the people to see it. Bart said he couldn’t get a hold of Dragon. So there’s this guy named David Miranda who does some things up north and he calls up Ron and tells him he wants to book this match, and he’ll use Ron’s ring, and book Ron’s guys, whatever. Ron says “Dragon isn’t taking any outside bookings.” So I said this is BS. I’m going to call him out on the Internet. I don’t have his number. I knew where he lived, but apparently he moved out. Ron isn’t talking to me and changed his number and didn’t give me the new number, so I really had no other alternative to but to go through the Internet. I’m already starting to get up there in age. I don’t have much time left. I just want that match to show people I’m not just a clown and that I can wrestle. I mean, that’s my belt. That was my belt and the things that I asked for someone else got, and that’s what really pisses me off. People still to this day think that I can’t be serious. That I’m just building an angle or working the boards or whatever. But it’s the God’s honest truth. When I talked to my buddy the Unholy, he said he’ll put up the other half [of Dragon’s booking fee] just so people can see. The offer is out there but so far nothing is happening.
Steve: If someone does book the match and it does happen, where do you go from there?
Faviano: To be honest with you, after I have a match with Dragon, and I’ll tell you right now I’ll give that match 100%, and as soon as that match is over, more than likely I’ll retire. I have a few more commitments left right now, like PCW, and something else I can’t remember, then more than likely I’m just going to go work for WPW.
Steve: Since you and Dragon are both booked for PCW next week, have you thought about just going up and asking him to have a match?
Faviano: Absolutely. I’ve told him before. I’ve seen him a couple times at the AWS shows and I’ve told him “Give an old man a chance. Give me one shot. Let’s do it.” The couple of times I saw him he kind of laughed it off but at the same time said “Sure. No problem.” So I don’t know if Ron didn’t want to book it or if he didn’t want to do it, but it never came about. If I come up to him and say “I know you’ve seen a lot of stuff on the boards, but it’s the truth. Your booking fee is going to be paid for. I know you got Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and with bringing in all these guys you can use the money. What have you got to lose?” And if he says “No, you aren’t in my league, I don’t thing you can hang” or whatever, then so be it. I just want to hear it from him, or book it. Either way.
Steve: You worked in XPW a little bit and had a bit of a run-in with Pogo the Clown.
Steve: Is that something you want to talk about?
Faviano: You know it’s funny. I don’t know how many people know this, or how many people don’t, but he laid me out pretty good. It’s funny because I had a bad feeling the whole time. Schwag called me at the last minute on a Saturday at maybe three o’clock and says “We are doing this angle with the SoCal Jobbers Union and were just going to do this and Pogo will clean house.” But it just seemed wrong. When were talking about everything in the back Pogo says “Just come off the ropes and I’ll give you a clothesline and you can powder out and we’re done.” I remember walking him getting into the ring, and he says go for it, and I went towards the ropes and next thing I know I’m staring up at the lights. I never felt a thing. Nothing. I was thinking that we don’t do the spot or something. The only thing in my mind was that I had fourteen dollars in my waist pack and I gave my pack to the guys at the table. So I was thinking “I got to get my waste pack.” I had no idea what happened. Ron Rivera comes over and says “Dude are you alright?” And I said “What happened? Why didn’t we do the spot?” And Ron says “He laid you out.” Then I noticed I couldn’t hear out of my left ear. I was all messed up. I go to the back and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t hear out of my ear and my whole left side was numb. I didn’t have any feeling in my fingers or anything. Pogo walks by me and doesn’t say a word to me. Then the EMTs come over and said “Man, I can’t believe you took that.” And I told them something’s wrong. So they check me out and he says “Dude, this ear is full of blood, you have to go to the emergency room.” I don’t know anyone in LA or nothing, so I told him “Just let me go home to where there is
people that I know.” He was telling me I needed to go now and finally I talked him in to letting me go. So on the way home I totally got lost. I ended up out by Dodger Stadium. I finally got home and I remember walking with a limp and was thinking “Did he mess up my leg too?” Then I noticed I had no shoe on my left foot. He knocked my shoe off he hit me so hard! So I end up going to the emergency room. Instead of hitting me with a clothesline he hit me with a hammer fist, and when he hit me in the temple it knocked me out and ruptured the ear drum, and at the same time his elbow hit me in the heart, and bruised my heart, and that is what was making my whole left side numb. I had to wear a brace for several weeks and had to sleep with two pillows under my back because of the pain. In my ear they had to clean out the blood and put a little patch in there. I was laid up for two weeks after that. You know, what are you going to do though? I even went back and worked for XPW again.
Steve: Back when MPW was going there was a lot of demand for you to wrestle Spanky, how do you think that match would have been?
Faviano: I think it would have been a great match. It would have been one of my best matches ever. Spanky and Samoa Joe are real good friends, and I’m good friends with Joe, and Joe said the same things, that it would be the perfect match for me. I don’t know why it didn’t come about, but I really wish it would have.
Steve: When you do retire from wrestling, looking back what are going to be your thoughts on the last eleven years?
Faviano: I don’t want to go out sounding like a bitter old man, but the lucha part of my wrestling was probably the best part because it was good solid matches where I was able to intertwine the comedy aspects with the good solid wrestling. There it just gelled. There was hardly anybody in the lucha scene that couldn’t follow me. If I did something they were ready for it and we just went on to the next thing.
I really liked the SoCal scene as far as people liking my stuff. People would come up to me and say “I really liked your stuff. I’m going to bring my brother, or son, or whatever to see you next time.” People normally just see wrestling not something where people think “I have to come back to see what he’s going to do next.” That’s what I liked about SoCal. But unfortunately it was to the point where if I didn’t do that people were like “What are you doing? I brought this person here to see you.” I didn’t want to disappoint anyone but I didn’t want miss the good matches I got passed up for. I don’t regret anything, well maybe going to XPW that day, but that’s it. There seems to be some sort of trend that I don’t like. You know I hate to keep going back to Dragon, but it’s a perfect example. I don’t know where this trend started where they book these guys to wrestle rookies then just beat the crap out of them. I mean just beat them to death. And that’s what gets you over. I don’t know where that came from. As a matter of fact as I’m sitting here talking to you I’m watching that special on UPN about Wrestlemania and Rock and Steve Austin, and Austin had to put him over and they had a good match. They both got their stuff in. That’s the way I like it. Going and smashing people who either don’t know any better or are afraid to say something or want to get their spot so they are going to go ahead and take it. I have never in eleven years of wrestling have done that. As a matter of fact, Samoa Joe and I sit here all the time watching the pay-per-view and I tell him “Man, I’ve had enough. No one will book me in anything good.” And he tells me “That’s all your fault. You are taking bumps for these guys who are 180 pounds. Stop it already. That’s why. Stop bumping for these little guys.” But that’s the
type of wrestler I’ve always been. I’ll always give you something. I can’t just
completely squash somebody. Last Sunday at WPW I wanted to leave early, so I
asked Martin if he could put me in the first or second match and he says “The only guys I got are these lucha guys who aren’t very experienced if you want to go with them?” I said “No problem. I’m not going to kill anyone.” So I gave him a few things and I felt bad. Let me give you an example, we went to do a show for Car Consumer Pro Wrestling, and we were all the way out just to the border of Mexicali, and we did a show. It was Jason Allgood and I against Babi Slymm and TARO. That was the first time I ever worked against TARO. It was like wrestling my eight-year-old daughter. I was doing stuff I’ve never done before. Pressing him over head, sit out slam. The guy weighs nothing. After the match I said “Now I see why Dragon wrestles him all the time.” You can do things with him you can’t do with anyone else. So that’s the only thing that makes me a little bitter about the business. I’d say overall my experience was ninety-Five to ninety-seven percent positive as far as wrestling goes.
Steve: So you think that’s the way SoCal has changed the most over the last eleven years?
Faviano: Yeah. Also it seems there is no sort of camaraderie. Everyone wanted the shows to be good so you can draw people and everyone does well. You know, everyone wants to be up there and look good. Everyone wants to make money. But if you are in this business to make money that’s stupid. The only person in eleven years that I know that has been able to make a living off indy wrestling is Chris Daniels. He’s the only guy I know who makes enough. Everyone else has to do something to make ends meet. For some reason the wrestling business, at least as far as SoCal goes, I don’t know about the East Coast as I’ve never been there, it seems to be going towards that type of wrestling where people are going “I’m going to kick your ass and make myself look good.” That’s the change that I’ve seen. In lucha it hasn’t changed. You take a little bit, I take a little bit. You gave a little bit? I give a little bit. You know what I mean? But for some reason the American style in SoCal has turned into the beat down. I’m just not into that.
Steve: That’s about all the questions I have for now, unless there is anything else you want to add.
Faviano: I’m glad that you called that so you can get the lowdown of what’s happening. You know, nothing is personal. When you start getting personal it’s time to get out. Like I’ve told you and I’ve told everybody before, I just want that match because regardless of what people say, or what people think about Dragon, he’s got fans, he can draw. When him and I were in the same promotion for two years and never wrestled, I want to know why that’s never happened. Doesn’t that make sense? We never wrestled, and I never asked for it till I got the belt, and then I started to raise a little noise and I was dumped. Ron just dumped me. I’ll be honest with you, my partner, the Unholy, he’s the type of guy that is very brash. He’ll come at you and say this and that. That’s the way he is. I’ve never been that way. I would never go up to Dragon and say “We are going to fight and I’m going to beat your ass.” What good is that going to do? That’s a point where everyone loses. The match wouldn’t look good, someone would get hurt, nobody wins.
This is what I’ll say about Ron, and you can print it because for some reason he doesn’t talk to me anymore. I personally love Ron to death. He’s been a good friend. It’s just all promoters are the same. They have to make their money. They have to do what’s right for the promotion. If you didn’t have them, you wouldn’t work. The only thing that adds to my bitterness is Ron could have come up to me and said, “Hey you know what Faviano, you are starting to get older and I got all these young guys coming up. I want to start putting them
in the spotlight and my company is going to go in a different direction. I’m probably not going to use you anymore.” I would have shook his hand and said “No problem. I fully understand. If you want to still use me to help train some of your guys I’m always there. No problem.” When all the sudden your just dumped. You aren’t booked anymore, people change their numbers, nothing.
Just done. Not even told “Hey we’re not going to use you anymore.” Just dumped. I don’t think I deserved that. I’m not going to say that I did so much for Ron that he owes me. I never complained about pay or not putting me with this guy or that guy. I told him for a long time “Let me just get one match with Damian and Halloween.” And he did it. Durango and I had a match with them. I really wish that match could have gone longer because it had potential, but at least he gave it to me. But to completely just severe ties, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Hopefully Dragon will come out and say “I didn’t know you wanted to wrestle,
let’s do it.” If it doesn’t come about, then it just doesn’t come about. There’s nothing I can do about it. Hopefully it will. If it doesn’t I just got to move on. Everything is good to go.
Steve: I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Faviano: Absolutely. I thank you for taking the time and calling so we can get everything straightened out and everybody kind of knows where I’m coming from.