On Saturday night, I went to the home of Rico Dynamite and conducted an interview with him while watching UFC 222. I wanted to do this interview for awhile because he’s a guy who has a lot of stories, and he never pulls any punches. In this interview, Rico talks about training at the XPW Asylum, the origins of the the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy, tryouts, women’s wrestling, H.A.T.E, and more.
Early Years, XPW Asylum, Hybrid Pro Wrestling
Andrew: I’m here with Rico Dynamite at his lovely home in Norwalk. Rico, thank you for taking some time to do this interview with me.
Rico: It is a lovely home!
Andrew: Yeah it is, despite the dog piss on the floor.
Rico: Yeah, not my dogs though.
Andrew: You’ve been around a long time, and I’ve been wanting to interview you because you’ve been under the radar. Let’s start off with a basic. What made you a fan of professional wrestling?
Rico: Man, I don’t know. It’s usually so cliche. I didn’t even watch WWE when I was a kid. My dad use to watch Lucha Libre. Like early 90’s Lucha Libre like El Dandy and Ringo Mendoza. Just names that I’ll say and nobody will fucking know unless you’re a hardcore wrestling fan. I watched AAA, and then, I don’t know man. The earliest memory I have was the the snake biting Macho Man on Superstars. That’s my first memory of like “WWE” wrestling. Besides that, it was Lucha Libre.
Andrew: You trained at the XPW Asylum. How was that?
Rico: (Sighs and chuckles.)
Andrew: I mean, it was a prestigious school that produced…guys like the Stepdaddy, Mr. California…
Rico: I mean, I personally enjoyed my time at XPW. It was an “it” thing. All the guys that were in ECW were at the shows at that point in 2000-2001. They had the local guys like Dynamite D, Kaos, Supreme, Ryan Katz a.k.a. G.Q. Money who now works in WWE, just really good workers. Then they’d bring in Psicosis and Shane Douglas. It was great man. Dynamite D trained me, with Kaos and Angel. I like how you said Stepdaddy and all them.
Who else was there? Sexy Chino, Robby Phoenix, Carnage, Leroy the Ring Crew Guy. My personal class was me, Johnny (Nightmare), and, uh, Mr. California. There were other people, but they quit. A lot of people would just come and go.
Andrew: What was it like training with Mr. California, the “Legend” of SoCal?
Rico: Like, as a person, Marvin is a fucking great guy. He like, he’s a great guy. He’s a friend. He’ll have your back. He was just fucking weird! He was a mark. We’re all marks but he was weird! Like, I don’t know. He would just hit himself with light tubes just to impress the fucking guys but nobody….I don’t know! He was cool, but he was just weird like that. He was weird.
Andrew: Talk about your first match.
Rico: My first ‘official” match?
Andrew: Official in a professional ring.
Rico: I started training in the summer of 2001. Right out of high school at 18 years old. My first “unofficial” match was in April of 2002 at the Anaheim Marketplace. Against Mr. California.
Andrew: The infamous Marketplace.
Rico: Yeah. Lil’ Cholo booked me on that, but he probably doesn’t remember. It was “unofficial” because we weren’t allowed to wrestle (elsewhere) when we were training with XPW. Like I was ready to wrestle, but they wanted us to do ring crew. Rob Black just didn’t let anyone wrestle unless it was for them, and there were no spots for guys like us. At least not at the time. Like the one I consider my first “official” match was in October of 2002. I was Blazing Tiger, with a mask, for a company called GSCW. Golden State Championship Wrestling?
Rico: That was run by Henry Luna, he passed away a few years back. I wrestled Disco Machine. It was fun man. I was really excited, but I wasn’t excited to wear a mask. When they called me they were like “can you still do hurricanranas and head scissors?” I was like “yeah but that’s about it.” I was skinny, but I wasn’t one of those flippy guys. So they wanted me to wrestle, and I couldn’t come up with a name, (Henry Luna) gave me a mask with a tiger on it, and I was just like “Oh, I’ll be the Blazing Tiger I guess.” The match was fun dude. Disco Machine was really nice. He did me well that night. He gave me leeway to do what I wanted to do. It was a good time. It’s on the internet somewhere. Somewhere you can find it!
Andrew: Talk about Hybrid Pro. It started a few years after you started your career. What was it like?
Rico: So we were at XPW between 2001-2002, after that I was floundering around just doing Lucha shows. Like I didn’t even have a fucking gimmick dude. I was just whatever. So I was Blazing Tiger for awhile. Then I was Chris Cash (author’s note: not to be confused with the deceased wrestler known from CZW with the same name). I’d wrestle like once a month. It was just very random. And then me and Johnny (Suarez, who wrestled as Johnny Nightmare), well Johnny, bought a ring. He wanted to started his own company. Johnny was always kinda like “I want my own company.” I think he bought the ring in 2003, and we had our first show in 2004. He booked it, but it helped kinda give us a chance to see who we wanted on there. Markus Riot, Jorel Diez, I think debuted there. The Young Bucks became really popular there because they were really good. A lot of guys were there. We had, who else? Do you remember any?
Andrew: The Cutler Brothers before they became the Cutlers.
Rico: The Cutlers. You had Mongal, Kaos, Angel, Los Luchas, it was just a really, really….
Andrew: Scott Lost.
Rico: Yeah! Who else, the “Lioncock,” what was his name?
Andrew: Chris Bosh.
Rico; Chris Bosh! And Human Tornado and Scorpio Sky. We had all the best guys from SoCal, and that’s when I kinda started getting better. I changed my name to “Joey Dynamite” when we did the first show to pay homage to my trainer Dynamite D, and Joey Kaos, who was also my trainer. At the time I was lost. I didn’t have a gimmick, but I could wrestle, I just needed a name. So I kinda just asked Dynamite D if I could use the name “Dynamite” and then I asked Kaos if I could use the name “Joey.” So I combined that and I was “Joey Dynamite” from then. Rest In Peace Dynamite D. He passed away in 2007.
Andrew: Did you get your current name from the character in the movie “Napoleon Dynamite?”
Rico: Fuck no! I got that from Angel. We were here in my backyard, and they were “oh, you’re Latino. You need to be raunchy, you need to be something else. You look like Ricco Rodriguez.” (Angel) was like “You’re Rico. You’re gonna be Raunchy Rico.” Angel did a lot of shit for me in the LCW days. He has a fucking mind for this business. I love that guy. I miss that guy. He’s the one that named me “Raunchy Rico.” I didn’t want to change it to Rico, but it was for the best.
Training in a backyard, the origins of the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy, working with Lucha Legends
Andrew: Around this time you and Johnny started training in your backyard. Could you talk about that and the taboos associated with training in a backyard?
Rico: We bought our house in 2007, which everyone refers to as the “Hammered Hole.” I fucking hate that name! There’s even people here right now watching UFC. We put the ring in the back, and we were still running shows. We were doing them in Downey at the Downey Elks Lodge at this point. Some of the fans would help us put the ring away. It was Damien Arsenick before he was Damien Arsenick, Lucha Machine, Mr. Impact, Rest in Peace he just passed away too, Oso Loco, and they all just kinda asked us where they could train. We had (the ring) in our backyard so we told them “well I mean it’s there. Come train with us.” It was free. I wasn’t going to be charge anybody. I had been wrestling for some years so I had an idea of how to do it. Plus I was also training Pinky already because his brother has been one of my best friends since middle school. So I’ve known Pinky since he was 8 years old. I think he was 16 at the time we started training him.
Andrew: I think there’s footage of Pinky from your backyard days on Johnny’s YouTube channel.
Rico: Yeah there is. I think he was 9? I don’t know. We’d always talk shit on him. I don’t know why we started calling him “Pinky.” Like all our friends from back in the day did, so his wrestling name came from us somehow. Like, we just called him Pinky for some reason.
Andrew: How did you guys become the Santino Bros Wrestling Academy?
Rico: It had to have been late 2007. I had a lot of guys that I was training. Plus my shoot job. Pus just busy. And I was wrestling more. I was doing more stuff with Rocky from FMLL. We had Oso Loco, Lucha Machine, Mr. Impact, Frank The Tank, and Damien Arsenick. Charles Mercury, who is a good friend of mine, brought his students. So we had a lot of guys, and it was too much for me. I was able to show everyone the basics, but that was about it since I still needed a refresher as I was still young. I was 24, 25.
Andrew: So you weren’t advanced enough to be teaching more than basics?
Rico: No. So I hit up Mongol and Joey, and I said “I got this group of guys. They’re willing to train. They’re here every Saturday and they want to be in the ring all the time, and I don’t have the full knowledge to train them.” Joey and Sylvia, they took a fucking train from Chatsworth, came to my house on a Saturday with Mongol. And then Angel came. They trained with us for a couple weeks, and then me, Joey, and Mongol had a little talk and just made it official. They were wrestling as the “Santino Brothers” so they turned it the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy, but in our backyard. They started charging guys, and we made it legit. We had a business license, but we didn’t have a building. We just had it in my backyard.
Andrew: You guys were known for being “rougher” in the backyard days. Could you talk about some of the things you’d put trainees through physicality wise when breaking them in?
Rico: Fuck yeah. Personally at that time I was buff, I was young, and I was like “fuck these guys” in a certain way. My training at XPW was very hard cause we also had things to do like flyering, and it was very old school. I consider myself an “old school” type guy. I wanted them to feel the same thing. Our motto at the time was ‘only the strong survive” and it was legit. I don’t know if they still use that now. I know that a lot of the guys that might be at their dojo now in Bell Gardens probably would not make. These guys were…man.
We’d have them run miles in my neighborhood. Me and Joey would drive around and see how long was a mile, and we’d tell them what to run. We had guys like Aaron Aguilera come and put them through shit, we would show them everything they needed to know, but we would fucking whoop that ass bro. We would whoop that ass so bad that no one else in any matches could whoop that ass like we did. Like we beat them up so bad, but not to the point where they were injured. It was just to show them that would be the worst they would ever get.
Andrew: Do you think that helped or hurt you guys?
Rico: I don’t know. We had a bad rep already. Well, I would say Joey and Mongol maybe had a bad rep, so it all came with association I guess.
Andrew: I remember at the time a lot of guys who looked at you as “the guys who wanted to be in XPW” and that you were dangerous. Did you hear a lot about that, or did you not pay attention to that?
Rico: I was never much of an internet guy, but I am a big ass troll. I would hear it. When I left the Asylum, that’s why I was floundering around for awhile. I wouldn’t get booked because I was from XPW. Carnage and all those guys would get some bookings, but then they did their own thing. It was hard for me to get booked. I was a XPW trained guy, but I was good, and I just never got the opportunity cause I wasn’t a Rev Pro guy. I wasn’t Sky, Bosh, and all those guys who came from somewhere else, I was a XPW trained guy. We weren’t backyard guys. They just had a deathmatch thing. I didn’t do deathmatches. I was trained by Dynamite D, and he was a great wrestler.
Andrew: You started working for Pro Wrestling Revolution in NorCal. There you worked with Blue Demon, Jr. and Mil Mascaras. What was that experience like for you being a big lucha fan?
Rico: I started working there in 2010. Me and Famous B. We got a hookup through Kevin Kleinrock, which I thank him for. Kevin Kleinrock has done a lot for me and wrestling. And thanks to Gabe Ramirez for booking us up there. It was really fun. It was originally gonna be Blue Demon and El Hijo Del Santo vs. me and Kafu. I had tagged with Blue Demon before. Santo got hurt, and they replaced him with Mil Mascaras. I think was probably better, because I heard a lot of stories about Santo from Kaos and Mongol.
Andrew: That’s funny cause I’ve heard stories about Mil Mascaras too.
Rico: I have heard stuff about Mil, but he was great to me. I had a lot of fun. He came to wrestle that day for sure. He wasn’t supposed to take some heat, and I did some grappling with him, then worked with Blue Demon. Demon was supposed to take heat, but we ended up doing double heat cause fucking Mil wanted to work. He was 72 and he was willing to work. Take slams. Whatever. I ended up taking his finish. I didn’t have a bad experience. They were very professional, and they were willing to work. I’ve seen Demon, sometimes he’s not willing to work with guys, but when I’ve worked with him so he was fine.
Leaving the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy, the start of H.A.T.E
Andrew: Let’s talk about leaving the Santinos. Tell us your story.
I don’t know man. This is a very taboo question for me that I like to talk about, but don’t like to talk about. This is where the interview gets long probably. I have no heat with anyone who comes out of the school. Someone else’s heat can’t be their heat. That’s what I was told. They produce a lot of great talent. It’s always been that way. Ray Rosas came out of that school. Famous B. Myself. And then you have Eli Everfly, Jake Atlas, Douglas James, Heather Monroe, Brody King, Koto Hiro, i forget a lot of names, but there’s a lot of top talent that comes out of there. Their training regimen, I think they train American style, then they have the option to train Lucha style. Then they got Brian Kendrick there. Personally, I think they’re doing things right I guess, on a professional level.
It was me and Ray that had a falling out with them. Not going into details, but, I mean, we pretty much got kicked out. Go figure, right? The bullshit started at my house. With my fucking students. Fuck, if I could get kicked out, anyone could get kicked out. I don’t know man. It was just a misunderstanding I believe from “the boss” over there on that side of town.
Andrew: Without going into detail, would you say it was just a misunderstanding that resulted in this falling out?
Rico: Without going into detail, we pretty much got kicked out. I wasn’t told why. I still don’t know why. There’s things that have been said that might be a reason, but hey man. I was sitting at home in the middle of the night when I got a message saying I’m not welcome. So, whatever. I have nothing against the guys who come out of there. I try to help a lot of guys there get booked anyways. Talent should recognize talent, in my opinion. Never bring anyone down. We’re trolls. We talk shit, we’ll always talk shit. Not cause we’re vets, not cause we’re better. It’s just, I talk shit to everybody cause that’s how you break the ice sometimes. You talk shit to the guys.
I’ll always be appreciative of what they did for me. I had my first WWE tryout cause Joey told them about me. They called him, he couldn’t go, he gave them my information and WWE called me. Professionally, I have no problems. Personally? I don’t know. I don’t even have problems personally. Sometimes I think about it and it pisses me off. Not because I want to be part of it. I’m old. I have a shoot job, a mortgage, a daughter, a girlfriend. It’s just, I feel like I’m owed an apology. Maybe Joey feels like he’s owed an apology. I don’t fucking know.
It’s weird. They tried to book me one time. I thought it was so weird, way after we were gone. We were actually gonna start the H.A.T.E thing right there at Santinos. What we planned on doing was, well Brody King was about to debut, and I pretty much pitched this H.A.T.E angle. Me, Ray, Tito, Peter, and Che were always wrestling each everywhere else, and we didn’t want to wrestle each other. We wanted to give back and use our knowledge. You know, just help the young guys. We’d start just fucking with their students like “you don’t belong here, it’s our place and our home.” We were gonna be called H.A.T.E, and were gonna end up wrestling all their main guys they got now. Eli, Doug, Brody, all those guys. We were gonna work with them and it didn’t happen. Not at Santino’s anyways. So we already had a H.A.T.E concept. It probably turned out better we didn’t do it there I guess.
Yeah man, no heat. No heat professionally, personally. Not even that. I’m over it. Sometimes I do think about it and it fucking kinda pisses me off to think of it. All the Saturdays I gave, all the Wednesdays. All the new couches I had to replace in my fucking house from all the sweat from all those people every weekend. Not because it cost so much money, I just feel like I gave so much to Santinos. Ray did as well, and I feel like I was appreciated. I didn’t need a high-five. We didn’t need a “thank you.” We were just kinda like, “fuck” I guess.
Andrew: Do you think there’s a chance you’ll ever reconcile with Joey?
Rico: I don’t know man. You have to ask him. (Laughter)
Andrew: Would you personally want to reconcile with him if he wanted to talk to you?
Rico: I don’t know man. (Pause) I don’t know. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve known him for 17 years. I was sitting in my house when we got the phone call that Dynamite D passed away. That’s how far we go back, and we became really close friends for a long time. I don’t know. We’re, I don’t know. I need answers. I don’t know if they need answers, but I sure as hell need fucking answers.
Andrew: We kinda got into this, but talk about the story of H.A.T.E and the concept behind it.
Rico: Our original concept was we sat in my house, Me Ray, and a couple other guys. We were like “fuck, what do we do? We gotta do something.” I felt like there’s a lot of shows in SoCal that, it’s just, guys need help. They don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve been there before. I was floundering around. No one helped me except Mongol and Kaos at the time. So I feel like, not to mention names, but there’s just guys that need that guidance and are just floundering around. They aren’t going to do shit. They’re just gonna wrestle on fucking Saturday for $5 and call it a fucking day. I’m not saying you gotta make thousands of dollars, but like, try to have a good match. Not look fucking sloppy. Buy some fucking gear. Our thing was wrestle guys who aren’t that popular and help them out. That was our thing. Like really, legit shooting and telling them “you fucking suck and you need to change this.” I’m not saying we’re so good, we’re just been around for a long time.
Andrew: Giving them feedback.
Rico: Yeah. We know what we’re doing. And that was our genesis of H.A.T.E. To help in a certain way, but still talk shit and troll cause we love it.
Andrew: Do you think you’ve accomplished all that you could do with H.A.T.E, or do you think there’s more you could do?
Rico: There’s a lot more we could do. We’ve done a lot of shit. We’ve helped a lot of guys. I love wrestling the guys from EWF like Andy Brown and Ty Ray, and helping Super Beetle out. If someone is willing to listen, we’re willing to talk to them. That doesn’t mean we’re better than anybody. It’s just kinda like, be professional, look professional, get the job done. You don’t have to have a spotty match. Nothing wrong with it if you do have one, it’s just gotta look good. They say wrestling is fake. If people already say its fake, you don’t want to make it look more fake than they say it is. I can’t explain it, I can just feel it. I also think we’ve become really popular. We’ve done a lot of shit AWS, Baja Stars, we’ve done a lot of shit. I think we’ve helped a lot of guys. We helped UEW, and they helped us. I think because of us they started drawing way more people.
Andrew: You guys did give them a buzz when you were there.
Rico: And they have a lot of good guys there. Max X. Nate Coy, who is really good. Fuck, he’s got my blessing. Promoters need to book him. He’s fucking money dude. He can work. He’s fucking money. He’s money guaranteed.
The SoCal Scene, Women’s Wrestling, Tag Team of the Year Award Nominees, Tryouts
Andrew; Let’s get into the current SoCal scene. What are your thoughts on it?
Rico: Fuck, I don’t know man. I wrestle for EWF, AWS, CWFH. I don’t know. It’s good. There’s nothing wrong with SoCal wrestling, but I feel like there’s a lot of companies. There’s way too many. Some that don’t run constantly that have two shows, and then they never come back. I think that’s the only real flaw with SoCal. There’s a lot of flaws, but that’s one of them. Having these little whatever companies and then they just kinda disappear just cause they’re booking their friends. Then they don’t have money to run another show. Like “I want to have a show, I want to book my friends.” And then that’s it. You can’t do it anymore.
There’s a lot of good shit. There’s a lot of guys that help out. David Marquez has a good thing going. Bart (owner of AWS) helps a lot of guys out, and women. EWF, Jesse and Jake. The companies that are gonna stick around, the ones that started when I started, are the ones people should want to work for. I’m not saying don’t work anywhere else. You know, PWG. I never wrestled at PWG and I’m glad the Santino guys got booked there recently. It should kinda be a stepping stone for them to move on from here. Don’t be in SoCal forever.
We all need to help each other, and not bring each other down. But, coming from a guy who talks shit that’s kinda contradicting. For the future, talent needs to recognize talent. If there isn’t any talent, you gotta tell them and help them out. Talk shit to them and make them figure it out.
Andrew: Speaking of talking shit, let’s talk about women’s wrestling.
Rico: Fuck, why do you want to talk about that fucking snoozefest?
Andrew: You and I have had conversations before about it, but I’ve never heard workers come out publicly on this subject. What are your honest thoughts on women’s wrestling?
Rico: Look, there’s nothing wrong with with women’s wrestling like in the WWE or over in NXT. The cream of the crop goes there, or those who will be trained to be. That’s the thing, they say it’s women’s wrestling. To me, it’s wrestling. They’re held to another standard. If I watch a women’s match, I feel like the fans, not the wrestlers, the fans praise them when the match is fucking sloppy and not good. I’m not saying they’re all that way, but a lot of them are. I feel like (fans) might not know it’s bad because nobody tells them it’s bad.
Andrew: Technique wise?
Rico: Yeah. I went to WWE on a tryout gimmick before it was trendy to post it on the internet. They had Titus O’Neal wrestle, fuck, the fucking black John Cena. The guy who came out of the closet…
Andrew: Darren Young?
Rico: Darren Young. They were wrestling when WWE would give developmental guys dark matches .I fucking sat at gorilla, and they had a long ass boring fucking match. It was long and fucking boring. Everybody there was talking shit. I don’t even remember who the agents were. They were talking so much shit. “This match sucks. He’s not doing this. They’re not doing that.” I was sitting with I think Trent Barreta, and we were like “fuck” just shaking our heads. They come back, and the agents were like “Great job! It was really good!” I was like breaking my head thinking they were just saying this was dog shit, and they come back and they tell them it’s fucking good? How are they going to fucking know it was dog shit if you don’t tell them it was dog shit?
I feel like that with the women. I’m not saying it’s dog shit, I’m just saying when the fans praise them, cause I’ve seen it, it’s not good sometimes. It’s not fucking good. Dude you fucking know, the shit’s not good. They just hold them to a different standard.
Andrew: Do you think fans lower their standards when it comes to women’s wrestling?
Rico: Yes, I do. And that’s not….
Andrew: And that’s not to insult the women.
Rico: Yeah. It’s nothing that they did. I just feel like the bar should be fucking as high as the men’s wrestling bar. It’s not dogging the girls as I have a lot of friends like Ruby Raze, Sage Sin, Thunderkitty. It’s just sometimes the matches are fucking too long. They also worry too much about selling merch.
Andrew: Do you think that it’s also because 10 years ago fans were conditioned to women being in “Bra & Panties” matches, and now that they’re just doing moves, even if they’re not performed right, fans are reacting that way just cause they’re doing moves?
Rico: Yeah. Yeah. And I’m not saying the moves are not good. They’re just fucking sloppy sometimes. I think a girl would get better if she wrestles men.
Andrew: Like Candice LeRae?
Rico: Candice LeRae is great. That’s why she’s in fucking WWE. Let’s be honest. Right now, like who would I see that could be in WWE?
Andrew: Personally, Delilah Doom is someone I think is on that track.
Rico: I haven’t seen her wrestle. I hear a lot about her. I think I’ve only seen her once.
Andrew: You should check her out.
Rico: I mean, they all have the look. They look a certain way, but, fuck. They need a, it’s not even up to the girls. It’s up to you fucking fans. You can’t fucking praise them when it’s not good. You gotta tell them the truth. When (fans) say “oh this guy’s match sucked,” fuck, I say you say the same shit about the women if it sucks. I’m not saying that they all suck, but if it sucks, it’s gotta be put out there.
Andrew: What are your thoughts on the Feelyons being nominated for the SoCal Tag Team of the Year award for 2017?
Rico: I don’t think they suck, but I didn’t see their fucking names anywhere. Me and Che wrestled them at EWF. And they wrestle at, where do they wrestle at? MPW?
Andrew: MPW and OCCW.
Rico: Fuck, you see. I don’t even know. I just thought “fuck, I never heard of them all year. Why the fuck would they be nominated for Tag Team of the Year if I never heard of them all year?” So I just thought they only fucking wrestled every two, three months. So I was just like, “why the fuck would they be nominated?” Personally they’re nice guys. I’ve met them, I’ve wrestled them. But I was just like ”really? The fucking Feelyons?” They’re nice guys, but I was also like “what the fuck? You nominated the Young Bucks?”
Andrew: Let’s talk about tryouts. This is something you and I have also talked about before in the past. Now this has been a thing that has been getting trendy, people talking about getting tryouts. What are your personal thoughts on tryouts? You’ve gotten tryouts for WWE, AAA, and a few other projects.
Rico: Well fuck dude, I don’t know. I never paid for a fucking tryout, so I believe those are tryouts. The ones you don’t pay for. If you pay for a tryout, fuck, I don’t know. I don’t consider that a tryout. Like I’m telling you, I’m old. The first time I got a tryout was in 2008. Fucking 10 years ago, and the last time I was there was 2013 before the Performance Center took over. It was different. We would get paid more money back then to be there, and it was actually a tryout. Like I haven’t been there since 2013. I just stopped submitting my stuff. I was kinda over it. I’d fucking see Joey Ryan all the time. Fucking (Eli Drake). Scorpio Sky. It’s like, fuck, if you’re not gonna hire these guys, or the other top guys, who the fuck are you gonna hire? Who from SoCal has been hired to WWE? That you think of?
Andrew: Adam Pearce and G.Q. Money (Ryan Katz) but they’re office.
Rico: Yeah. They’re office. And I don’t count Samoa Joe. Back in the day, it was a tryout. I say back in the day cause it was a fucking long time ago. You’d show up and they wouldn’t let you in the fucking ring. The WWE guys would workout, and then Jamie Noble would kinda like pick you to get in the ring to work out a little bit. If there’s a spot, you’d have a match or whatever. Do the same thing they do now. Be an extra, security, whatever the fuck. John Laurinaitis was there. There was also a guy named Ty Bailey. They were always watching. I was there when Buggy got signed. We were in the locker room, and then somebody walked in and pointed at her and said “HHH wants you.” She had a match with, I think AJ Lee, before the show started and they just liked her look.
It was different. Now it’s like, I started noticing since the last time I went they started giving dark matches and a lot of stuff to NXT guys. When I see guys working security, I don’t see it as a tryout anymore. The tryout is now getting fucking booked at the Performance Center. That’s your fucking tryout. You don’t have a tryout at Raw or Smackdown. You can’t. There’s too much shit going on. They might job you out, and it’s possible you get hired. I’m not saying you can’t, but the tryouts now are at fucking the Performance Center. That’s the way to go.
Andrew: Do you think some of these tryouts at the Performance Center are all just for show? Like they have someone in mind and they’re just bringing in extra people?
Rico: I don’t know man. I’ve never been there. I know guys who have been there just recently and a couple years ago. It’s legit, but it’s hard. They do this shit all the time. If you really think about it, they have enhancement talent this week on Raw, this week on Smackdown, next week again in another fucking city. They do it every fucking week. How many buff dudes, or tattoo dudes, or longhair dudes, or bearded dudes can you fucking see to pick one mother fucker? It’s hard. We had a big tryout here in LA. Me, Sky, Joey Ryan, Brandon Gatson, Ryan Taylor, (Eli Drake). There were a fucking bunch of us and they picked one fucking guy. Jody Kristofferson. He was good, don’t get me wrong, but I think his dad’s an actor. HHH had just filmed a movie with his dad, so he got hired. That’s how it is. It’s kinda political. You mean to tell me that guy is better than Scorpio Sky? Fuck no. Not dogging him out.
Tryouts, for all you guys out there looking forward to it: P.C. Yeah, do your thing on the extra talent thing, but you gotta submit your shit and get in the Performance Center because it’s fucking easy. I wish I was born 10 years fucking later to be honest, cause back in the day when you’d go, no one would say how you got there. Everyone was fucking quiet. No one would be like “oh, who called you?” It was taboo. You wouldn’t tell anybody your fucking connection to get there. Now everybody knows. You fucking send an email. Fuck, a fucking lame ass jabroni can get an email address for John Cone and send a nice picture. There you go. Anyone can fucking do it. The thing is trying to get hired.
Andrew: Let’s get into some word association.
- AWS: Really great man. It’s a good company. It’s a mini-PWG for the guys that don’t get booked at PWG but should be booked.
- Baja Stars: I like wrestling there. It’s very fun. It’s very Lucha. I like the Lucha crowd, as I speak Spanish. I speak their lingo. It’s fun. It’s a nice payday and it’s fun.
- EWF: I love EWF! EWF is my home! They were my second home from Santinos, but I feel now that EWF is my home. I should be the heavyweight champion. That’s the only time I’d be able to retire.
- Championship Wrestling From Hollywood: I love Championship Wrestling From Hollywood. I’m not too keen on my character though. I wish it had been me and Che instead of the Rancheros. It does good. It’s TV. It’s exposure. It helps you out a lot if you’re trying to be in WWE. It’s really good.
- Ray Rosas: Oh fuck man. I wish he’d make it to WWE. We saw his talent before he even had his first match. So yeah, and he’s a great friend of mine.
- Tito Escondido. Fuck man. That guy should be in WWE. He shouldn’t be fucking wearing a fucking ranchero hat and be getting hit with a chair. You’ll know what I’m talking about soon enough.
- Che Cabrera: Fuck man, he should be in WWE. He’s great. Che needs to get hired. His Spanish fucking sucks. William Regal told him “we’d hire you if you were Mexican.” And I told him “you should’ve told him you were Mexican. You look the same. Same shit. They’re not gonna look in your family’s history and say ‘oh, you’re not Mexican.’” But he should get hired. He has to.
- Tyler Bateman: Fuck man, he’s a great talent. Friend of mine. He has a very unique style, and he’s very believable. He’s just a top guy anywhere. He can do it all.
- Peter Avalon: Fuck, him too. He’s so good. Peter’s doing really good with Championship Wrestling From Hollywood. He’s had a couple matches with WWE. Peter needs to get to the Performance Center. He could probably get something going. And he’s young. All these guys, him and Che are still under 30. Fucking perfect for them.
- Douglas James: Fuck, he’s really good. I wrestled him. He was scared of me. And I’ll tell you, Doug you a little punk, you’re scared of me. Naw, he’s really good. He’s got a little buzz going, so whatever he gets, he deserves it. He’s really good.
- Eli Everfly: Fuck, good old fucking Eli. He’s a really good talent. He use to talk a lot and say nonsense, but I don’t think he says shit like that anymore. He has really good matches, and he’s got a buzz going too. He’s done a lot of shit. He can do a lot of stuff. And he’s young too. I told him one time he should try to go to Japan. We’ll see.
Andrew: What are your final thoughts.
Rico: Have fun with it man. Try not to stay in SoCal forever. It didn’t work out for me. Never got hired by WWE. Been there a lot of times. It just didn’t work out. Shit happens. I made a lot of friends, I didn’t make any enemies. I think that if you have your head on straight, you’ll get places. And workout. Please. There’s not a lot of fat guys that get hired. You gotta be special to be special to be an out-of-shape guy.
Andrew: That applies to so many guys in SoCal.
Rico: Please, guys. Let’s workout. Nothing against guys who might be a little out-of-shape, it’s just there are not a lot of Kevin Owens’. So, let’s workout. Let’s workout, everybody.
I’d also like to take some time to thank Bart Kapitzke, David Marquez, Gabriel Ramirez of Pro Wrestling Revolution, Marty Elias, and my trainers Mongol Santino, Joey “Kaos” Munoz, and especially Dynamite D. Rest In Peace.