Former WWE manager Armando Estrada discusses his departure from the company, working with former creative team member Paul Heyman, and his future in the industry
Monday Night Mayhem radio with Armando Estrada
Hosts: Big Mosh, Blade, DFL
Available at MondayNightMayhem.com.
Armando Estrada thanked The Mayhem Crew for having him on, and started things off with a little entertaining holiday humor to break the ice..."The WWE may might be PG, but not me." Estrada went on by asking Mosh, Blade, and DFL how one of the most-entertaining guests in the near seven-year history of "Your Home Of Wrestling Radio" could not be nominated for "Interview Of The Year" in the 2009 Wrestling Radio Awards...when the entire year is not even over with and in the books? The nomination period ends Friday night, January 23! Vote early, vote often, vote for "Your Home Of Wrestling Radio," Monday Night Mayhem, at www.WrestlingRadioAwards.com.
Armando is fresh off of competing in last weekend's Abdullah The Butcher Retirement Show in Puerto Rico, something is classified as "an honor" to be a part of. Having the chance to work with Carlos Colon was something he fondly remembered from the event. In addition, he loved having the opportunity to be in the same squared circle with Team 3-D and work with an "old friend" in former WWE/ECW superstar, Elijah Burke. Mark your calendars now, as Estrada will be going back to Puerto Rico on January 3 to team up with "The Elijah Express" to take on the WWC World Tag Team Champions, Thunder and Lightning. Armando said it was fun for him to perform in front of the Puerto Rican fans.
As many fans know, Armando and World Wrestling Entertainment parted ways several weeks ago. Mosh and Blade described what many of those across the globe feel very passionately on: that we were just getting the chance to "scratch the surface" in seeing what Armando could do both on the mic and in the ring. Mosh asked Estrada if he feels that those fans got "gypped" in not being able to see that happen. What would have been in the cards for Armando? "I don't know...I would have to ask the writing team." Estrada does not blame the WWE for his release whatsoever. He described the inner workings of what is behind a one-hour TV show, how there are a certain number of heels and faces on the roster, and after commercial breaks, there is only a limited amount of time to get all of them on television. "Unfortunately, I got squeezed out." He feels very confidant that the time he did have may not have been enough to show what he can really do.
Before being called up to the active roster, Armando was a part of the OVW roster (as Muhammad Hassan's bodyguard, Osama) -- which was headed up by Paul Heyman at the time. The question was posted to Estrada if Heyman saw his move from World Wrestling Entertainment to Ohio Valley Wrestling as a punishment. "If it was a demotion, then Paul had a great way of hiding it...let me tell you." Armando continued on by saying that when he saw Paul for their TV on Wednesday nights, it looked like he was "on top of the world," that he couldn't be happier to write a one-hour TV show, and that he seemed genuinely excited. He credits Heyman for helping him "come out of his shell" as a performer and entertainer.
Armando cannot pinpoint which member of the WWE Creative Team (writer or producer) for being the main "proponent" of the Armando Alejandro Estrada character. He remembers getting a call before his debut in April 2006 (in Chicago) from one of the writers saying "Be ready...You will debut the day after WrestleMania, and we're gonna' put a rocket up your guys' asses (him and Umaga's)...He wasn't lying about that...We went on a good nine month's where he didn't get beat, and that's a push...that's called a push...They were right on board...They knew the direction they were taking Umaga...I was just a part of it...I was just there for the ride."
Blade mentioned the fact that managers have not been as pushed over the years since the days of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, "The Mouth Of The South" Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji, and Paul Bearer. Armando again mentioned the fact that the push was Umaga's, not his. He does believe wholeheartedly that his biggest attribute and strength is his vebral skills. "Give me a microphone...That's my strength." He credits those within the WWE for putting together a great partnership of someone who could get it done in the ring with the perfect "big mouth." Simply put, Estrada said it best: "I complemented him, and he complemented me."
The Mayhem Crew shifted gears slightly, bringing up the fact of how much the WWE crowds popped whenever you heard "My name is Armando...Alejandro...Estrada." What was the reason why Estrada was not able to do that on the mic several months after his debut? "The fans like to interact with you....If they start to like you, then it's not really the direction that we were going in....We didn't want to be liked....They just started to like us...The big man can't be getting cheered...That's exactly why I stopped doing it....We were getting the wrong reaction."
After his stay with Umaga on Raw, Armando became the General Manager of ECW. Prior to that, Armando said that he went back to Louisville (OVW), because "there was not a direction for me." He then received a call, which gave him the opportunity to be the ECW GM. At the time, ECW was the only brand that did not technically have a "leader." Armando described his time there as "fun," especially being given the abilities to do something new and different. "I was always used to going out to the ring to perform when I was with Umaga, and this time around, a lot of what I did would be backstage -- by myself or with different talent. That was cool, because i got to work with a bunch of different performers on the show."
During his remaining days in ECW, Armando was "fighting for his job" on a weekly basis, thanks to the current General Manager of ECW, Theodore R. Long. Did Armando see that storyline as "the writing on the wall" for him in the WWE? He did not see that as the case, as during that time, ECW switched writers. "It kinda' got dropped, until I brought it up....There was a period of about a month where I was not on, and I hadn't 'earned my contract yet.' I think was just the victim of different creative decisions."
The big question on everyone's mind is the obvious one after a WWE superstar parts ways with the company? Will we see Armando Estrada in TNA, possibly Ring Of Honor, or honing his craft overseas in Japan or Puerto Rico? "Well...Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes...If they're gonna' give me an opportunity to come in, work, and show that I can get over and entertain, and the money is right...then why wouldn't I want to do that....I was not able to do that for the WWE towards the end....I was not in the plans....I am a professional wrestler. I went to a wrestling school....I was a wrestler and still am a wrestle...I trained to wrestle...This is what I chose to do with my life." With regards to the possibility of going to TNA and Ring Of Honor: "If they're going to invest in me, I am prepared to make them money....It also has to make sense for them too...I am in the business, I make money, and I make money for other people. If you want to bring me in to entertain and do what I do best, and you're going to invest money in me, then I'm going to be prepared to give you a return on your investment...My job is to sell tickets by entertaining people, and I think I do a good job of that. If someone is interested, then they can reach me via the appropriate channels and we can talk."
Armando's parting shot to The Mayhem was very on-target and direct, with regards to heading back to the WWE one day: "If the WWE is around, and they are interested in me in a year or two or whatever the case may be, the door is open for me to come back, but it has to make sense for me to come back: both sense and cents."
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