The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Armando Estrada
Hosts: John and Chad
Interview available at Tmptow.podomatic.com
Coming up with his promo style and Umaga’s nickname: “The rolling of the “R” if you go back and watch my OVW footage even before I was even signed with WWE, I had always rolled the R and I can’t remember if I started doing it or someone gave me that idea but it was definitely when I was in OVW. As far as the introduction of Umaga. Initially, he was just Umaga and I started to really harp on the “Uuuuumaga” but I remember for the first two months that this guy needs a nickname and I was trying to think of different nicknames: Shawn Michaels is “The Heartbreak Kid’, Diesel was “Big Daddy Cool” and Scott Hall was “The Bad Guy” and Randy Orton is ” The Legend Killer” and “The Viper” and I just felt this guy needed to have something else. I was close to Jimmy Snuka Jr. (Sim Snuka) when we were both in developmental, and Jimmy was half Samoan and he would always say to me “SA”-moan, from “SA”-moa and as we would drive the towns I’d hear his accent when he was speaking in his native tongue or he would say “SA”-moa so looking at Umaga I thought he’s got to be Samoan something. I always thought that he was the bulldozer and he bulldozes his opponents and I started with the “SA”-moan bulldozer and the more I did it the more natural it felt and the crowd would wait for me to do it and he was “THE SA-MOAN BULLDOZER UUUUUMAGA”.
Vince McMahon stopping his pre-match promos: “We were getting too over and now the audience was starting to really like us instead of boo us. The plan all along was for us to be built up and to be fed (so to speak) to the super-hero that is John Cena. So they took the microphone away from me initially and my promos at least on TV because I was not allowed to speak on TV for several months. Ultimately January 1st of 2007 we were in Miami for a Raw and I remember Vince McMahon as I was standing in the middle of the ring to do a rehearsal flat out looked at me and said, ‘You are no longer to introduce yourself, you are no longer Alejandro, you are no longer going to break the cigars, you are no longer going to make the crazy over the top facial expressions’ and on and on and on and it was just like everything that worked for me and got this character over you are stripping away. That was kind of like a sad day for me.”
John Cena’s feud with Umaga being a turning point for Cena’s baby-face title run: “It wasn’t just the actual match that they had at the Royal Rumble (John Cena/Umaga) I think the actual feud itself. If you go back to before John worked that program with us he was starting to get booed right around a year prior so if you go back to 2005 and when he started his program with Kurt Angle. That was when Kurt Angle could do no wrong. They had Kurt Angle on TV really pushing the envelope trying to get the audience to boo him and I remember they gave him Shawn Daivari and he made some disparaging remarks about not supporting the troops. You talk about a guy just trying to get booed and the audience would just not boo him in his program with John Cena. John had been in a series of top feuds and as a top baby face he was starting to get a large vocal audience portion starting to boo him. So when we started to work with him in November of 2006 it was very refreshing to see that the audience started to boo the bad guys and cheer the baby face. That is what we wanted and that is what we delivered.”
Teaching President Trump to throw a “worked” punch: “Vince had asked me when the show had started and we were probably an hour and a half before we were set to walk down the ramp, Vince had asked me to go and meet Donald and to make sure he was good with the physicality, just to make sure because we’ve got a million buy rates and he’s got 80,000 people in the stadium. So I go and say, “Donald, Vince wants us to go over the physicality at the end and just wants to make sure you are good.” He says, “Yeah, I’m fine. Where does Vince want me to punch him?”. I say, “I think in the side of the neck or on the top of the head and Trump says, “Okay I think I’ll punch him in the top of the head because I feel more comfortable there.
“So let’s just pretend you are on top of me and you’ve just tackled Vince now go ahead and punch me on the top of the head. So Donald Trump, The President Of The United States proceeds to punch me in the top of the head as if he is hammering a nail in the wall. If you go back and watch the tape that is exactly how he punched Vince. The only thing is he hit me in the top of the head so hard that my head started to swell up a bit above my eyebrow. He must have caught me with a knuckle or something. Afterwards he asked if I was okay and I said I was fine and I walked away and my head starts to swell up and I said, “holy shit I forgot to tell him to pretend to punch me”. So Donald Trump legit “shoot” punched me five times, my head swelled up and I took some Advil to bring the swelling down and also wore that cool big-ass hat around my melon so that kind of helped conceal the abuse. So The President Of The United States assaulted me without provocation (laughing).”
The infamous awkward Braden Walker backstage segment: “A lot of people don’t know this besides the few guys that were in that room during that pre-tape and it is they kept changing his name. The name they settled on was Braden Walker but he had like two variations of that name in earlier pre-tapes. So here is a guy who is brand new at least to WWE, they had changed his name at least twice and they changed his promo at least twice and we ended up instead of doing a pre-tape (which is prerecorded) we ended up doing a live take. So was it the best promo? No, probably not but was is it the worst promo? Trust me, I’ve heard so many worse than he delivered. In all transparency I don’t think I gave him the best match that I could have given a new debuting baby face.”