Kalisto (a/k/a Samuray Del Sol) on his desire to become a boxer, the idea he was going to pitch to Vince McMahon, whether he expected his release, battling mental health issues, Lucha House Party’s reaction to the Juan Cena gimmick, winning the U.S. Championship, Vince’s reaction to his improved physique

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Kalisto (Samuray Del Sol)
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
Video available at Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube Page

On what his new name is: “Samuray Del Sol, that’s the name that I started with. I actually started with “Samurai” first, the I had to spell it differently, with a Y, just to be different. I started as Samuray Del Sol in Chicago, that’s where I adopted the name. Then everything else is history.”

On wishing he had pitched a Mask vs. Mask match with Rey Mysterio to Vince McMahon: “My biggest regret is not pitching my idea to Vince. Pretty much the whole world knew except for Vince. [I wanted to do] a mask vs. mask match against Rey Mysterio. I had Rey’s blessing, Dominik’s [Mysterio] blessing, everyone. They all loved it. I showed it to Paul Heyman too. Paul said ‘This is genius, do it.’ I was like let’s do this! It’s just such a good story, it’s my biggest regret not talking to Vince about it. Right before I was going to, I got released.”

Was he prepared to wrestle without a mask if he lost the Mask vs. Mask match? “I was prepared for anything, I had such a great story that nobody would have expected. So for Paul Heyman to say that’s genius, I got something. The writers, everyone loved it. I even showed it to Daniel Bryan and Edge, they loved it. But it’s my own fault. I should have gone [to Vince].”

Did he think he was going to be released? “Deep down I did. I wanted to lay everything down on the table and say ‘Here it is. I am giving you my best. You take it or you don’t.’ They didn’t and I feel good.”

On a possible WWE return: “I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m just going to focus on me. I am going to focus on my mental state, which is very important. I’m going to try and fix myself first. I’m trying to see what I can do. I like challenging myself a lot. I have never boxed before, but I want to box. The reason I became a wrestler was because of my grandma. My grandfather wanted me to be a boxer. Not only that, all the [boxing] pay-per-views, my dad would bring home a box of oysters. We would sit there, hammer open the oysters, watch the pay-per-view and that was our night. This was as kids, which was pretty cool. I’m still going to wrestle here and there. If the time is right, here and there, I am going to give it a shot.”

How he got into the best shape of his life: “So coming back that was my major goal. I got hurt in 2019 and I got COVID, I was out for about eight months. I did my own therapy, my own fitness and workouts. I started going to the Performance Center here and there. My main focus was when I come back, all eyes are on me. Not only are they going to see my new look, they are going to see my new body. That is exactly what happened. When I went to talk to Vince, I decided to show up at The Amway Center. I had a shirt on that said ‘impossible.’ I wondered if he got it. So the shirt was covered so he didn’t know I was ripped. We [Lucha House Party] did a segment and I go back and they are in a meeting. I think it was Shane [McMahon], Vince. I kid you not, I turn around and say hey ‘Hey Vince how are you doing?’ He goes ‘Goddammit pal! You’re f—ing ripped!’ Man that was awesome. I looked at myself and said ‘This is my I don’t give a f— body, thank you, boss.'”

On mental health struggles: “Me being injured, I thought about so much. When I was driving and I was in a bad place, I thought about driving off tracks sometimes. Because no matter what I did, I couldn’t do anything to make people happy. Then I realized I was not happy. I had to change and stop thinking about what people think about me. I had to think about myself, and I have never done that. I’ve always been nice, always done everything right. I worked so hard, Vince even said I am a hard worker. We always had a good relationship, I just wished we talked more. We just never got that chance, that’s one of my biggest regrets.”

His favorite WWE moment: “Man, it’s hard to say. My favorite moment throughout my whole career in WWE was that one minute where I had the face-off with Rey at the Royal Rumble. I never stepped in the ring with Rey. My whole life and my whole career, I have been compared to Rey Mysterio, which is great, it’s awesome. But I am my own person. I want to create my own legacy.”

On John Cena’s Luchador persona “Juan Cena”: “It was cool and it was interesting. Me, Lince [Dorado], and [Gran] Metalik got together and were like ‘Yeah he [John] has a mask, he is Juan Cena.’ Lince, I and Metalik went to talk to him and he was like ‘what do you think?’ We were like ‘it’s cool.’ So he went ‘OK, I will bring it next week.’ He brought it and he was like ‘Si cabrones [yeah f—ers]. Lu-cha Lu-cha.’ I’m like alright this is so dope, man. I love the fact that John never says no. He will sit down if you have a question, he is always willing to give you time. It’s a whole different world to how it was when I first got there. I was feuding with Alberto Del Rio when I first got there. I was picking John’s brain a lot. He gave me such great advice on how to hear the crowd, how to control the crowd, so many good techniques and advice. He is a great person to talk to, he is so cool. I wish I could have talked to him more.”

On winning the United States Title: “It didn’t hit me until I got in the back. Two weeks before that, Sin Cara got hurt. We were supposed to be in a tag team feud with The New Day. Sin Cara did a dive onto Big E and he hurt his shoulder. I’m like, ‘Oh great, what’s going to happen now?’ The following week I went to Vince’s office to the first time, I’m like f— it. I had a great conversation with him. I called him boss or ‘hey sir.’ He’s like ‘You have a lot of potential, you’re going to go far.’ I was going to talk to him next week but they [writers] were like you are in a program with John Cena. I’m like OK cool. Then you are in a match with Del Rio for the title. I’m thinking how is he going to win? But the professional that I am, you throw something at me, I will put on a show. When that [the title win] happened, they told me the finish right before I went out there. Del Rio helped me so much. We went at it, and when I won, I’m in the back and I start tearing up. I’m in the back and it started hitting me when Del Rio, in front of Vince and me, said ‘You see this kid. This kid is ready. You need to do something with him.'”


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