By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
On his WWE release: “When I asked for my release, me and Gran Metalik, when we asked for our releases in September or October, I forget what it was, I think it was September, I went into it two things. I was like, man, I don’t really have a plan, but I know I’ve been poor, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been broke, I’ll be fine. I’ve always been fine. I look forward to all the challenges in my life. So this new adventure of leaving something that I was so comfortable in needed to be done for me personally. I needed to leave. I was looking forward to it.
“I was looking forward to a lot of things. Being my own boss, being creative. Saying things how I wanted to say it, being how I wanted to be dress, how I wanted to dress. Represent Lucha Libre, how I wanted to represent it. I want to put my flavor on it. I don’t want to write off of somebody’s idea like I want to fail on my own. And that’s why I had asked for my release. I just felt like I was complacent. I felt like I was just floating. I wasn’t progressing creatively. I just didn’t like my position. I just needed a change. And as much as it’s scary and as much as I left, how much money on the table and how much time I had left on my contract, it wasn’t worth it to me.”
On the Lucha House Party gimmick: So the original Lucha House Party concept was actually a little bit harder, a little bit darker. We were supposed to be in suits the whole time. We wanted to have this, like, Lucha Lounge-esque kind of background where it was totally different. Like, we didn’t want to be in our gear. We didn’t want to be in the flashy colors. We wanted to look like sophisticated men. The only difference is our faces have masks, and we kept telling them that. We kept telling them we do everything that every normal person does. We go grocery shopping, sneaker shopping. We go to the mall. Everything we do, we just do it in our masks. We don’t do it in our gear. That’s silly. But then we only wrestle in our gear. I don’t think I’m really a cat, but I’m agile like a cat. That’s the influences.
“And when we started explaining that to him, he kind of started to understand more the culture of Lucia Libre, rather than like, oh, these are just guys in masks who do incredible things. And we had told them, hey, let us wear suits in our promos. Let us cut promos like, those old Santo movies where they’re almost like little action movies. I had pitched for us to be, like, Charlie’s Angels, where we all had a specific personality, but we were all entertaining and always do cool stuff. And then once we got to me and Gran Metalik, I said, well, look, we have a cool dynamic here where we could be like Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan from Rush Hour, where we could always have incredible action stuff but also put each other into and cool dynamics. We had all these ideas, and for some reason, we were just the Lucha guys. Like, every promo finished with Lucha Lucha, and I’d just be like, come on, man. Is this really what you got for us?”
On Vince McMahon: One of the coolest things I will say that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve never seen this from a writer, I’ve only seen this from Vince McMahon. I had a conversation, me, Kalisto and Mascara Dagrada, where we’re having a conversation. I’m talking to Vince, and he’s kind of giving me the same thing where he’s like, nodding and just agreeing just to kind of get through the conversation. But then all of a sudden, I think we had said something interesting to him. And I remember reading (Chris) Jericho’s book, and he was like, never talk to Vince when he’s eating. He’s never going to be interested. And if you ever see him pick up a pen and a pad, he’s probably really interested.
“So at that point, we’re talking, and he’s kind of giving us, he’s going along with the flow. But then all of a sudden, he picks up a pen and a pad, and I just remember going back to Jericho’s book, like, oh, shit, like he’s interested in what we’re saying now. We can’t lose them. We got them here now. When he picked up the pad and pen and started writing a note from what we were talking about, that’s when I knew, like, okay, we’re not just lucha guys to him, we could be something special. We’re interesting enough. That number one, we’re not being cowards and not trying to pitch ideas, but we’re also here talking to him with our balls in our hands and say, hey, man, put the ball in our court. Let us do this and let us do that. Let us entertain. Let us be superstars.”
On the cruiserweights: I never did a tryout or anything. I think what actually helped me out was I was doing gear for a lot of the NXT guys. Neville, aka Pac, Sami Callihan/Solomon Crow, Bayley, Charlotte, and at that time one of my trainers, Cesaro, aka Claudio Castagnoli. He was asked like, hey, we need some cruiserweight guys, do you have any recommendations? And since he was one of my trainers and I lived in the state of Florida, it was kind of a no-brainer. So if it wasn’t for guys like Cesaro or Gabe Sapolsky, I wouldn’t have been in the Cruiser Classic because those were two guys who actually vouched for me, along with Rich Swann, Sami Callihan, Pac, because I made their gear for them. So I kind of bypassed all that try out.
“I just took my opportunity and I ran with it. I was making gear for Bayley, and I had this little table that was about two feet by two feet that I would make gear on. I remember my phone vibrating while I was making gear, and my phone never vibrates. It’s always on silent. And I was like, what is that noise? And I realized it was my phone. And then I saw a 203 number, which is Connecticut. And I didn’t think anything of it. I was like, oh, man, this is spam. Picked up the phone. I’m like, hello? He’s like, hi, is this Lince? And I’m like, who’s this? And he’s like, this is Steven Regal from WWE. I said, Give me one second. Mr. Regal, you got to apologize for my brother. I’m so sorry. How can I help you? And he was like, hey, Lince, this is Mr. Regal. I thought it could have been a lie, somebody else, but it said 203, Connecticut.
“So I was like, well, maybe this is legit, right? And he had asked me like, hey, has anybody spoke to you about a contract outside of WWE? And at that time, I had spoken with AAA and Lucia Underground, but my interest was WWE. And he’s like, well, take their offers into consideration, but also know that WWE wants to offer you a contract. And we’ll talk after the second round. And I said, thank you, hung up the phone, and I was like, well, no matter what. And I was already a teacher at this point, making shit money. But I loved it. I loved teaching. It just wasn’t financially the best job. I said, no matter what, as long as they pay me more than what I was making teaching, I’m taking it. No ifs, or buts I’m going to take it. Like it’s my dream. And if it’s one dollars more than my teaching contract, I’m taking it. And yeah.
“So I wrestled (Rich) Swann the next round. That night, they called me, July 27. I remember 11:26 p.m.. We got called down and I said, yes, give me the piece of paper, I’ll sign that bitch right now. And that was it. That was history. They kind of just said, hey, we’re doing this thing. We don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen. And then, like, the next week we’re watching Raw and I think Stephanie [McMahon] is saying like, yeah, the cruiserweights are going to come on Raw. So that’s when we found out. We found out when Stephanie said it on Raw. And I remember all the cruiserweights texting each other. I was texting Aria Daivari and Swann, Tony Nese, and I was like, did you guys hear that? Are we going to be on Raw? What’s going on? Like, oh, my God.
“And, of course, we ended up being on Raw as part of the division and it was awesome. Like, you couldn’t take away those group of guys that were hungry and passionate about pro wrestling and tell us you’re going to be on Raw without giving us all every time we went out there, we left it out there every time, we wanted to have the best matches, no matter what kind of situation we were put in and it could have been so much more. But yeah, that’s when we found out that we were going to be on Raw or part of the 205 division. We hated the pinatas, me and Gran Metalik. I can’t speak for Kalisto because I never really asked him, but I know me and him really despise the pinatas.
“The only thing that we really liked was the noisemakers. And I liked them because they were loud and different. In WWE, there was nobody that had noisemakers. And I didn’t care if they were annoying, like they were cool. They were just different. Anything different is cool. And if you think different is weird, that’s just because you’re scared of change, you’re scared of challenges. So I took it and we ran with it. I don’t know what happened. Just all of a sudden they took every idea that we had and just either just said, forget it, no, or just didn’t entertain it or like the pinata was just so overpowering that they just turned us into that.”
Other topics include Vince McMahon, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Triple H, NXT, leaving on his terms, asking for his release, the Lucha House Party, 205 Live, and more.
You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan, Pro Wrestling 101 with Justin Credible and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.