Konnan talks racism in the industry, starting a new promotion, WWE Network, TNA, and more
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On the latest episode of Main Event Radio, Ryan Rider went 1-on-1 with former AAA, WCW, WWE, and TNA superstar Konnan. They discussed starting a new promotion in Mexico to compete with AAA & CMLL, brand extension, racism in the industry, the current situation in TNA, and more.
Audio can be downloaded here
Here is a recap of the interview:
Starting a new promotion called THE CLASH: I was working in AAA as a booker, producing, finding talent. A lot of that talent is now in Lucha Underground. Right now I’m working a lot with Rey [Mysterio] on a lot of outside projects. We are working on helping run probably the biggest independent promotion in Tijuana, Mexico on the border of San Diego, California it’s called the Crash promotions. We basically give people the matches that the other two promotions in Mexico [AAA & CMLL] won’t give them due to politics and antiquated and narrow-minded thought processes. One of the biggest problems we have in our industry is that most promotions, the majority of them are run by people who don’t know what they’re doing. Hopefully we will be getting a TV deal next year and I’ll be able to do what I do best. We’re still negotiating.
In Mexico it’s gotten really dirty between the companies and the way the bigger companies try to stop any smaller companies from making any in-roads. It’s almost like a little mafia, even if they don’t work together they make it that nobody else could really shine. I don’t want to give out any dates or ideas or concepts because they’ll find out and try to stop it. That’s really how the Mexican panorama is right now. Talents that right now aren’t in those promotions – probably Rey Fénix, Sexy Star who is now wrestling as Dulce Garcia, probably Willie Mack, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio – people like that are people that we are hoping to work with it. We are still in embryotic formations of this, none of this is official. This is all extra-ficial stuff we are working on now but everything is looking really good.
Criticism of AAA and him leaving the company: They used three tools to control the talents – intimidation, fears, and lies. There came a point where I felt like an accomplice. I was never pressured because they know what type of person I am but it was always ‘why are you taking the side of the boys, aren’t you the office?’. No I’m not the office; I don’t hold stock in this company. I’m a wrestler, I know what they’re going through. Half the roster to this day lives paycheck to paycheck and they do it on purpose. They don’t want people leaving. They don’t want anyone having too much money, too much power. We were getting into problems because of the way they were taking advantage of the wrestlers. I did not like the way they were treating people and how they were treating me, so I quit.
Racism in the industry: I would say compared to when I was in the business yes it has diminished. We are a reflection of society. In society it’s still there but it’s not as bad as it used to be. Look at all the African Americans that are in the business today as compared to before. The New Day, Apollo Crews, the Latinos, which they haven’t done a good job since they lost Mysterio and Del Rio they haven’t been able to make a Latino superstar. However they’re finally opening their eyes. It has gotten better but it still has a way to go. When in 2040 the majority-minority in this country will be Hispanics, where neither TNA or WWE has any Latinos in positions of power be it an agent, producer, a writer, or executive then they’re still behind the curve. I’d put an African American in that same boat. They’re doing a good job, going global and they’re finally smartening in that sense. Now we need to see us in positions of power.
In the past you’re been critical about women in the business, what do you think about the current women’s wrestling revolution: I was critical because it sucked. I don’t hate, I state. When you had Oksana and all these other girls who were just models. They were training in front of the TV. They weren’t in developmental long enough and their matches were brutal and it was embarrassing to watch. Now they have this new crop of girls who are killing it. Charlotte is incredible and Sasha [Banks] and Natalya who I don’t know why they aren’t doing more with her. You still have these talents like the Bellas who can’t go, but at least they’re watchable now.
TNA: They’re going to keep crawling along but it does them no favors to be on a station like PopTV. The problem starts at the top – Dixie Carter. Incompetent. People say ‘oh she’s nice’. She could be nice all she wants but she doesn’t know what she’s doing. It’s going to continue to suffer under her. They’ve always had great talent but talent isn’t enough to put the. That’s a problem – perception and branding. If they get the right people and the right branding, they can still turn that place around. I really believe that they have to get on a better network. They screwed themselves over with Spike. That’s what happens when you have the wrong people running the company.
WWE Network: That’s why Vince destroys everybody. His business acumen is second to none. He’s a 70-year old billionaire how in touch could he be, but he is smart enough to work with the right people. I applaud Hunter [HHH], the job he’s done in NXT and with the cruiserweights. He’s smart enough to do that. The Network has been great and they’re starting to reach some dividends.