Kalisto Discusses the Advice He Received from Rey Mysterio Jr.
Kalisto on the significance of his mask: “My mask is everything. It means everything to me. It brings back the ways of the Aztecs and the Mayans, when they would wear masks right before battle. I always tell people that don’t understand, ‘Put it this way. I’m a knight. My mask is my sword. If you take my sword away, I’m nothing. I can’t battle without that. I need my sword. I need my mask, so I am a knight with my sword, which is my mask. I need my mask to make myself a knight, to be a warrior: a luchador.’”
Kalisto on wrestling without a mask: “[Working without a mask] lasted like three months. It was very different. I felt like a part of me was missing. I’ve always loved – and I still love – Lucha Libre. I just didn’t find the proper mask that fits me. There’s always a saying, ‘The mask makes the luchador, not the other way around.’ I believe that, definitely. A great high flyer and a great fighter makes the mask. A good knight having a sword; that sword is sacred. The sword makes the knight. That’s what I’m saying….the mask is everything.”
Kalisto on his debut as Manny Ramirez: “I debuted under the name Manny Ramirez and they were like, ‘Why Manny?’ Manny, because people call me Manny [Kalisto’s birth name is Emanuel] and Ramirez because it’s my mom’s maiden name. They were like, ‘Oh, look at this kid, he’s gonna hit a home run.’ I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to change the name.’ I don’t want to get similarities with this baseball player.”
Kalisto on using Cirque du Soleil and ballet as his inspirations: “I love watching ballet and Cirque Du Soleil, the circus. I’ll tell you why. They base; the way they base and the way they throw people. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. If I throw this person a certain [way], I can make them twist,’ so it’s very funny because I had a match with Ricochet one day. I think it was in PWG in Cali, here. I had some ideas…I was watching on YouTube like some ballet stuff or some Cirque Du Soleil stuff. I’m like, ‘Hey, if I throw you this way, do you think you can twist?’ Im like, ‘Oh yeah. All I got to do is just look for you and I’ll throw myself this and that.’ We just started being so creative. It just makes me think…..I’m always constantly thinking….I’m always creative and I like doing things that are different that make people go, ‘Whoah! This is cool. I’ve never seen this before.’”
Kalisto on how he learns from Rey Msyterio: “Right now he’s [Rey Mysterio] giving me so much advice. I was even talking to him about Eddie [Guerrero], ‘I wish I could have met him and picked his brain.’ He taught him so much….he was just giving me advice and I’m still picking his brain. Eddie and Rey, I think they set the world on fire and they made some noise, especially in the latin community. That inspired me to actually follow my dream. It’s very funny because when Rey won his world title, he did a book signing at my college in Chicago. It was called Robert Morris College and I met up with him. I was 5 months into wrestling. I saw him and Shelton Benjamin. He was Intercontinental Champion at the time. I still remember. When I saw him, I said, ‘Hi. I’m in the process of being a luchador and I’m learning so much and you’re a good inspiration.’ At the time, I didn’t know he was gonna win and that kind of sparked something in me. When I met him, he was a little shorter than me, but that gave me such inspiration because if he can do it I can do it.”
Kalisto on advice he receives from Mysterio: “Right now, he’s telling me to just keep grinding no matter what, to keep making noise and have people turn their heads, no matter what, like, ‘This is new. This is entertaining. This is fun.’ That’s exactly what I’m doing with my team: Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado). Right now, we’re having fun bringing noise makers with pinatas. We’re just having fun, but hey, you want action? We’ll give you action. I’m always telling Rey, ‘Hey, what did you think of my match?’ ‘You did good. You did real good. Just keep grinding. Just keep doing you and make some noise.’ That meant a lot to me because coming from him, man, that’s pretty cool. He’s always telling me, ‘One day we’ll do something.’ That’s pretty cool….it’s just really really nice to hear his words and inspiration. It’s motivation that he’s giving me. Man, that’s pretty cool, coming from him, you know?”
Kalisto on learning from WWE Developmental: “I learned to slow down because I was so fast. One of the trainers that taught me so much to slow down and be me was Norman Smiley. He always told all the trainers and it’s really cool coming from him – because we get evaluated – he tells me, ‘You’re the only person that tells me what are my weaknesses, not my strengths.’ ‘Yeah, because I want to get better. Why would I want to know my strengths? I want to know my weaknesses. I want to know what I need to work on.’ ‘Man, Manny, you’re gonna be good in this company.’ I still need a lot of work, but he taught me not just the basics of slowing down, but just to be myself and not to be too stiff or nervous. He helped me relax. I’m always too hard on myself. I’m my worst critic. People tell me, ‘You had a good match.’ I’m like, ‘I could have done this. I could have worked on this or I could have done great facial expressions.’ Right now my obsession is, ‘OK, but did you get a good camera angle on my facial expression?’ That’s my main priority right now. [Even working under a mask] my body movement is my whole facial expression. You can see my eyes and my mouth. The masks that I wear, some of them are a little more open, so you can see my face….that’s my obsession right now.”