On this week’s newly rebranded IMPACT Q&A media conference call, we were joined by three members of the Latin-American Xchange: Konnan, Santana and Ortiz. During the discussion, the group discuss their beginnings, the future of IMPACT and their thoughts on Bound for Glory heading to Canada.
Konnan, you spent a lot of time around Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan in WCW. What are your thoughts on his passing?
Konnan: Yeah, Bobby, bro. I was already a Bobby Heenan fan. Growing up, I always liked the guys that could talk, even if they couldn’t wrestle so I was always big into Bobby Heenan because I always thought that anybody he was with, he enhanced. Even when he had a great talker, and I dunno how many people remember Nick Bockwinkle but he was a great talker, so him and Heenan together were just incredible magic. His wit was incredible. I used to remember, I was watching some old tapes of him and Gorilla Monsoon – if you haven’t seen it, you should – back in the 80s and they had a show on WWE [television] where they would cut to matches; during the show Bobby would be on the phone talking and Gorilla was always trying to get him to quit talking [on the phone] on the air. Half the time, he was trying to get him fired and it was really funny, the chemistry they had. They were just so ahead of their time, bro.
Santana, how did you get to where you are today given your humble beginnings?
Santana: It’s not easy for anybody but you’re dead set on something – and wrestling has always been something that’s a part of my life since I was very young – it’s just about beating adversity. My thing was always refusing to be one of those statistics, you feel me? We all go though life and we all experience different things but for the most part it’s just staying strong and keeping to your goals.
Santana and Ortiz, what does it mean to you having Konnan as your mentor?
Santana: It’s been an amazing experience so far. We’re having Konnan coach us through things and teach us his vision, how he sees things. Being able to learn from him, he’s one of the greatest minds in wrestling so what else can you say? To be able to sit with him and, on a personal level, speak with him and learn so many different things, it’s definitiely really special. A guy like Konnan, I mean he is who he is, wouldn’t just put his name on anyone so that’s something true and special to us.
Ortiz: 100%. We couldn’t be in a better situation. We’re super fortunate. We were guys that were fairly unknown and coming into TV it was sink or swim and luckily we swam. Kudos to Konnan and Homicide guiding us and giving us the pieces to the puzzle to put it together the right way. It’s been awesome.
What do you consider your worst experience as a professional wrestler?
Ortiz: The long car rides, those are the worst. I think that takes toll on your body more than the actual wrestling. If you think about it, you’re wrestling 10-15-20 minutes, if that and then you have to get in a car for 12 hours. Like driving back from Ottawa, Canada, it’s a little rough. Santana always goes to sleep.
Santana: Honestly, we haven’t come across anything too crazy. We like to consider ourselves two chill dudes that keep to ourselves and we’re cool to everyone. We haven’t really experienced anything too crazy that would set us off in any way.
Ortiz: He would say the car rides, but he’s sleeping.
Konnan: I’ve had so many but my last time at TNA wasn’t a lot of fun. My last time in AAA wasn’t a lot of fun either. I am not an easy person to work with, I understand that but at the end of the day I’ll only play the game so long. That’s why I started my own promotion because then I don’t have to work for somebody that’s inept or micro-managing me, which has happened. I’m willing to listen if you know what you’re talking about or you know more than me but if you don’t, move out of the way ‘cos I got shit to do. With my own company, I have somewhere to go. In this business, when you have no options is when you’re the most vulnerable. People are only going to be loyal to you as long as it’s convenient so you gotta have a backup plan in case something happens, and I do. Right now, I’m happy so everything’s chill.
Is there a chance we see Rey Mysterio in IMPACT Wrestling?
Konnan: I was heavily involved in [the previous talks] because I represent him. We were talking, talks broke down and we’re trying to repair those talks. Hopefully in the future, Rey may come to IMPACT but that was definitely something that was in the works.
There were rumours you and Rey got heat over the Max Moon character. What’s the story with that?
Konnan: The Max Moon character, very easy. When I met Vince McMahon, I told him about this idea I saw in Japan for this animated robot and so he was like, ‘Alright, we’ll do it,’ and we did. I lived in Mexico at the time and the guy that was making the robot outfit lived in L.A. so I would have to fly from Mexico to L.A., pick up all these boxes and bring them all the way to, like, sometimes I’d be in Cape Cod. They’d have to put it in a taxi… it was just a pain in the ass, really. What happened was that I started to blow up, in Mexico. I had done this soap opera and this rap record and it was doing good. I had crossed over into the mainstream and I was a big draw as a wrestler. I was getting paid, bro. So when I went to TV, I was like, ‘I’m the man in Mexico, why am I coming to WWE,’ and so I just stopped going. Basically, Paul Diamond told Vince that he could fit into the outfit and so they gave him the persona. From then, suposedly, I had this incredible heat but since then when I’ve seen Vince backstage, he’s like ‘Hey, what’s up, Konnan?’ Stephanie, everybody… When they don’t want you there, bro, they let you know. I know they’ve stopped people from even being in the dressing room and they’ve never done that to me. I’m not sure if that heat is still there or what the deal is, but that’s the story.
Konnan, why do you think some people don’t speak their mind the in wrestling business in the same way you do?
Konnan: Well I can’t believe that, in the wrestling community, you don’t know that you get heat if you speak your mind; that even happens on some Major League Baseball and football teams also. In wrestling, they have all these instruments – fear, intimidation, not getting a push – they send you messages not to speak what you think. That’s always got me in a lot of hot water and that’s the reason, ‘cos you’re gonna get heat.
Did Low-Ki discuss his frustrations with you during his most recent IMPACT run?
Konnan: Low-Ki is a lot like me in that he’s very difficult to work with too. Very opinionated. He thinks that the last few times he was there, they didn’t use him to his maximum potential. I would concur with that. At the end of the day, Ki was hot about a lot of stuff. One of them, which I would concur again, was why did you bring him to New York, in his hometown, to lose against Drago. No shade on Drago, I got no problem with the AAA wrestlers; I’m not hating, I’m just stating. Why would you bring him to job in his hometown to Drago, who is not under contract and wasn’t at the next TV tapings. That type of stuff will get you hot. I think they dropped the ball there and creatively they said they didn’t have anything for him, which I found very hard to believe. Like I said, he’s a very strong headed person and hopefully we can work with him again one day.
What brought you back to IMPACT this time around?
Konnan: Well, Jeff Jarrett got in touch with me and they wanted me to do some other gimmick. They wanted me to be the mouthpiece for another wrestler. First, I didn’t think he needed a mouthpiece and, two, in the back of my mind I didn’t like how my tenure ended with LAX. They were sticking people in there I never would have stuck in there, and I left. They changed my whole entrance song, it was all whack. So I wanted to come back and then leave on a better note. This is probably, for all intents and purposes, my last run in the United States. This is probably it. So I wanted to go out on a higher note than I did last time where I just quit, and left. We brought in Ortiz, Santana, Diamante, Homicide, and we’re like family; you gotta have a certain chemistry for this to work. You can’t just be two guys that come to work. Ortiz and Santana, they were friends so they already had a chemistry. Now all of us will hang out after a show and there’s a bonding there that translates into the ring and into the promos. We’re just trying to make a name for these guys and keep the LAX thing going. Let’s see what happens.
What sets this incarnation of LAX apart from the previous one?
Konnan: Obviously that it’s got different members in it. The rhetoric is the same and the message is the same and I think the attitude is the same. Plus, you know we now have a female in the group so it’s two whole different personalities but centered on the same concept.
Ortiz: Yeah, 100%, we try to keep to where LAX was before but we have a new spice to it. We’re keeping up with the times and we wrestle the style of today’s age but we’re still violent and we still go in. We have that Lucha Strong Style thing going on.
Santana: We’re gonna continue the level of physicality and everything that we’re doing. We’re staying true to the tradtion of what Konnan had coming before and our plan is just to keep up with the times and revolutionise. Make it 1000 times better.
Ortiz: We just wanna up the ante, be innovative and do it in such a way that we’re staying true to ourselves.
Bound for Glory was announced for November 5th in Ottawa, Canada. What are your thoughts on IMPACT’s biggest show of the year going to Canada?
Santana: I mean, it should be amazing. Ortiz and I have wrestled in Ottawa plenty of times and it’s an amazing city and the people there are great. I’m sure having Bound for Glory there is definitely going to be something pretty cool. Ottawa has been one of our favourite places to work and the fans there are so appreciative of everything that you do. It’s definitely a good time and everyone likes to have fun. One thing that’s great is the fans in Ottawa are very vocal so look forward to that.
Ortiz: Oh yeah and especially in the capacity that we’re doing it, it’s gonna be a big, big show. We’re excited and we’re excited to have the opportunity to show the Canadian fans what it’s all about.
Konnan: Since you guys have been to Ottawa, you’re gonna have to show me what the nightlife is all about ‘cos I certainly showed you what Tijuana nightlife’s all about… boom! But let me tell you about Ottawa; that thing kinda freaked me out ‘cos I was like, ‘Canada, really?’ I liked it. I like that it came out of nowhere. This Canadian company wants to do it in Canada. Much love to the Canadian fans, they’re always some of the most hardcore fans. I’m really looking forward to it, man, that we’re getting out of the IMPACT Zone and travelling and other people can see us. I thought that was a great decision.
Obviously your opponents at Bound for Glory, Ohio vs. Everything, are out of luck facing you guys but what potential do you see in them for the future?
Konnan: You guys have wrestled them a lot before, no?
Santana: We’ve wrestled them in multi-man matches, never straight up in tag but they have a good history of bringing it. I saw them when they were the Irish Airbourne for a while; they’ve had insane matches. Long run, definitely see them doing well but when it comes to versus us… not so much. Outside of that, they have a lot of potential to flourish in the company.
Konnan: What I like about them is when you’re putting together a match, sometimes, there are guys you can’t do nothing with ‘cos they don’t want to take a bump or they’re limited or that’s not their style… these guys, they’re gonna take any bump you want so we know our matches with them are always going to be good.
Are any new members on the cards to join the Latin-American Xchange?
Konnan: We’re always looking for new members and especially now we just lost Low-Ki who’s such a unique and incredible character. We’re definitely on the lookout for somebody.
Since LAX’s return, the language and the storylines you’ve been involved in are quite provocative. Is that something that you’ve pushed for and is that something that wrestling needs today?
Konnan: Yeah, bro, I’m a provocateer so I’m there to engage you. I’m there to get you mad. I’m there to make you think. I don’t like to do normal wrestling promos: “I’m gonna retire you…” “I’m gonna do this…” and all that BS. It’s kinda hokey and it’s corny so I’m just trying to get a reaction. I’m just trying to get heat; that’s what I do it for.
With the partnerships between AAA and NOAH in place, do you think a partnership between IMPACT and The Crash is possible?
Konnan: 100%. That’s already been put into motion. Our last TV taping, [IMPACT] taped about three matches; one of them oVe and two teams from Tijuana and it’s already been shown on Pop TV. There’s definitely a cross-pollination between us and IMPACT and we’ll continue to do so in the future.
With you having Diamante in LAX, what are your thoughts on the current state of women’s wrestling?
Konnan: I grew up on the Japanese wrestling, I dunno if you remember Manami Toyota, Hokuto, Aja Kong and all those incredibly physicial, talented Japanese women. Then, in Mexico, you had a lot of great, great workers, starting with Lola Gonzales. Then you’d come to the United States and they were so brutal, y’know, and now finally there is a Women’s Revolution where they’re going out there and having some great matches. You can even have intergender matches and people get into it. They’ve done a great job and they’re just gonna get better and better. The one thing I haven’t seen from women’s wrestling yet is high flyers. Imagine when the women start flying high ‘cos they’re gonna break out some real cool s**t, they’re a lot lighter and they’re a lot shorter. I can’t wait ’til that part comes.
With Alberto El Patron returning at Bound for Glory, do you see your fued with him resuming?
Konnan: They’ve spoken to me about a couple of things with Alberto but I don’t think they’re even sure what they wanna do. Alberto is, straight up, a one of a kind entertainer and he goes out there and leaves it all in the ring. I would love for us to do something with him but that’s up to creative.
With all the turmoil in IMPACT right now, how do you deal with that?
Konnan: That’s always gonna happen, bro. Sports teams change general managers and coaches all the time, that happens in wrestling, too. Booker gets fired, leaves or gets a better offer or whatever the situation is. I’m kinda excited to see what the new regime has in store for us because even though they worked with Jeff [Jarrett], they had their own ideas. Let’s see what they got. I’m happy to see some new people get a crack at it and see what they get going. They got some smart people in there; my boy, Jeremy Borash, Abyss, Sonjay, so I wanna see what they come up with. It’s gonna be cool.
Why is Homicide not in the ring on a regular basis?
Konnan: That’s a mystery to me, too. At the beginning they had him there as like a cheerleader type thing and I was like, ‘Bro, this guy can bring so much more.’ So, I dunno, it’s not a question I can really answer. I know it’s frustrated him. It’s very frustrating to just be there and not be able to go. I couldn’t even tell you on that one.
The members of LAX covered a lot of ground in this interview; how do you feel about what they said? Let us know in the comment section below or chat with me directly on Twitter @thejezshow.