Alberto El Patron thinks the Mex-America gimmick was confusing, too. So don't feel too bad if you didn't get it.
Yes, the former Del Rio spoke with the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, and during the interview he explained how he lost his passion for the business while working for the WWE.
It wasn't always like that though. During his first run with the company, he received a pretty big push and things were going very well. That is, until "The Incident."
“(They gave me a push) because they needed new stars. When that happened all the big stars were retiring or going into movies or soap operas or whatever, but they weren’t working for the company and that was why they needed new stars. This was one of the main reasons why they began pushing me—and they did that well in such period of time, I became one of the most relevant wrestlers in like 10 months, and then the incident happened and had to leave the company the first time."
The incident he's referring to occurred in 2014 when a Social Media Manager for the company made a racist joke about Del Rio, Alberto took exception to it, and knocked the bigot out with one slap. Turns out you can't do that, though, so Del Rio was suspended. The slappee threatened to sue the company if Del Rio wasn't fired, and not wanting the ugliness to play out in court, Del Rio was let go. (So was the Social Media Manager eventually.) He returned to Mexico and AAA, then Lucha Underground, but was brought back into the WWE to take the United States Title off of John Cena at Hell in a Cell. Creative teamed him with Dutch Mantell, aka Zeb Colter, and the rest, as they say, is Mex-American history.
“The ‘Mex-America’ storyline was so stupid because nobody understood what we were trying to do. I couldn’t understand what we were trying to do so the people didn’t click with it because it was just really confusing, and nothing but respect for Dutch Mantell, I mean, he’s hurt, he couldn’t really walk, so he wasn’t really helping me out there, but even though my work in the ring was fantastic, and I’m in amazing shape. When I came back to WWE I said okay, this is my second opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it so I went back to the gym and started dieting and really working hard. I am in amazing shape and I did everything in my power to make it work, but the storyline wasn’t there."
As if that wasn't enough, Del Rio didn't feel like he could connect with any of the younger performers in the locker room.
"From there I started to feel like I wasn’t comfortable with the company; all my friends were gone. All my friends like Edge, Chavo Jr, Rey Mysterio, and was there in the locker room with great kids, great guys, but different generation; they’re into their comic books, playing video games, looking at their I-Pads, and whatever and I’m just completely from a different generation. I remember Vince (McMahon) saying this to me; ‘hey, why don’t you try to blend with the kids, with the guys.’ I said because we’re so different. I read books, they play video games, they read comic books, they’re 19, 20 years old and I’m 38 so we have nothing in common. I have three little kids, I’m a father, so we have nothing in common.”
It was this frustration, both with the creative direction his character went in, and with his inability to connect with his co-workers that ultimately drove him to leave the company.
"When they brought me back (for my second run) I just wasn’t happy. ... I was there but wasn’t happy and that was why I decided to quit. I let them know that my contract is going to be up in two months and I’m not coming back. They did everything in their power to keep me there, but I just didn’t have it in me to return.”
Del Rio also spoke about starting his wrestling career in Mexico, and how the business is different in the states. You can listen to the entire podcast here.
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