La Rosa Negra has emerged as a top independent wrestling name en route to becoming Mission Pro Wrestling Champion. Competing for well over 15 years, Negra captured the title by defeating Lacey Ryan, before Ryan headed to WWE.
Now, as Negra reveals in an interview with Fightful and Carlos Toro Media, she's got her eyes on AEW in addition to Mission Pro.
You can see the full interview in Spanish with English subtitles above, and the translated interview below.
Carlos: Hello everyone, Carlos Toro here and I’m joined over here by the Mission Pro Wrestling Champion La Rosa Negra. It’s not often I get to interview wrestlers, but I’m glad you’re one of them. How are you doing La Rosa Negra?
Rosa: I’m really happy, enjoying things here in my home in Puerto Rico real nice and savoring the taste of victory with this Mission Pro Wrestling title. What better way to introduce myself than the first Mission Pro Wrestling champion. So, hello, how’s it going?
Carlos: You mentioned being the champion and your first title defense is on February 6 in Texas against Madi Wrenkowski. You can watch it on Title Match Network. For those who have not seen Mission Pro Wrestling or you wrestling, what should they expect?
Rosa: First of all, for anyone that is still unaware, I implore you to go to Title Match Network or check out Mission Pro Wrestling to find out what happened in the tournament to crown the first champion. For me, it was one of the best moments being a champion. Madi took issue because someone else came in and cost her the title. But what fault do I have that she didn’t win? She needed to focus and if she didn’t focus, that’s not my problem. If it were up to me, I would have kicked her ass back then and taken the title which I do have. They gave her the opportunity and we’ll see what she does. She’s the champion of Puro Pinche Wrestling and now she wants to be double champion. Madi needs to understand and I will make her understand on February 6 in Buda, Texas that it will not be easy taking this title away from the heat in Puerto Rico. On February 6, we will see what happens. I don’t want to count wins before they happen and I want to focus on what’s ahead. When I’m focused Carlos Toro, they’ll see that I’m the Boricua that deserves to represent the most prestigious title in women’s wrestling in Texas and in the United States. A lot of people want it and Madi thinks it’s like going to a bakery and ordering a Cubano and eating it. It’s not like that.
Carlos: It’s not like going to a Panapen (Puerto Rican bakery) and ordering a quesito (pastry served in Puerto Rico)?
Rosa: It’s not going to be easy. Eating a quesito is great, but there’s a procedure to making them and like Madi, there’s a process. Madi, if you’re watching this, prepare your mind, prepare your body because I’m going to beat you up. You want my title, but your title also looks good. So don’t make me go to Puro Pinche Wrestling and ask the people there to give me an opportunity for that title as well. This year, 2021, I’m going to take care of everyone in my one and she’ll be the first.
Carlos: Now that we’re 10-11 months into this pandemic and you’re wrestling again. Have you gotten used to wrestling during the COVID-19 with the changes that wrestling has made from protocols to the fans being there. Does it still feel strange?
Rosa: Basically, we’re getting used to it. It’s hard to really acclimate it to it because the COVID-19 protocols can be a little uncomfortable and I need to have the fans there cheering because it fires me up. At the same time, wrestling without any fans allows me to focus more on making opponents suffer. It gets me to want to finish matches quicker. It makes processing things a lot quicker. It’s been both good and bad. Everything is about health. With the protocols, we have to constantly test because of how close we get in the ring. I think all the promotions are now doing the testing on a weekly basis because you have to record those tests. The protocol of 14 days in quarantine makes things difficult. You can’t travel much. For me, I have to fly from Puerto Rico to Texas and back to Puerto Rico so it’s a lot of testing. But we need to do it. Everything needs to be done for the sake of health. I need to take care of myself so that we can entertain, but at the same time, but it’s starting to be normal. At this time, you need to have gotten used to wearing a mask, having sanitizer, constantly disinfecting yourself. It’s now normal and a part of life. Unfortunately, it’s not going away anytime soon, but neither is wrestling and I’m ready for Saturday.
Carlos: I totally get you. My mom and dad live in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico and my grandparents live in Anasco, Puerto Rico and they’re business owners and understand how tough it is over there. For those that aren’t aware of how things are going over there in Puerto Rico, how can you best describe the situation in Puerto Rico as it relates to COVID?
Rosa: In Puerto Rico, wrestling is no longer doing shows weekly. It’s like every three months. They do a big show and divide it for television. Here in Puerto Rico, the COVID-19 vaccine just arrived. Now, with the vaccine, people are taking the vaccine and some are afraid of the second vaccine which is why they aren’t taking it.
Carlos: Yeah, my girlfriend took the second vaccine and she’s been dealing with a lot of pain on the arm they gave her the vaccine.
Rosa: There’s also other symptoms and such like when you get COVID, so who wants to feel like that? No one wants to feel like that. But, the government workers have to take it as well as medical personnel. Right now, I expect the vaccine to be required for the wrestlers soon. Remember, we are in a ring and we need to take care of each other.
Carlos: Right and that’s the norm, and it’s weird how this all started in March, right before WrestleMania Week and a lot of wrestlers missed out on big weeks on the independent scene and shows had to be canceled. You also spent months without wrestling as a result.
Rosa: Not just that, a lot of wrestlers also got hit with COVID. They couldn’t have their time and had to step away from wrestling. A lot of matches had to be canceled and a lot of promoters had to give refunds and they lost some of those wrestlers as well. COVID has mistreated the economy inside the business of pro wrestling and I think in all businesses. We need to take things easy and so long as we follow the rules to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and causing these deaths. If we have to take the vaccine, we have to do it. We have to take care of ourselves. One way or another, it falls on us to be responsible, get tested and get vaccinated when it’s our turn to do so.
Carlos: During that initial time period where shows were being canceled and you didn’t get to wrestle, how much did that affect you? You told me a couple of days ago that you’ve had to do a couple of jobs and couldn’t afford to miss out on some extra income. How much did that affect?
Rosa: Any way I can get money, legally! No prostitution, thank you very much so no one better call me (laughs). I got two jobs, one involving beverages and the other I do physical training as both a personal and group trainer. There’s also wrestling on top of that, so I have to split my time. In addition, if I can do training or a seminar, I’ll do it. Here in Puerto Rico, we got to do what we can. I take care of my daughter, my family and pay bills. I hope this Mission Pro Wrestling title will help fans buy my merch.
Carlos: Speaking of Mission Pro Wrestling, they have been a great source of women’s wrestling. We were talking before recording that you, Thunder Rosa, Allysin Kay, Red Velvet [it’s all great].
Rosa: I got that title match against Madi Wrenkowski and there was that cage match between Thunder Rosa and Allysin Kay and they had a history dating back to the NWA. That kind of stuff draws people in and gets people wondering what is going to happen. There’s also the championship and who is next to challenge. All I know is that if you don’t go to [Mission Pro Wrestling], you will miss the best wrestling for this 2021 in Mission Pro Wrestling.
Carlos: We know that there are major promotions taking a look at Mission Pro Wrestling. We’ve seen Red Velvet in AEW and I think Madi Wrenkowski as well.
Rosa: Madi was there. Vixen was also there. Alex Garcia was also there. I went to the first Mission Pro Wrestling show and Garcia was there. I think Mission Pro Wrestling has a lot of good workers and I think they have a lot of good talent. But I would kick a lot of asses there. I don’t care, I will go out there. Nobody better talk to me about friends because there is no friendship here. It’s all about gold and showing who is the champion and why that is, it’s not easy. Carlos, I don’t go easy.
Carlos: We’ve seen various wrestlers in other promotions, have there been discussions about the possibility of you showing up on one of these big companies, like an AEW?
Rosa: Look, I didn’t have to wait on Mission Pro Wrestling to send an inquiry about AEW. I already inquired about that and I’m waiting to see if they call. I don’t know what is going to happen. Whether or not I get a call, I’m still here working. I would love a chance to compete in AEW, whatever big company is out there. I would love to return to Japan, just so you know. I know not everyone wants to go to the same company. WWE is good, but I would love to return to Japan. I love the Mexican style and would love to show that I’m capable of wrestling [in Mexico]. I love the Japanese style. When they hit me hard, I get angry, I get furious. When it’s like that in combat, it motivates me more to do more wrestling. I also like the American style and mixing it with old school Puerto Rican wrestling when I started there in 2012. It’s what allowed me to thrive into the wrestler you see and to become the Mission Pro Wrestling champion.
Carlos: How much do you miss wrestling in Japan? It’s been a while since you last competed there and currently wrestling promotions there have had some hurdles there. New Japan and Stardom had to make some big changes to how they do shows there. But how much do you miss it?
Rosa: The thing I love about wrestling and miss in Japan is the shows at Korakuen Hall. I love that venue and it’s one of the places they do the most wrestling shows in Japan. I miss the strength there is in Japan in wrestling. It’s very different there and to constantly adjust and mix it up allowed me to grow up, want to improve and even stay there. It’s because of the wrestlers, not the promoters, but the wrestlers. What was Io Shirai, what was Kairi Sane, what was Mayu Iwatani, [Jungle] Kyona, for me [it was great]. I stayed there with the likes of Chelsea Green, Chelsea Diamond, Starfire who is in Mexico. The camaraderie was great. I think one of the ways to make it there in Japan is to make those connections and interact and take in the culture. You need to have the discipline and respect for their way of living. It’s curious to follow and explore that culture and it’s why I love it there. The wrestling and culture is awesome. The food, bleh! All in all, I was able to eat. I tried eating stuff from there and had to. Little by little, you start to learn what you like and don’t like.
Carlos: You weren’t picky there?
Rosa: I missed Japan. I wasn’t just in Stardom, I was in Marvelous. Stardom was in Tokyo and Marvelous was in Shiba, so it was pretty far apart. I loved wrestling in Marvelous. I was with Chigusa Nagayo and she is a legend in hardcore wrestling. I took time in Sendai, Meiko Satomura.
Carlos: They recently announced that Meiko Satomura is going to NXT UK.
Rosa: Yeah! I still love her wrestling and how she explores it. I love her matches. I once had a match against Arisa Nakajima, she beat me but it was great! It’s on YouTube and go check it out. It’s one of the best matches I had and one of the matches where I was able to fully plant in a Puerto Rican presence in a foreign country as well as be the first High Speed Champion in 2015. To be a champion in Stardom after also being in SEAdLINNNG, in Sendai, in Marvelous with so many legends in Japan. Those experiences are unforgettable.
Carlos: One of the things that I love right now is that you’re the Mission Pro Wrestling Champion. We just had Carlito make a return to the Royal Rumble for WWE. On IMPACT, Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz are the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions, Danny Limelight’s doing great in NJPW and AEW.
Rosa: I love Kiera and Tasha Steelz!
Carlos: That’s what I love right now that it appears that wrestling has a somewhat bigger Puerto Rican presence in wrestling.
Rosa: It’s about time. There are a lot of Puerto Ricans around the world who are trying to stand out. There’s a lot of competitions, lots of great competitors. I think the Puerto Rican blood is starting to stand out. We support each other. When one of us is on top, we’re all excited yelling them wow! When there’s people like Ivelisse in AEW, at least for me, every Puerto Rican who shows up, it’s a success like we won. We try and go to another level. We never give up. I’m so happy that people are starting to notice the Puerto Rican flag around.
Carlos: And it’s great especially in a time like you told me off the air that Puerto Rican wrestling promotions aren’t running as many shows now during this pandemic. With all the Puerto Ricans out there wrestling now, it feels like it has elevated the country itself a bit.
Rosa: Even though there’s not much wrestling there like in the WWC, Carlos Colon’s promotion, the World Wrestling Council, on WAPA TV.
Carlos: I remember watching them on Saturdays and Sundays
Rosa: Carlos had that show every weekend but he has had to alter things a bit because he hasn’t been able to tape as often. He’s had to reutilize the programming a bit to try and get people to stick around and watch. Since March last year, the first new show that got taped was taped just in December, on December 12, almost a full year without taping. The wrestlers would sometimes just go to the offices and cut promos or interviews because in Puerto Rico, the protocols dictate that you can’t go to the gyms or physical activity or even go out until a certain time in the day, which didn’t allow many people to do stuff. You could only have been able to go to the pharmacy, the hospital or the supermarket to buy utilities for home. We’ve been like that for three months and we had a curfew. Every Sunday, we couldn’t go outside. It’s been a bit strict and very hard for wrestlers here. It was like dropping Thor’s hammer on them. It was a real big hit and left Puerto Rican wrestling in a weak spot at the moment. But we are working our way back up and reestablish the TV program. Carlos Colon’s son Eddie is also leaving his marks and handprints on the company as well. There’s some changes going on, some good changes. This most recent show on December 12 and WWC hopes to get back out there. It’s the only Puerto Rican promotion out there doing anything.
Carlos: You mentioned at the start about reinventing yourself because of the pandemic. I’ve noticed that there have been some changes and adjustments wrestlers and promotions have done more from a creative standpoint and less on the wrestling part. There’s wrestlers that have taken advantage and really let their personalities shine, which I like. How much have you sorta had to change your approach or how you looked at things creatively in wrestling because of the pandemic?
Rosa: I have certainly felt like I’ve needed to work harder to retain the support that I have. Those people who I entertain deserve that I work as hard as I can in front of that camera. Even with the protocols and things going the way they are, we are working around that and have molded ourselves to better work around it. Like I said before, it’s all about taking those opportunities given to you and in my case, it’s simply more work in Puerto Rico, finding two more jobs and still establishing a level of consciousness that your mind can achieve. There’s a limit to what I can do in my other jobs. It’s all about what the protocols can allow me. I can only have 10 people in the gym. How much more do I have to work to make a living? We need to learn how to survive.
Carlos: We got to adjust.
Rosa: Like how I’ve had to learn to keep this belt around my waist!
Carlos: One thing that I remember from your title win last year was how emotional everything was and Red Velvet came into the ring and hugged you. What were you thinking back then, what was going through your head as you became the first Mission Pro Wrestling champion?
Rosa: It was very beautiful and Red Velvet, being one of my favorite and best students and to see her reach a level that she’s gotten to and knowing we still support each other since the day we first met. I remember telling her early on that she has tremendous natural talent and that she should work and hone in on that natural talent until you structure everything to how she won. I think she understood how to go through things. Red Velvet is more special than simply being a locker room partner at a wrestling company. I consider her to be one of my best friends and I know I can count on her. I know she’s going to be someone that will have plenty of people talking in AEW. At the end of the match [where I won the title], having her come in and then the people at Mission Pro Wrestling be there, it was magical. So when it comes to taking this title off of me, one is going to bust themselves to do it. Lacey Ryan, who I beat, is a quality wrestler and I’m proud to have won it the way I did against someone like Lacey. Everyone who was present at the show, applauding and yelling for me. So if anyone has a problem with that, the one who came out on top was La Rosa Negra, me. What else can I say, I felt awesome!
Carlos: One thing I saw on your Twitter account, first of all I love your dog. But one thing I noticed and I still can’t believe it’s still a thing is people going up to you and asking you to forgive Tessa Blanchard for the situation that took place years ago. Does it still bother you getting those tweets and people still asking you on social media about it?
Rosa: Look, listen well. This will be one of the last times I speak on the subject. The people ask if what happened between Tessa and I was real. It was real. This wasn’t a pro wrestling angle, not for a company. We had problems and for the small mental capacity that woman has, it made me grow and made me recover and be stronger than ever. Let me tell you, what happened in Japan, people ask me, ‘Why didn't you do anything?’ Look, I’m not dramatic. People love gossip. I don’t give a crap about gossip, but people do. When she spit in my face, unfortunately, I did what I had to do and that was to land one on her snout for having disrespected me and insult me the way she did and the way she did all of that. Things happened very quickly as well as other things. For that to come out in the public light, I think it was last year?
Carlos: Yeah, something like that, a little more than a year ago.
Rosa: I didn’t even put that out there.
Carlos: No, it was another wrestler who did that.
Rosa: Let me tell you one thing. For whatever Tessa wants to do in her life and her career, good for her. It has no bearing on me. But when someone wants to be respected, they have to respect others. But if you don’t respect others and all you want is to humiliate others and to be above everyone and push your family name, which you’re quite small in being a part of that family. There was a WrestleCade where I talked and she didn’t say anything to me, but I spoke with her. I told her, ‘I forgive you. To hell with that. I can’t live my life holding that grudge.’ I don’t hate her. I just feel poor for her. She needs to grow. Nowadays, she denies what she did. Did she grow? Really? Okay, she grew. Me, I will keep growing. I lost a contract. I lost money for my family. She took a lot of opportunities in that year, but now I need to think about what people say on Twitter about her. I don’t care right now because if she did something, she needs to accept it. I accepted that she spit in my face, that she humiliated me. She also needs to respect the fact that I made her respect me for better or worse. You are not someone to humiliate people, but you made me grow. Now, I feel like I know my worth because I could defend myself and show that she is not above anyone else. It affected my personal life and my finances and me being able to provide for my family. I had to stay in Puerto Rico and grow. I came back and look where I’m at now. In 2021, I’m the Mission Pro Wrestling champion. A lot of wrestlers wrote to me and I want to say thanks to all those wrestlers. At the time, I was telling them to shut up about it and to forget about it. I accepted it. She spit at me and disrespected me and I showed her respect. She stays in her lane and I stay in mine. Not much else to talk about. I don’t need her apology because it’s too late. It’s too late and she still denies it. I got my conscience and it’s clean. You know what, kisses to you Tessa.
Carlos: Changing topics now, there’s been such a rich history of wrestling in Puerto Rico throughout the years, what were your earliest memories, growing up in Puerto Rico and becoming a fan of wrestling?
Rosa: Just so you know, I started out as a manager and not as a wrestler, but I don’t forget anything. I can recall the year where women’s wrestling felt like it was in a fever pitch. I started with Carlos Colon in 2006 but I changed promotions while champion and going to IWA with Savio Vega and Miguel Perez Jr. in order to be in their women’s division and be the first women’s champion in IWA. I think being around that time in 2006 was one of my favorite times. To get the fame I got around that time in Puerto Rico was glorious. I think all the times I’ve had in Puerto Rico, I remember fondly, I loved all the feuds, the championship programs. That year was great.
Carlos: Before being a manager and wrestler, were you much of a fan? Did you watch WWE or more of the local stuff in Puerto Rico?
Rosa: I would watch but wasn’t a fan. From the time I did watch, I loved Kurt Angle, and adapted my style a bit. I loved Shawn Michaels, I loved Lita and her risky style of wrestling. I loved Beth Phoenix. To me, she was like my queen because of how strong she was. I remember Jazz and Jacqueline were physical marvels and so was Beth Phoenix. There was also Mickie James, but I wasn’t that much of a fan. I was simply a track and field athlete in college and a softball player. I was always an athlete. Did boxing and taekwondo and even competed. At one time, I accompanied a friend of mine to a wrestling show and a wrestler came up to me and said I had the look to be a wrestler. He asked, ‘Do you like being on TV?’ I said yeah. He asked, ‘Do you like to fight?’ I love fighting! He then told me that I have a better way to get fights and one of my first times was going to try out. My first try out was simply going through those curtains and be in a match against Stacy Colon, the daughter of Carlos Colon, the owner of WWC. That was a big deal and didn’t even know it. As a matter of fact, her brother Eddie Colon who was recently in WWE with his cousin.
Carlos: Yeah as Primo and Epico
Rosa: Eddie Colon gave me a headbutt and it was fantastic. Spectacular. When people were out there yelling expletives at me, I thought the adrenaline was great and got hooked on it and I stayed.
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