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ROH COO Joe Koff Interview

Posted on August 9, 2016 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (2)

ROH COO Joe Koff Transcription

 

Ring Rust Radio: Ring of Honor is known for producing some of the best matches every year, but what are some of the areas of the product you feel ROH could improve the most?

 

Joe Koff: Well that’s a very good question. I would tell you that from a talent perspective, from an excitement perspective, the pure product, the craft, the art of our wrestlers, the sensibility of our fans and our relationship to the fans overall, I think we can always improve. I would never want to be at a day of work where we think we can’t get better. I think a couple of areas that I’d like to see us do better is that I would like to toy around with the idea of a two-hour program. We are a very sleek one-hour program on a weekly basis. We have fairly good distribution and I’m very pleased with that. I would like to see us get to a broader national place like we had with Destination America. Since we are not in a set place and we don’t travel with 10 semi-trailers, production will always be something we look at to improve, but a lot of that is building based. I think it’s important that we go where the fans are and that’s why we took our show on the road. I think that’s a couple of things I would like to see us do a better job with.


 

 

Ring Rust Radio: Television distribution is a major key to success for any company. What is the short-term future of ROH TV, and what are the long-term goals of the company on TV?

 

Joe Koff: That’s a great question as well. First of all, there is no short-term. Sinclair Broadcasting is a broadcaster and we own 172 television stations in 81 markets. We control programming and content on over 400 channels. This is a part of Sinclair Broadcasting. The short-term is exactly as you see it. The long-term is even better even for the fan. I’m really excited about it because of the company we represent. There are a lot of companies that wait for technology to happen and we’ve always been a company that’s been very innovative. I always liken ourselves as almost a tech incubator. A lot of the things we have done with Ring of Honor have come from inside the company. One of the things technically, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this because I’m not that well-informed enough to talk about it, but there’s going to be a new standard of broadcasting that’s being developed and accepted right now called ATSC 3.0. It’s going to be television transmission on an IP level. It’s going to allow us as a company and anyone else adapting to it to really bring free television platforms anywhere and on any device people are viewing them on. That’s another key to Sinclair is that we are a free television platform company. So Ring of Honor is always available for free. If you can get our signal no matter where you live or get one of these signals from a station that carries us across the country, you can get Ring of Honor for free without paying anything extra for it. That is something we believe dearly in and that says a lot about us.


 

 

Ring Rust Radio: ROH had a short run on Destination America last year which allowed the product to reach more homes than ever before. Why didn't that end up being a longer-term partnership, and how successful do you regard that venture in retrospect?

 

Joe Koff: Well I think it was very successful in retrospect. It expanded my brand even for that short period of time that we were on and it allowed more people to see us and more people to experience us. As far as why it didn’t go longer, I think it had to do with the management shift at Destination America which is not uncommon in the programming business. We are all fighting for audience and we are all fighting to do the best thing for our station. Destination America is a programming channel and I think they wanted to go more into the, I don’t want to call it the occult, but shows like Ghost Whisperer and stuff like that. Wrestling as a product has a tendency to be an isolationist product unless you are on a full wrestling channel, which doesn’t exist except in over-the-top with the WWE or on my website or ROH wrestling on demand where you can get tons of videos on demand. It doesn’t lend itself around other products unless you’re a male oriented station or a combat oriented station. I think Destination America just made a programming choice. I was thrilled to have that exposure. With Comet TV, which is a science fiction genre channel, we are in more homes than we were with Destination America so we didn’t lose out on that part.


 

 

Ring Rust Radio: Ring of Honor has one of, if not the most, passionate fan bases in wrestling. How or what would you like to see ROH do to further grow the audience?

 

Joe Koff: I would like to go international and take us to more countries. We’re embarking on our first international tour that we are promoting in the UK in November. I would like to be able to get to the point where we can get into some bigger buildings and we are getting there. This has been an amazing journey, and it started in 2010 when I met with Cary Silkin, the owner of Ring of Honor at the time. I talked to him about expanding his brand and taking it to places that he was unable to do. He agreed finally and after back and forth we were able to debut a product on September 24, 2011, which is when Ring of Honor television began. We are in the 250’s of episodes and that is a lot of content we have created. That includes the videos on demand and every house show we do is recorded and is available to the fans. I think we’ve done a really good job in creating a brand, and a brand that like you said the fans love. Quite frankly that is the reason why I was so passionate about getting involved with Ring of Honor. The relationship we have with the brand and the fans. I’ve been into wrestling my entire life, I am one of those fans that never really grew out of it, and I was able to find a way to stay in it. There are moments when you go to a Ring of Honor event, and I’m sure you guys have been and if not you need to come, when the arena and the fans and the guys all become one. It’s almost like you’re an athlete getting into the zone, it just happens and then you realize you are in the zone. Those moments are magical for my wrestlers and the fans and everyone involved. That’s the magic of Ring of Honor and I want to keep sustaining that and to keep it going. I think we’ve done a very good job in doing that.


 

 

Ring Rust Radio: Over the last several months, several big names have departed Ring of Honor for other companies. What are your thoughts when an ROH star leaves for WWE or TNA, and what kind of efforts has the company made to keep its existing stars under contract?

 

Joe Koff: I love people that want to work for Ring of Honor and we are trying very hard to become the promotion of choice. A promotion of choice for fans, a promotion of choice for advertisers and a promotion of choice for talent. I don’t blame guys if they want to seize better opportunities elsewhere, and I think we would all do the same thing. I think we have done a very good job in creating a culture and I think our culture is definitely different than other wrestling companies and promotions. We provide steady work, we tour, we do TV, we don’t wrestle 200 days a year and because of that economically there’s going to be a difference. I certainly don’t begrudge anybody that thinks they can do better for themselves. They’re in charge of their lives and taking care of themselves and their families or whatever the decision trigger is to move to those organizations. I’m happy they were part of Ring of Honor and I hope they feel the same way.


 

 

Ring Rust Radio: WWE's roster is currently stacked with guys who first became stars in ROH like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Cesaro. With WWE being so willing to push former ROH guys to the top, do feel like that's beneficial to your brand in terms of bringing in new talent or detrimental in terms of being more likely to lose top talent?

 

Joe Koff: You can’t worry about what you’re going to lose, you can only focus on what you can build. I think it’s a great draw for us. When you look at the wrestling landscape, and I just want to draw attention to even this conversation, four years ago I don’t think I would be this powerful in this narrative and I think we are there. When you talk about the names that you mentioned, I don’t think they would’ve gotten there without Ring of Honor. Ring of Honor is special and is special to the fans and special to the guys. Because of that I think we have an aspirational promotion to keep bringing in talent that may make it to WWE while some guys, and I say this with a lot of confidence, are very happy to just be in Ring of Honor. That level of talent is still going to be coveted, but may not be obtained. I have no issue with that and I’m proud of that. The guys that have worked for me and are now in WWE, I’d like to think that we played a little part in their success. I can take a lot of solace in that.

 

 

Lucha Underground's Johnny Mundo Interview

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Check out Ring Rust Radio's interview with Lucha Underground star Johnny Mundo!


Ring Rust Radio: Ultima Lucha Dos begins Wednesday, July 6 and runs through July 20. You and Worldwide Underground will defend the Trios Championships against Fenix, Drago and Aerostar. How are you preparing differently for this bout and what should fans expect from the title match?

Johnny Mundo: From World Wide Underground, the fans should expect much of the same from us. The three of us won the Trios Championships after I destroyed Fenix. The Dragon Slayer, the Star Destroyer, Jack Evans in my opinion is the best wrestler to come out of AAA ever. PJ Black, known as Justin Gabriel from his time in WWE, rich wrestling tradition, cut his teeth in South Africa then moved to the United States and is a worldwide star. Then of course me, the mayor of Slam Town, Johnny Mundo. The three of us together I think more than match up against any other team on the Lucha Underground roster. We have the high flying covered, the hard hitting covered, and the brains AKA me. How we are preparing for this match? We are just going to go in and do what we do.


 

Ring Rust Radio: As one of the top stars with the company since its inception, what has the pressure been like on you to help take Lucha Underground to the next level and how much pride do you take in being a cornerstone of the brand?

Johnny Mundo: As far as being the guy and really the first guy with the reputation to sign on to be a part of Lucha Underground, I take a great deal of pride in it. This is the first wrestling promotion that has come around since I can remember since ECW that has really been different. It’s developed a counter culture and a cult following and Lucha Underground has done that. I take a lot of pride being a part of that. As far as the pressure goes to carry the ball and keep performing at such a high level, yes I do feel it. That pressure is a good thing and I think everybody feels it unilaterally. What we have is a roster full of motivated and talented wrestlers with a chip on their shoulder to prove we have something no other wrestling promotion has right now. We are all hungry, motivated, young and talented. Most wrestling promotions are missing one of those things. When you look at Lucha Underground, that’s what makes us so interesting. It’s defining its identity with each episode. With each episode, everyone on the roster is reinventing themselves and trying new things. Sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing at it, but that’s what makes us so interesting. Another reason is if you haven’t checked us out already, Ultima Lucha Dos is the best time to really see what this show is all about.


 

Ring Rust Radio: Last year’s Ultima Lucha was easily one of the best wrestling events of 2015, and fans are obviously extremely excited about Ultima Lucha Dos and hoping that it’s going to top the original. Having been part of both, how do you feel Ultima Lucha Dos is going to stack up, and how excited are you for the fans to see it?

Johnny Mundo: I am ridiculously excited for Ultima Lucha Dos. I think this Ultima Lucha Dos will by far surpass the original. I think anytime you have an event for the first time ever, like a Super Bowl or WrestleMania or UFC, as the years go by everything becomes more polished with promotion and bigger stars. Ultima Lucha Dos brings you Rey Mysterio Jr., Prince Puma, Johnny Mundo, PJ Black, Jack Evans, Fenix, Pentagon, all these stars that you have heard of and now you have seen them develop over the course of two seasons of Lucha Underground. The production of the show has become more polished and everyone is more invested in these characters now for Ultima Lucha Dos then they were at Ultima Lucha Uno. I expect it to exceed fans expectations and be better, badder, faster, stronger and more exciting than Ultima Lucha Uno.


 

Ring Rust Radio: We have spoken to many Lucha Underground stars about the differences between Lucha and the WWE. From your perspective, what are some of the biggest differences and similarities between the brands?

Johnny Mundo: Similarities wise its pro wrestling, its lucha libre, it’s entertainment and that’s the bottom line. The whole point of it is to entertain. You’re telling a story in the ring, you’re wrestling; that’s the biggest similarity. At the end of the day, the reason I am doing it is I grew up watching pro wrestling and fell in love with it as a kid. Hopefully when people watch Lucha Underground and WWE, Ring of Honor, New Japan, AAA and any other promotion out there, they fall in love with pro wrestling. Pro wrestling as it affects pop culture is bigger than any one promotion. I love it. I love being able to perform in the ring in front of people and that’s the greatest feeling in the world. So that’s a universal similarity between every promotion. As far as differences, Lucha Underground and the way it is filmed with its TV episodic format, allows it to have deeper, multilayered, darker and almost supernatural type characters woven into the fabric of the storylines. The storylines of Lucha Underground are more complex and always follow through to fruition which is different because a lot of time with WWE and the size of the organization, characters sometimes are simpler and storylines are dropped. With a one hour show, Lucha Underground is more respectful of the time of the people watching. We don’t have a three-hour Raw to fill every week. We have one hour of wrestling and what you get is fast paced, hard hitting, acrobatic action interspersed with the stories we are telling backstage and the vignettes backstage. The vignettes are really polished and tightly cut that flesh out the characters and move the story forward week to week. I feel like it’s the best wrestling show on TV right now. If you compare it to an episode of Raw you will agree with me. If not, tweet me and we will argue about it.


 

Ring Rust Radio: One of the big differences for you and your character in Season 2 in comparison to Season 1 has been the addition of Taya as your partner. What are your thoughts on her as a competitor, and why do you feel like the two of you have been able to mesh so well so quickly?

Johnny Mundo: Taya and I had a lot of chemistry from the day she arrived at Lucha Underground. If you look at her as a singles competitor, she is the most talented female on the Lucha Underground roster. Her background in AAA, she was the first ever foreign woman’s champion in Mexico City and the AAA promotion. She is also the longest reigning Women’s Champion in AAA history. She moved to Mexico, didn’t speak Spanish, learned to speak fluid Spanish, then went on to become the champion of Mexico and is now the Women’s champion longer than any wrestler in that promotion. That’s the kind of ambition, talent and passion that she has for this business and she has brought it to Lucha Underground. When you watch her wrestler, you can feel her passion. You can feel the passion of the performers in the ring and she has that, as do I. The roster of Lucha Underground from top to bottom has passion, but I feel like the chemistry Taya and I have combined with her talent and capabilities she has to tell stories in the ring are why she has set herself apart as the top female performer in Lucha Underground and why we are working so well together as well.

 


New Japan G1 Climax 26 blocks

Posted on June 29, 2016 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)



By Joe Arcidiacono

Wednesday Wrestling Minutes/Solid B+ Podcast


Before I get into the blocks, just a brief summary of the G1 Climax. The first G1 was held in 1991, though the annual New Japan tournament which would turn into the G1 had been held since 1974. The G1 is the annual heavyweight tournament and is one of the most highly anticipated portions of the New Japan calendar, since it always produce many incredible matches and sets the stage for the biggest show of the year, WrestleKingdom.


In WWE, the Royal Rumble is used to determine the title challenger for the main event of their biggest show of the year, and in New Japan, the winner of the G1 Climax earns a shot at the champion in the main event of WrestleKingdom (another annual event which didn’t always have that name but has been held on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome since 1992). Another interesting aspect of the G1 is that the title shot that is earned by the winner can be put on the line in matches and lost, as opposed to the spot guaranteed by the Rumble.


The G1 Climax is a round robin tournament, meaning that the 10 entrants in each block face each other once over the course of 19 shows. A win is worth 2 points while a loss earns nothing and at the end of the tour, the wrestler with the most points in Block A meets the leader of Block B to determine the tournament winner. And with that, let’s get into the blocks.


 

Block A

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Kazuchika Okada
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • SANADA
  • Naomichi Marufuji
  • Hirooki Goto
  • Togi Makabe
  • Satoshi Kojima
  • Bad Luck Fale
  • Tama Tonga

 


On the surface, Block A seems to be the more impressive of the blocks with the starpower of guys like Tanahashi, Okada, and Marufuji. Ishii will put on great matches with everyone, as will Goto most likely. Tama Tonga and SANADA make their debuts in the tournament and will no doubt be looking to make memorable debuts. And Makabe and Kojima may be a little bit older but they can still have good matches. Oh yeah and Bad Luck Fale is also in this block.


In Block A, we’ll get a Tanahashi/Okada meeting, which has produced several 5-star matches in the past, as well as several faceoffs of Chaos members since Okada, Ishii and Goto are all in this block. G1 could also be make or break for SANADA, since it is so early in his NJPW career. If he’s impressive, he will prove he belongs in the company and will be a solid addition to Los Ingobernables de Japon going forward. But if he struggles, which I don’t think he will, but if he does, it could hurt the image of LIJ and really downplay his importance.


Hopefully Tonga will use his first G1 to make a big impact, since he’s always been an afterthought in Bullet Club. I’m also looking for some good matches from Marufuji. He’s a Pro Wrestling NOAH mainstay who’s won the GHC Junior title once and the Heavyweight title 3 times and it’ll be really interesting to see how he stacks up with the biggest names in New Japan.


Overall, with its starpower, Block A should produce some classic matches. I’m seeing a face like Tanahashi pick up the victory in Block A, though I could also see Goto or Ishii winning and facing a heel from Block B. Marufuji could also win this block to shake things up and give NOAH a little more credibility. But, I’m gonna play it safe and make Tanahashi my top pick to win this block. If Okada weren’t the champ, he’d also be a frontrunner to win, but since he’s the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, there’s no reason that he would win his block.


 

Block B

  • Tetsuya Naito
  • Kenny Omega
  • Katsuyori Shibata
  • Michael Elgin
  • EVIL
  • Katsuhiko Nakajima
  • Yuji Nagata
  • Tomoaki Honma
  • Toru Yano
  • YOSHI-HASHI


 

While Block A has the outright starpower, Block B has plenty of stars in its own right, as well as many guys looking to make the most of the spotlight that the G1 provides. There are many newcomers to the tournament in Block B, such as Katsuhiko Nakajima, YOSHI-HASHI, EVIL and Kenny Omega, while it’s only Honma’s third and Elgin’s second G1. Shibata and Nagata will also face off again after their NEVER battles and Yano returns to NJPW while he competes in NOAH.


Nagata brings the most experience to this block, but it’s also surprising that Hiroyoshi Tenzan wasn’t included in the G1. Sure, he’s well past his prime and on the downturn of his career, but he is still capable of putting on decent matches and had a good G1 last year. But it’s gotta be rough for the guy since he’s been in every G1 since like, 1995 (with the exception of a tournament in the 2000s because of injury), won numerous tournaments, and allegedly only found out he wouldn’t be in the G1 when they announced the entrants at a show earlier this week.


Block B should offer a lot of exciting match ups. Shibata will no doubt kill it in this G1 and to see him face Naito, Omega, and Elgin will be awesome. But as popular as Shibata is, I doubt he has a real shot of winning. Give it a year or two and he might have a real chance. He could get some big wins this year, since there are plenty of easy wins for the eventual winner.


To me, Omega and Naito are the frontrunners to win Block B. A WreslteKingdom 11 rematch between Okada and Naito would be a classic. Unfortunately, a gaijin winning the G1 is pretty unlikely, but I’m still holding out hope that Omega has a chance of winning. I’d be surprised if anyone but Naito wins, but Omega also has a shot and Elgin and Shibata are long shots as well.


Though Yano is mainly a comedy wrestler, he is capable in the ring and he’s had run-ins with Naito before so seeing them face off will be interesting. Usually Honma struggles in the G1, having only won 1 match in the 2 tournaments he’s appeared, and this could continue though I could see him getting two or three wins this year. But since YOSHI-HASHI is another G1 debut, I could see him being the new perennial G1 underdog. I’m also kinda surprised YOSHI isn’t in the same block as SANADA, given their issues lately, but they could just put that on hold for the G1. This may be Nagata’s 18th G1 but he can still go for a guy who is 48 and been wrestling consistently since debuting in 1992. He’s not gonna light the world on fire anymore but he’s still a capable opponent. EVIL has been putting on good matches since returning to NJPW so I think he’ll have a good showing as well. And finally, I’m not familiar with Nakajima at all so I can’t say what my expectations are for him, but I haven’t seen anyone upset with his inclusion.


Overall, I think Block B has the potential for just as many high quality matches as Block A, if not more. The potential for great sleeper matches is much higher with Block B and it’s got a great mix of styles and experience. Obviously Naito is my pick to win Block B, but also I see him winning the G1 Climax 26 and resuming his feud with Okada and hopefully regaining the title at WrestleKingdom 11.

WWE Legend Goldberg Interview w/ Ring Rust Radio

Posted on June 28, 2016 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Catch Ring Rust Radio's interview with Bill Goldberg:


Ring Rust Radio: You have a starring role in the movie Check Point, which is about terrorism right here in the United States. What made you want to be part of the project originally and what are some of the lessons that can be taken from the film to help protect America?

Goldberg: I think vigilance is the first thing you need to take from it. The reason I got involved with the project was the script. It really threw me for a loop. I read through it and it was really entertaining. To be able to portray an enlisted man and a decorated war veteran while trying to tell a story in modern day about a guy who ended up being a hero in our modern day. Obviously terrorism is at the top of the list and it’s happening abroad and quite frequently on American soil. Ironically, the day we wrapped Check Point was the day that the recruiting facility in Tennessee got attacked. At the end of the day, it is bringing it to the forefront, but in an entertaining way and being responsible with portraying the men and women who protect our country while entertaining with a story at the same time.


 

Ring Rust Radio: If you were able to create your own original series for WWE Network or an original movie with WWE Studios, would you be open to work with them and what type of show or movie would you like to produce? Also, are there any wrestlers that you think would make a good supporting cast?

Goldberg: There are a lot of wrestlers who would make a good supporting cast no matter what you do. The transition from what they do to what I am doing now truly isn’t that much different. Anything from fight scenes to character development or story lines is stuff they already do in wrestling. They work on all those things every day, and the longer you are in wrestling the better you are at your craft. I think it’s a natural segue way and you see a lot of wrestlers do it. It’s not something I aspired to do by any means, but it’s an option that’s out there and it’s entertaining. You asked me about the WWE Network and if I would ever do anything with them. They actually have a car show sitting right in front of them that they are a little bit interested in. You never know. I have no issues whatsoever working with the WWE as you see with my involvement with WWE 2K17.


 

Ring Rust Radio: When we spoke to Trish Stratus recently, she talked about how wrestling helped prepare her for the fight scenes in her movie. How did your experience wrestling help you in the field of acting and what are the biggest differences between acting and the wrestling industry?

Goldberg: The biggest difference between acting and wrestling is you have the ability to say “cut” and do it again when you are acting. That makes professional wrestlers very good at their craft. Whether it’s story telling or setting up a fight scene, it makes no difference because it’s what wrestlers do every day. Every day you step foot into the wrestling business, whether the building or the ring, it’s an internship or a segue way to Hollywood cause it’s truthfully the same thing. At the end of the day, the biggest difference is with a fight scene, you have more pressure on you working in your underwear in front of thousands of people compared to a closed set where a director can yell “cut” and let’s do it again. You can perfect your craft by doing it over and over again until you get the finished product. You don’t have that luxury in the wrestling business.


 

Ring Rust Radio: Your inclusion in WWE 2K17 came as a big surprise to a lot of fans since you’ve been away from WWE for so long. What was the process like in terms of coming to an agreement to be in the game? Who did you talk to and how did everything come together?

Goldberg: Well I don’t have to talk to anybody. I spoke to with 2K directly and they did all the interaction with the WWE. I don’t think this year is any different than the rest except for that they checked off on it. 2K wanted me either as a cover or a downloadable character for a number of years, and I think time may have healed a little bit of the wounds and I think that’s the only difference this year.


 

Ring Rust Radio: Fans were extremely excited when you were announced for WWE 2K17. We've seen legends in the past go on to be inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame after being included in the new video game. Has there been any discussion or thought about you being inducted into the 2017 Class?

Goldberg: I can’t divulge what goes on in those guys’ brains. I have had no conversation or anything. In all honesty, this is a relationship between 2K and myself for the video game. I inspire to do nothing else besides this being a deal between the two of us. I don’t think it opens the door to anything, but stranger things have happened. I did this to put a smile on my 10-year-old’s face and that’s it.


 

Ring Rust Radio: Brock Lesnar’s been making headlines lately because he’s going to fight at UFC 200 while still under contract with WWE. How do you anticipate Brock faring in that fight and what advice would you give to him as he tries to balance two very demanding and successful careers?

Goldberg: First and foremost, I have to go on record as taking my hat off to Brock and his business sense. What he has done pretty much mirrors what mine would have been had MMA been an option at that time. Unfortunately, the pay at the time wasn’t what it is now so that wasn’t an option back then. You have to take your hat off to him. The way he has balanced it all is brilliant. I don’t think it’s too much for him because he can continue to train like a fighter and keep his body in shape to fight MMA, then transition based on muscle memory and do anything he is asked for in the wrestling ring. How he is going to fair against Mark Hunt; I don’t know. Any time two people step into the Octagon, it's anyone’s game, just ask Connor McGregor or Jose Aldo. A lot of people walk in there with an attitude and they get knocked down on their ass in a matter of seconds. You normally go with the veteran in a fight, and Mark Hunt has had some stand up wars in the K1, Pride; this dude is a monster. He carries some thunderous shots in both hands. Since his transition from kickboxing to MMA, he has worked on his takedown defense. How he works off his back, it’s not his most favorable place and that’s obviously where Brock wants to take it. If the fight stays on their feet, Hunt has a granite chin. I don’t know how much chance Brock has on his feet, but if he takes it to the ground, he has a huge advantage. I don’t care how big you are, Brock can hold you down and hammer fist through your skull. It’s going to be a very entertaining fight. Hats off to those who booked it. They are both friends of mine, but I just want an entertaining fight and may the best man win.

 

Lucha Underground's Matt Striker Interview

Posted on June 21, 2016 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The boys of Ring Rust Radio sat down with Lucha Underground announcer Matt Striker. Here are a few of the most pertinent questions and answers:


 

Ring Rust Radio: You have been the voice of Lucha Underground since Day 1. What has it been like watching the growth of the promotion firsthand and how does it feel knowing your part of such a unique product?

Matt Striker: For me, the separation of what it was and what it is comes down to it’s a television show about a wrestling program. I had an opportunity to reprise a character that was known for being in a different type of genre. Seeing what it was, I had no idea what it was going to become.


Ring Rust Radio: You’ve been present for every big moment Lucha Underground has had to offer so far and there’s been countless mark-out moments for fans, but from your perspective at the announce table, what really stands out as something that shocked you or is particularly memorable to this point?

Matt Striker: The first thing I learned from others is the less I know about what’s coming up the better so the reaction is more genuine. I found I had a lot of genuine reactions in the scenes with Vampiro and Pentagon in the ring as well as the scenes Phoenix did early on in the beginning of the show.


Ring Rust Radio: From the outside looking in, it seems like everybody is having a lot of fun at Lucha Underground. How does the atmosphere amongst the wrestlers and staff at Lucha Underground compare to that of WWE and other companies you've been at?

Matt Striker: Entirely different from one another. My time with WWE, while I was there, it’s at the front of your mind that it’s wrestling show. This is similar to movie sets and TV shows I have worked on outside of wrestling. There’s a big difference in that, and everything else trickles down from there. The mentality is completely different. Not that one is right or wrong, and I am wrestling with this realization, no pun intended, that this is a TV show about a wrestling promotion. It could be a show about a diner, but it so happens to be about a wrestling promotion and in there lies the crossover.

 


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