SN Q&A: Konnan on MLW, wrestling’s subsequent mainstream star and a 2019 farewell tour | WWE


Charles Ashenoff, higher recognized by his ring identify Konnan, had one of the embellished careers in skilled wrestling historical past. He began in Mexico and have become one of many largest stars within the historical past of the nation whereas competing for its two premier promotion corporations, AAA and CMLL.

Throughout his profession, Konnan received the CMLL and AAA heavyweight championships earlier than making a full-time transfer to wrestle in america in 1996 when he signed with WCW. In his time with the Ted Turner-owned firm, Konnan was a two-time World Tag-Staff champion, World TV champion and a United States champion. When the corporate folded in 2001, Konnan went again to AAA and likewise wrestled for TNA (now Affect Wrestling).

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Lately, the 54-year-old is working as a producer with Main League Wrestling together with a behind-the-scenes place with AAA and an on-air position on Affect.

Sporting Information lately caught up with the Mexican legend. Right here, we talk about his position with MLW and the corporate must do to interrupt via within the U.S., who’s the subsequent “Stone Chilly” Steve Austin and a farewell tour in 2019.

(Editor’s be aware: This interview has been edited for size and readability.)

SPORTING NEWS: You lately joined the backstage staff as a producer at MLW. What do you make of your time there to date?

KONNAN: I’ve solely been there a number of months, however to date, so good. To compete with the opposite corporations which can be on TV, you must do one thing completely different. It’s laborious to do one thing completely different when a whole lot of the identical issues have already been finished. How do you make it completely different? It’s like, how do you make a horror film completely different? We simply should be extra resourceful in the way in which we current the product. Now we have been round for a couple of yr or so. It’s nonetheless a child in making an attempt to get our identify on the market and making our stars. We’re nonetheless at first phases. As you’ll be able to attest, the product has been good. The suggestions from the followers has been good, so I believe we’re on the proper street.

SN: What do you are feeling MLW must do to separate itself from everyone else?

KONNAN: It’s fairly laborious to separate your self from everyone else except you will be one thing actually completely different. I believe for us its going to should be via the storylines, expertise folks need to see. It’s laborious on this day of age discover new expertise that nobody already has. Everyone is type of cannibalizing one another. If somebody will get sizzling, everyone begins utilizing them. If any individual is sizzling at Affect then they go someplace as a result of everyone desires to make use of them. You simply obtained to have the ability to use these performers to the very best of their capability and provides them good storylines which can be going to attach with the viewers in order that they got here again and watch your product. That’s principally all you are able to do. What can we try this’s completely different? You simply don’t be desirous to do stuff for controversy simply to get click on bait an be one thing that’s very superficial. I believe any wrestling fan desires to see good matches with good storylines and I believe that’s MLW is doing.

SN: Wrestling is not the way it as soon as was. The commonsense storylines had been what resonated with the followers. Why do you assume the game is not produced that means anymore quite than the over-the-top sensationalism we see from a whole lot of corporations now?

KONNAN: If individuals are keen to pay to see “The Quick and the Livid,” why would do you want an actual good plot when individuals are paying to see CGI? Persons are paying to see Marvel Comedian motion pictures, so why did not they return to primary s— when you will get away with laptop generated stuff. I really like to observe horror stuff. Why? As a result of their finances may be very small. Which implies once I watch a movie from Romania, Cuba or El Salvador, I do know their finances does not have some huge cash. So you bought to have good appearing, good directing, good cinematography. You all the time see actually good digicam photographs as a result of they don’t seem to be utilizing CGI and also you see some actually good appearing scenes as a result of they don’t have a lot cash to be getting all these actors.

After I was youthful, you will get away with utilizing a relaxation maintain and the gang would pop for it. Folks knew it was aside of the match. Now you’ll be able to’t do a relaxation maintain as a result of most individuals need to see motion. All the pieces can’t be the way it was earlier than as a result of every part evolves. The younger cats right now whether or not its in social media, in wrestling or within the arts and leisure discipline, they’re those who’re the architects. They’re those who’re establishing the principles, the parameters and the paradigms of what you’re watching, not the outdated guys. Should you attempt to inform the brand new guys learn how to do issues, they have a look at you want, Hey man, that was your time and you probably did that means. We’re doing it our means.

That’s simply what they do. I’m not a fan of right now’s hip-hop, however whose to inform Drake and Lil Wayne what they’re doing isn’t profitable after they making as a lot cash than a whole lot of artists of their historical past.

SN: Whenever you have a look at right now’s wrestling, is there anybody who stands out to you as the subsequent Steve Austin, The Rock or Hulk Hogan to lure within the informal fan and put extra eyes on the product?

KONNAN: There’s simply so many elements that decide if somebody could make it that far — just like the politics which can be concerned, the work ethic of the individual. There are issues which can be out of your management that make it laborious. I don’t see anyone proper now. Any person will come alongside. They all the time do.

The issue with the unbiased market is WWE has a lot cash and clout now that when one thing does recover from such as you noticed at All In with The Younger Bucks and now WWE is making them gives. There has to turn out to be a degree the place they’re like, “OK, we love our inventive liberties. We love that we will make some huge cash and be at dwelling. However, I’m fairly positive there’s a degree of their careers the place they’ll become older and they’re simply going to need to take it simple and make some cash. You’ve obtained to be cautious at any time when WWE sees one thing, they’re going to make a considerable provide.”

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SN: Let’s flip again to you and what’s going on along with your profession. You’re behind the scenes in AAA, behind the scenes in MLW and been doing a little stuff with Affect. How do you view this stage of your wrestling profession?

KONNAN: It’s nice as a result of I’m nonetheless within the recreation and I don’t should take bumps. I’m really getting in form to do a retirement tour, however that does not imply I’m going to be taking a whole lot of bumps. I simply need to do a last farewell tour. Proper now, I get to work with the younger era and get to provide data that’s for use and to not be abused and to be shared. After I broke into the wrestling enterprise, it was very laborious particularly in Mexico. For anyone to provide you any recommendation, I needed to take guys out and get them drunk and get recommendation on learn how to do issues proper as a result of everyone wished me to fall flat on my face.

After I went to WCW, there have been few guys keen to provide me any recommendation on learn how to wrestle the American fashion. Scott Corridor was considered one of them, Kevin Nash was one other and so was Sean Waltman. I’m on the market to provide the blokes as a lot data as I can. It’s a really completely different era that I grew up in. This era feels entitled and that they need to have every part. That is not everyone, however a whole lot of them simply don’t need to put the work in. They don’t need to wait or don’t perceive there’s a course of.

It takes some time to study the enterprise. That is an artwork. This can be a craft. Simply because you are able to do some excessive spots and folks say, “That is superior,” doesn’t imply you’re a star or that you’ve got arrived.

SN: WWE has been sizzling on the heels of a number of the finest expertise on the unbiased scene. Should you’RE Cody, The Younger Bucks, Pentagon and Fenix, what would you inform them?

KONNAN: Take pleasure in this journey when you can proper now as a result of when you go over there, a whole lot of your inventive freedom is stifled. I believe everyone now is aware of a number of the pitfalls of WWE. They don’t use you accurately. That must be on their thoughts of, “What if I am going in there and one thing occurs to me like Neville, who had a whole lot of potential and a whole lot of expertise an they did not use him accurately. There’s lots of people we will identify that weren’t used accurately. They’ve marvel what’s going to occur if I am going over there. Yea, I’m going to make some huge cash however you’ll be able to’t put a premium on happiness. You additionally need to be completely satisfied. It’s a tough determination to make.

SN: Earlier, you talked a couple of retirement tour. Why make a last return in 2019? What was the thought course of behind that?

KONNAN: I had gotten harm in a wrestling match so I went in to get my hip changed. After I had the surgical procedure, I had kidney injury so unhealthy that I needed to get a kidney transplant. Rapidly, I retired. It was nothing official and nothing I wished to do. Then I needed to get one other hip implant. I used to be simply pondering to myself that I may get into ok form so I can say goodbye to this sport that’s given me every part that I really like a lot and do a farewell tour in locations that I can draw a crowd like Mexico, america, Puerto Rico and presumably Europe.

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