Prior to WWE Monday Night RAW in Phoenix, Alberto Del Rio sat down with our VP of digital and resident wrestling expert Jeramie McPeek for an exclusive interview. The world heavyweight champion discussed his success in WWE, his dream opponent, as well as his career following in the footsteps of his father, the masked luchador Dos Caras.
USAirwaysCenter.com: How would you describe WWE Monday Night RAW to someone who has never been to a live event?
Alberto Del Rio: It’s a fantastic show. We’re going to have everything for all of the followers of WWE. We have the beautiful divas, we have the incredible athletes, giants, little people, pyro, music... You have to come and live it live, because it’s an amazing experience.
USAirwaysCenter.com: In the last few years, Phoenix has hosted WrestleMania, Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble, not to mention RAW and Smackdown. What makes Phoenix such a good WWE city?
Del Rio: It’s just the fan base for WWE. They support us everywhere we go. But Phoenix is a great place for us. We always do amazing business when we come here, and we’re going to keep coming back.
USAirwaysCenter.com: You’ve changed since you were last here in January, when you defeated The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match at the Rumble. You fired your personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, and you seem to have turned your back on the fans.
Del Rio: I’m still the World Champion, but I’m in a place where I feel more comfortable. I love being the bad guy of the movie. I’m having a lot of fun. I once said that I never wanted to be a good guy or the “baby face,” as we call it in the wrestling business. But you know, it is what it is, and I’ll be whatever they want me to be. At the end of the day, we work for the WWE fans.
USAirwaysCenter.com: You’re probably still going to get some cheers, as there are a lot of Hispanic fans here in Arizona.
Del Rio: Well, it’s always like that when we’re in California or Arizona. We were doing live events in Texas the last two days and it was amazing, they were cheering me and everything. We work for them, so they can do whatever they want. At the end of the day, this show is for the WWE fans.
USAirwaysCenter.com: We’re not too far from Mexico. Does your father, Dos Caras, or any of your family members ever come up to see you in person?
Del Rio: Yeah, sometimes they do, but I have to go to Mexico on Wednesday. I’m going to be there promoting our upcoming tour. I’m going to be happy to return to Mexico. The last time I was there was, I don’t know, maybe two years ago? I don’t get to go there very often, unless it’s for work. So it’s going to be good to be there.
USAirwaysCenter.com: How proud is he of you?
Del Rio: Oh, very proud. I have done everything in this business. Ever since I came to WWE, I have been winning everything, titles, tournaments. So for my dad, being a former pro wrestler, it’s just fantastic that his son is doing such amazing things in this company.
USAirwaysCenter.com: How did growing up in a wrestling family help you get to where you are now?
Del Rio: For me, it’s great that I grew up in this business and grew up in a wrestling family. That gave me more chances to become a pro wrestler and be part of all the important companies around the world. That was my dream when I was a little kid. When my friends wanted to be astronauts or fire fighters, I was always saying that I was going to be a wrestler, and I’m here in the best company in the world.
USAirwaysCenter.com: What are your earliest memories of watching WWE in Mexico and who were your favorite wrestlers?
Del Rio: We had WWE on cable TV when I was younger, so of course I was watching all of those amazing superstars, The Rock, Bret the “Hitman” Hart… but there was always something about the Undertaker, and his entrance, his music, the way he moves and handles himself. He is an amazing performer.
USAirwaysCenter.com: What’s your all-time favorite Undertaker match?
Del Rio: There are so many amazing matches, but just to mention one, which was actually here in Phoenix, Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker (WrestleMania XXVI, 2010). That was fantastic! I was there, because the company had just hired me. I wasn’t wrestling that night, but they wanted me to see how the WWE works and how big it is. So they flew me from Mexico to Phoenix to watch WrestleMania. It was amazing. I remember the former head of talent relations saying, “Alberto, that’s the place where you want to be,” and I said, “Well, I’m going to be there next year.” He was like, “Okay boy, you’re good, but that’s too much to say.” But I did it. The next year, I was facing Edge for the World Heavyweight title in Atlanta.
USAirwaysCenter.com: It was three years ago this month that you debuted in WWE, yet you’ve already won the Royal Rumble, a Money in the Bank match, the WWE title and now the World Championship on a couple of occasions. Are you at all surprised at how much success you’ve had already?
Del Rio: No, not really. That’s the reason I left everything behind. I left my friends, family, my house in Mexico, everything. I moved to Tampa to a little apartment in not such a good area. Back in Mexico, I had a penthouse and cars, and everything, but I moved to Tampa chasing that dream. So again, I came here to do this and I’m doing it.
USAirwaysCenter.com: What’s next for you?
Del Rio: I’m going to try to keep the title with me as long as I can. I would love to get to the next WrestleMania as champion, because this year at WrestleMania was fantastic, being the champion and defending my title in New York, New Jersey. It was a great experience and I want to do it again.
USAirwaysCenter.com: My 12-year-old son wanted me to ask you how you’re going to get revenge on Ricardo Rodriguez and his new partner, Rob Van Dam.
Del Rio: Well, you know, I don’t have to do anything to Ricardo. He’s crying already because he’s not with me. He’s not making money off of me anymore. He was doing everything because he was next to me, tours, appearances, interviews, and now he’s not doing anything. So RVD can have Ricardo, he’s going to make him lose like he was doing to me. He was always trying to help me, but in the end, he was always affecting me. So the same thing is going to happen to RVD. Good luck RVD.
USAirwaysCenter.com: What does it mean to hold that World Championship belt that so many other legends of wrestling have held?
Del Rio: Oh, it’s fantastic! Everybody talks about the WWE title, but for me the most important title is the World Heavyweight Championship. I’m not saying this because it’s the one I have. I’m saying this because of the tradition and history behind that title. Plus, that’s the first title that I tried to get when I came to the United States. I couldn’t do it that night. That night was the biggest night of my life and my biggest failure, because I couldn’t accomplish my mission. But you know, in this business and in life, you always give you other opportunities. Now I’m the champion.
USAirwaysCenter.com: If you could go back in time and have a match for the title against any former World Champion, who would it be?
Del Rio: Undertaker brother. That’s like the dream match for me. I don’t know for how long we will have Undertaker, but hopefully one day I have the opportunity to work with him. I worked with him in a tag match three years ago in Mexico. It was Kane and Alberto Del Rio against Rey Mysterio and Undertaker, so that was fantastic. It was an amazing experience, because it was in front of my people and it was against two of my idols.
USAirwaysCenter.com: How about Alberto Del Rio and the World Championship vs. the Undertaker and the Streak at WrestleMania 30?
Del Rio: You never know, man.