Alberto Del Rio had a rough breakup with WWE, but he’s thrilled to be with Impact Wrestling now.
Alberto Del Rio is now known as Alberto El Patron, and he is the Global Force Wrestling champion in Impact Wrestling. Del Rio has wrestled all over the world, but first rose to notoriety in his homeland of Mexico. He also enjoyed two different runs as a WWE main eventer, and his highlights included winning the WWE championship and world heavyweight championship each on two separate occasions. Del Rio left WWE on poor terms, and he is now working for Impact Wrestling. Del Rio and his fiancée, Paige, are planning their wedding for this summer.
SI.com: You made an immediate impact upon your arrival to Impact Wrestling with a series of matches with Bobby Lashley. You are now the new Global Force world champion. Are you happy with your decision to sign with Impact?
Del Rio: I am so happy to work with Impact Wrestling. I have nothing but respect for them. Unlike another company, who I don’t watch, I don’t follow, and I don’t even look at their tweets. I have some real beef with some of the people in that company.
It’s rare to find someone with Bobby’s size and athleticism. He’s a fantastic performer and he is such a huge guy. He has a great psychology in the ring, the chemistry was there the moment the bell ring rang, and it was a great experience working with him. I am very happy to work with Impact and talent like Bobby.
SI.com: What was your deciding factor in signing with Impact?
Del Rio: I am excited to be with Impact Wrestling because I get to work with talents like EC3 again. I had the opportunity to be with him in FCW when we were in developmental in that other company. We worked together once when they were trying to make him a part of the main roster in WWE, then he went to Impact Wrestling and made a name for himself. He’s a good guy with a lot of talent, and he’s fantastic on the microphone. The entire office went crazy for our promos, and then it was easy in the ring. I’m happy to see the young talent is taking the torch to continue doing good stuff in the business.
I will stay in Impact as long as the fans want me there. They were so happy to have me there and treated me with a lot of respect. The office, talent, and staff are treated with respect by everyone, regardless of your position in the business.
SI.com: You have wrestled across the world. Is it healthy for the professional wrestling business to have one company in WWE so much stronger than the others?
Del Rio: It’s horrible for the business, but you cannot blame that company. That company is doing what a company is supposed to do—monopolize, get the best talent from everywhere, and try to destroy the competition. They’re smart, you cannot blame them. The problem is with the talent. Just going there to be there with the promise of being on TV, but not even charging good money for your work, is not good business. We as wrestlers need to remember that this is a business. We started because we love the business and we stay in it because we have a lot of passion for it, but you have to be rewarded for your work. I was there and saw some of the main guys, new top heels and new top babyfaces, get paid nothing for their matches. The new talent joining NXT is taking pay cuts to work there, sometimes even 80 percent less. You need to be rewarded for your work in a business.
SI.com: Professional wrestling companies are always searching for a new wave of superstars to carry the business into the next generation. You had a very entertaining program in WWE with Kalisto. Despite his talent, he has not found genuine chemistry with a partner in WWE quite like he had when working with you. What made working with Kalisto so appealing to you, and how critical is it as a veteran to look out for the younger talent?
Del Rio: Kalisto is very talented, and I just wanted to pass the torch. That’s what Eddie Guerrero did for Rey Mysterio, and Rey did that for me.
I’m here because Rey helped me since day number one. I’ll always be grateful to Rey, not only because of what he did for me in the ring but it’s also what he did-and keeps doing-outside the ring. We’re great friends. Now that we’re out of that company, we even help each other to get more bookings. So when I have the opportunity to repay what other wrestlers did for me, I always will.
SI.com: You have accomplished nearly every major goal in professional wrestling. What are your ambitions moving forward? And how active are you in business dealings outside of wrestling?
Del Rio: I’m planning on retiring in two years. I’m still good to go and I don’t have any major injuries, but I always promised myself I would leave on top. I started wrestling when I was eight years old with the amateur wrestling team in Mexico. I love the business with all my heart, but my body is getting tired. It’s all the travel. I’m going to do my last two years with Impact Wrestling.
I’ll continue to do some indie shows here and there, and I have a lot of projects outside the business. I am going to continue running Combate Americas, the MMA company that I work for, and I am going to start a soap opera in Mexico in two months. We also have a reality show produced by Combate Americas that was sold to Amazon. People should be able to see that in three more months.
I opened a restaurant and bar in San Antonio in November. We are the place to go on Fridays and Saturdays. God is blessing me. I’m getting married pretty soon. We changed the date twice, but we’re getting married in the last week of July, so I am keeping very busy outside the business.