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Q&A: Former ROH Champion Rush on His Knee Injury and What’s Next Once He’s Healthy

“El Toro Blanco” will be out of action for 8–12 months after knee surgery, which means he’ll be a free agent when he’s ready to return to the ring.

Rush is no longer Ring of Honor champion, but he has a world of opportunity in front of him.

His 498-day title reign ended in July when he dropped the belt to Bandido at ROH’s Best in the World pay-per-view. Wrestling on an injured left knee, Rush was in desperate need of time away from the ring. He confirmed to Sports Illustrated that he had knee surgery, and his recovery will require him to miss the remainder of 2021. That means he will be a free agent by the time he is healthy in 2022, opening the possibility of returning to ROH or signing with a new company.

Rush (32-year-old William Arturo Muñoz González) is part of the Muñoz wrestling family, which includes his brothers, Dragon Lee and Dralístico, and his father, La Bestia del Ring. He is a two-time Ring of Honor champion, as well as the leader of La Facción Igobernable. Bringing a distinct charisma and in-ring skill set, he will be an asset wherever he lands in 2022.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated through a translator, Rush discussed his current health, possibilities for the future and what to expect from his brothers Dragon Lee and Dralistico.

Sports Illustrated: Was why this the right time to have knee surgery?

Rush: Injuries are a risk for all of us every time we get into a ring. It was the most difficult decision of my career when I heard the doctor tell me that if I didn’t have surgery in a few years, there is a possibility I would make my situation worse and worse over time. So even though I did not want surgery, it is best for me. It is eight months out [of action], which pains me, but my knee will be 100%. That’s why I opted for surgery.

SI: How much did wrestling with an injured knee affect your performance in the ring?

Rush: I wasn’t even at 60% percent, but no matter what, I was going to defend my ROH championship. I needed to be brave and strong as champion. There was a price to pay for not giving the time or patience that my knee needed. I ended up making it worse, but I never stopped until I dropped the belt.

SI: You will likely be out 8–12 months, which means you will be a free agent when you’re ready to return. Will you stay with ROH, or go somewhere new, like AEW?

Rush: My contract expires in January. So far, we have not talked about a contract renewal. I am very grateful to ROH. I am also a man of challenges and goals, and I’m open to listening to everyone.

SI: Andrade had a great match this summer against Kenny Omega at Triplemanía. When you are healthy, will you wrestle Omega for the mega championship?

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Rush: I’m sure Andrade will take that title. If Omega somehow continues as champion, he shouldn’t doubt what I will do to him. He needs to remember I am the first Mexican to make history in ROH by becoming a two-time champion, and I became the face of the company. If I wrestle Omega, I will make history again.

SI: Your brother Dragon Lee is one half of the ROH tag team champions. Would you ever consider teaming with him for the AAA tag titles? A match against Penta and Fénix would be excellent.

Rush: I like those championships for my brothers Dragon Lee and Dralistico. They could face Penta and Fénix anywhere in the world and my brothers would be the new champions. The key for us is that we bring my father’s best trainings, and among those are discipline, attitude and perseverance. Our father has taught us to be the men we are today, which makes us who we are in the ring.

SI: Right now, do you believe Dragon Lee is the best wrestler in the world? Is he ready for the responsibility as ROH world champion? A match against Bandido would be special.

Rush: Bandido cannot come close to comparing to Dragon Lee. When they wrestle, Dragon Lee will become the new champion in Ring of Honor. And he will always have LFI, the most dominant faction in wrestling, behind him.

SI: Your brother Dralístico also has the potential to be a major star in America. What can fans expect to see from him in the ring?

Rush: Dralístico will be a great star in America and around the world. For him, this is the time to demonstrate why he was selected to wear a mask and a very important name [as the second Místico], and why he was so important for 10 years of an international company [CMLL] that was our home for many years. You will see a unique and different style, and he leaves his soul in every ring he wrestles. The world is going to be shocked when they see the talent of Dralístico.

SI: What will you miss most about wrestling while you are gone? And what excites you most about your return?

Rush: I will miss a lot, but this time off is necessary for me. I am taking advantage of it to study more English, rehabilitate my knee and return stronger, both physically and mentally. When I step back in the ring, I will be more prepared than ever. I will miss the ring, and above all, the fans, but I promise to return stronger than ever.

After a bull gets locked up for a long time, it destroys everything that gets in its path when it is finally let loose. El Toro Blanco will be back, and when I am, the wrestling world will see that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.