In an in-depth interview with Gary Mehaffy of The Wrestling Observer, former WWE personality Armando ‘Alejandro’ Estrada talked about coming up in OVW, interrupting Ric Flair’s promo following WrestleMania 22, being paired with Umaga and being essentially replaced by Vince McMahon during the build to the famous WrestleMania 23 match between Umaga and Bobby Lashley where Vince and Donald Trump put their heads of hair on the line as the stipulation for the encounter. Below are excerpts from the interview, please subscribe to The Wrestling Observer to see the entire article:
Armando Estrada on what led him to OVW: “It stems back to being a lifelong fan. When you love something so much and you’re passionate about something, at some point – and I don’t remember what age it was – but I just decided that being a fan was not enough for me. I wanted to be more than just a fan. I thought I had the size, I thought I had the skills and I wanted to be trained and see if I could make a career out of this. I decided to go to wrestling school, and I looked at a few, and Ohio Valley Wrestling was the best school that I found at the time – and I still think it is one of the best schools in the world to pursue a career as a wrestler.”
Armando Estrada on interrupting Ric Flair’s promo on Monday Night Raw following WrestleMania 22: “It was a rush for a couple of reasons. Number one, it was working with Ric Flair in the beginning, and the other reason was it was in my home town. So, you asked me about was I fan – I was a fan sitting in that arena possibly 12 or 15 times before I was there as a performer, that’s the All State Arena in Chicago. It was Monday Night Raw, I had never been on (WWE) TV, I had never done live television and it was live, it was RIc Flair and it was Chicago.”
Armando Estrada on first being paired with Umaga: “I don’t know whose idea it was to put us together. it could have been a number of people in the upper brass, but I didn’t know him until we worked together. I had never met him until a few days before we debuted. There were a number of people that I was working with at the time, like Paul Heyman, who was writing Ohio Valley Wrestling. Paul has a long relationship with the Samoans. Michael Hayes also…..so, there were a number of people who decided that we want a large, killer heel character, but we need somebody to talk for him.”
Armando Estrada on Vince McMahon replacing him as Umaga’s mouthpiece for the build to WrestleMania 23: “Well, I was at ringside for the beginning of the match. I was taken out by Bobby immediately, but maybe you’re referring to me being phased away during that feud and basically Vince took over from me as the mouthpiece or manager of Umaga. You can’t argue with the owner when he decides what he wants to do. It kind of puts you in a tough spot. It was a little disappointing because I believe that I did a great job and, with all due respect to Umaga, if he wasn’t paired with me I don’t think he’s in the main event of WM23. It is what it is.”
For the full interview, check out Gary Mehaffy’s piece by subscribing to The Wrestling Observer.