If you are a casual pro wrestling fan who watches it on TV you might not know about your local pro wrestling promotion that’s in your area. In Michigan there are many promotions in the state in places like Flint, Detroit, and Kalamazoo. In Lansing, a new promotion has risen from the ashes from an old existence to bring fans in the Lansing area bigger and better shows then it did in the past. I had a chance to talk with Rigo Flores, who is the Founder/Co-Owner/Events Coordinator of American Lucha Libre. Here is what Rigo had to say.
What are your first memories of pro wrestling?
My first memories of PROFESSIONAL wrestling, not sure what “pro wrestling” is, are my first memories period. Yokozuna crushing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan on Superstars is the first memory that comes to mind. I remember my older brother and I mimicking that match of course with myself playing the part of Mr. Duggan with short-term memory loss, coming to staring up at the lights and everything. I’m always about authenticity.
Who were some of your favorite wrestlers growing up?
Bret “The Hitman” Hart is my favorite of all time. I had no idea he was that popular growing up. I always thought of him as the underdog with an original swag. Of course I wanted to be just like Bret Hart and still do. Whether it’s in wrestling or in business outside of wrestling I carry that spirit that Bret Hart instilled in me and face every obstacle with the courage he did as he would walk down the aisle in a no-win situation, yet with the most confidence you could only imagine.
Of course in the teenage years it was Randy Orton. Orton is the cocky/cool heel. Youngest World Champion. Everything he did was smooth! People love to hate Orton and even nowadays he’s so good that people still hate him. I’m trying to reach that level of disrespect.
You are also a die-hard MMA fan, who are some of your favorite MMA Fighters?
Going with Rashad Evans because he attended Michigan State University. Jon “Bones” Jones is the MMA version of Randy Orton so him. Roy Nelson because he’s not built like your typical MMA fighter and still shuts people up. There’s ONLY ONE Conor McGregor and if you don’t know, we are in fact at this very moment walking along singing his song, walking in a Conor wonderland! Derrick Lewis is definitely one to watch. Chael Sonnen, man do we need more people like Chael Sonnen. I’ll also keep a close eye on Greg Hardy.
What made you decide to get into the business side of pro wrestling?
I always knew I’d be in the wrestling business. In middle school, I’d wrestle friends. We weren’t typical “yard trash”. These weren’t performances for our friends or putting your opponent through a flaming table. From over the couch battle royals to singles matches it went down in east Texas. We actually wrestled each other until you could get a legitimate pin or someone tapped out. Around my junior year I stepped back and began organization matches. Brandon Skinner was the most fighting champion I had. “Platinum Po” was his name. His finishing move was an illegal choke similar to the “Tazzmission”. Man he was putting dudes down left and right. Most of these matches just included the 2 guys wrestling and myself as the Referee.
In college, my original major was Film Editing but one quick search of Vince McMahon encouraged me to change my major to match his. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Business Administration (although I did not minor in Marketing like Mr. McMahon).
Around 2006, I decided I’d go to wrestling school to train to become a pro wrestler. I never dreamed of becoming an actual performer. I always saw myself being on staff in a backstage capacity but still on the road with the WWE. I’m in the business now because that has always been the plan since I was a kid.
When and where did you run your first show?
May 2012 in Mason, Michigan
What was it like running International Ring of Grapplers (IROG)?
It was a job. I loved it and at times hated it. It turned out to be a tedious job.
Why did IROG shut down?
I’m truly appalled at how candid you are about the situation. Since your fans must know. Since my fans need to know, IROG shut down because #1 I hated the name. #2 the job was not fun anymore. I love professional wrestling but hated the direction I was taking the company. I needed to step back and reassess things. My intention was to never let it go for good. Instead I wanted to step back and come back stronger.
What things did you learn from running IROG?
Don’t take things so seriously in regards to booking before selling the show. To be frank sponsors don’t care who’s booked. If it’s not The Rock or “Stone Cold” a person giving you money doesn’t give a crap which indie darling you have coming in. If you want to sell the show you need to sell yourself because that’s what they’re buying.
Don’t do everything yourself. It’s okay to have a team as long as they’re competent and you trust them. Run your promotion the way you want. You’re always going to be wrong in someone’s eyes. #@% fear, drink beer and don’t be scared to run things your way. Money talks BS walks. If you’re in this business on the promoting side, always strive to make money or get out.
What made you decide to re-launch and re-brand into American Lucha
Libre/Capital Pro Wrestling?
Because I’m the best around. Nothing is ever going to keep me down. I left Michigan and went to Indiana. I left Michigan again and moved to Texas. In both of those places I left a lasting impact within the industries I was in, that being sales and distribution. I realized if I took that same persistence/drive and applied to an industry that I actually love being apart of then I could leave my lasting impact here too. When I was here before I just wanted to show how much I loved wrestling. Love kills. Love is dead. I’m here to win!
How will ALL/CPW be different from IROG?
Same original team. Different mindset. We will be filming for television, will be PROFESSIONALS and will not put out crap wrestling. If it begins to feel like crap then I’ll hit the reset button my damn self. I’ll keep hitting the reset button until we get it right.
What is the relationship between ALL and CPW?
Is it not obvious Hollywood? American Lucha Libre (ALL) is the governing body to Capital Pro Wrestling (CPW). More details to come Joey.
Who will be on the first ALL show?
Impact Superstars, Cody Deaner and “Mad Dragon” Hakim Zane. You’re going to see rising star and someone I’ve been backing for years now Atlas Hytower. “All Day” Danny Shay coming out of retirement and “The Star of Destiny” Georg Mack!
What can fans expect from an ALL show?
An experience. It’s not just watching professional wrestling, you’re going to experience live and in your face!
What talents do you ever your eye on for ALL that aren’t on the first show?
If Atlas Hytower is on it then this is THE show to watch, this is THE show to be on. Who has their eye on us? Can you answer that Hollywood? Okay I’ll play your game. Kongo Kong. He’s definitely somebody I’ve looking to work with.
Any legends or past stars on National TV you’d like to bring in?
Jack Swagger would be a nice addition. Honestly, he’s the only one that comes to mind. I know who we’ll never work with, The Young Bucks.
What are you long-term goals for ALL?
No one has touched the professional wrestling throne in Lansing, Michigan since The Sheik. No one has been worthy to even be associated with professional wrestling as far as promoting in this city. My long-term goal is to be so good when people think “professional wrestling” and “Lansing, Michigan” in the same sentence, in their brains it will equate to “The Rigo Flores”. Goal #2, to sell out every venue. If we have a 200 seat capacity then I want to sell it out to the point where people are wishing and wanting the opportunity to FINALLY attend just 1 event.
Any finals thoughts?
Hollywood this has not been a pleasant experience. You ask me these questions, bringing up old scars in what seems like an attempt to see me vulnerable or even “expose” me. I agreed to this interview to try and promote the show and you’re here with your hard-hitting questions. Your journalism and ability to engage people may be top notch but your “direct approach” is off putting at times. I thought we were friends but it seems that you’re just trying to get to the bottom of another story.
For more info on ALL go to https://www.facebook.com/AmericanLuchaLibre/