Here is a transcript from the recent interview Alberto Del Rio did with the Mexican morning news show Primero Noticias of Televisa. He talks about what Triple H said when he let him go, what spawned the incident and more:
What happened? Tell me. What happened? Why did you leave the USA? It seemed like you were a top player.
Yes, I continued being one of the top guys in USA. But there was an incident in which there was an altercation with a WWE employee. I won’t give all the details just yet. I’m still assessing which is the best way, legally, so that nothing that I say can be used against me. You know that US laws are completely different than the ones in Mexico. It was an incident in which I was offended. I was completely the victim. I have not spoken or said anything due to the same situation. They went ahead and said that I had unprofessional conduct. It’s true. Yes, I slapped this WWE employee because, I always say, that you can take my job, but no one will take my dignity, or my pride. And I won’t let anyone offend or humiliate my homeland, which is Mexico. I don’t forget my roots. Like I said, I am defending myself. This problem led to the end of my contract with them in one of the moments where I was at the top of the tier, just like I have always been throughout my 6 years with them.
You were a victim of racism?
Yes, yes. These were comments that this guy made. And I reacted in an inappropriate manner. I will never say that someone should conduct themselves the way I did. I slapped him, and I feel completely embarrassed of my attitude and my reaction. But in that moment, after his comment, I demanded an apology. I didn’t just stand there and slap him outright.
What exactly did he say?
I will be keeping that to myself right now. I am a few days away from being able to say absolutely everything. A lot of people know what happened because there were so many people there in catering.
Who was there? Another wrestler?
There were wrestlers, crew members, executives on the business side. They saw everything. I didn’t say anything.
What wrestlers were there?
Right next to me, just like you are right now, was Jack Swagger. There were referees behind me. There were crew members. They were all present when this problem occurred.
You were all eating?
Yes, we were actually in Texas. I worked the show. And I had a conversation with the owner of the company.
Who is that?
Vince McMahon. The owner. And everything seemed fine. We spoke about it.
After the incident?
Yeah, after. You see, there’s a situation here.
Let’s reconstruct the narrative here, because if not, we’re going to lose your train of thought. You guys were eating, there were wrestlers and referees. This person just randomly has a racist comment towards you.
Well, another person does a racist remark and he answers it but directing it towards me. And then…
You already had history with this person before.
Yes, I had an incident with him in the past where he pretended, I think, to read his computer. He said “Alberto is a such and such.” And I was like, “What did you say, man?” He stands up and says, “No, it’s something from Twitter.” He then wants to give me his hand, and I just said, “Don’t touch me.” And I left to the ring, because I was on my way to the squared circle. This was about 7-8 months ago. When he says this comment, the same person again, I’m like “What’s this guy’s problem?” So I stand up, and don’t think I’m going to come to blows with him. I stood up demanding an apology.”
Yes, completely. I told him, “What did you just say, you son of a such and such?” and I demanded an apology.
And what did he do? Did he stand up?
He was already standing up. He was about to leave when he said that comment. The only thing he does after his comment is, with his face as close to me as mine is to yours right now, he does a douchey smirk with one side of mouth. And then I hit him. I’ll say it again, I will always be embarrassed of the way I reacted. I’m not regretful. Sure, it costed me my job. But they are the ones that lose more in this situation.
When you say ’employee’, do you mean another wrestler? Or is he a director?
No, no, this person is a “Manager of Social Media.” He is the one who manages the social networks. I hadn’t even spoken with him. The people released his name, and the company simply put, “he’s leaving because of unprofessional conduct.” But then they don’t mention it’s an isolated incident. That there was an action for my reaction. You tell the world that I simply slapped an individual without saying what it was all about. But okay…
These cases of racism have to be taken very seriously. This is much more than the show and the spectacle and all the histrionic narrative that involves pro wrestling. This is an incident of presumptive racism against a worker who had a contract. This is completely different. We’re not talking about a rivalry with John Cena. No no no, this is not right.
Not even with a wrestler. In fact, the comment was really dumb, but he is not my friend. I didn’t even know the name of this person until after the incident.
This happens, you slap him, and then what happens after?
The owner of the company tells me in this same tone: “I understand where you come from and where your anger comes from, how after you’re insulted, he gives you a look telling you to swallow it. I understand your reaction, but it was very inappropriate. Nothing will happen, just go to work.” They tell me that his smile might have been out of nervousness. (laughs) But for whatever the reason it happened, I don’t think it was that. Everything seemed okay. I was actually suspended first. The next day they simply suspended me. And for reasons that they decided out of the blue, on Thursday they called me and said “You know what?”
Who called you?
The director of operations called me, Triple H. He said, “you know what? It pains us to tell you this, and we lose a lot more because we invested lots of time and money in you, but we have to let you go.” I told him, “Okay.” I’m telling you, I’m like I’m gone. And immediately I’m contacted by AAA, and companies from Japan and USA. I think I already have a name and a place in this spectacle and this business that opened a range of possibilities. Um, I have not had conversations with them since. I know the social networks exploded over there because of this although I hadn’t spoken yet about the incident. But I’m telling you, a lot of the people that were there, other wrestlers and members of staff, said, “No, this is what happened. The facts are these.” I have to tell you, like when I announced TripleMania, and it’s very important, the name “ALberto Del Rio” belongs completely to WWE. That name is theirs. “Alberto” is my real name. Here in Mexico people gave me the name “El Patron.” Alberto Del Rio, that is part of my past, because it belongs to them. I told the press yesterday, I need patience, because the last thing that I want is for this situation to affect my family.
What is your real name?
Jose Alberto Rodriguez is my real name.
And Del Rio?
That came about because they want to own all their characters, which is understandable. So when they gave me a list of names, I chose that one. Because they gave me names that didn’t even make any sense. (laughs) We know that the American way of thinking is completely different than ours. And it was decided “Del Rio” because I think there was a story about how someone in their family was a fan of Dolores Del Rio. And I told the press to have patience because the last thing that I want is for my family to be affected. And if I see that there’s nothing that happens with this problem, I mean, that it doesn’t affect my family, then I will immediately give you absolutely all the details of the situation and what happened.
Are you going to sue?
I still don’t know… the actual reason why I contacted a lawyer and I sought legal help, because they sent me their termination letter. And in that letter, they added a clause that I couldn’t work in the USA for a whole year. And I know I am Mexican, and that I don’t understand completely the laws in USA, but if you’re not paying me, I think it’s unconstitutional that you prohibit me from getting a job in my trade. How am I supposed to pay your taxes? How am I supposed to put food on the table for my kids? And that’s why I looked for a lawyer. I said, “hey is this constitutional? Can they actually do that?” Up until now, the three lawyers I contacted said it is completely unconstitutional if they’re not paying me. I told them, “well, it’s in the contract,” and they said, “they can put whatever they want in the contract, but no court will decide in their favor.
Do you want to go back and wrestle in USA?
No. I think I have said this… this will be like the 102nd time that I say it, but a lot of people are going to say, “he’s only saying that because he doesn’t work with them anymore.” But I wasn’t planning on re-signing with them in February. I was debating on whether I was going to stay or not. I spoke with my family because the work schedule was too hard and I didn’t want to keep doing so many shows every week. I don’t know what would have happened. Maybe I would have kept my career going over there. Unfortunately, this incident happened that forces me to leave the company. And like I said, a lot of doors have been opened. Mainly AAA, they immediately contacted me. They have a tremendous project in Mexico, and a tremendous one in USA to do lots of great things. They are helping me as well with all the legal stuff. But what I mainly want to do is work.
The fact that you’re a wrestler, you could say that strength is one of your work instruments. I know that with karate experts, if someone that knows karate hits someone, it is much more punitive by the law, then if I, that don’t know karate, would hit someone.
In that case, do you think you will get more consequences for hitting him if you dedicate yourself to hitting for your career?
Well, in Mexico, it’s like that. I don’t know if USA manages it in the same way. Over there, we are not athletes, we are entertainers. They call us actors. They are very open about it. In fact, they tells us to never say that we are wrestlers. They want us to say that we are entertainers, actors, sports entertainers. So I don’t really know what the situation will be. That’s also another reason why I went to a lawyer, because I don’t want this guy that after his offense and my reaction, to go and sue me. And they told me that. “There are no bruises. You didn’t punch him, it was just a slap. There could be repercussions, but because there was no injury, he’s going to have to find another angle.” We don’t know, we just have to wait to see what happens with that situation. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I told my wife I don’t think I am going to sue the company because I don’t want to get into legal problems. But after the termination letter where they tell me I can’t seek employment in my line of work, that changes the whole picture. What I want primarily is for a lawyer to say in court that they can’t prohibit me from working because it’s unconstitutional. And whatever comes after, I’ll decide.”
Alberto Del Rio, thank you very much for coming to Primero Noticias. How are you going to be called now?
El Patron (laughs)