Born into the legendary Guerrero family, Chavo Guerrero Jr – son of Chavo Sr, grandson of Gory Guerrero – has wrestling in his blood from day one.
Guerrero wrestled around the world in Mexico and Japan before making the transition to WCW in 1996, and later WWE in 2001.
Guerrero made his debut on TNA’s Impact Wrestling (screening exclusively on the BOX at 10.30pm Saturdays) in July of this year and quickly formed an alliance with Hernandez.
The two will have the opportunity to become TNA tag team champions when they challenge the teams of AJ Styles & Kurt Angle and reigning champs Christopher Daniels & Kazarian at Bound For Glory on October 15.
Guerrero discussed growing up as a third-generation wrestler, his time in WCW with Pepe the hobby-horse, playing ribs on the road, what Bound For Glory means to him, watching MMA, wrestling New Zealand tag team The Iwi in a dark match and more in this exclusive interview.
David Dunn: Chavo, thank-you very much for talking to me this afternoon. It’s a real pleasure to be able to chat to a wrestling legend like you.
Chavo Guerrero: Thanks for having me man, I appreciate it.
In my mind, no. I grew up with a wrestling ring in the backyard, literally. We literally had one growing up. The first time I was ever in it was probably before I could walk. I was probably crawling in that thing, so to me I didn’t think I was going to be anything else but a wrestler. Other people had other ideas in mind, to be honest. Wrestling is not a given, especially the way wrestling was going which was the big man thing: bigger, bigger, bigger. Everybody was six-foot-six, three hundred pounds and all of us, we weren’t. There’s no guarantee and our family knew that. Even with Eddie, Eddie was such a – they called him a cry-baby – he was such a little young, crying, spoiled brat they didn’t think he was going to be able to do it. Then all of a sudden you just blossom out of it and God looked upon us and we were able to do it.
One of the first times I can remember seeing you was watching old tapes of WCW and you were out there with you hobby-horse Pepe. Was Pepe an idea that you had or was that something the creative team brought to you?
That was definitely something that me and Eddie came up with. What happened was that he and I were feuding – I started going kind of crazy on the show. We went to his house for a barbeque and his little girls came out on this little hobby-horse and I said ‘I gotta take this to the show next week’ so I ended up doing it, took it to the show, and people were like ‘oh that’s cool’. So the next week I didn’t come out with it and there were Pepe signs and hobby-horses and stuff and all of a sudden I was like ‘woops, I guess I gotta come out with this thing now’ [laughs] So that’s something that just kind of happened, it wasn’t planned. Sometimes the best things in wrestling just happen.
Definitely. He ended up getting put in a wood chipper by Norman Smiley – that’s right?
Yeah, yeah. Norman Smiley will always be remembered for killing Pepe.
It sounds like that was a lot of fun, Chavo, and speaking of fun I’ve read a story in one of the WWE books about a rib that you managed to play on the road, getting a police officer involved in ribbing The Miz. I was wondering, do you have any other great stories of time spent on the road, just filling time between shows?
There were so many of them because we were on the road so much, man, like 280-plus days a year on the road. You had to joke with people and mess with them and rib them – we call it – because you kind of go crazy, you’ve got to keep yourself occupied. We would just constantly do stuff. Nothing harmful – innocent ribs – but we would take somebody’s shoes and put shaving cream in them or something like that, just little things that would just kind of get them mad. One time Booker T had some fried chicken and somebody hid it. When somebody hid it we did it on purpose, then all of a sudden somebody else got some fried chicken and we were all eating it. It was all over our faces, like as much as we could get it on our faces and fingers – we did it on purpose, y’know? – and he came in and was like ‘what da heck is goin’ on?!’ He freaked out thinking that we were all eating his chicken. He was like ‘is that my chicken?’ and we’re like ‘no’ and walk out of the room. And he was so pissed off. Then he moves his bag and sees this big thing of chicken and he’s like ‘OK, you guys got me, you got me’ and we just look at him and laugh. It was constantly things like that.
That’s hilarious, that’s great. How do you find TNA compares to WWE in terms of the travel, your schedule, the time you get to spend with your family?
The travel is definitely a lot less. The difference between TNA and WWE is WWE really is a live event company and TNA is more of a television company. They do most of their stuff on TV. They do have some house shows and live shows and it’s going to be getting more and more. Right now the schedule’s great, we’re able to stay home more and be fresh. I get to work and I’m fresh, I’m rested, and I’m giving my all on the Impact shows.
In one of the early WWE Magazines you’ve got a recipe in there for traditional Mexican grilled steak. I’ve made it, it’s delicious. Are you a bit of a whiz in the kitchen, is that one of the things you find you’re doing in your time at home?
My wife is the whiz in the kitchen, I’m the whiz on the barbeque. I’m the barbeque guy, I’ll barbeque everything. But in the kitchen? Nah, man. That’s my wife, she’s the bomb.
When you made your TNA debut you talked about how the Guerrero family’s held a title in every promotion they’ve been in except for TNA yet. You’ve got the opportunity at Bound For Glory to hold the tag team titles. What’s that going to mean to you if you and Hernandez are able to pick up the belts?
That’s going to show that I wasn’t just coming here blowing steam. It’s true – we’re going to leave Bound For Glory the tag team champions of the world. He’s a multiple time tag team champion, I’m a multiple time tag team champion and I think they can’t beat us. I tell all the other wrestlers: lace up them boots because that match is going to steal the show.
You and Hernandez have both had successful singles careers but you both seem to primarily gravitate back towards tag teams. Do you find it easy to work with Hernandez seeing you both come from that mutual tag team background?
Really my best run has been singles to be honest. I’m only, maybe a three time tag team champion? Twice in WWE, once in Ring Ka King, maybe once in WCW – I’m over a 10 or 12-time champion, so it’s mostly been singles. Tag teaming is an art form, you have to be able to gel really well with your partner. I think that’s something that me and Hernandez do do well together, and we’re only just getting started. We’re going to get better and better, so definitely look out for us.
How do you find it working with Kurt Angle now that it’s been about 10 years since you were doing a similar thing and working with Angle as part of what was dubbed the ‘SmackDown six’ back in WWE?
Now we’re going to be called the TNA six because right now it’s me and Hernandez, AJ and Kurt, Kaz and Daniels, because we’re tearing it down. It’s great to get in the ring with Kurt again. I think he’s one of the best in the world if not the best in the world. He’s one of those guys who just pushes me to my limit every time I get in the ring [with him] and I try to do the same to him. We gel well together. It’s fun to get back in the ring with him.
I think it’s awesome and it’s a great cross over. A lot of MMA guys really want to cross over to pro [wrestling]. I know a lot of them. I know Rampage Jackson very well and I know he wants to do some stuff. A lot of them really do. A lot of them are big fans. It’s just a good progression, and vice versa. We do jiu-jitsu and roll with those guys and strike with those guys. Not necessarily saying I’m going to make the move over to MMA, but other wrestlers have like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley and now Batista’s having his fight coming up here so it’s kind of a good progression. Anything in the ring we just kind of love and gravitate to.
Do you watch a lot of MMA, are you a fan?
Absolutely. I’m a fan of MMA, of boxing, of wrestling, anything in the ring. Any contact – judo, jiu-jitsu, sumo, I’m just a fan of all that stuff.
A couple of weeks back before Impact you wrestled a dark match against two New Zealanders, Kingi and Kaha, The Iwi. Do you have any thoughts on that, perhaps any feedback for those guys?
I think they were good, really good, I think they have a future in wrestling and I wish them nothing but the best. They’re big strong guys and were beating me down pretty good. I think there’s a place for everybody in wrestling.
I think they’ll be very pleased to hear that. Do you have any advice for other aspiring wrestlers in New Zealand or perhaps anyone who happens to listen to this?
I tell everybody to get a degree before you decide to come – if anything, get your plan B. Before you could have a high-school diploma and be fine but now you can’t. Your college degree’s kind of like your high school diploma now. You have to have that to get a good job now. There’s exceptions of course but I tell everybody get a plan B, then come in, try wrestling, try it out, follow your dream and go for it.
You’ve come out to New Zealand before on a tour…
I loved the kiwis, they call them. New Zealand is such a great country, the people are so nice, they treat us very well and I really can’t wait to go back.
That’s amazing to hear.
No, they’re great, I’ve been there maybe three times now. It’s a beautiful country and they’ve been so nice and so gracious, for sure.
I’ve never been to China, I would love to go to China. I’ve been everywhere else except for like Antarctica [laughs]
No desire to go to Antarctica?
Well, I can’t say I don’t have a desire but I don’t think there’s too much wrestling there, so I probably wouldn’t end up going there. I almost crashed in Russia one time, so I’ve never actually gone there and wrestled there but I have been to Russia.
Finally, Chavo, got to ask, what’s the possibility of TNA as a whole, you and the whole Impact Wrestling crew, coming down this way and putting on a show in New Zealand?
I would love to make a multi-country trip down there and hit New Zealand and hit Australia and hit other little countries around there. I would love it. I’ve been there before and I’d love to go back. Like I said, in New Zealand you’re treated so well and I think we’d be very well received.
We would love to have you and the whole Impact Wrestling roster down here too.
Well cool man, I appreciate that, thank-you.
Thank-you very much for your time today Chavo, it’s been a real pleasure to talk to you.
My pleasure, thank-you very much David, I appreciate it.
And best of luck for Bound For Glory, I’ll certainly be cheering you on.
Alright man, I appreciate it.