Interviews

Interview With . . . Shaul Guerrero

Living with a legendary name can be either a blessing or a curse, but Shaul Guerrero is determined to prove to the world that she’s ready to bring her father’s legacy back into the family. Guerrero has most recently been notable as the voice of Women of Wrestling, as well as being the announcer for AEW’s Deadly Draw tournament. However, the woman once known as the Queen of FCW is ready to take the independent scene by storm as Guerrero has recently announced her return to the ring! Inside The RopesGary Cassidy recently caught up with third-generation wrestler Shaul Guerrero to ask all about her return to the squared circle, Sasha Banks, the storyline between her late father Eddie and Dominik Mysterio, and much more.

You were most recently on our screens as part of AEW’s Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament – appearing alongside Veda Scott and Alundra Blayze/Madusa. That may have surprised a few people as you weren’t announced beforehand! What was that experience like, and just how did that come about?

Honestly, it was quite a surprise for me as well. My mom called me, because she is like a more permanent fixture at AEW, and was just like, “Hey, you’re still announcing, right?” I’m like, “Absolutely.” So she’s like, “OK, hold tight, someone’s going to call you.” And I was like, “OK.”

Then Brandi Rhodes reached out to me and was just like, “Hey, do you want to announce a Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament?” And I was like, “Hell, yes.” So it was literally as simple as that. I full-on was just like, “Whatever AEW needs me for.” I was extremely flattered to participate.

Most definitely. And you mentioned your mum being a more permanent fixture. Of course, will we see you again in AEW? Is the door still open? Might we see you wrestling at any point in AEW?

You never, ever know.

That’s like one of the things in wrestling. Never say never. And so I am ready for AEW, whenever that comes about – but, for right now, I’m going to focus on taking the independent scene by storm with wrestling. It’s been six years since I’ve wrestled, so I’m really excited.

So, you’re getting back in the ring very soon, but you got a closer look at that AEW Women’s Division. Who impressed you the most out of that tournament?

That’s so hard. That’s really hard because there was just so much amazing talent.

I am a fan of Ivelisse and Diamante, which clearly they took the whole thing, which was amazing.

Otherwise, Tay Conti really, really just stood out to me as, like, a huge contender. And obviously we saw Anna Jay, she’s been coming into her own a lot, especially since hooking up with the Dark Order. So honestly, I think a lot of talent flourished throughout that entire Tag Team Cup Tournament, but I do think the best team took it in the end – and major congratulations once again to Ivelisse and Diamante.

We mentioned that you’re getting back in the ring very, very soon! It’s been a while – you said six years – but how ready are you to return? How much have you been training – and how much are you relying on that muscle memory kicking in?

Oh, believe me, I’m training! I’m training! I’ve been training for the past like two months pretty consistently.

There is a lot of muscle memory there because I was with the FCW/NXT brand for around three years, and that training schedule was pretty much you train every day. You train every single day. And so that’s still within me, whether I like it or not, but I have been training with Freelance Wrestling here in Chicago and they are absolutely fantastic. So I’ve been very blessed to have a ring, like, less than ten minutes from my house.

You mentioned your FCW and NXT run there. I felt like it was a little bit of a missed opportunity because they didn’t refer to you as Shaul Guerrero. Of course, now you are taking bookings under your real name. How much of a conscious decision was it to not use your real name before and, likewise, to be using it now? What was that decision making process like? Was it something that even came into your mind?

Honestly, like I did think about not using my my real name, but then it just didn’t feel right.

I went so many years with not using my real name and I understood that NXT, WWE wanted to have me earn it in a way – but I just I didn’t feel right coming under anything else.

I’m really doing a whole new character. Like the Ultra Diva, she’s still in there, but she’s definitely a part of my past. I’m going to really try and be more authentic with the fans and just come in as me, and hopefully it will be received well.

So, yeah, it’s scary though! The pressure’s on.

Of course, the Guerrero name is one that’s never far away from any wrestling fan’s thoughts. With Vickie Guerrero and yourself recently appearing in AEW, and Eddie’s name I think is maybe as prominent as ever in WWE because people are still using his moves, he’s mentioned a lot on programming. People like Sasha Banks are big advocates for keeping the legacy alive. How does that feel personally for you?

Honestly, like any time somebody talks about my dad, remembers my dad and, like, the beautiful gear that people are having made and the tributes are really wonderful.

They keep his memory alive, and I am never against that at all.

But I am excited to kind of keep it in the family a little bit more and be able to reclaim some of those moves as something in the Guerrero family. But any time I see somebody do something, any time I see flames on gear, I get really excited and it reminds me of Dad, so that’s never a bad thing.

Hopefully we’ll see some flames on Shaul Guerrero’s ring gear soon!

Oh, it’s coming! It’s coming!

Of course, we were talking about the name and the pressure on you. Of course, people can either have either very high expectations or very low expectations – because they might feel like there’s going to be nepotism or favouritism because of a name, but they may also instantly write you off in that regard too.

Does the Guerrero name give you a blank slate or is it just added pressure? Is it freeing, in a way, that you get to just use your real name?

That’s a great question and I’ve been honestly meditating on that a lot more, especially since my first independent show has been announced.

You know, people do, and I understand, attribute some nepotism towards me because my family’s been in this for generations, and so I do have doors open for me a lot easier than some people. And I fully understand that and whatnot.

But along with the open door comes a very high expectation that, “Oh, she’s going to be just as good as her dad.”

And you know what? Like, no-one is ever going to be like my dad. No-one’s ever going to do mic-work like my mom. And it’s not fair of me to put those kind of pressures on myself. And so I’m going to go in there and I’m going to do my absolute very best, my way, and hopefully that will be well-received.

At the same time, I hope that the wrestling universe gives me a little bit of grace, because every single wrestler on the independent scene has to work up to who they are at that certain point, so I hope that they allow me that grace to be able to learn and to be able to better myself every single independent show.

That way, I can grow to what they want to see with a little Guerrero taking over the ring.

So, yeah, there’s pressure. There’s pressure for sure, but I hope I can meet it to the best of my abilities and be able to grow over time.

Well, the door may be open, but that door may just little bit heavier to kick down because of that pressure!

So, what a time to return to wrestling. There’s simultaneously more wrestling and less wrestling than ever before. We have televised wrestling every day, but of course independent shows are just starting to get off the ground again. That said, there’s an immense amount of independent talent out there and a lot of people competing. Who have you got your eye on? Who do you want to get in that ring with?

Oh, my God, that’s so hard. Especially because, here in the Midwest, there’s so many great wrestlers around.

My immediate eye is on Laynie Luck, who has the Zelo Pro Women’s Championship right now, which is right in my backyard. I would also love to wrestle Kylie Rae. I think she’s extremely talented, but there’s like so many more. There’s just so much women’s wrestling around.

I can’t wait to work my way through every promotion and learn from all these amazing, talented women and also be able to show my own moves a little bit, too.

You’re someone who has been in the business for a long time – all your life. One thing everyone always wants to know is, when you were growing up, when you were really young, are there any sort of surreal moments with any famous wrestlers that you look back on and go, “Man, that was crazy”?

You know what? Like, it’s weird because I was literally raised in wrestling. Like, I don’t personally remember anything that was like, “Whoa, that was insane,” besides, like, meeting people backstage that actually weren’t wrestlers.

Like, as a child, I met like an NSYNC member one time and I was like, “Oh, my God.” Like, that’s what I was freaking out about, because, like, the people in the locker room that were wrestlers, they were more like family and they were just friends, and this is just like another day of Dad’s work.

Now looking back on it, I’m like, “Yeah, it’s kind of crazy that I get to talk with certain people and we do have that kind of relationship and whatnot.” But I always mark out a little bit when people are like, “Yeah, I remember when you were a baby in Mexico,” and this was Norman Smiley when he was training me. Norman Smiley is a fricking genius of wrestling. And he was like, “Yep, I changed your diaper one time, girl.” And I was like, “Oh, my God. OK.” So there’s little things like that that kind of like blow my mind a little bit.

I guess a lot of that may have just been normality to you! Now, I don’t know if how much you watch WWE, but someone else has had a very similar journey to yourself in Dominik Mysterio, I don’t know if you’ve kept up to date with what he’s doing. What do you think of what he’s doing, if so?

Honestly, like thankfully now there’s so much wrestling to watch all of the time. I think, right now, my main attention has been focused on AEW and the independent scene right now, and just my own studies with wrestling.

I have noticed Dominik has come in and he’s done an amazing job. He’s earned the Mysterio name. And I see that he’s doing a really great job. I don’t know all the ins and outs of everything, especially because my husband and I – fun fact – don’t have cable! So we actually don’t get to watch it that often, but whatever Dominik is doing, I know he’s in a very similar boat as I am, and I wish him all the luck in the world for him to keep pressing on.

Of course, there was one particular storyline where the identity of his parents was up in the air, so to speak. You know, people may have thought that Dominik’s dad was Eddie! Despite being really young, were you smart enough to the business to know that was a storyline, or was there any part of you that thought, “Maybe my brother is Dominik Mysterio”?

Honestly, we’ve grown up as performers, my sister and I – whether it was in the wrestling industry or not – so we were pretty smart to “it’s a work” kind of thing.

And my mom and dad also wanted to make sure that my sister and I were comfortable because it was such an emotional storyline for everybody involved. So, I think they wanted to make sure that we came out of the storyline – and that Dominik came out of the storyline – with our mental health intact, and our family unit intact.

So, I totally knew it was a work – but you know that everyone’s doing a really good job when you’re in a storyline and even you, yourself, get suspended from reality and you’re like, “This is fake.” Like, you have to convince yourself, like, “Yeah, no, this isn’t real.” So the fact that there were moments when we were taping and stuff like that, and Dad was so emotional, that you kind of have to wonder a little bit, they did their job right – so that was always really fun.

Back to Shaul Guerrero now, getting back in the ring. You grew up in the business, but who are you at inspirations in terms of wrestling? Who did you grow up seeing, and think, “That’s what I want to wrestle like”?

Oh, man. This is honestly… I loved watching Bull Nakano. I loved watching Madusa. I loved watching Melina. I always really loved Melina and Michelle McCool when I got to be backstage and watch them, you know, put together their matches and go out and execute them and come back, and how amazing they were.

Then currently, I mean, I have so many wrestlers that I love to watch. I love to watch Jessicka Havok and I love to watch Tessa Blanchard. I think she’s a wonderful executioner and especially with working with her in WOW, as well as Thunder Rosa. So those are some of my favorite wrestlers to watch. Absolutely.

So, we mentioned that you have been a very strong voice in wrestling. Your husband, Matt Rehwoldt – formerly known as Aidan English – is another very prominent, very recognisable voice who we’ll be seeing on the independent scene very soon. May we see you to work together at any point in the future?

Absolutely! We would 100% love to work together, whether it’s a tag team or… It’s funny because we’ve actually talked about, like, “Would I manage you or would you manage me?” And that’s the thing, though, is we can manage each other because we’re both pretty strong on the mic.

So that would be kind of an interesting dynamic to see both of us together. I’m excited to work with my husband. I hope we can do that very soon!

Or even standing in opposite corners as well…

Oh, yeah! I wouldn’t mind getting a little bit of aggression out.

Thank you to Shaul Guerrero for taking the time to talk to Inside The Ropes!
Shaul Guerrero returns to the ring when she makes her Generation Championship Wrestling debut on November 13th.
You can follow Shaul Guerrero here.