On what he’s being doing since his WWE departure:
â<80>I have ventured into the world of independent wrestling. I am taking bookings, I have worked a few shows, and I will continue to work shows because I am a professional wrestler and that is what I will continue to do. But in the meantime, I have since purchased a restaurant in the Phoenix, Arizona area and that will be up and running shortly.â<80>
On the reason they dropped â<80><9c>Alejandroâ<80> from his name:
â<80>It was winning me over and unfortunately, our job was not to win over the audience because we were heels and we were going in a different direction and the audience wanted to cheer us. They wanted to get behind us and the name introduction was one of the highlights I guess for the audience of the Umaga-Estrada combination. They wanted to get behind us and like I said, we were heading in a different direction. If we were babyfaces, great. Hey, who doesn’t want to be cheered, but when your job…you’re the bad guys, we’re the heels…we really didn’t want to go that route so was the main reason for elimination the middle name.â<80>
On what he initially thought of the Umaga gimmick:
â<80>You know, it’s a good question because I think there was some skepticism early on with the type of character, but I think it’s a feather in his cap to show you how talented he is. He took a gimmick that, for all intents and purposes, is…I don’t want to use the word outdated…but when you talk about realistic and realism could be looked at as ‘Oh, we’re not buying that’. But here’s a guy who’s so talented that took this character, went out there and ran with it, and now he’s a top heel and he’s been a top heel. Again, that’s a credit to his hard work and his talent. I think that there’s a lot of fans who don’t truly know or haven’t seen what Umaga, the wrestler, can do in the ring.â<80>
On making the transition from being a â<80><9c>talking entertainerâ<80> to a wrestler:
â<80>You know, I was trained to be a professional wrestler. It just so happens in this crazy, wacky industry known as professional wrestling, sometimes you’re called upon to do other things and they called upon me to entertain and be a mouthpiece in a non-wrestling role. It actually worked out well for me because it let me basically get my feet wet with WWE as far as how things go [and] how things run. I went from not having a job to basically being on Raw ten weeks later. So, I liked the transition to when I eventually started wrestling.â<80>
On whether starting as a manager/GM hindered him when he finally wrestled:
â<80>I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all. I think fans that saw me saw me for what I was. Once I took my suit off, they said ‘Wow, this guy looks like he can get it done’. Unfortunately for me, we underwent a creative change in the midst of my storyline in ECW and when I mean creative change, I mean we had a different writer start writing our shows in the midst of my storyline where I was trying to win my contract and I just kind of fell to the wayside there. I think there was something like 8, 9, maybe even 10 heels at the time that there were only four babyfaces on a one hour show and when you have 8 to 10 heels, in addition to bringing over heels from Raw and heels from Smackdown, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for a lot of people. A lot of times, it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle and next thing you know, you’re not on tv because there aren’t any plans for you.â<80>
Armando discussed other topics, including what he hopes to happen in the future, what actually happened when he talked with Johnny Ace about leaving the company, and whether he has any ill-will toward the WWE. You can listen to the entire interview at the links above. Armando wanted to also make sure independent promoters knew he was taking bookings at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, fans can visit his myspace at http://www.myspace.com/therealarmandoestrada. Be sure to tune in live this Monday from 7:00-9:00 EST for another edition of the Voice of Wrestling, exclusively here on WrestleZone.com!
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