Sin Cara On Being A Super Hero, Wearing His Own Custom Sneakers, And His Latino Heat Heritage

Earlier this week, WWE announced that they were pairing with Reebok and Foot Locker to pay tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month with new capsule collection including Eddie Guerrero and Sin Cara shirts and shoes. We even managed to talk to Sin Cara himself about the line, the incredible amount of input he had in creating it, and how his character has come full circle to become an ambassador of Mexican lucha libre

Here’s the thing about talking to Sin Cara on the phone: you’ve got to trust the people who set up the call. It’s not like we hear Sin Cara talk a lot, and hell, I’ve seen Sin Cara fight Sin Cara, so all bets are off.

With Spandex: The first thing we need to talk about is the Latino Heat Heritage Gear, which is dope. I saw the shirts and I saw the shoes. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how you got involved, and maybe how much input you had in it?

Sin Cara: Yeah, I was able to have a lot of input, which is awesome, you know, the Footlocker and Reebok and the people behind this, WWE, also gave me a little bit of leeway in helping out and trying to get the idea together. So, it was fun to be able to work with them, and trying to get these ideas together, and watching it come to life, it’s been awesome. As you all know, October 13 is going to be the release date for the Eddie Guerrero tribute T-shirts, and then too for the Sin Cara, and then the sneakers, the Sin Cara sneakers are also going to be on the market on the 13th, so I’m very excited about that.

I’m blessed to be able to have the opportunity to work with amazing people that want to do all of these things to get to the public, and it’s fun to be able to see all of this come to life, like I was saying. Especially for me, because I come from a place where I used to watch Eddie Guerrero wrestle as a little kid. You know I grew up in El Paso-Juárez, where he was born, also, so I feel very connected in a way.

So were the Guerreros your favorite growing up in El Paso, or did you have any other favorite influences, or favorite luchadores?

Eddie was one of them. There were other wrestlers, Cinta de Oro, Rocky Star, you know, back in the day I was fortunate enough to watch a lot of those guys that competed in WWE, or WCW go through Ciudad Juarez, like Konnan, like Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio started wrestling as Colibrí, which was his first wrestling name in Mexico.

So why do you think it is that WWE currently doesn’t bring in more lucha libre talent? I know in the 90’s sort of in the attitude area, even, you’d get a wide variety of luchadores in WCW and in WWE. Why do you think they stick to maybe like one or two now instead of bringing in a variety of guys?

I mean I don’t know exactly the reason why but in my opinion I think it’s because we’ve got to, you know, sometimes you’ve got to adapt, you know you need to be able to work with everybody in WWE, it’s not like before. If you noticed a lot of those guys back in the day would only wrestle against each other, you know, against the Latino against the other Latino. They wouldn’t wrestle other guys, so you know.

I think nowadays in WWE, we have to be able to wrestle with everybody. The most important thing is the language barrier. Some of the guys that come from Mexico they don’t speak the language, they gotta learn it, they gotta adapt. It’s a different kind of style here, different kind of adjustments they have to make and sometimes they bring them in and they don’t function that way. They don’t put themselves in a situation to succeed. I think that’s the most important thing about it, they don’t learn the language.

So you think the language is crucial to succeeding in WWE?

Not just in WWE, but nowadays in the world. We’re so connected everywhere you know. WWE is not just about wrestling anymore, it’s about doing community things and events and stuff like that. I have the opportunity to participate in the “Be a STAR” rallies, which is an anti-bullying campaign that we go talk to kids about bullying and becoming better citizens and becoming better people to have a better world. In the case of myself, it’s been an honor to be able to do that because I can communicate with Latino kids and all kinds of kids because I speak Spanish and English.

When you first getting started in pro wrestling, did you ever think that you would be a global representative for an anti-bullying campaign and also have your own pair of sneakers?

No, I mean, you gotta think about … we all have dreams and in our heads we think about what’s going to happen in the future or when I turn 21 or when I turn 30 and things like that. You want those things to become a reality but you don’t really think they’re gonna happen because it’s just … that’s life. You think a lot of things and you have a lot of dreams and sometimes it doesn’t happen. In the case of myself, I feel blessed to be able to call myself … in a sense a role model. Even if you say we’re not role models, we still are. We’re in the public light and people want to see us, people want to see what we’re doing and for mean now as a parent, as a father, I want to do the best that I can to be a good example for my children.

So it’s fun to be able to put myself in those shoes of a parent now and try to make this place a better world. And now having those sneakers come to reality … I’m wearing a pair right now. It just feels awesome. To be honest it’s a dream come true.

That’s amazing. I saw on your social media, there’s nothing I’ve ever seen cuter than a baby in a Sin Cara mask.

(laughter) Yeah, man, it’s one of those things, it’s fans … when we go to live events and things like that, that we show our talent, the people, especially the kids, love the mask. So I feel blessed that they wear it and they want a picture with me, or they want to say hi to me or things like that. I just feel honored to be able to see those kids want to be like me.

Sin Cara hasn’t much of a role on TV recently, but when I go to a live event, there are always kids in Sin Cara stuff. And when you talk to kids they’re like, “Oh, my favorites are John Cena and Roman Reigns and Sin Cara.” Why do you think the character and the look connects with kids so strongly?

I think that Sin Cara’s character is like a super hero, you know? I see myself as like a super hero when I put on the mask and kids can see that. It’s one of those things that there’s not a lot of sports where you have to show the kids in a way like, “Who are you?”

You know, you’re this guy that wrestles that’s a super hero in a sense. And we all want to super heroes when we’re growing up, you know? I remember growing up as a little kid, I wanted to be like El Santo, like El Solitario, like Mil Máscaras, you know. One of those guys that wear a mask because I wanted to be this big guy with muscles that can handle any situation. And I think that’s how kids in a way see us when we’re in the ring.

You’ve been Sin Cara for a while now. So what have you done to make the character your own, and differentiate yourself?

Well, I mean, I’m totally a different person you know, in every sense of the word … physically, mentally, spiritually, in the way that I wrestle is way different. I just try to be me, you know, and not be anybody else. And I think that has worked well for me. I’ve changed a little bit about the design and the mask and things like that, to make it more of my own of things that I like. Other than that, I just think I try to be myself and not compare myself to anybody.

About the new mask style, is it easier wrestling with open eyes in the mask?

That’s only for a little while. I’m doing it in honor of Cinta de Oro, which is a wrestler I used to admire growing up in Juarez. So it’s like a tribute to him. He was one of those guys that paved the way for many of us back in the day.

But if we’re going to talk about whether I can see a lot better? Yeah (laughter). Yeah, I can see a lot better.

It’s a good look, man, you ought to stick with it. It’s not bad.

Thank you, thank you. I like it, too. I like when I look at myself in the mirror with that design. It’s pretty sweet. I actually got a call from one of his kids, the oldest one. He called me to thank me for doing that for his father. I was like, “Hey man, thank you guys for letting me do this.” So it was great to be able to do that, to honor someone you admired when you were a little kid. The mask has a lot of potential. A lot of people have asked me what’s the design of or who I’m trying to pay a tribute to. And Cinta de Oro wasn’t known all over the world. But I think people now know who Cinta de Oro is. I think I’ve done well for that mask.

It’s crazy to think about how important you are to just an intersection of lucha libre history now as sort of the lucha libre representative in the WWE. You’re getting to represent people who you loved growing up. You’re getting to show love for hometown heroes like Eddie Guerrero.

Yeah, it’s a blessing, you know. I feel honored to be able to put myself in this position to be able to do that. I’m just trying to make the most of it and I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground all the time, you know, and pay respect to all those people that paved the way for many of us. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here and so I’m just trying to be one those guys that if people have forgotten, that way they don’t forget. They paved the way for many of us and I just want to be able to continue to honor them. There’s a lot of wrestlers I want to make tributes to.

I know you and Camacho were bros at one point. Do you keep up with what he’s doing in Japan?

Yeah, he’s doing great for himself, him and his brother, Tama Tonga. They’re doing great and I’m very happy for him and that he’s doing great. He was in Mexico, too, wrestling for CMLL for a while, too … He’s been doing a lot of work for himself and I’m very happy for him. I’m glad now he’s getting the opportunity to show his talent.

What do you think about how the WWE Cruiserweight Division is going? Because I know you were in it for a hot minute, then you weren’t.

Yeah, for about two weeks.

Yeah, what happened there?

It was just one of those things they were trying with me and itthey didn’t like how I looked there, because I’m a little taller than most of the guys there. So I think they wanted to keep it at a certain range or height or whatever. I’m like 198, I can do the weight easy. It’s one of those things, perception wise, I look a lot bigger than most of those guys.

I know whenever you would wrestle, especially in NXT, you had the school boy where you pick up the guy and just powerbomb him. I always liked how strong Sin Cara was.

Oh, thank you. Yeah, it’s one of those things where I learned to use my body to my advantage. And people … it’s deceiving sometimes. People don’t think about how strong I am, you know? Sometimes it’s good to show them a little bit that I’m pretty strong. That move is pretty cool. I love doing that move.

I think they gave that to you as a special in the video game.

Yeah, yeah. So, it’s fun to be able see myself. I picked up Wade Barrett. When I did it, people were going crazy. I was like, “How’d he pick him up?” … I gotta maybe see where I can stop. I haven’t really [figured out who] could be the biggest guy I could do it to, you know?

Why do you think Kalisto wasn’t put into the cruiserweight division earlier? Even Neville got put into a little bit later than everyone else. Why do you think they didn’t integrate WWE’s actual existing cruiserweight wrestlers into the cruiserweight class and into the division?

I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s hard to say. You know, timing wise and things like that. But I think now people are learning more about the cruiserweights. And given a chance, Neville was … he’s a great worker, he’s a great wrestler and I was glad for him that he got the opportunity to have success in the division.

Now that Kalisto’s there, it’s gonna be much, much better for all those guys. You know, they gotta step their game up, you know, because now you have Kalisto, you have Neville, you have other people that they want to succeed. So I think it’s going to be good for the whole cruiserweight roster and for the show.

I know you and Camacho were bros at one point. Do you keep up with what he’s doing in Japan?

Yeah, he’s doing great for himself, him and his brother, Tama Tonga. They’re doing great and I’m very happy for him and that he’s doing great. He was in Mexico, too, wrestling for CMLL for a while, too … He’s been doing a lot of work for himself and I’m very happy for him. I’m glad now he’s getting the opportunity to show his talent.

So, what’s in the future for Sin Cara? Besides dope sneakers?

We have a tour coming up. We’re going to go to Argentina. We’re going to go to Chile. The European tour’s coming up in November. You know, we’re going go to Spain, Portugal, England. We’re excited about all those coming up dates. And now and October 13, we’re gonna launch the product. The two Eddie tees, the two Sin Cara T-shirts and now the sneakers, the Sin Cara sneakers. Footlocker and Reebok have joined with WWE to do all this possible.