Wrestling Epicenter sent out the following:

Matt Striker is a unique performer in that he is a great in-ring talent and an even better wrestling commentator. His in ring prowess saw him succeed on the East Coast independent circuit from 2000 to 2005 before getting his break with the WWE in a series of matches with Kurt Angle. Years removed, Striker has earned the distinction of announcer for the popular Lucha Underground series on El Rey and has offered his voice to the American broadcast of New Japan Pro Wrestling , Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, and beyond. He also continues working matches in the ring with varying characters and personas. But today, he’s our special guest and we could not be prouder to have him!

Download or stream it on YouTube at wrestlingepicenter.com .

On if he will be at the Arizona State Fair show at the Phoenix Fairgrounds on Sunday: “I will be under the mask as Drago at the Arizona State Fair!”

On what it is like calling Lucha Underground: “I love it! I’m like a little kid! I sit there with my friend Vampiro and we talk about wrestling. It really is a lot of fun. That is as basic as I can give it to you.”

On Vampiro’s off-beat style: “There’s that term, orthadox. If every announcer put on a suit and used their big boy voice and used cliches, we wouldn’t have any potpourri to life. I think Vampiro is a spice. I love working with him. He is the only of his kind that I’ve worked with… Although, William Regal is similar in a more refined way.”

On what makes Lucha Underground different from the pack: “I think what most people’s eyes are attracted to there is a Hollywood presence. A certain type of camera person, a certain type of director. a certain type of mind to the way that is seeing this. We as wrestling fans have only seen wrestling presented 2 or 3 different ways. This has such a different look to it and I think that is what goes in to the difference.”

On preparing differently for Lucha Underground than WWE: “I look at that, those shows (WWE), in being in that theater as being a wrestling announcer as many before me and after me will do and have done to varying degrees of greatness. On the flip side, on Lucha Underground, I feel a little bit more like an actor, if you will (In an English accent) Playing more of a part, a role. Who is Matt Striker in the Lucha Underground Temple? Well, he really is this kind of wrestling announcer with 3 or 4 days worth of a beard on his face. I really do look at them different. The preparation for a WrestleMania? Zero, zero similarities to the preparation for an Ultimo Lucha.”

On the characters: “We all love wrestling and we all also love movies and TV. This gives us the good warm feeling and we start to discover the shows that we love or the wrestlers that we love. It is pure.”

On returning to the ECW Arena with House of Hardcore after having worked there originally before his WWE run in 3PW: “Everything in our lives is a circle. When I was working for 3PW and we were working the ECW Arena, a lot of that magic was still there. There’s something different about guys that passed through ECW and that were there for longer than a cup of coffee. Every time you come across them, they are good, decent human beings. They really are. Something Paul Heyman was putting in that Cool-Aid was a positive thing. That brotherhood, that fraternity. House of Hardcore’s slogan is “No politics. No BS. Just wrestling”. That’s what it was for me back then in 3PW and a lot of other independents. Work for the betterment of the whole show. I had a good time for my “x” amount of dollars. That is what it was for me and that is what I’ve learned from those kind of places and it pays forward for House of Hardcore and Lucha Underground. Everybody wants to do better than the match before them. It is awesome!”

On his parody gimmick in 3PW: “I appreciate that. I’m doing a parody of a wrestling announcer every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on the El Rey network! This might sound a little bit hippie… The minute we lose our wonderlust, we’re done! They say we do not grow stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. I always want to be that 7 year old kid who saw Superfly Snuka dive off the cage. I always want to be your 7 year old son that loves Drago. I don’t ever want that to go away. I don’t think any of us do. That’s my theory.”

On working for WWE the first time: “Before I do a minute with anyone, I do a little research. I recall an interview you did with Ted DiBiase years ago. I had no idea it was you. There’s something about, each are called according to his purpose. I can’t speak on it because I was in this wave of, “This is what is going to happen.” It was the greatest thing in the world to me… It still is. Every morning I wake up, I say a little prayer and say “Thank you for this life you’re allowing me to live.” If I don’t get to go to Heaven, I didn’t do too bad here! But, if I do, can you imagine how great that Kingdom would be for me, personally? I count my blessings – I really do.”

On working with Kurt Angle his first time on a WWE show: “Wow, I’m glad we got the extra time here because it goes back full circle. They gave me, this kid who was going place to place doing his thing and then I’m in the ring with Kurt Angle. You could argue the same kind of thing happens once or twice a month in Lucha Underground. You didn’t know some of these guys that get built, Fenix, Mil Muertes. I think it is full circle that companies are still going to do this. We are always going to need guys to come in and wrestle. We never know who that next guy is going to become. You have to wait 15 years and say, “Oh!” CM Punk came out for somebody’s entrance at WrestleMania 22 with a Tommy Gun. You don’t know! To your question, when I was given that opportunity, I didn’t know but I knew enough to be a part of it and keep my mouth shut for the most part and go with it. Lucha Underground is now that new wave where your son is going to have a new favorite and some kid is going to discover Sexy Star for the first time!”

On being a national heel: “People really do! If I go out shopping somewhere with my grandmother, people come up to me. It is like, “Dude! You’re going to try and fight me right now? Dude! It is an act!”” Who was the better heel teacher character, himself or “Dean” Shane Douglas: “Oh my God! Shane has been in the business longer than me. He has seniority. If you ever have a chance to sit down and talk to him, he really is a genius. But, it is not for me to say who does something better. Let the people decide, I suppose.”

On if he was praised or discouraged from referencing Superstars’ accomplishments outside of WWE while calling WWE action: “I had neither. I really was able to get in, get out. Instead of going back up the ramp after the show was done to get your pat on the back from Vince, I always went side ramp. For several reasons. There would be a mad rush to leave and I wanted to get out of there. And also, there may have been a few things that I may have said that maybe after 24 hours or so, he’d (Vince) forget about it. It was never submersive. It was never out of malice. It was just how I speak! Again, it is like when Vampiro and I call a match, it is like 2 guys on the couch talking. When somebody does a claw, how do you not stop and talk about the Von Erichs? How does someone a little older not say Killer Kowalski? It is a natural progression of the art. I never really had any encouragement or discouragement either way on that. Just a part of my personality that everyone seems to adore. (laughs)”

On if he likes to wrestle or announce more now: “Both because I’m still the little boy who wants to jump off his couch onto his dad. But, I also have a little bit of understanding of what it does to the body. So, if I can sit and exercise my mind and talk with Vampiro about, for my money, arguably some of the very best athletes bar sport, in the world! Think of some of the things these guys do! But as I get older, I’d have to say announcing makes more sense. If I didn’t, my mom would hit me over the back of the head. (laughs)”

On Inter-Gender matches as featured on Lucha Underground: “For me, I look at it a little different. I have 4 sisters, I have a strong grandmother, a strong mother. For me, there never was a weaker sex. Somewhere along the line with a newspaper or television put out this myth that this was the case. My sister Corey beat my a** a lot! (laughs) I only know strong women!” (James mentions seeing Mundo punch Sexy Star and it feeling strange) “All right, you see the punch and you think either that guy can’t hit or that girl is tough! You then go beyond the man and woman thing and you just see a fighter now! It is. It is made of sugar-glass, this perception of women.”

On his firing: “There are things in scripture that I read everyday that confirm that worry will do nothing for you. But, before I was enlightened to that concept or that defense, I cried because I felt like it was a dream that I got there and I got woke up. If you feel something for something, then you’re emotionally invested in it. That is kind of the thing to life, to find things that you get attached to in a safe and healthy way. It was upsetting, but it was enlightening.”

On if WWE is in his future again: “I have learned to stay in the moment. If you think about the future, that’s anxiety. If you think about the past, that’s depression. Also, I was raised on, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plan.” If you had asked me 3 years ago if I’d be here with Lucha Underground, I’d have said, “What are you talking about?” I’ve learned to never speak for the unknown. I’m incapable of knowing.”