Brian Cage is known as “The Machine” of Lucha Underground. Built like a tank, yet flies like an acrobat.
Viewers of the El Rey Network series marvel at his athletic ability. The 32-year-old has earned the respect of the fans inside the sacred Temple in Boyle Heights, Calif. as a dominant force. Cage is proud at not only Lucha’s evolution over the last three seasons, but his own along with it.
“I definitely feel more comfortable in my own skin,” he said.
“The people at Lucha Underground have treated me very well. It’s good television. We have kept really strong. It’s a blast to perform in front of such an awesome crowd in that arena. They interact and you can really feed off the crowd. I feel spoiled in that you don’t get this kind of atmosphere everywhere.
“You don’t get this kind of response. I’ve been wrestling 11 years professionally and been able to see the world. That’s what I’ve always strived on is to never settle. I look to improve on everything whether it’s look, ring attire, personality, build, or move set. You can’t get complacent. You always strive to be better and look for something more.”
Fueling Cage’s motivation for success is showing those companies that passed on him in his career made a big mistake. He is driven to seize opportunity within the Lucha and the other promotions he competes in.
“Everyone asks me why I’m not at WWE or why TNA didn’t sign me,” Cage said.
“I’ve always been a guy who shows up. I’m not one to say, ‘Oh, I wish they have given me the ball.’ I’m out in the end zone with my hands in the air with my hands up saying give me the damn ball, and I’ll run end zone to end zone. Lucha has let me be myself and given me a decent push to show my talent.
“I feel like when I first started out I was similar size and felt I was good. I felt like I looked like a star from the get-go and worked pretty well. I feel like even when I was in developmental with WWE they never saw me as a star, so I would always have to put everyone over. People say wins and losses don’t’ matter. Yeah, they kind of do in a way because Hulk Hogan wouldn’t have been Hulk Hogan had he lost all his matches. You’re not going to be selling a lot of merchandise if you are losing all your matches. So it kind of irritated me that someone would think I wasn’t capable of the job. Now I’m getting this time to shine and let loose.”
Cage takes his craft, accomplishments and the reputation he built within the industry very seriously. So imagine his reaction when he found out WWE was billing its new signing Tim Wiese, a retired German goalkeeper, as “The Machine.” Needless to say the performer wasn’t happy.
“I thought, ‘Are you kidding me,” Cage said.
“I did have a lot of social media support on Twitter and social media about ‘The Machine’ being Cage. They were vocal and showed encouragement. I know WWE knows who I am, but there are people who don’t watch independent wrestling or Lucha and may not have a clue. And that’s fine. WWE knows who I am. I already worked for them before. They contacted me several times for tryouts and to come back even before I signed with Lucha Underground.
“Lucha Underground is obviously hot right now. I’m on the show. And obviously the reason why I’m called ‘The Machine’ is how I look. It’s also my move set and my agility. I do things a guy my size wouldn’t normally do. I’ve created this cyborg character for myself.
“He is not at even close with what he looks like and does. I don’t know the guy. I know he was this soccer player on the German team. Cool. Whatever. No disrespect to him or hard feelings or ill will. But even when I was in FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling), I wasn’t thrilled with hand-me-down contacts. The former MMA guy, the former NFL player, guys come in and get a contact and get paid more than all of us right out of the gate. At the same time, the real boys bust their asses and fight to be there their entire life.
“Many walk in unappreciative and say their sport was a real sport. They come in and get shocked. They don’t learn the business. They don’t learn their craft and don’t want to learn. They don’t’ last, and they don’t’ get ‘it.’ They get fired or let go. I’m thinking that is pretty much 97 percent of them.”
Cage sees the positive of the situation in finding out just how big and vocal his fan base around the world. He has nothing against Wiese, but wasn’t impressed by the WWE acquisition’s first impression in the ring.
“He comes out in this wife-beater and jeans,” he said.
“That’s your wrestling attire? Give me a break. It was a joke. I felt like a lot of people saw through that. I’m not opposed going back there if the stars lined up later in my career. But I’m not going to stand by and not say something. I’m going to call that s— out. Then the WWE fan boys are saying that they had the ‘Big Red Machine,’ ‘Suplex Machine,’ in the past. It’s not the same thing and moniker. So I felt a bit of a sore spot and posted about it and made fun of it. So I made a meme. I had fun with it, but I am not losing sleep over it.”
The former Lucha Gift of the Gods champion reflects on where his journey in pro wrestling has taken him. He enjoys the freedom of working in a variety of places and testing his skills against a diverse set of opponents.
“It’s awesome being able to make it and make a living off your dream and not be a corporate wrestler,” Cage said.
“I get to work for all these different promotions and all this talent. That’s how it should be. I was reading about how Jesse Ventura thought it was laughable that WWE books the guys as independent contractors, but does not treat them that way. Basically, it’s to save them money and make the boys less money. You can’t work for other promotions under WWE contract, but you are seen as independent contractors. They control you and you have to get their permission for everything. To not have to walk on eggshells to get around and fulfill my dream since I was a kid and getting to wrestle all over the world, it’s been awesome.”
In Lucha, Cage is in the middle of a Best of Five Series with Texano. The star takes each match as a challenge to stand out. He traces his inspiration to be innovative in the ring to the late Chris Kanyon, who helped bring out Cage’s passion for wrestling.
“I’m always trying to do new stuff,” he said.
“No matter what kind of match or stipulation, I like to try to turn heads. I get to work with Texano, and he is a talented guy. A guy who can move for his size as well, so it creates a fun experience.”
- Watch Lucha Underground 8 p.m. ET Wednesdays on El Rey Network.
- El Rey Network presents its “Way of the Turkey” Thanksgiving Marathon featuring 96 hours of kung-fu and Lucha Underground. It all starts 6 a.m. Thursday, November 24 and includes a 24-hour Lucha Underground Fan Favorite Marathon on Saturday, November 26.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.