Once again, Sports Obsessive’s resident Interview Extraordinaire is back with an exclusive interview for your reading pleasure. I had the chance to speak with Danny Limelight on Christmas Eve morning. Limelight is one of the hottest free agents in pro wrestling currently. His match against Rey Fenix on AEW Dark this past Tuesday has been all the buzz lately on social media. Danny was gracious enough to share his thoughts on his recent stardom, what he has planned for the future, and even dove into a little bit of personal life. Read on to see what all he had to say.
Jon Shartzer: First off, thanks for taking the time to speak to me this morning. I know it’s a very busy time of year for everybody right now, so I’ll try not to take too much of your time.
Danny Limelight: Yeah, no sweat. No worries.
Rey Fenix on AEW Dark Match
JS: You had a big match against Rey Fenix this past Tuesday on AEW Dark. Unfortunately, you weren’t able to come out with the victory. However, the feedback from all around has been extremely positive. What has been your biggest take away from that match and the attention that it has received?
DL: For me, it’s just been the moment, you know? Just living in that moment. Rey Fenix is one of the best wrestlers in the universe, in my opinion. It was my dream match to have a singles with him. I’ve been wanting it for a while. Like, we’ve wrestled in tag matches. I’ve wrestled his brother. I’ve known for him years. Especially at the AAA and The Crash in Mexico and stuff like that. Some San Diego promotions. So, I’ve known him for so long and he’s so damn good that I wanted the match for so long.
Being in the ring with him at that level, you know, at the company that AEW is, it was just one of those surreal moments that it happening here is the realization that the company trusted me to get in the ring with someone like Rey Fenix a week removed from his match with Kenny Omega for the heavyweight championship. So, it just showed me that they trusted me. I took away that I have what it takes to be in the ring with the best of them. I really do.
If you look at the matches that I’ve had recently, whether it was Brian Cage or Matt Sydal, and now Rey Fenix. Those are some of the best guys in the company and just being able to go in there and throw down and hang with the best of them means a lot to me.
Being Puerto Rican
JS: I think it’s fair to say that a lot of Hispanic wrestling is heavily Mexican featured. You’re very proud of your Puerto Rican heritage. How important is it to you, Danny Limelight to represent your culture within the business?
DL: Well, it’s very important. There’s not that many Puerto Ricans on television. When you think wrestlers, the ones that come to time my mind is obviously Santana and Ortiz. They’ve been holding down for Ricans for years. I think of Ivelisse. I think of Tasha Steelz. But that’s really about it, you know? Now, me being able to showcase my culture as well, you know, when my music hits and just seeing the big flag on the titantron, it means a lot to me.
My daughter, she’s Puerto Rican. So I want to set that example for her, that us Puerto Ricans, we can do things. Growing up, Puerto Ricans in New York City, we didn’t have the best representation. The only Puerto Ricans that we really had doing something was Mark Anthony and Jennifer Lopez.
For me, it’s important for other Puerto Ricans, and really Latinos in general, to be able to be that face and try to continue to put on. I remember Eddie Guerrero doing it for the Mexicans, for la rassa. The Latino Heat, I remember what that meant for so many people and I just want to try to do the same.
The Bodega vs 4 Minutes of Heat
JS: Next weekend, the Bodega will defend your CWFH United tag team titles against 4 Minutes of Heat. What can we expect from that match up?
DL: You can expect a Bodega beatdown, papi! It’s me and Papo Esco. We’re the Bodega bullies, the street terrorists. You know what I’m saying? 4 Minutes of Heat, they’re one of the most innovative tag teams there is that’s not currently signed. But if they try to come up in the bodega and take our gold away….we just got the things, man. So we’re gonna do whatever it takes to walk out as still champs. I know Papo’s starving. I’m always hungry. This is our first real defense with these championships, so obviously we have to go in there with the right mindset and we can’t get caught slipping.
The 2020 Whirlwind for Danny Limelight
JS: We’ve seen your star continuously rise this year, almost culminating with your match this past Tuesday. Can you sort of describe the whirlwind that you’ve experienced this year, especially with the pandemic having such a huge effect on the wrestling industry in 2020?
DL: Definitely. When 2019 ended, I was coming off of a really big year of wrestling. But I had just separated my shoulder in December of 2019. So I walked into 2020 with a vision of what I wanted. I had a 2020 vision that I put it on a shirt. I manifested it. A week after getting my shoulder separated, I was hit by a car and it popped my shoulder back into place and I began wrestling a month after my injury. I started grinding and trying to build by brand. And then the pandemic hit. A lot of people were like “I guess that’s it for wrestling, for the year.” But for me, I just used it as motivation to grind.
The Pandemic Hustle for Danny Limelight
I felt like the pandemic really brought the hustle out of everybody that had it in them. I’ve always been a hustler and I kicked into grind. I think what really set it off was making my New Japan Pro Wrestling debut in New Japan Strong, when I wrestled TJ Perkins. It’s funny that we’re having this conversation right now, ‘cause he just texted me. But, he’s the one that I made my debut with in New Japan and I think that started getting people’s eyes on me. Then being a part of that weekly show and my feud with Rocky Romero and joining Team Filthy, as well as everything that I did with Championship Wrestling From Hollywood and Prime Time Live kicking off. I think that helped me get my name out there even more so and then, obviously, ending the year strong by making my debut with AEW in October, taking on Jurassic Express, doing a little thing with them two weeks in a row, and then wrestling Brandon Cutler and so on and so forth.
It’s just been crazy, man. I have really had a moment to sit down and take it all in, because if I’m not wrestling, I’m doing these interviews. But I plan to. New Year’s Eve, I’m going to get a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne. I’m going to sit down with my homie and we’re just going to toast to the year, man. Because it was a hell of a year and I’m super grateful for it. I thank God, obviously, for guiding me and I’m thankful that my daughter has been able to watch me go through this. When I first started wrestling, I was wrestling for $20, you know, and that didn’t even cover my gas tank. So, now that I’m at this level and I’m so close that I can taste a contract, I just want to really live in the moment and then take that day, on New Year’s Eve, to just be thankful and look back on it and then manifest my goals for 2021.
Signing Full-Time Somewhere?
JS: Speaking of being able to taste that contract, right now you’re one of the hottest free agents in wrestling. You’ve worked with New Japan and AEW, of course, along with multiple others. Have you been hearing from other major promotions trying to acquire your services and could you see yourself signing somewhere full-time?
DL: Yeah, I could see myself signing somewhere full-time. I kind of have an idea of where I want to go, you know? I think I’d be a really good fit somewhere, a certain place, and I think I could be an asset to that company. I’m definitely not the one to deny opportunities or tell other people “no.” If I get a knock on my door and I think it’s worth it, then basically, we’ll go from there. But, I kind of know where I want to be and I’m just waiting for the right and, obviously, when the opportunity presents itself, we’ll go from there and the whole world will know. But until then, I just gotta focus on my grind and my work ethic.
Danny Limelight’s Future in Wrestling
JS: Absolutely. I assume that company is something that you’re going to keep close to your chest, so I’m not going to ask who that it is. But, where do you see yourself, big picture, in the next five to 10 years and your impact on the wrestling industry?
DL: You know, five to 10 years is a long time. 10 years is definitely a long time from now. But, I can see myself being a household name and being some kid’s favorite wrestler. Definitely putting on for the Latino culture and representing New York proud and just grinding.
In 10 years, my daughter will be 16. So, hopefully, I’ll be living a life where I can help her and get her whatever she needs and really continue to provide for her and continue to really just help others who can say, “If this guy did, I can do it.” I’m a street kid from Brooklyn, New York, man. When I told my teachers that I wanted to be a professional wrestler, they laughed. When I told my friends that I wanted to be a professional wrestler, they laughed.
When I was in the Marine Corps, beginning this journey to being a wrestler, people thought it was silly. But where I’m at now, I get the “Don’t forget the little people” text messages. In five to 10 years, I hope those messages aren’t a thing anymore and people realize that I didn’t change who I was and that I stayed authentic. So, that’s just what I want. I want to stay authentic. I want to stay true to who I am. But, obviously, I want to be a household name. I want to live an abundant life and I want to continue to grind and, hopefully, I want to be at the top of a company.
His Daughter Meaning Everything
JS: I just want to say that I love how much you mention your daughter. I love that she is your motivation, man. I have two kids, myself, and that is fantastic to hear.
DL: She’s sitting right next to me and every time I mention her, she wants me to do this: follow my daughter on Instagram, @LeesiRivera. She’s an actress. She has another national commercial coming out soon. So just follow her journey too, ‘cause she’s killing it. She’s definitely the main reason that I’ve got my head on right and I continue to grind. Like you said, I mention her all the time because she’s always here with me. She lives with her mom. We have a good relationship going to raise her and I think it’s important that she sees her dad following his dreams.
Getting to Know Danny Limelight As A Wrestler
JS: Absolutely. Switching gears here, let’s pull the curtain back just a little bit, which we’ve already started to do with talking about your daughter. What is something that the fans don’t know about you as a person, and not necessarily as the wrestler?
DL: There’s a lot of things they don’t know. *laughs* What they see is what they get with me, man. I’m not a mirage. I don’t have smoke and mirrors, you know. What you see in the ring, that’s Danny Limelight. That’s me, man. I’m a humble, cocky, in the middle of all that, Puerto Rican kid from New York. Obviously, I served my country for 10 years. I think most people know that. But if they don’t, I was in the Marine Corps for 10 years. I was a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, I made over 350 Marines.
I like to watch movies. That’s like my down time. I like to really watch movies and write movies. I don’t know if a lot of people know this or not yet. Some people do, but I’m also an actor that does my own stunts, as well. I’m a stuntman in Hollywood. I’ve just always been the type of person to follow my dreams, man. Nobody’s ever been able to tell me that I can’t do something. If they did, I made it my purpose to prove them wrong.
JS: That’s awesome. So what’s your favorite movie?
DL: Training Day with Denzel Washington
JS: Yes! I like that answer. Any big plans for Christmas this year? Are you able to spend it with your daughter and family and friends?
DL: I’m here right now with my daughter. We’re going to be opening up presents here, soon.She’s going to go home with her mom, later. Tomorrow, I’m just going to chill and rest my body. Then Saturday, I’ve got an early morning flight to Texas for Hurricane Pro Wrestling. I’ve got a match this Saturday. Then I’m flying back to Florida, man. So, a pretty busy week. Actually, the next two weeks are going to be super busy with wrestling. So, you know, I’m just going to enjoy my time off and spend it with my daughter, today. We’re going to have some fun and open some gifts for her and that’s it.
JS: A nice mixture of family time and the grind.
DL: Yes, sir. That’s how it has to be. You have to find balance.
Danny Limelight and His Fans
JS: Before we wrap things up, do you have any last words for your fans or any sort of shout outs that you want to give? Anything that you want to manifest going forward into 2021?
DL: I just want to thank everybody for their support this year. The love has been crazy. I think that, obviously, my talent would have gotten me here. But, with the support and the tweets, the likes, the follows, the mentions, all of that stuff really helps. I just want to thank my people. I appreciate the love and that’s it, bro. If anybody wants to follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @DannyLimelight, and go check out my Pro Wrestling Tees store at ProWrestlingTees.com/DannyLimelight. I’ve got a lot of goals planned for 2021 that I’m going to speak into existence on New Year’s Eve and we’re going to go from there.
JS: Once again, thank you for your time, Danny. I certainly appreciate it and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday and spend some time with your daughter. It’s been speaking to you, man.
DL: Thank you, brother. I appreciate you, too, and the time. Have a happy holiday.
I would like to thank Danny Limelight one more time for giving me the opportunity to catch up with him. We here at Sports Obsessive would like to wish him continued success going into 2021 and beyond. I can’t see what comes next in his professional wrestling career. We will certainly be following him closely and, as always, will have all of your updates right here on Sports Obsessive.