Where Are They Now? Rico

Page 2 of 4
February 20, 2013

“Jesse got a call from [WWE], asking if he had any talent,” Rico said. “He sent a tape in and shortly after that, I got a call from Howard Finkel. He said we’re having a 10-day tryout and asked if I was interested in coming. I was in shock.”

Rico soon was on his way to WWE headquarters in Stamford, Conn., to take part in the last dojo run by WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk Jr. The infamous camps had been used for years as a measuring stick for potential Superstars. But before the camp even started, Rico thought the proverbial fork had been stuck in him.

“We all met in the cafeteria, and Dory and his wife were going to each wrestler and asking what our name was, how old we were and how long we had been in the business. Depending on what you said, the conversation continued from there,” he said before detailing the conversation he had with the legendary grappler. 

According to Rico, it went a little something like this:

FUNK: What’s your name?

RICO: Rico Costantino.

FUNK: How old are you?

RICO: Thirty-eight.

FUNK: How long have you been in the business?

RICO: Eight months.

“Then he stood up and walked to the next person,” Rico said. “Shut down. I didn’t think that was good.”

Athough he was the oldest guy in the camp, Costantino worked harder than anyone and impressed WWE officials enough to earn a developmental contract. The decrease in pay compared to his bail bonds job made him think twice, however, especially with a family at home. Rico sought the counsel of a former WWE Champion, who lived near Las Vegas.

“I met with Yokozuna and we talked a while,” he said. “The last thing he said to me was, ‘People would give their right arm and left leg to get what you’re getting.’ That stuck with me.”

Yokozuna’s advice led Rico to accept the contract. He was soon on his way to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Ky. Although he was 38, he still had a lot to learn. To this day, he credits the people at OVW for getting him to the heights he reached. But even with all the mentoring he received at OVW, Rico almost didn’t make it to WWE’s main roster.  (WATCH RICO IN OVW ACTION WITH JOHN CENA)

“I think it was because of my age, they were going to let me go,” he said.

But his teachers weren’t going to let the company pass on someone who worked so hard to get there.

“Jim Cornette wrote a letter to Mr. McMahon and Stephanie, explaining that I was a hard worker and I do what I’m told and that they should at least give me a tryout.”

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