Zelina Vega exclusive interview: “I know the real Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas”
There’s an old saying that, sometimes, you just need someone to slap some sense into you. Enter Zelina Vega.
After making her abrasive NXT debut with a jaw-shattering slap to Andrade “Cien” Almas last month, Vega has vowed to turn Almas’ career around. Almas will have no bigger opportunity for that turnaround than his one-on-one matchup with Johnny Gargano this Saturday night at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III. Just days before the event, Vega shed some light on her relationship with Almas and their intentions in Brooklyn.
WWE.COM: What exactly is the relationship between you and Andrade?
ZELINA VEGA: I am his business manager, and as his business manager, my job is to keep him on track, with his eyes on the prize in NXT.
WWE.COM: How long have you known Andrade?
VEGA: I first met Andrade seven years ago in Mexico. We struck up a deal for me to help manage his career affairs and take the success of his unique brand to a whole new level. The problem is, the more success Andrade experienced, the larger his ego grew. Eventually, we decided to part ways, and I let him do his own thing.
WWE.COM: What led to the both of you reuniting in NXT?
VEGA: I don’t think I’d call it reuniting — more like me saving Andrade from himself. I know the real Andrade, and the guy I was watching on NXT for months before I got here was not the real Andrade. The Andrade I knew in Mexico would do anything to get to the top and even more to stay on top. The Andrade I knew would give his left arm for the spotlight and the money that comes with it. But the Andrade I’ve seen on NXT got lazy and complacent.
WWE.COM: I see you are very passionate about this …
VEGA: (Interrupts) You need to understand something. Andrade had a large reputation to uphold because of his rich family heritage in Mexico, and he upheld that reputation because of my management behind the scenes. We were treated to five-star restaurants every night, walked into any club we wanted to, women falling over him; you name it, and we had it. Andrade was treated like a god in Mexico, but when he’s on the biggest stage of his career in NXT, he suffers a losing streak? It’s like he stopped caring. Honestly, it’s upsetting because I know he’s better than that.
WWE.COM: How receptive has Andrade been to your attempts to get him back on track?
VEGA: Andrade wasn’t receptive to me at first, but it’s my job to slap some sense back into him, both literally and figuratively. Whether it’s when he’s slacking off by the pool instead of going to the gym, or reaching for pizza when he should be reaching for his brown rice and grilled chicken. He wasn’t happy about it, but I’m not here to please anyone. I’m here to keep Andrade focused.
VEGA: It’s simple. Andrade had fame and popularity in Mexico, and he experienced that same fanfare when he made his NXT debut. Eventually that fanfare and support left Andrade and went to guys like Gargano. So, my goal is for Andrade to show the people whose side they should really be on.
WWE.COM: Gargano could be a serious threat considering what he’s been through the last few months and his renewed mindset to start from scratch.
VEGA: We know all about Gargano’s sob-story past and what he’s capable of, but as far as we are concerned, Johnny Wrestling will become “Johnny Irrelevant.” Andrade and I have our game plan, and we know exactly how we are going to attack this. Mark my words, this Saturday night at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, you will see a side of Andrade “Cien” Almas that you have never seen before.