In Spanish, Daga means dagger. This short sharp-pointed knife used as a weapon, very iconic and symbolic of traditional close combat confrontations in history. In the Impact Zone, El Jefe Daga has the same sharpness in his moves when it comes to defeating an opponent. The new Mexican sensation of Impact Wrestling is slowly but surely making his way into the company.
In October 2019, he qualified for a spot in the X-Division Ladder match at Bound For Glory. That night, he showed the fans he deserved the spot. Daga is inventive, daring, and as good as a mat technician as he is a high-flyer. Over the last few weeks, he had been a part of the war against oVe next to Rich Swann, Tessa Blanchard, and Tommy Dreamer. Daga proved in a very short period he could be a serious contender for the X-Division Championship like the World title.
SteelChair Magazine had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with Daga about his path in the wrestling business, signing with Impact Wrestling, Hard To Kill PPV, being a Luchador without a mask, and what the future holds for him on Impact.
You were born and raised in Mexico. You have wrestled there for more than 13 years. Were you watching Impact Wrestling when you were a student of the game or even later? Did you think, one day, I would be a part of it?
I’m one hundred percent Mexican. Actually, when I started wrestling, I was like performing for 15 people. So being on Impact right now, it is like really far from me at that point. When I first trained, I used to watch TNA and other companies from the USA. At that time, I never thought in my head that I was going to be at this point in my career signed by Impact Wrestling. It’s so strange because I worked in Mexico for the biggest company, Lucha Libre AAA. After that, when I left the company, I was looking for more exposure around the world, and then Impact Wrestling gave me the opportunity now to have this exposure in America, which is like really good for me. I’ve been in the business for 13 years now, so make this stamp into the States is a good thing for me.
Who were the wrestlers you were appreciating at that time in TNA?
One of my favourites at that point was Low Ki. But I also liked Amazing Red, Samoa Joe, The Motor City Machine Guns. At that time, TNA used to do the X-Cup and the World Cup. Wrestlers from Japan and Mexico came to TNA and had some crazy matches. I used to watch that. I used to watch AJ Styles, for sure, LAX. I used to watch a lot of people and honestly, I really enjoyed to watch TNA at that moment.
Is Lucha Libre AAA and Impact Wrestling partnership a reason for you being on Impact Wrestling right now? Or is it because of your work in the USA with Lucha Underground?
Almost three years ago, I left Lucha Libre AAA to change my career, be an indie guy again, and look for the exposure than I was telling you. Now, I’m working with AAA again, but out of it, I was looking for more exposure. I had a couple of conversations with Impact Wrestling before but, at the moment I was back with AAA, I had this huge opportunity with Impact, and then they signed me. I don’t think it was just because I was back with AAA. I was definitely looking for exposure. Yes, Impact Wrestling have had this partnership with AAA, and I work for both companies right now.
Impact Wrestling is the first major US wrestling company to sign you and offer you a contract. Of course, you worked for Lucha Underground and briefly for MLW, but Impact Wrestling are making a bet on signing you, offering you a contract and allowing you to make it in the USA. What was your reaction to this, as a Mexican now able to be successful in the US wrestling business?
As you said, I worked for MLW a little bit. A long time ago, even when WWE hadn’t created the 205 Live brand, I had a tryout with the company. I had never been in a company full time like now that I’m with Impact Wrestling. As a Mexican, it’s like weird because when you grow up in the Lucha Libre business, your bigger goal is to be a part of CMLL or Lucha Libre AAA, the two biggest wrestling companies there in Mexico. I have the opportunity to work for AAA. I won the Cruiserweight Championship there. Now I’m the Latin American Champion there. In my head, I’ve always been like a dreamer. I’ve always been like something than one more. That’s why I was trying to open the market for me in the States, in the UK, in Japan, when I went to Dragon Gate. It’s like a lot of things and, even to me, I think it is harder as a Mexican and as a Luchador, because all over the world if you think about a Mexican wrestler, the first thing you think about is a mask with a lot of colours.
‘La Mascara’, wearing a mask, is a huge part of the Lucha Libre tradition.
It’s different for me at one point. When I started training, in my head, I wanted to wear a mask. But then, when I started to perform, I did it without a mask. Also, my five favourite wrestlers, my biggest inspirations in this business, they have never worn a mask. When I was training, all my friends and all the people of the arena where I started, they were all trying to do Lucha Libre, spots, and high-flying things. I know how to do that because it’s my background, but when I was back in my house after every training, I was playing videos from YouTube from Misawa, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Negro Casas. My favourite wrestlers were not masked wrestlers. My favourite wrestler of all time, the Dynamite Kid, never wore a mask when he was wrestling. If one of them wore a mask, it was like just a little bit of time in their careers. I wore a mask but just a little bit of time too. In little venues in Mexico, they liked to create a character, and they wanted me to perform as that character, so I wore a mask for a while. It was like maybe like nine months, but as Daga, I have never worn a mask. Sometimes I think it’s hard because I need to prove myself, and I need to prove to the people what my style is. That’s why I always had in my head the dream to go to the UK and Japan because, to me, they are some of the biggest stages to prove yourself as a real wrestler, not as a Luchador, not as a Gaijin, just to do a spot as a wrestler. When I went to PROGRESS the last year, and I had this standing ovation after my match, that was one point my career when I said, I don’t need a mask, I can do Lucha, I can do wrestling, and I can do submission wrestling. I can do everything.
When are you going to come back to the UK?
I would love to come back to the UK. There’s a bunch of wrestlers I want to face there hopefully this year. I also really want to come back to Japan.
I won’t ask you about the signification of your name but since you’re on Impact, you’ve been dubbed El Jefe, which means The Boss. Why this nickname?
I’m not that old, I’m in my thirties (he’s thirty-one), but I’ve been in the ring for a long time. When you talk with people in Mexico, when you talk with a person that has more experience than you or has been in the business longer like you, in wrestling like in a store, you call him Jefe all the time. People started to call me like that in Mexico first because I trained people there, so they came to me and call me Jefe and make me feel like old (laughs). I started to think in my head, that sounds good, I don’t have a mask, so what is my nickname going to be? I thought I can be El Jefe, the Boss of Lucha Libre because I can do everything. I know how to go to the mat, I wrestled Zack Sabre Jr. in a match for thirty-five minutes, and it was like just submission wrestling. I can do a high-flying match, and I can do whatever I think. That’s why I say El Jefe. It means The Boss, and I’m the Boss because I can do everything.
Who are the wrestlers you’re looking forward to competing against on Impact Wrestling? What are the titles you are targeting and the kind of matches you want to be a part of in the Impact Zone?
The kind of matches that I want to have is one the people can remember. It doesn’t matter if it’s a title match, a street fight, a ladder match. It doesn’t matter. I want people to know all the things that I’m capable to do. About the wrestlers I have in mind, I just had a match with TJP, which is one of my favourites on Impact right now. He’s a little tire, and I’m either. I would love to face TJP one on one. I would like to face Moose in a one-on-one match. I would like to face Ace Austin, because, to me, he is a joke as a Champion. He’s just a little kid, he had luck and became champion, and he doesn’t even know who he is. I want to face him because, when you hold the title in the place I come from in Mexico, you have to be a serious wrestler, someone who knows how to respect business and do everything for it. So I would love to face him just to take that title away from him. I think my first step will be the X-Division and, in my head, the World Championship too. I think every wrestler in that company wants to one day be the World Champion.
I would love to see you compete against Rich Swann…
I would love to too. He’s amazing. I think he’s one of the best wrestlers in the roster. Yes, I would love to face Rich, TJP, Moose, and also Eddie. I faced Eddie Edwards ten years ago in Mexico, and I faced him again last year in Wrestling Revolver. I think when I will be in the ring with him, everything will be turning into a strong style match and I like it.
‘Bound For Glory’ was your very first PPV with Impact Wrestling. You were involved in the X-Division Ladder match. How do you feel about this match and this first experience live on PPV?
It was amazing. First, the match to qualify for the ladder match (against Chris Bey) was really good. I was like a little bit nervous, even if I’ve been in this business for a long time already, but it was different. I was nervous, but I feel pretty comfortable with the ladders. That’s the way I won my first title on TV in Mexico (AAA World Cruiserweight Title in a 6-Way Ladder Match in 2012). So I took control as I’m fearless, I don’t feel scared to take a huge bump or get cut or whatever the thing is.
Even if you are not on the card of ‘Hard To Kill’ this Sunday night, what are the matches that you are looking forward to watching?
I will pay attention to the X-Division title match because I think like that’s one of the steps that I want to reach, one of the things that I want to get half of this year. For sure, I think not just me, but the whole wrestling world is going to pay attention to the Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard match, which is a huge thing. I want to focus on that match too because, as I told you, I am going to try to hold the belt. I don’t let me pace myself. I am going to hold a belt on Impact this year, so I have to pay attention to both matches, the X-Division and the World Heavyweight ones. These two matches at Hard To Kill really have my attention.
I asked this question to a few Impact wrestlers and producers before. For you, can a woman hold a belt that is usually held by men and be the World Champion of a major national-televised wrestling promotion?
All things personal aside, to me, as a wrestler and as a fan, because I think every wrestler starts as a fan, I think now in this era Tessa Blanchard is one of the best wrestlers, not just female wrestlers but one of the best wrestlers. She’s strong, she’s quick, and this is not a bad thing. Sami looks out of shape, but he’s a really bad guy, he can do whatever he needs to do just to keep this title. So my answer to your question is yes, she can win the title, but she has to be so careful with this guy.
To all your readers, I want to say they have to keep an eye on Impact because Impact is going to do really good things for the business.
Follow Daga on @Daga_wrestler.
Hard To Kill PPV will air live from The Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, January 12 at 7 PM CST (1 AM GMT). It will live stream worldwide on Fite TV.
IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV in the USA. The show is available to view in the UK from 2 am Wednesdays on the IMPACT Plus app and airs at 9 pm Wednesdays on Fight Network UK (Sky 192/Freesat 161), (circa) 11 pm Fridays on 5Star and repeated on Fight Network UK at 9 pm on Sundays.
All pics, screenshots, and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV and Basil Mahmud.