Valentino Rossi and South African sport: Inspirations for AEW’s Angelico

Angelico catches up with us in another exclusive chat revealing his deep admiration for Valentino Rossi and how he is proudly South African.

valentino rossi and south african sport inspirations for aews angelico 1024x683 - Valentino Rossi and South African sport: Inspirations for AEW’s Angelico

We caught up with South African professional wrestler Angelico, on the occasion of AEW Dynamite coming to South African TV and got some insight into who inspires the performer.

A big fan of motorbikes in general and specifically MotoX and MotoGP, Angelico reveals what inspires his colourful ring gear and how he has followed the career of fellow South African Brad Binder.

Angelico is Dynamite

Angelico is excited at the prospect of the promotion he is currently signed for, AEW, sending out its weekly show Dynamite, on TNT Africa.

“I think it’s a huge step for, for South African fans to be able to see such a new and dynamic wrestling product for the first time in a long time,” Angelico told the South African. 

“So I think that’s, you know, amazing for the South African audience to get that I think it’s amazing for AEW, to get the opportunity to reach that audience and to be on South African TV. And then personally, for me to know that now that when I’m on the shows, everyone back home, can see them. Yeah, it’s almost like a dream come true.”

These colours don’t run

Angelico performs in distinctive ring gear and he explained the inspiration for his clobber. Having lived in Spain for a long time and been a fan of MotoGP, he looks up to Valentino Rossi. AEW’s first South African performer also likes to incorporate green and gold (yellow) into his attire to show his national pride.

“My ring gear is definitely inspired by motocross and Moto GP,” Angelico said. 

“The two colours that I’ve always used in my gear has always been the green and fluorescent yellow. 

“They represent two things to me. So the green and yellow represents the green and gold of a lot of South African teams. So it represents being in the South African colours to me having a bit of green and gold or yellow on me. 

“And then the tone of the gold is a fluorescent yellow, which is because my main sporting idol of all World Sports is Valentino Rossi, nine-times Moto GP world champion in case you didn’t know, and so I like having that fluorescent yellow on me to always represent a bit of Rossi and the green and the yellow together to me makes me feel like I’m representing South Africa. And yeah and a lot of wrestlers have changed colours and had different colours throughout their careers. But apart from one or two special outfits I’ve done I’ve really for the last 13 years just stuck to my colours.”

Angelico was in Aragon to witness Brad Binder being crowned Moto3 world champion and wished the Red Bull KTM rider all the best for his second season in the Premier Class. The long-time MotoGP fan was impressed with Binder claiming the first MotoGP win for KTM at the Czech Grand Prix in 2020 and wished both Brad and his brother Darryn well for 2021 and beyond.

“I mean, he won a race last year on a KTM,” the former AAA World Tag Team Champion said. 

“I mean, that boy is fast. And I think he can definitely be a future world champion, which would be huge for SA. Yeah, fingers crossed for those boys. Both the Binder brothers.”

Angelico 1 - Valentino Rossi and South African sport: Inspirations for AEW’s Angelico
The Hybrid 2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) facing Top Flight (Darius and Dante Martin). Photo: All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

Despite being in the biggest promotion of his career to date, Angelico says that he feels at home on the roster and isn’t put off by having global superstars around him.

When asked if he ever felt intimated being in AEW, Angelico said: “No, and I don’t want that to set sound like it’s in a bad way. But I’ve just like I said before, when my music hits and I come out, I’m sort of free flowing and dancing and like, in my moment, that comes from just having a confidence in my own abilities. And I know what I bring to the table and what I offer and that’s the same as when I’m wrestling anyone in the world. I can definitely respect them. And I usually always respect them and I can have a huge admiration for them. But I can positively say I’m never intimidated by anyone.”

AEW has given Angelico and many others the biggest platform of their careers but also exposed them to the coalface of social media criticism. The man from Drumblade says that he has almost mastered the art of blocking out hate and says that he doesn’t spend too much time on socials in any case.

“We reach a wider audience now, I’m personally reaching a wider audience than ever before in my career,” Angelico added. 

“So you’re obviously going to get a lot more comments coming in you know, both ways good and bad. I personally am not a big user of social media, I use it you know, just as much as I have to. And the negative comments, you know, a long long time ago, I learned to not let them get to me. 

“I grew a thick skin very early in my career. So you know, I can read through a bad comment and just let it pass by I really don’t take it to heart Everyone has their opinion, they’re entitled to their opinion, and they’re entitled to share that opinion if they want if you know, you want to put out negative energy into the world and that’s what you feel like you know, that’s what you could contribute that day, then that’s fine, that’s you, but I’m not gonna let it affect me.”

If you don’t win, you learn

Angelico has set his sights on becoming AEW tag team champions with long-time partner Jack Evans, but is relaxed about progressing to that target.

“Like Conor McGregor said, you never lose, if you don’t win, you learn. So me and Jack [Evans] haven’t had our most successful year by any means. I mean, everywhere we’ve gone before, we’ve, you know, become world champions Tag Team Champions, and we haven’t reached that objective yet in AEW. So until we reach that goal, we’re always going to be continuously learning from all our losses and from all our opponents. That’s just part of the process. And once we’ve learned it all And once we’ve got everything down to where it needs to be, then we will be where we deserve to be and that is a future AEW tag team champions.

“For me, it’s a very easy and almost relaxing process, where every year, I just aim to be better than the year before. So personally, professionally, you know, I’m always trying to better myself in the ring, I’m trying to better myself as a person out the ring. And I always just change my perspective to where I was at this time the year before. Just, you know, check in with myself that I’m on that, that route to improving myself. And as long as I feel that I am no matter how small, because not every year can you make these big steps and big improvements. But as long as every year I feel like I’m improving somewhat then I feel like I’m still on course to turn up to wherever I’m going to turn up.”

You can catch Angelico on AEW Dynamite on Friday nights from 20:00 on TNT Africa on DStv Channel 137.

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