Roy Lucier is a founder of Roy’s Wrestling Vault, a series of YouTube channels where Roy preserves some of the more hard-to-find moments in wrestling history based on his tape collection.
Growing up a wrestling fan with satellite TV, Lucier became obsessed with Lucha Libre and Japanese wrestling.
From there, he became one of the premiere tape traders in the wrestling world.
Roy is a walking encyclopedia of pro wrestling, in his interview with Not About Wrestling, Roy covered everything from making tapes for legends to meeting Antonio Inoki, to toys that only existed in Mexico and Pittsburgh drug stores.
On Making Tapes For Chris Jericho
Growing up with access to satellite TV in the early 90s, Lucier was able to watch a variety of promotions like the CMLL in Mexico, New Japan, All Japan, and even some quickly became one of the most famous tape traders.
But it wasn’t just fans who wanted the tapes. Wrestlers would come to Roy in order to get compilations of their opponent’s work to study (like Chris Benoit once did) or just to have a tape of their own matches.
This included one for Chris Jericho.
“February 1996: a friend of mine calls me up and he’s like ‘Hey, my friend Chris Jericho is staying over here, do you want to come to meet him?’
[I’m] like, ‘wait what?’ Because I knew who Chris Jericho was. So, I drove down to Costa Mesa with a couple of friends at the time and we went over to my friend’s house.
My friend, Martin Marin–he used to run a promotion in Anaheim at the Marketplace–and he knew Jericho from when he was in Mexico when he was Corazón de León.
Jericho was going to be in town because he was doing an Ozzy Osbourne concert–his first one, that month; and as an agreement, he was gonna work a show in Compton in All Nation Center around that time.
I met Jericho and Martin explained to him, ‘Oh, this is who the boys go [to] for all their tapes’ and he was like, ‘Wait, you have Mexico tapes?’ and I’m like, “yeah.”
And he’s like, ‘I have none of my stuff.’ So, that night I went and I did a custom tape of like two tapes worth of all of Jericho’s matches just from CMLL, one after the other on these tapes, to give to him.”
On Antonio Inoki Getting Him a Radio Job
Antonio Inoki is one of the pillars of Japanese wrestling.
The founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling & one of the disciples of the Father of Puroresu, Rikidōzan, Inoki is one the few people who had enough clout to organize a super-card in Los Angeles in 1996 featuring New Japan, All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, Michinoku Pro, CMLL, AAA, WCW, and the NWA.
Promoting a show with so many different organizations, most of whom were not readily available on most Americans’ televisions, was going to require someone who had actually kept up with all of these promotions.
Not only did Inoki want Roy to promote the show, but he also asked a host of a local radio show to step down for an entire month:
“We all have a story about where we grew up and what we watched and what we were a part of. My story is mostly SoCal: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Garden Grove.
Now it’s Sacramento, I’ve lived here for 10 years, but I’ve got a hell of a story to tell about my years down there, and I was just lucky and fortunate to go to a lot of shows and be a part of a lot of special things personally.
I’ll never forget the Peace Festival. Antonio Inoki had this idea of world peace through pro wrestling.
So he had this event on June 1st, 1996 in Los Angeles called the World Wrestling Peace Festival and he had every promotion like WCW, AAA, CMLL, New Japan, and there was like another one that would have matches all on the same show.
Well, there was a local radio show called Squared Circle with the Shadowman and I got a phone call a month before the show happened and Shadowman calls me up and goes, ‘Hey I just got a phone call from Inoki.
He asked me if I would step down from the show and have you be a host for the whole month because you know the wrestlers, you know the storylines and all that.’
So, I was actually on there for four straight weeks talking about the Peace Festival–the matches, the angles, the wrestlers, all that stuff.
It’s like I’ve lived a very fortunate and blessed life and I’m not even fifty yet. So I’ve still got a hell of a story to tell.”
His Passion For Lucha Figure Collecting
One of Ray’s larger non-tape collections is his Lucha Libre toy collection. He grew up playing with the WWF LJN figures as a kid and later started trading Hasbro WWF figures.
Eventually, as Roy started to watch more Lucha Libre, his real passion became the Lucha figures, so much that some of his figures are willed to Rey Mysterio:
“It’s 1992, and CMLL is on my radar because of the TV show. Now, as I’m going to Lucha shows, I’m seeing these figures exist.
So CMLL works with Official San Francisco Toymaker to come out with a line of figures that has six figures in it. So they have Vampiro from WCW, later WCW[…] and they also have Atlantis, Último Dragón, Lizmark, Rayo de Jalisco, and Pierroth as a part of the group.
They were actually supposed to make a series two with some other figures on here listed but the promoter Antonio Peña left and created his own promotion, AAA.
Fast forward a year and a half, Antonio Peña works with a company called Hag and they make a line of figures called the Kelians. Kelians only existed for this one line of figures.
So, Kelian releases twelve figures, including the rookie figure of Rey Misterio Jr. and Psicosis, and I remember when I would go to Tijuana or when friends of mine would go down there, I’d always ask them to pick up the figures if they saw them.
There are twelve figures in the set, three of them were short run: Rey, Psicosis, and Máscara Sagrada.
If you could find those, it was like fifty to a hundred bucks you know, to get them or whatever.
Years later, I ended up getting the whole set, and then on top of that, I actually have them autographed–11 of the 12. The only one I don’t is Perro Aguayo who passed away.
I respect and love what Matt Cardona and Brian Meyers do, but their focus is formerly WWF [now] WWE figures.
Well, I love Lucha, I’ve loved it since I first started watching it in 1990 and heavily in 1992. So I just want to be that representative and do all I can [when] someone comes to me and goes ‘Hey, I know nothing about the figures.’
Well [I’ll] try to give them as much of a run down as I can.”
Despite how seemingly rare these figures are, with some wrestlers not even aware that they were ever made, they made their way around the United State as Roy found out through in an encounter with Cory Graves:
“It’s odd I remember talking to Cory Graves at a show and I had the Rey [figure from AAA] with me because I was trying to get it autographed.
He was telling me this story of how he and his brother, Sam Adonis, actually went to a pharmacy in Pittsburgh in ‘92 and would actually see these CMLL figures there.
So, it was weird how mass-produced they were and what kind of distribution that they were getting at the time.”
For more stories about the early days of tape trading and befriending some of the biggest names in pro wrestling check out Chris and Steph’s interview with Roy Lucier.