The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Oct. 4, 2022

Dan Lambert On His AEW Heel Promos, American Top Team, Masvidal vs. Covington

Dan Lambert On His AEW Heel Promos, American Top Team, Masvidal vs. Covington

Dan Lambert (@danlambertatt) is an entrepreneur, AEW Wrestling personality, black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the owner of the MMA gym American Top Team. He joins Chris Van Vliet at the Blue Wire Studios at Wynn Las Vegas to talk about being part of AEW, why he loved being a heel, working with Chris Jericho, why he started American Top Team, what they look for in an athlete at ATT, how close he was to buying the UFC, his take on the Jorge Masvidal vs. Colby Covington feud, taking legendary wrestlers out for dinner and much more!


For more information about American Top Team visit:


On AEW fans:

“Every time I went out my goal was to make them hate me as much as I hate them. Every one of them, hate.”

On being booed:

“I don’t know how the faces do it. I don’t think I could do it, it’s got to be way harder.”

On praise for Chris Jericho:

“He is so good. He said ‘Ok, you are going to cut my song off at this point, and people are going to lose their minds but keep singing the song.’ I’m like ok, and whatever he said happened, it happened.”

On how the partnership with AEW started:

“Tony Khan is an MMA fan. He just happened to be down in Miami meeting with Jorge Masvidal and his agent, they were talking about doing something together when Jorge was so hot after the whole flying knee thing. His agent gives me a call and says ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ I’m like well I just sat down for dinner with some friends that came to town. He says ‘Well tell them to p*ss off. I am down in Miami sitting with Tony Khan, you guys are like brothers from another life. You have got to come and meet this guy.’ I’m like really? Okay. I told my friends see ya, nice seeing you, I’m out of here. I went to meet him and we just totally hit it off and became friends. He is a total wrestling nerd, I’m a total wrestling nerd. Obviously he is a big football guy and football is the greatest thing in the world to me. We just totally hit it off and became friends and stayed in contact. When he came down to do a Miami show, it was actually the first show they did there after the pandemic was over in front of a live crowd. He reached out to me and said ‘Hey, do you want to come to the show? Maybe bring some of the guys down, grab a mic and cut a promo on people, just for fun?’ Yeah why not. So I did it and it was a blast and I thought that was it. But then I get a text 2 weeks later saying ‘Hey, what are you doing? Do you want to come to Jacksonville and do a show?’ Yeah why not? And then it just kept going.”      

On being involved in wrestling before AEW:

“I actually met Jeff Jarrett at a UFC show in Nashville, just happened to be sitting next to him. I hit it off with him, and Bobby Lashley was their champion at the time, he fought and trained with us, super good guy. Jeff reached out to me and said ‘Hey, would you like to bring some of the fighters over and cut some promos.’ I was like yeah, and that was a lot of fun.”

On being a heat magnet:

“I got really lucky with the people that they matched me up with. I got to do stuff with Jericho, got to do a short something with Cody, got to do something with Lance Archer against Hangman Page. Some of these guys are so over, getting heat off of Jericho, he does all the work, you can’t get an easier assignment than that. Once you do something with him, everybody knows you from that and the heat just kind of has a residual effect. I guess I just got lucky.”  

On wanting to be a wrestler:

“I still want to be a wrestler. Who doesn’t want to be a wrestler? [Chris mentions he trained to be a wrester] If you want to be a wrestler you are a dork. [If you want to] Go and do something easy, then go and be a fighter. That’s not an easy way to make a living, those guys take a beating. I don’t think that people appreciate the toll that it takes on those guys.” 

On having a match in AEW:

“I figured that the heel cowardly manager gets somehow tricked into a match to get his ass kicked. So yeah, I figured I would. I mean Chris Jericho beating me up with a kendo stick in front of 20,000 people on pay-per-view, how cool is that? I can’t tell you how much I was having, it was the coolest thing ever.” 

On if Dan Lambert is still working with AEW:

“Not now. About 2 months ago we finished up our feud with the Men of the Year, we had Scorpio Sky drop the belt to Wardlow. Sky was going to take a couple of months off because he had a knee injury that needed to heal. Page was being repackaged so he could do what he is doing now with The Firm and with MJF. So I thought that it was a good time to wind down, I thought that I was getting stale. The reactions were still good, but I just grabbed Tony after the show and said that I think this has run its course. I don’t want to go backwards or overstay my welcome. He was like yeah man sure. If you have an idea for something in the future then come back then sure whatever, call me. If Tony called me tomorrow and had a good idea and I liked it then sure, I’ll do it.”

On getting recognised more:

“It depends on where you are. No one cares about teams in MMA, the fighters get recognized, the coaches don’t. They may mention where the guy trained, but people don’t care,it’s an individual sport. In wrestling it is more about the individuals and stuff, so you get a bit more recognition.”

On Dan Lambert’s promo style and comparisons to Jim Cornette:

“Jim Cornette is the greatest manager of all time. He just is. I think [better than Heyman] and I love Heyman, but I grew up with Cornette. A lot of it, who you remember as the greatest football player or basketball player is who you were the most exposed to when you were younger. Bobby Heenan towards the end of his run, I have been watching since the late 70’s, but it was towards the end of his run when he was in the AWA when I first started watching wrestling, so I didn’t have much exposure to him before he went to WWE. We didn’t get AWA until it was on ESPN for a short period. But Cornette was right in my wheelhouse. Man, he was just so good. I know a lot of people have said that the things I have said in your promos are what Cornette has said on his podcast, but I don’t listen to podcasts. So I’m like oh cool, if Cornette says it, then it must be right. I always took that as a complement, I thought the guy was so great back in the day.”   

On MMA improving over the years:

“It’s still such a young sport, it’s still evolving so much, especially from the training and the running teams side of it. There are so many things that are different from 5 years ago, never mind 10, 15 or 20 years ago. But these athletes are studs, if you are a 145 lb guy and you want to make money in sport, you aren’t gonna play football or basketball, where are you going to make your money? The level of athlete is changing, what works now and what works before are completely different.”

On the biggest shift in MMA:

“Probably the ranking of what disciplines matter the most. Back 20 years ago it was who was the best ground fighter. People would laugh at karate back in the day, it was all about ground fighting. Now, who wins fights on their back these days? Not named Charles Oliveira or Brian Ortega. You don’t win fights on your back anymore. Everybody knows enough of the ground game to defend it. The person on top wins the grappling, and now there is karate working in fights, holy sh*t that stuff actually works. I think that karate may work more in MMA now that Jiu Jitsu does. It’s just the evolution of the sport.”

On what Dan Lambert looks for in an athlete:

“Go back 15 years and it was like where would we get our next generation of fighters from. But now the sport has evolved so much that we probably get 30 legit fighters a month reaching out to us to do a camp and do training. We have a big gym but we have limited resources, only so much mat time and so much training. If 30 people want to come and train, we will only say yes to 2 of them. We just want to make sure that they are the right fit. It might not be because they are a stud, undefeated and will be a champion. It might be that this guys is a heavyweight that has a good ground game, he has potential and will be a really good training partner. Or this guy is a 125 lb good wrestler, he is a great fit as a training partner. When we think they will be a good git, we take them in a for a week and see if it’s a good fit for them. Some are better in the smaller environment than ours, but we just look to see is a good fit. But if you were to ask me for the number one thing to look for in a fighter, athleticism. It used to be the best ground guy, then the best wrestler, then the best striker. Now it’s just give me the best athlete, we will do the rest from there.”

On his proudest moment:

“The coolest thing that I have ever seen was Masvidal’s flying knee. Without a doubt the coolest moment I have seen in a fight. But the coolest thing I have seen is Jorge’s resurrection. He called it. He had so many highs and so many lows in his career. I never thought he reached his potential, the guy is a nut job. You hear about him jumping over a table at a restaurant to punch someone, that’s him. I could probably get arrested just telling the stories of what this guy has done over the last few years. But to hear his story and to see what he has done coming up from a split decision loss here and a dumb decision there and thinking he was on the tail side of his career. To see him catch fire like that, he was in great shape and he said that he was going to kill people. At first I thought he was full of sh*t. He came out and had that run, the BMF belt, the Askren fight, he was a next level star. You know how Chris Jericho can lose and put over the next 10 people he has feuds with, he is still Chris Jericho. He is still going to get that heat and people still want to see him. Masvidal is like that, people have such crazy respect for Masvidal. He can still lose a fight here and there, but people want to see him because he is Jorge Masvidal. He still is a BMF and his story is so cool. This guy is making money, he calls me from Saudi Arabia, to see that guy, his story and where I thought he would end up. That ascension is the coolest thing I have ever seen.”   

On Dan Lambert’s favorite belt from his collection:

“I would say my favorite is not the one that people would say is the coolest belt that I have. But my favorite is the old Georgia Heavyweight Championship belt because that was the one that was on TBS during the 6:05 to 8:05 timeslot, and it was same one for like 20 plus years. A lot of these belts, they change every 4 or 5 years, it gets beat up, broken, stolen, thrown off a bridge. This was the same belt forever, and everyone held that belt. The only belts I collect are actual used belts, so all of them are ring used.” 

On what Dan Lambert is grateful for:

“The fact that MMA has become such a mainstream sport, that I got to meet Tony Khan and I am at point in my life where I can do stuff I like.”