Lucha Libre’s Five On The Rise!
One of the very first articles I ever wrote about lucha over 12 years ago was about luchadores who at that time were getting pushed and moving up the card. I don’t have a copy of that article, but I vividly remember that it featured write-ups on Tarzan Boy, Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Bucanero, who were about a year or two away from forming Los Guerreros del Infierno.
While New Mistico has gotten most of the attention this year, there are a lot of luchadores who have really moved up the ladder this year. A lot of young talent and a few veterans who are also getting a deserved opportunity to make their mark in lucha libre. The list is actually quite long featuring guys (and gals) like New Mistico, veteran Euforia, Angel De Oro, Diamante Azul, Niebla Roja, Fenix, Daga, Chicano, Guerrero Maya Jr., Puma King, Bobby Zavala, Tiger, Sexy Lady, Samuray Del Sol, Hijo de Rey Misterio (Horus), Triton, Flamita and several others. There’s a lot of great talent in lucha libre in 2012. I know its easy to bitch and moan about what’s wrong with wrestling, but if you just sit back and think of positives in pro wrestling, one that is really not being brought up that often is the amount of great young talent coming in and out of Mexico and other regions that feature the lucha libre style.
It use to be something that was often discussed by those in lucha libre that you could find talent in some of the most remote places in Mexico and in heavily populated Latino cities in the US like Los Angeles that fans unfamiliar with lucha didn’t know about because all they knew of was AAA and CMLL at that time. In recent years both promotions have made a greater effort in bringing in new, young talent to their rosters. CMLL has been proactive going that route thanks to the Gran Alternativa and Forjando Un Idolo/En Busca De Un Idolo tournaments. They need young talent to fill those tournaments.
AAA has gone about it in a few different ways. For one thing, Konnan and the Roldan Family have been far more open in bringing in young talent in the last 3 years and they to have added a contest to discover new talent. In a bit of a rarity, Konnan even admits to watching wrestling from other promotions, which if you don’t know is actually a shocking and rare thing when it comes to people getting into promoting, booking or writing in wrestling. With that…
Here’s five luchadores who have really made a mark in 2012!
When he first showed up in AAA in 2006 he was immediately labeled as the “next Rey Mysterio” as he showed incredible high flying and athleticism. He was part of the initial group of AAA high flyers in a group called Real Fuerza Aerea. Laredo Kid was the one that was positioned to be a star out of that group while the rest of the members were mostly there to keep the middle of the card strong. Injuries, group members coming and going, and lack of work, led to Rey Cometa and Pegasso leaving AAA.
When they did, they headed to the indy circuit were they had a brief cup of tea with the IWRG group out of Naucalpan. They then entered CMLL in late 2008. Some people questioned whether they would ever get a shot in CMLL given that they didn’t have the political or family connection within the promotion and also had the “former AAA” label on them, which for years was something that was a negative to both CMLL wrestlers and their fans. They did have an advantage over previous AAA wrestlers in that their high-flying tecnico style was perfect for CMLL’s midcard. They’d be used more often in CMLL than in AAA.
Rey Cometa teaming with Pegasso mostly stuck around the 2nd and 3rd match on CMLL cards. There also were a new wave of high-flying tecnicos that were being brought in over the past 2 years to fill out tournaments geared towards showcasing newcomers. While Pegasso seemed to be stuck in the same place with new talent arriving and also missing time with injuries, Rey Cometa kept on being part of the midcard, but in April worked a few semi-main event trios matches in Arena Coliseo.
CMLL then put him in a feud with Puma King in early June and the feud has really heated up to the point that they will face off in a mask match at the 9/14 79th Anniversary show. Most fans feel that the result will end with Puma King winning and Rey Cometa unmasking, but its likely that the end result no matter who wins could turn out to be beneficial to both luchadores. The feud has been heated and both have shown that they are very capable of being key members to CMLL. With CMLL booking so many shows and having so much television (and not to mention the terra online show), they’ve established themselves as worthy regulars.
The latest luchador to get the label as the potential next Rey Mysterio in AAA has been Dinastia. Not surprising that he’s talented as he comes from a long line of luchadores as he is the nephew of Super Crazy. He also got to learn from other relatives in the business like Crazy Boy, Pesadilla, and Taz El Feroz (who is probably best remembered as Rey Cuervo).
I first remember seeing him working early card matches on DTU shows and always being impressed with him. He was probably the most skilled wrestler on the roster despite his young age and was immediately a guy who was talked about being good going back to 2009. He won the minis portion of the 2011 Quien Pinta Por La Corona talent search contest and since that time has brought his very innovative, high-flying style into AAA’s minis division. He gets to team with one of lucha libre’s most innovative wrestlers in Mascarita Dorada in trios matches.
The one benefit for Dinastia in AAA is that despite him being a mini, he can also work the relevos de locura matches were he can face off against a greater variety of opponents and not just against minis. Those matches tend to be fun and he’s given AAA another quality wrestler to throw into the mix. If AAA ever decides to move him out of the division, they have a nice crew of mid-card rudos who are capable of being good opponents. Since Dr. Lucha gets to fantasy book stuff on F4-Daily all the time, might I suggest a Dinastia in the role of Rey Mysterio against Los Inferno Rockers in the role of Los Diabolicos for 2013?
In 2011 a few luchadores quit CMLL for a variety of reasons. Semental was one of those who left. He was mostly working opening and second matches and at times wasn’t on shows because of how much depth CMLL had on their roster. In the past, most of these undercard guys would even get less notice from anyone outside of those attending shows given the most we’d see these guys is in clips during the Momentos Estelares segments. He went to AAA, but wasn’t used too much, until AAA came up with the “El Consejo” faction and storyline. Semental along with Mortiz (who also left CMLL at the same time) soon joined Hijo de Texano, Toscano, and Mascara Año Dos Mil’s group.
While Semental hasn’t really wrestled as much, he’s been a more focused part of a storyline. In the few matches he’s wrestled, since he spent most of the year doing storyline angles like showing up ringside with fellow El Consejo members, he really has impressed as a solid base for many of the high-flying AAA tecnicos, which was something that CMLL really missed the boat on, but its possible that given how many wrestlers CMLL has been pushing this year, Semental probably would have gotten more of an opportunity in 2012. Either way, he made the right decision as AAA seems to be pretty high on him and he’s held his own in the Consejo group.
He’s also rumored to be part of the latest AAA rudo trio known as Los Inferno Rockers. A group that looks pretty awesome.
Every year New Japan sends one of their younger wrestlers to gain experience in Mexico wrestling for CMLL. What each wrestler does in Mexico has had mixed results, but many of them upon returning to Japan have shown some improvement in the ring or how they carry themselves as far as their personality comes across to the fans. Of the Japanese wrestlers who were sent to Mexico for seasoning the most recent that has shown incredible improvement for New Japan has been Tetsuya Naito and he never quite adapted to the lucha style.
Over the years CMLL has had several of the bigger stars from New Japan come in and outside of a fun run from Jushin “Thunder” Liger in 2009, its always felt like these trips to Mexico were treated more like vacations.
Enter Namajague…A young New Japan wrestler who was brought in under a mask and karate gi outfit and given the storyline background of being a long-time friend of Okumura. Prior to his debut in CMLL, he worked a few shows for New Japan. Early card matches, but he was pretty impressive. It didn’t take long for him to catch onto the lucha libre style.
In CMLL, he’s primarily been in mid-card matches teaming with Okumura. Namajague has improved his personality behind the mask. Not sure if it will translate well when he eventually unmasks, but he’s really been a fun rudo to watch. He’s been a good base for the CMLL tecnicos despite being a pretty young and being relatively new to lucha. He’s also changed his physique by losing some of the weight he had and toning his body a bit more which has resulted in him dropping the karate gi outfit. His mask has been modified a bit as well. At first it looked like someone stapled gray carpet at the top of a red devil mask, but the latest mask has had giant glam metal type hair. He’s been put into a feud with Stuka Jr. and this Sunday (9/9), Namajague and Okumura will get a shot at the Arena Coliseo Tag Team titles held by Stuka Jr. and Flash.
At some point he’s going to drop his mask and my guess it will happen either in CMLL’s year end big show or possibly the Fantasticmania shows in Japan during January.
Outside of new Mistico’s push, no other luchador has had the meteoric rise quite like Titan has had. In a span of 1 year he has gone from being a regular working primarily out of Guadalajara and sporadically showing up in CMLL’s main buildings in Mexico City, to a main event wrestler for CMLL.
He first made his way into the main CMLL roster in late 2010 as Palacio Negro working in trios matches along with regular tag partner Metal Blanco (now Triton). Impressed with an innovative, high-flying style and a look that was somewhat similar to AAA’s Extreme Tiger. He made a comment that his favorite wrestler was Rob Van Dam, which you could see in his use of the split-legged moonsault. He continued to be a focal part of the Guadalajara shows early in 2011. He was then brought back to CMLL’s Mexico City shows appearing in the Forjando Un Idolo tournament. Continued to impress and finally stuck around as part of the main roster.
His next big break was as the re-gimmicked Titan. He would team with regular tag team partner Metal Blanco, repackaged as Triton, Metro (now Diamante Azul) and Shocker. The group was to feud with Atlantis, Delta and Guerrero Maya Jr. as part of a storyline were Shocker felt Atlantis stole his pupils from him during the Forjando Un Idolo series. This idea lasted all of one CMLL press conference. Really, they teamed once with Shocker and the actual trio of Titan, Triton and Metro never really teamed up as plans changed and Metro was moved up the ladder.
CMLL made a few changes to the tournament that the previous year was known as “Forjando Un Idolo” in 2012 by first changing the name to “En Busca De Un Idolo” and adding judges into the process of determining the winner. They also had a fan poll on a web site they created. Fans figured out how to work the poll system and Titan received a lot of votes. CMLL also added prizes for the winner (and alternates) with the big prize being a regular main event spot. The other prizes were trips to Cancun and a gym membership. Titan won and since that time has been on cards at the semi-main and main event spot. He’s recently become a regular main eventer on the Tuesday Arena Mexico shows and recently won the Mexican National Welterweight Title from Polvora. He’s actually quite popular and seems to be one of the few young CMLL tecnicos who gets a significant amount of cheers. If he remains healthy and continues to work hard, he’s going to be a star for CMLL.