La Sombra – Young CMLL star has established himself as one of the top tecnicos in the promotion. Started his career as Brillante and showed a ton of promise while working in the Monterrey/Nuevo Laredo territory. Upon making his way to CMLL, he donned the name/gimmick of La Sombra. Started his career as mostly a high-flyer, but in the past couple of years has improved in the ring and has also bulked up to add power moves like the “Brillante Driver” (cradle into a one-armed power bomb). Due to how impressive he was early in his career, CMLL had him aligned with their most popular wrestler at the time, Mistico as well as the more experienced Volador Jr. With Mistico, won the 2007 Gran Alternativa. The trio named Super Sky team was known for their exceptional high-flying style and were the headline tecnico trio facing off against trios like Los Guerreros del Atlantida and Los Hijos del Averno. La Sombra and Volador Jr. also had a 10-month run as CMLL World Tag Team Champions from 2009 thru 2010. He has also had plenty of success as a singles wrestler having won the NWA Historic World Welterweight Title twice. Has won three masks so far in his career with the last two being from well-known luchadores, Olimpico and Felino. In 2010, La Sombra and Volador Jr. would eventually split due to Volador Jr. turning rudo. The two would feud and had a really good match in Puebla in August 2010. La Sombra has become one of the CMLL wrestlers who has traveled to Japan the most in the past couple of years. He has competed in New Japan’s Best of The Super Jr. tournament and this past year competed in the G1 Climax tournament. He held the CMLL World trios title with La Mascara and Mascara Dorada (team known as Generacion Dorada) and feuded with Los Hijos del Averno (Averno/Mephisto/Ephesto) and eventually lost the titles to them in the summer of 2011. He won CMLL’s Universal tournament for 2011.
El Santo – The biggest star in Mexican wrestling history. His popularity went beyond the wrestling ring and cinema, to the point that he is a cultural icon in Mexico. Its really impossible for his name to not be known by people living in Mexico or several generations of Hispanics that live in other parts of the world. Santo had brothers who also wrestled and experienced varying levels of success in the ring (Miguel “Black” Guzman was the most successful of his brothers) and of course his son, El Hijo del Santo, has been one of the more recognizable and popular lucha libre stars in the last 20-25 years. Most younger fans first saw El Santo on the big screen (or on TV) being that he appeared in some 50 movies were he fought all types of monsters like vampires, zombies, werewolves and mummies, you would think that El Santo was always a tecnico, but you’d be mistaken. El Santo actually first gained fame as one of Mexico’s top rudos and actually spent a good part of his early career wrecking havoc on tecnicos. He also formed one of Mexico’s most legendary tag teams (known as La Pareja Atomica, “The Atomic Pair”) with fellow legend, Gori Guerrero (patriarch of the famous Guerrero family). While Santo was a wild brawler, Gori was highly regarded for being a very talented technical wrestler. El Santo’s famous finisher, “la de a caballo” (camel clutch) was actually taught to him by Gori Guerrero. The two feuded with some of the big names of that era like Bobby Bonales, Jack O’ Brien and Tarzan Lopez. Their most famous rivalry was with the “brother” tag team of “Los Hermanos Shadow”, Blue Demon and Black Shadow. The two teams waged war and eventually El Santo and Black Shadow would have one of the more historical matches in Mexican wrestling history when the two faced off, one-on-one at Arena Coliseo (11/7/52) in a mask match that El Santo won. El Santo is also part of the great lineage of welterweights in Mexico having won both the Mexican National Welterweight and NWA Welterweight Titles. El Santo’s popularity due to all the press, movie films, marketing and merchandise, he finally turned tecnico in 1962 after 28 years as a rudo. He would even team on occasion with long-time rival, Blue Demon, as a dream team on various shows throughout Mexico. As the years went by, El Santo would work in trios matches more often and formed a popular trio with Rayo de Jalisco and El Solitario. He also had a feud with Bobby Lee, who he eventually unmasked. In one of his final matches, El Santo suffered a heart attack and his wrestling license was revoked. He made an appearance on the popular news show, Contrapunto, in 1984 were they had a panel of wrestlers, reporters, and a guy who was against wrestling, were they discussed what wrestling really was (it came down to four things: circus, “gymnastics” (tumbling), sport, or theater), but the show is best remembered as the one time El Santo showed his face publicly to the nation. Two weeks after appearing on the show, El Santo would pass away. Santo is still remembered to this day thanks to all his films and every year he’s remembered in Mexico. CMLL also named one of their tournaments, Torneo Leyenda de Plata, in his honor (later just to annoy his son, but that’s another story).
Sin Cara (Mistico) The biggest lucha star of the 21st century, he’s also become quite controversial over the years. Wrestled professionally for about 4-5 years under different names before hitting the big-time for CMLL as Mistico. He made his debut as Mistico in June 2004 and became an instant hit with his flashy high-flying moves. CMLL gave him the gimmick of having been an orphan who’s mentor was Fray Tormenta (Mexican wrestler who is also a priest) to give him more of a religious gimmick. He soon began teaming with the top tecnicos in CMLL at that time including El Hijo del Santo, who was sort of his ‘padrino’ (godfather) in giving him his big break by teaming with him. He became a pretty big draw for CMLL over the span of about 4 years were the promotion pretty much revolved around Mistico. He had memorable feuds against the likes of Averno, Ultimo Guerrero, Negro Casas, Black Warrior, Hijo del Perro Aguayo and a long list of the top rudos that were in CMLL over those years. He held numerous titles in Mexico, won many masks and many awards over the years while part of CMLL. After having spent much of his career as a tecnico, the rowdier rudo fan base that attended CMLL shows began booing him. He was similar to John Cena in that women and kids were still their strongest fan base, but the majority of the male audience had grown tired of him. In early 2010, Mistico made the switch to the rudo side and feuded with former teammate Volador Jr. However, CMLL got cold feet weeks into the feud and decided to keep Mistico tecnico and instead turned Volador Jr. The feud lost steam and from that point forward it seemed like Mistico was ready to leave. In late 2010, Mistico and a few other luchadores were involved in a WWE try-out while WWE was on tour and rumors started that he was leaving CMLL to join WWE. Despite the rumors, CMLL seemed to be the last to know. Heck, I knew! He continued to wrestle for CMLL and even worked the CMLL/New Japan joint shows in Japan in January 2011. He then disappeared only to reappear weeks later at a WWE press conference in Mexico as Sin Cara. This was when CMLL reacted and had mentioned that Mistico had agreed to a new deal with the promotion, but never showed up to sign his new contract. The Mistico era in CMLL was over. Meanwhile, Sin Cara would make his in-ring debut on March 25th, 2011 on WWE RAW. He also appeared on Smackdown, but was on the RAW roster up until the draft, when he was then switched over to Smackdown! As part of his gimmick, WWE lowers the lights during his match, change the lighting to a blueish color, and as part of his entrance he jumps off a trampoline and into the ring. He became an instant merchandise success as his masks sold really well. In the ring, it was a different situation as he struggled depending on who he was in the ring with. At the Money In The Bank PPV show, Sin Cara was ‘injured’ by Sheamus after being thrown through a table. A few hours later, WWE announced Sin Cara had been suspended for 30 days for failing their drug policy. This led to many to believe he was done with WWE as they weren’t pleased that he failed the drug test and dissatisfied with his work rate AND his attitude backstage. WWE soon debuted a new Sin Cara, who was oddly enough Hunico, who’s history will always intertwine with the original Sin Cara/second Mistico because well, he was the first Mistico out of Ciudad Juarez. Hunico years before CMLL gave their Mistico that name/gimmick had established himself as a promising young luchador out of Juarez. When CMLL announced Mistico, there were some who initially thought the Juarez one had signed with CMLL, which was a bit odd given CMLL tends to stick to bringing in luchadores from certain regions of the country and Juarez isn’t one of them. When it was revealed that CMLL had another guy under the Mistico gimmick, this led to a big of an issue that resulted with CMLL getting the rights to the name and leaving the Mistico out of Juarez in the cold. He would continue wrestling as “Mystico” (with posters listing him as el Mystico de Ciudad Juarez to not cause confusion and as El Incognito). He signed with WWE about a year or two before Mistico did and had been in FCW (WWE’s developmental promotion) when he got the call-up to don the Sin Cara gimmick. The second Sin Cara recently turned heel in a match against Daniel Bryan and the rumor is that the first Sin Cara will return to feud with him in a Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara feud, which I’m sure will be about as confusing as explaining a DTU 8-man scramble match with 9 people.