WWE has been attempting to connect with their Hispanic audience more and more. They have decided to push WWE Superstar Kalisto a bit while also using the recently returning Alberto Del Rio in a major way. WWE felt they needed Del Rio so much that they offered him such a killer deal to come back that anyone would have signed. Clearly, however, Del Rio is only a short-term answer and not the future. This is why Kalisto is being built slowly. However, WWE now has signed a major name to help them.
According to WWE.com, they have signed Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza, better known to pro wrestling fans as La Sombra. There were reports going around that La Sombra was close to signing with a major promotion, but many felt that he was leaning toward New Japan Pro Wrestling. He has spent time in Japan and was becoming a star there. NJPW was reportedly ready to offer him a relatively good deal, but it seems that the 26-year-old luchador decided to take WWE up on their offer and join the WWE NXT crew.
This is the press release of the new WWE signing from World Wrestling Entertainment.
“Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza, of Mexico City, has signed with NXT and WWE, joining the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
“Formerly known as ‘La Sombra,’ Oropeza is a third-generation luchador whose grandfather, father, uncles and cousins all competed in Mexico. Oropeza signed with Consejo Mundial deLucha Libre (CMLL) in 2007 at age 17, where he trained under El Satanico. While there, he held many titles, including the CMLL Trio and Tag Team titles and the NWA Welterweight and Middleweight titles.
“The WWE Performance Center’s newest luchador also brings experience from Japan; Oropeza made multiple trips to Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), winning the organization’s Intercontinental Championship in 2013.”
Some fans believe that WWE will most likely have him perform without his mask. They put his picture on WWE.com without his mask visible, which never happens if they plan to have a man perform under a mask. They went back and forth with Alberto Del Rio, however, as he came in with a mask originally then took it off to work within a character. It turned out for the best.
Some lucha libre performers will not work without a mask, as they prefer it, and it is a major deal to remove it. Some do not care as much about the mask and have taken it off more times than not. Del Rio was famous with his mask under Dos Caras Jr. through Mexico, like La Sombra was everywhere he performed. However, if WWE gives him a good character, then a mask may not be necessary. Plus, Sombra has been seen without his before and even performed without it in the past.
La Sombra is now at the WWE Performance Center; he reported this morning. Like Del Rio and even Rey Mysterio, Sombra has family who worked in the pro-wrestling business. La Sombra is the first third-generation luchador that WWE has ever signed, which is a big deal. He has been wrestling for nearly a decade all across the world, which allows him to come in with a variety of experience. On top of this, his transition to the WWE will likely be much smoother compared to people like Mistico, the original Sin Cara.
Due to working in Japan, he has been with people who work in styles that transition over to WWE well. While he has had a good career in Mexico, he has faced off with people from all sorts of different styles. However, his CMLL experience helps WWE out as people from Mexico as well as Hispanic people in America will know him when he appears on television. This only makes his signing bigger, as he will be able to come in with more upside than most.
Many feel that due to this, it would be weird for WWE to not bring him up immediately like they did with Sin Cara. However, due to an uncertain promo ability and need to know how WWE operates, La Sombra needs to work within WWE NXT to become a better overall wrestler for WWE. Unlike when Sin Cara first came in, NXT is now becoming a hub for some of the best performers in the world. It is not considered a developmental show and, due to that, people like La Sombra do not mind performing there.
This is a bigger signing than most imagine. Standing at five-foot-11, he is taller than most lucha stars who come into WWE. He has drawn similarities to Del Rio, but being a decade younger, there could be an upside to him that Del Rio didn’t possess when he first arrived in his 30s. Do not be surprised if he is used in a major way very quickly.
[Image via mediotiempo.com]