After being drafted to the brand during the shake-up on April 17, 2018, the WWE has reported that Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega will be making their SmackDown Live debut next Tuesday, May 15. Those who are familiar with his work have been anxious for Almas to debut on the main WWE roster, and the wait will be over in a matter of days. A video has also been released of Vega and Andrade cutting a promo, warning the locker room to watch their backs.
For those who may have missed how accomplished “El Idolo” is, below are just a few fun facts on the WWE superstar.
Born Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza, he wrestled for 12 years before making his NXT debut in 2015. Son of Brillante (Jose Andrade Salas) and grandson of El Moro (Jose Andrade), Almas is a third-generation wrestler. He worked most of his career under a mask with the moniker of La Sombra.
La Sombra has held numerous titles in both the CMLL and the NWA, including the CMLL Universal Championship. The WWE superstar had some great matches in NJPW, facing opponents like Tiger Mask and Jushin Thunder Liger. He also had three phenomenal bouts with Shinsuke Nakamura, winning the second match to become the IWGP intercontinental champion.
— Nozomi (@nozomixed) January 30, 2016
As Vince McMahon often likes to do, La Sombra’s name was changed when he started wrestling for the NXT. This confused many fans because the WWE often capitalizes on the popularity of well-known wrestlers (like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Nakamura). But regardless of any changes, “El Idolo” continued to wow audiences.
He wrestled for the company for over a year before debuting his new manager, Zelina Vega. During NXT TakeOver: WarGames, last November, Almas defeated Drew McIntyre to become the NXT champion. Fans and pundits alike considered it one of the greatest TakeOver matches of all time. The WWE superstar continued to impress audiences, and the popular heels continued to create heat. “Cien” continued to thrill inside the ring, and Vega continued to entice anger from fans at ringside.
— Riot army (@Theriotarmy) November 19, 2017
Before managing “Cien,” born Thea Trinidad, the young athlete only wrestled in the indies for about a year before being discovered by Tommy Dreamer. She wrestled as Rosita in TNA, and alongside Sarita, she is a former knockout tag team champion. Through most of her NXT career (where once again a name change took place), she was primarily a heel manager, though she did have a couple of matches over the last few months. While her forte, at the moment, is as a manager, it may only be a matter of time before we see her in in-ring action.
— WWE (@WWE) May 11, 2018
With a multitude of championships garnered throughout his career, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some gold around the waist of Andrade sooner than later. And with many talented WWE superstars currently a part of the SmackDown roster, like Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and his former foe, Nakamura, Andrade “Cien” Almas will have no shortage of high-quality opponents to match his skill level.