a possible occasional feature, explaining luchadors to unfamiliar people
Angel de Oro, a 22 year old tecnico from Gomez Palacio, is about to embark on the most challenging couple of weeks of his career. He’s only had fifteen high level singles matches in his three and half year major league stint to this point, and he’ll be cramming eight more of them into a two weeks span. The outcomes are not an issue, as he’s only expected to follow the great tradition of Mexican wrestlers in Japan and lose a whole lot. The quality of the matches themselves are the challenge, as Oro will be in an unusual scenario working with unfamiliar opponents.
Angel de Oro begin his career at age 17, working tiny shows in the Comarca Lagunera, a Mexican metro area that crosses over two states and fifteen cities. It contains the 9th biggest population in Mexico, but it’s the 3rd most common home area for current CMLL luchadors. This unexpectedly high amount of Laguna born luchadors is credited to older luchadors who’ve made it big coming back to scout and recruit promising youngsters to Mexico City to CMLL affiliated schools. Ultimo Guerrero is often given credit for engineering the pipeline. It’s worked because so many of the young wrestlers, like Angel de Oro, have made the transition and done well for themselves.
Angel de Oro wrestled his brother, then rudo Guerrero Inca, quite often in his first few years of wrestling. The brothers were brought to Mexico City and intended to be introduced as part of a trio of identical high flying Angels to accompany Hector Garza. The trio appeared with Garza once, but then the idea was dropped before they had a match. The mysterious third Angel never was seen again, and brother Angel de Plata (ex-Guerrero Inca) broke his arm in training, causing Angel de Oro to start on his own in August of 2008. Plata joined him in December, and they formed a trio with legacy character Angel Azteca Jr.
The metallic Angels were introduced at the height of CMLL’s Mistico-clone mania. These two brothers, not actually of the same age, wrestled like twin Misticos. The Angels used the same religious imagery, and the same basic colors as Místico (white, gold, silver.) The brothers outfits matched, except for their namesake color. The Angels would do simultaneous mirror spots against their opponents in the ring, then follow with stereo Asai moonsaults onto the rudos. It was a neat idea, but in a promotion where dozen of wrestlers were using the same sets of moves, it did not impact as much as hoped. The Angels frequently wrestled against members of the Guerreros Tuareg, a veteran group of rudos skilled at working with younger wrestlers.
CMLL quickly saw promise in Angel de Oro. It often takes years of work on the undercard before luchadors were given bigger chances, but Oro came along at a time where the promotion was motivated to promote younger wrestlers. Angel de Oro teamed with inspiration Místico to nearly win the 2009 Gran Alternativa tournament (only beaten by Yujiro and Okumura, exploiting a loophole in the rules.) A year later, Angel de Oro was the surprise winner of a midcard cage match, unmasking fellow técnico and frequent partner Fabian el Gitano. As a team, Oro & Plata advanced of a #1 contenders tournament for CMLL’s secondary pairs titles, but were defeated in Oro’s first really great match. It’d be their final important match as a team.
CMLL accelerated plans for Angel de Oro starting in at the end of 2010. Oro and fellow young stars Diamante and Rush were put together, in a number one contenders tournament for the national trios titles. The three had never been a trio previously, but won the tournament and the belts. Angel de Oro also won the 2011 Reyes del Aire high flyer match, though one with noteable less star power than years past. Oro sealed his ascent by winning the heavily promoted Forjando de Idolo tournament, winning all six singles matches to earn a more important spot with the promotion. Plata, meanwhile, lost all three of his qualifying matches and stayed in aimless midcard matches. The two teamed one time after the tournament, and haven’t since.
Angel de Oro’s career since winning the Forjando un Idolo tournament has not been as trimpuh filled. He has risen to the semimain and main event matches, though he’s a seen as a lesser star when he’s on top. The trios title reign with Diamnate and Rush never went anywhere, ending after a single defense. Oro has challenged for Dragon Rojo and Negro Casas for world singles titles, but come up just short. He’s been included in the biggest CMLL tournaments, but not advanced far. Angel de Oro did repeat as Reyes del Air winner, against a slightly tougher crowd. Those wins and the Forjando un Idolo victory are his biggest so far.
Angel de Oro is most often compared to Místico, with good reason. Oro’s been rumored to be reintroduced as Místico II, if CMLL decides to bring back the character. It’s probably not he best of ideas for many reasons, most of because Angel de Oro has developed into a slightly different brand of técnico. Oro is now close to a more athletic version of La Mascara. Both Máscara and Oro use classic lucha libre holds as their primary finish, the campana and mecedora. Both are using names which have been used by others previously. Mascara and Angel de Oro share some of the same repeated spots (like the swinging kick from the apron), and also share the tendency to repeat the same series of moves in every match. It does make both Mascara and Oro smooth with their moves when everything is going well. They’re skilled trios wrestlers, but not always able to mix it up in longer form singles matches. Neither is great about showing emotion while they wrestle. Angel de Oro’s mask limits him in that regard, but came sometimes come off as if hes’ wrestling in an empty gym.
Angel de Oro is potentially a lot more exciting than La Mascara, willing to try moonsaults and springboards Mascara has long given up on. Oro is not as a innovative or limit pushing as Místico, Mascara Dorada, or the other kids from Guadalajara, but does what he does well. Like Místico, and La Mascara, the finishes of his matches are usually built towards locking on his one submission hold. Angel de Oro seems to be following the Mascara path of varying the ways he get to the hold, rather than the simple repeated setup Místico used as his pattern.
Angel de Oro’s biggest test will be varying his routine. The basic CMLL técnico formula of armdrags, headscissors and dives is not enough when you’re wrestling singles matches every other day. Oro is not that limited, but he also doesn’t have a lot to offer if an injury ever slows him down. Both Sombra and Mascara Dorada felt like they were better than Oro when they had their first league experiences in Japan, and both came with a few new ideas. Oro could use that same sort of result.
Angel de Oro’s not far off from making it. CMLL sees him as a part of their future top técnicos, but he’s got to continuing growing to reach that potential. Oro already being part of main events might give him the impression he’s already made it, so this tournament could be a good reminder of how much more he has to grow. Oro’s not going to be billed as the most spectacular luchadors much longer, with Mascara Dorada (among others) still around in front of him and flashier guys coming behind him. For Angel de Oro to succeed, he’ll need to be a complete wrestler.
3 Matches to check out
2010-10-17: Angel de Oro & Angel de Plata vs Delta & Diamante – breakout match for all four
2011-05-07: Angel de Oro vs Pólvora (fall 2, fall 3) – Oro wins Forjando un Idolo tournament, but the bigger achievement is getting a very good match out of Pólvora.
2012-04-29: Angel de Oro vs Negro Casas: the legend forces Oro to have a different match