Andrade talks, Ice Killer passes away, Arena Aficion to re-open

Andrade

Andrade was interviewed by Hugo Savinovich of Lucha Libre Online on Monday and a group of media hosted by Mas Lucha on Tuesday. LuchaWorld and this Reddit post have summaries of the first interview. I tried to patch together notes on the second interview last night. SoloWrestling has a good recap. My Spanish is very slightly improving but still not great; you’re always better off watching the interviews yourself.

The Monday interview was more dramatic, the Tuesday was a bit kinder to WWE. Monday peaked with Andrade revealing a false positive pregnancy test that caused his fiance Charlotte to be removed from WrestleMania, and Charlotte clarifying it was the way she was informed of the positive that upset them. Andrade previously had issues with the same doctor over his wellness policy violation, which he believes was for a tainted supplement that he couldn’t get tested. Andrade says he had Lasik eye surgery last fall, wasn’t used for four months, and then was told by Triple H that he and Vince didn’t know he was cleared. Andrade seemed to disbelieve that was true, and instead a line to pacify him. Andrade claims Triple H offered to bring him back over to NXT for a year to get him going, then bring him back to the main roster with a new deal. Andrade noted there are those in NXT who didn’t want to leave out of fear of being stuck in the same void he’s been in, but he had no interest in going backward and feels confident he can make good money elsewhere. Several people pushed Andrade on if he believed WWE didn’t push him for racial reasons and he consistently stated he didn’t believe that was the case. Andrade is well aware some believe he wasn’t used because of his English speaking skills but disagreed with it as the reason (or at least the sole reasons), noting characters who speak less than he does (Asuka) being used well and people who can speak English better not being used at all. It didn’t seem like Andrade had a strong specific reason why it didn’t work out, beyond WWE not seeing him as a star so he was never given the chance to be one.

I’m less interested in what happened with WWE and more in what’s happening next, though the two are intertwined; Andrade wants to be a top guy, he didn’t expect that to be given to him, but he also didn’t see a path with WWE not using him, so he wants to go elsewhere to be that top guy. That path may end up with Andrade years down the line returning to WWE – he brought up Drew McIntyre building himself up outside of WWE after a similar disappointing stint before returning as a comparison. It’s impossible to be sure what the wrestling landscape is going to look like four years down the line, but he did see the WWE as the best in many ways and he has that drive to be the best of the best. Andrade believes others in WWE in his same position should be looking to do the same – either fight for a better spot or leave and prove it elsewhere.

That desire to prove himself is going to drive whatever move Andrade makes next. He wants to go somewhere he can be a top guy, or at least believes he has a fair chance to earn that role. He doesn’t want to “go backward” just to relive old times; he had no interest in doing an Ingobernables/Ingobernables feud with the new CMLL guys because that’s the past. Interviewers asked Andrade if he’d like to reunite with Rush, and Andrade pushed it more towards wrestling Rush for his title. They asked him about returning to CMLL and he said he would like to be a champion but seemingly meant like a WWE champion who’s a constant focus and not a CMLL champion whose belt is forgotten for six months at times. He listed all the top guys in NJPW as people he’d like to face, and Omega for the AAA title. Andrade was asked in many ways about who he’d like to face and the answer was always some variation of “the biggest stars”, so he can prove he belongs among them.

Andrade specifically said he wasn’t interested in signing a contract with any Mexican company. He brought up the Ingobernable promotion Rush teased earlier this week as coming in June and seems likely to work that, but not sign with them either. (There’s obviously money behind whatever Rush is doing, though that also doesn’t mean it’s going to work out.)  Andrade believed he’d probably have to sign a US contract to have the matches he wanted. ROH & AEW were the only two US promotions mentioned by name that I caught. No Japanese promotion came up beyond NJPW names. He talked about having many offers to wrestle and make appearances from around the world already, at the kind of money he was looking for. Zelina Vega didn’t come up until the end of the second interview; Andrade was complimentary to her and how they worked together and respectfully wanted to let her talk about her own exit for WWE rather than speak for her. Andrade made it clear he learned a lot, wrestled great people, and worked with useful people in his time with WWE. It wasn’t what he wanted it to be but it was still a positive experience.

Andrade says WWE told him they own the names “Andrade Cien Almas” and “Andrade.” He owns La Sombra in the US, and Andrade & El Idolo in Mexico. He’s hoping to use something like Andrade el Idolo or Andrade el Sombra universally going forward; he’d like to keep his family name as part of it.

Based on these interviews, I think Andrade’s going to NJPW – he’s going to want to be slotted in fairly high and they’re likely to give that to him. I think he’s much more likely to go to ROH than AEW just based on how it came up, though no decision seems to have been made. Impact never came up at all but I actually believe he’d be more likely to go there than AEW based on his goals; there’s more space for a new top guy in Impact. I think he’ll end up working big shows for AAA (when they can have actual big shows) if they work in his schedule and the same with Andrade. There will probably be a fair bit of cashing in on the ex-WWE circuit of shows that draw big but don’t get any hype, but I think he’s going to pick places that’ll make him a big star.

Everything else

Ice Killer (Juan Carlos Varela, 60) passed away Tuesday due to COVID-19. Though he spent his much of his career as “Canalla II”, he’s best known for the character resembling Jason from the Friday the 13th movies. He’s a trivia note for debuting that character on the first-ever AAA show alongside fellow debuting character La Parka. The La Parka character has had a lot more fame, but Ice Killer carved out a career around Mexico City, eventually running his own promotion with his daughters and grandson wrestling. Ice Killer’s brother, Canalla I, also passed away back in January due to COVID-19. SuperLuchas has a useful obituary for Ice Killer.

Ice Killer and his wife attended El Halcon magazine’s awards ceremony on March 7th, the last time they made a public appearance. He reported feeling sick a few days later. His wife remains hospitalized with COVID at last word. It is impossible to know with certainty where someone picks up COVID-19, but photos of that magazine ceremony – indoors in with a lot of people and not many properly wearing face-covering – felt very distressing from far at the time. With indie shows ramping back up and promotions often not even meeting the legal minimum efforts to prevent the transfer, these deaths are likely to continue. I hope people can get the vaccines as quickly as possible and that those vaccines are effective and safe.

CMLL will have Atlantis, Angel de Oro, NGD, Euforia and Mascara 2000 as guests. The last one sticks out; the older Mascara hasn’t appeared on CMLL shows during the empty arena period, while the others are all there to talk about Copa Junior-related topics. There’s probably an anniversary I’m forgetting.

Laredo Kid, Penta, and Fenix face Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows on tonight’s AEW Dynamite show. That’s probably either the opener or the match at the top of the second hour, based on those involved. This is a taped show. I think most people figure Laredo Kid getting the win last week sets up him taking the loss here to end a two-week run, but it’s Laredo Kid so you never know. Tony Khan’s weekly promo previewing this show on Impact Wrestling pointed out Laredo, Penta, Fenix, and Omega are all AAA champions – you can hold onto a slim hope they’re setting up a title match out of that.

Vanguardia had their latest show on Sunday; this recap in Criterio Hidalgo says Drolux & Moria vs Gasparin & Simbolo Azteca got the best reaction on the show. The mystery team in the main event was Corsario Negro Jr. & Drako, who lost to champions Crazy King & Miedo Infernal after some interference. A lot of the matches set up other match-ups for their next show, which will be the promotion’s anniversary event.

Pachuca’s Arena Aficion is now allowed to re-open with 30% capacity. The article says the lucha libre building has a capacity of 2,800, so 840 would be allowed. I think it might actually be a little less than that, but also that the 840 capacity is not an issue for most of the shows there. The regular Tuesday/Sunday locals-only shows appeared to be drawing less than 40 people, to the point where it was hard to understand why or hose those shows were being run. The medium-sized indie groups – DTU, Legend – could draw decently well in the building, but it’s one of those historic lucha libre buildings seemingly just barely hanging on before the pandemic, so it’s a success if it’s able to reopen at all after it.

Arena Coliseo Guadalajara began allowing children back at shows this past Tuesday.

Caristico would like CMLL to hire his brothers. Caristico’s brothers wouldn’t look terribly out of place in 2021 CMLL, which isn’t a compliment for CMLL. It wouldn’t be good for viewers to see Argos matches again but it’s good for the content for Caristico to be more vocal and demanding.

Juventud Guerrera’s Super Juvy Cup tournament began airing on Mas Lucha’s channel this week. (You can find it in this playlist if you dig around.) This is a round-robin tournament and Mas Lucha is planning to air one match a week day, which means it will last for over 11 weeks – the final isn’t going to be until June. Just typing that should make it clear no one’s really thought this through. Even if the promotion could do it, I’m not sure anyone wants this.

LuchaWorld has a new edition of their podcast taking about Copa Junior VIP and other news.

A profile of young Tulancingo luchador Mr. Solo.

Mas Lucha has a new edition of their podcast.

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