This IS a big weekend for news.
Puroresu Spirit, citing Japanese news reports, says El Nieto del Santo will starting training in the NOAH dojo in May for a debut in Mexico 3 months later. This is Hijo del Santo’s son, who he’s some times referred to as “Santo Jr.” to avoid confusion with Axxel. Hijo del Santo turns 50 on August 2nd. A show that weekend would be the most logical moment for a Nieto del Santo debut. The article mentions Nieto del Santo will be available to wrestle in Japan for NOAH after, but no sense of when or for how long.
Dragon Lee no longer has the toughest job for a luchador. The pressure of being the newest El Santo is a 100x the newest Mistico. El Nieto del Santo is taking on the name of a cultural legend, there’s no comparison. It’s an immensely tough way to start – both Santo and El Hijo del Santo (Korak) wrestled under other names before becoming something. There’s been no sign of Nieto del Santo wrestling prior; it seemed like he was at least a year away from a debut last time it was brought up, making this announcement even more of a surprise and preparation for it more unlikely. It surprises me there was no attempt at sneaking him under another name to IWRG undercards for months to get his feet wet before the announcement. It may have slightly dulled the official debut, but it’d put him in a better chance to succeed to start. Even a poor working Nieto del Santo will be important in lucha libre because of the history of the name, but the money is in one who can work like a star, not someone who’s exposed as not being ready. Unless something’s been kept top secret, Nieto del Santo will have his first match with the brightest spotlight on him.
The plan for him to train in NOAH makes a lot of sense given the circumstances. Nieto needs to get repetitions away from Mexican eyes, and training/working internationally gives him bonus credibility to those who care about those things. Going back to Japan and wrestling infrequently in Mexico at first would be for the best. The Santo name has value in Japan too, and everything needs to be done to keep the new guy special. Santo’s TxT relationships also benefit him – between Solar, Negro Navarro and Black Terry, there’s plenty of people to help train Nieto in Mexico as well, and there’s plenty of guys with slight names who will surely be happy to team with the Heir To The Legend or wager masks with him. Promotional effort will not be a problem here.
I believe this ends the rumors of el Hijo del Santo coming to CMLL in the short term. The goal has to be to make Nieto del Santo the biggest star possible, Nieto del Santo can be treated like more of a star outside of CMLL than within it (CMLL will be prioritizing their own guys, to the extent anyone there looks like a star at all) and Hijo del Santo is not separating from his son. The math changes if Nieto del Santo establishes himself outside of CMLL – maybe some a Hijo del Santo retirement tour combined with Nieto del Santo Arena Mexico debut down the line, or maybe a rehabilitation restart if Nieto doesn’t succeed – but it doesn’t make sense until after Nieto is no longer seen as a novato.