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    Monday, February 22, 2016

    #MustWatchMonday (2/22/16): La Sombra vs. Atlantis

    Last week, WWE finally announced the premiere of what many had been speculating on for years: the WWE Global Cruiserweight Series. Premiering on July 13, 2016, it is being advertised as a 10-week series that will follow 32 cruiserweights, all with something to prove. In the vein of NJPW's Best of the Super Juniors, this will be a tournament for wrestlers who are 205 lbs and lighter, with the aim of crowning the best cruiserweight in the world. A global search is being held, with wrestlers from all over the world being considered, whether they are under contract with the WWE or not.

    Given the nature of the tournament, taking in contracted and non-contracted wrestlers, speculation has been rampant as to who will be in this Global Cruiserweight Series. Names from the European scene have been thrown out there like Marty Scurll, Zack Sabre Jr., or Mark Haskins, along with those from the American indies like Johnny Gargano or TJ Perkins, and those from Japan like Akira Tozawa, Masato Yoshino or Jushin Thunder Liger. However, despite the mystery that covers the other 31 contestants, one WWE-contracted wrestler is sure to be in this tournament. Manny Andrade.

    Manny Andrade, real name Manuel Oropeza and previously known in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) as La Sombra, is a 26-year-old luchador who was signed by WWE in November 2015. Despite his young age, La Sombra has about 10 years of experience under his belt, wrestling mostly in CMLL but also sporadically in NJPW. He was a previous holder of the CMLL World Tag and World Trios championships, the 2011 winner of the CMLL Universal Championship (an annual tournament of champions held by the promotion), a former IWGP Intercontinental champion, and many more. One of his many claims to fame also includes being a founding member of the Los Ingobernables stable, which is currently one of the top tweener groups in lucha libre today, siding with neither the tecnicos (faces) nor the rudos (heels); instead facing anyone who is not a member of the Los Ingobernables.

    One of La Sombra's most popular matches in CMLL was one that occurred only a few months before his signing with WWE. On September 18, 2015, during CMLL's 82nd Aniversario show, La Sombra put his mask on the line against one of lucha libre's biggest tecnicos: Atlantis. In a match that was scored at ****3/4 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, La Sombra lost this match and his mask to Atlantis, a move that was confusing at the time, given La Sombra's rise, but now makes sense in retrospect. Regardless of the result, this was an excellent match, and is a great introduction to a wrestler who is seemingly being bred to be one of WWE's main pushes to penetrate the Latino market.

    It's pretty much in consensus that the WWE Global Cruiserweight Series will serve as an introduction and springboard for La Sombra's WWE career, and with him having wrestled a match this good and many others like it? I don't blame them.

    Are you looking forward to seeing La Sombra in the WWE? Who do you think will be in the Global Cruiserweight Series? Leave a comment below!


    Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.
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    Item Reviewed: #MustWatchMonday (2/22/16): La Sombra vs. Atlantis Rating: 5 Reviewed By: bodonium
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