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Lucha Tributes: Sharlie Rockstar
It’s time! It’s time! It’s Lucha Tribute time! Yes, even on a busy day where CMLL’s Anniversary Show press conference was totally and utterly overshadowed by a bonkers season three trailer of Lucha Underground my work is never done. And I’ve got a good one on tap for you today with a write up on a CMLL/Elite performer. He’s not new to lucha libre and in fact has many miles and many controversies to his name. He’s also highly impressed me over the past few weeks with his performances in Arena Mexico and Arena Puebla, and thus I felt compelled to tell you his story. Believers and non believers alike, I give you the Lucha Tribute to the greatest Marilyn Manson cosplayer the world has ever seen, 00’s lucha libre legend and owner of many a bandana, CMLL/Lucha Libre Elite star Sharlie Rockstar.
What You Already Know
Well for starters Sharlie Rockstar isn’t well known for being Sharlie Rockstar, but rather Charly Manson. Yup, he went that route. Named after one of the most infamous people to walk this mortal coil and modeled after popular 90s shock rocker Marilyn Manson, Charly Manson is best known for being a lucha libre mainstay from 1999 all the way to this very year for almost every big lucha libre company. His most famous stints were in AAA, where he wrestled on and off from 1999-2011 and quietly was one of the biggest stars of the decade, winning the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship once and the first ever Copa Antonio Pena in 2007. The former feat is mightily impressive, considering the Mexican National Heavyweight Title dates back to over 90 years ago and Manson’s reign (at 1,358 days) is the second longest of all time. Get Keanu Reeves in here to react to that pronto!
Manson’s most notable interactions during this time were with his brother Electroshock, who he famously feuded with and defeated in a career match at Triplemania XII, El Zorro (the name describes the gimmick) and his close friends and fellow top stars Cibernetico and Chessman. Seriously, those three were basically inseparable; they would spend most of Manson’s run either being aligned together (first in the rudo stable La Secta Ciberbetica and then as a technico trio known as Los Hell Brothers) or feuding with each other, as Manson and Chessman did heavily in late 2008 and early 2009. If Manson was doing something, you could be sure Cibernetico and Chessman were looking in the corner, making weird faces and strangely looking like Wolfpac Era Sting. Its true Chessman, you look like Sting. Someone has to have told you by now!
While AAA has primarily been Rockstar’s home however, he hasn’t been afraid to go off and work elsewhere when his relationship with AAA has soured. As Manson, he first branched out in 2002 by going to work for IWRG (the International Wrestling Revolution Group for those who don’t know the third biggest lucha promotion in Mexico), which was…let’s just say not very eventful. I mean unless you consider an endless barrage of six man tags and a weak feud with some dude named Ultimo Vampire eventful. Far more notable was when Manson left AAA in 2009, first joining Perro Aguayo Jr.’s Los Perros del Pal promotion and then CMLL in 2010. The latter instantly put Manson in the invading stable Los Invasores (Spanish for, you guessed it, “The Invaders”) and instantly made him a top rudo by putting him against top technicos Mistico and Negro Casas. His feud with Casas would eventually headline CMLL’s October show Entre el Cielo y el Infierno (“Between Heaven and Hell”), where Manson would defeat Casas in a hair vs. hair match! I know, big win. Manson would actually return to AAA only a few months after this match, but somehow has retained a good enough relationship with CMLL higher ups that he was able to secure work with both CMLL and Elite in 2015 as Sharlie Rockstar. Shocking right? With how Paco Alonso has banished guys like Konnan and El Hijo del Santo just for leaving CMLL, you’d think he would’ve sent hitmen after a guy who left during the middle of a story. Either Rockstar has got some nice dirt on Paco or Cibernetico (who joined Elite a little before Rockstar) is just a very good negotiator.
What You Didn’t Know
Like many of his contemporaries and past lucha stars, Rockstar took a long time to find his niche as Manson/Rockstar. In fact, he had been wrestling for nearly a decade prior to being given then Manson gimmick, debuting when he was 15 years old in 1990 after receiving training from Hombre Bala, father of current CMLL star Hombre Bala Jr. and relative to several other stars who I can’t name because this column would go on for forever if I did (seriously, he’s related to a lot of big names). During that time Rockstar actually wrestled primarily as a masked wrestler, taking on the gimmicks such as Jim Kata, Dinamita Luna (“Dynamite Moon”), El Cazador (“The Hunter”. How King Cuerno of him!) and finally Brujera (“Witchcraft”). That is a lot of failed gimmicks right there. As per usual though talent found a way through it and thus here we are. And it’s not like those early gimmicks were a total loss either; Rockstar in fact competed and won a mask vs. mask match as Brujera, defeating Sagitario (the date is unknown. Mystery date!). Along with his Apuesta record as Manson, this gives Rockstar and 8-0 record in bet matches, meaning that CMLL should really get on him vs. Atlantis right now to see who the king truly is.
But as big a star as Rockstar ultimately became both in Mexico and elsewhere (would you believed he’s worked both in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH and the US for Lucha Libre USA?) he’s in many ways remembered for incidents both in and out of his control. The first incident took place during a TLC match back in 2001, where Rockstar took a spot where he fell off a ladder. The plan was for Rockstar to crash through a set of tables to break his fall; naturally the tables were too far away and the poor bastard landed on the concrete, and if he had landed hard enough on the back of his head it’s possible this incident could’ve cost him his life. Instead it merely resulted in a severe concussion and a broken femur, which was only repaired after a surgical steel plate was inserted into his arm. The incident kept Rockstar out of the ring for almost all of 2001, and he was forced to tone down his in ring style after that (although how much he did was arguable considering all the violent matches he wrestled afterwards). As if that wasn’t enough, Rockstar would eventually injure the same femur in 2008 when he was thrown so hard into a barricade that the steel plate actually bent. The injury and subsequent surgery to repair the plate would keep Rockstar out a total of ten months; he’s thankfully had no problems that anyone knows of with the injury since.
Of course, that may be because Rockstar hasn’t exactly been wrestling a whole lot since that injury. Remember how I said his return to CMLL last year was after a long layoff? That layoff was due to Rockstar serving a prison sentence for an incident stemming back to 2011 when he and a friend were involved in a fight with two police officers. It’s not known exactly how the fight got started, but the details of it are something to behold; Rockstar wound up with a gunshot wound in the foot (caused by a third officer who arrived on the scene), while the two cops suffered massive injuries, including in one case a fractured skull. You know a fight gets super real and super scary when a fractured skull occurs. Rockstar was arrested immediately and charged with aggravated assault and attacking authority figures, two charges that could’ve kept him in prison for fifteen years and effectively have ended his wrestling career. Instead he was ultimately sentenced to seven years two years later (while being held in prison without bail) and ultimately was able to get out three years early for good behavior, allowing him to go back CMLL upon release. I suppose that’s one way to spend your prime years in lucha right?
This was actually a tough call for me as the Electroshock-Manson match is quite good and packs an emotional punch with both men’s mother getting involved and Lady Apache’s pleas to Manson to spare Electroshock’s career in exchange for her hair after the match. But ultimately you can’t go against Manson vs. Negro Casas hair vs. hair. It’s not the greatest match of the GOAT’s career nor the most exciting, but it’s definitely the most memorable, it features some honest to Cthulhu storytelling thanks to both men and the shenanigans of referee Tirantes and best of all, it’s just a regular match. Why is this important? Because during his AAA tenure Rockstar was largely portrayed as a hardcore wrestler; all of his big matches feature a ton of violence, a ton of weapons and a ton of blood, which masked just how athletic and technical of a performer Rockstar actually is. Here he’s allowed to actually be a luchador with Casas, and they work together to provide a very entertaining match for a very hot Arena Mexico crowd.
Sharlie Rockstar is as complex as a performer as it gets. There’s a lot of unsavory stuff there, like the prison sentence, the fact that he spent so many years as a “death wish” wrestler and the injury history. His reputation also suffers from the fact that his prime years in ring came during a time when lucha libre, outside of Mistico, was in a lull following the boom period of the 90s and the boom we’re seeing right now. It’s unfortunate for him because overall Rockstar is a pretty solid worker who was capable of so much more than the style he often portrayed in AAA. He was capable of not just providing blood baths, but of flying high, matching up well in the mat and telling some cool stories. Yes he definitely hurt himself in the long run and even without knowing all the details I can tell you it’s never a good thing when you get into a fight with the police and a fractured skull results from it. But Sharlie Rockstar isn’t the first wrestler to fuck up and he won’t be the last, and I’m glad he’s getting a second chance with Elite/CMLL right now. And not just because I like people getting shots at redemption; Rockstar has been spectacular since showing up in Arena Mexico. His movement is the best it’s been since his early days and he’s come out of every match he’s been in as one of, if not the, best performers of the match. Dare I say he’s been an even more valuable pickup for CMLL/Elite than his pal Cibernetico has been? There are plenty of question marks that remain, but if Rockstar can stay put and stay out of trouble he could be on the verge of having one of the nicer comeback stories of the year. Who knew you could say that about someone Marilyn Manson related in 2016?!
That’ll do it everyone. I’m off to go watch the Lucha Underground season three trailer over and over and over again. Till then, a brief shot of a certain Dolphin Master who may or may not have appeared in said trailer!
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