LuchaPalooza! Where Will Alberto El Patron Wrestle Next? (Another Lucha Investigation)
Stop what you’re doing and sit down; you’re going to want to hear this shocking news if you haven’t already. Are you ready? Are you shivering with antici…pation? You are? Alright here it is; Alberto Del Rio has left WWE. Yes the man formerly of lucha libre royalty until he turned into the poor man’s Mike Dexter is out at WWE and yes, you already knew that (had to do it). It wasn’t even a year ago when Del Rio, then known as Alberto El Patron, simultaneously kicked both Lucha Underground and AAA in the balls and left them both for a sweet WWE deal and a push as their top Hispanic star, taking the AAA Mega Championship with him. To the shock of absolutely no one Del Rio’s run was Matt Leinart sized bust; a quick United States title victory over John Cena soon transitioned into WWE once again failing to realize what made Del Rio interesting. Thus we got MexAmerica (yikes), the Roman Reigns J.O.B. Squad (aka League of Nations), a shockingly underwhelming feud with fellow lucha star Kalisto (#FreeKalisto) and then months of indifference before Del Rio requested his release and was popped for a Wellness Violation. Really the only good thing that happened to Del Rio during this run becoming Paige’s boyfriend, a relationship that WWE loved so much that they’ve tried to sabotage every step of the way and one that looks like it’ll cost Del Rio Scrooge McDuck money in a hostile divorce. Good freakin Cthulhu even that isn’t as pleasant as it should be! To sum it up, Del Rio went from being a lucha libre hero and the top star of two promotions last year to a lucha libre pariah and laughing stock just one year later. As you can see, so many people feel bad for him.
Alright maybe I am enjoying karma biting Del Rio in the ass, but never the less it’s time to put that aside. Del Rio, or should I say Alberto El Patron as he’ll surely be called again, is now a free man and that means every lucha libre promotion worth its salt is going to be opening up the checkbook to bring him in. Certainly they won’t be the only ones as (TNA, ROH and New Japan will likely have interest) but going back to Mexico just makes the most sense for Patron; it’s his comfort zone, it’s the place where he draws the most, it’s the place he’s had the most success; most importantly Mexico is the only place that seems to understand how Del Rio best works outside of a certain Temple in Los Angeles (more on them in a bit). So where is Patron going to wind up? That’s why we’re here. Today I will examine every single lucha libre promotion that I can think of and break down the chances they have of snagging the biggest lucha libre free agent not named Teddy Hart, Mr. Money or L.A. Park. So strap in; let’s find out where Alberto El Patron will pop up next, starting with the place he left behind.
It’s a good thing I decided to do this alphabetically because starting off with the promotion Patron left sobbing uncontrollably on the side of the road just…it feels right Brian, it feels right. Of course while I’ve given Patron a hard time (and will continue to do so) you cannot entirely blame him for leaving AAA. Yes he could’ve dropped the belt before leaving and yes he was treated quite well by them; that still doesn’t change the fact that AAA is AAA. If you don’t get that statement, all you need to do is go watch the Joaquin Roldan masturbatory hour during Triplemania last Sunday and you’ll get why AAA is looked at as the Disco Inferno of wrestling right now.
Of course, despite their wacky ways, you’re probably sitting there thinking that AAA has some pride and would probably tell Patron to go kick rocks after the difficult situation he put them in last year (and may I remind you he didn’t just take away their top draw and their top champion; many believe he was also responsible for running Mistico/Sin Cara/Myzteziz/Caristico out of town too before bolting). You would be wrong. AAA (and the Roldans in general) have the self esteem of a 16 year old Taking Back Sunday fan and I’m guessing they’d not only gladly welcome Patron back but would also likely make him the man again, complete with Mega Championship and all. That fact will definitely appeal to Patron; what won’t is the fact that AAA is seriously lacking cash right now with no signs of getting better soon. Seeing as Patron’s biggest reason to WWE was money, that factor may be what ultimately keeps a Patron-AAA union from happening. Who knows though; maybe they offer him the spot of head booker and a controlling stake in the company. Couldn’t you see the Roldans doing that? I honestly may not mind it; Patron can’t be any weirder at booking shows than Dorian and Joaquin are. 20% chance.
I’m not sure how many people know this but the biggest reason El Patron even got to WWE in the first place was because of CMLL. A brief stint in AAA aside, El Patron’s early career was in Arena Mexico as Dos Caras Jr., where I would dare say he was pretty damn good. I mean unless you don’t consider a reign as CMLL World Heavyweight Champion or winner of La Copa Jr. any good. Obviously anyone leaving CMLL under any circumstances is in risk of being banned by Paco Alonso, but CMLL did make a bid for El Patron when he left WWE the first time and this time will hold the advantage over AAA in the money department (not to mention the potential for runs in ROH and New Japan thanks to CMLL’s working relationship with both). The question will be whether or not El Patron feels CMLL can be creatively fulfilling considering CMLL runs some of the simplest storylines in recorded history and more or less has a top guy by committee approach as opposed to one undisputed star. As stands now, this is probably the best place for El Patron barring an unexpected development. 35% chance.
Who better to break in with an unexpected development than a certain upstart promotion out of Tijuana stepping into the big leagues? I don’t know if you’ve noticed boys and girls but The Crash promotion is starting to make moves, particularly with a card on September 24th that is to die for. Let’s go through it; we have the up and comer Bestia 666 taking on Titán, a four way match featuring Dragón Lee, Big Willie Mack and the Laredo Kid, Máscara Dorada and a main event that sees Rey Mysterio Jr. teaming with Rush and Extreme Tiger to take on Jeff Cobb, the Super Saiyan himself Mr. 450 and Teddy Hart (and if Teddy’s there, you know Mr. Money’s not far behind). That’s four incredible matches right there (largely made up of CMLL talent taking on LU talent), and there even more incredible when you consider that the fourth man in the four way and Dorada’s opponent are being kept under wraps now. Could El Patron be one of them? It depends on The Crash’s financial situation and their seriousness in making a step up from major indie promotion to a legit competitor to AAA and CMLL (something that will be tough if the CMLL and LU guys are forced off). I wouldn’t count on El Patron being on this show, but it wouldn’t shock me either. Some food for thought if you will. 25% chance.
To quote the theme song of El Patron’s former boss, no chance. In fact there’s not even any buzz of there being a chance. The only way I can see this happening is if El Patron, who did have short stints with IWRG when they were working with CMLL, coming down to Arena Naucalpan is if he only cares about being the top guy (which he certainly would be) or if he chooses to just straight up freelance instead of committing to one promotion. Otherwise there’s a better chance of Pink Floyd reuniting, Paige leaving El Patron for me or Francis Ford Coppola making Megalopolis tomorrow than El Patron setting up shop in IWRG full time. 0% chance.
Lucha Libre Elite
If I had written this column a few weeks ago this is where I’d say the landing spot would be. Even before El Patron and WWE officially had their falling out rumors were swirling that El Patron would be bolting the mother ship and heading to Elite by December. And it made sense considering Elite is throwing around money like they’re at the Foxy Lady, their association with CMLL and the fact that El Patron’s only competition for top star of Elite would be L.A. Park. Here’s the problem; CMLL is now out of the picture, or at least appears to be so due to some sort of falling out between the two sides, which means Elite is now going to have to relocate and survive on their own. They may have a ton of money around and their booking (aside from the stupid tournament thing they did) is generally okay, but this is also the same promotion that’s had a hard time drawing in big crowds for shows that don’t feature Park and Rush going full Mad Max: Fury Road on each other. Is El Patron really going to want to be the star of a promotion that’s running out of Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera (an Arena Naucalpan sized arena by the looks of it) and that has never really stood on its own two feet? Maybe the money is too good to pass up but again, color me dubious without the CMLL involvement. 5% chance.
I’m going to be honest; I didn’t expect to be putting the LU on this list. They were the other promotion El Patron left hanging, only unlike AAA they didn’t stay sobbing on the side of the road; hell I don’t believe they ever were sobbing on the side of the road. They certainly weren’t happy about it though and pulled no punches on mocking El Patron every chance they got in season two; El Jefe knocked El Patron in his reddit AMA, going as far to say that El Patron flushed his career down the toilet by leaving LU, while Patron’s only appearance of the season saw his picture featured on the “Missing Person’s” wall in the undercover luchador precinct. Judging from that and the way things ended it appeared that El Patron wouldn’t want to come back nor would LU want him back. Then Dave Meltzer reported the other night that LU had casually reached out to El Patron about, you guessed it, coming back.
Now I’ll say this; Big Dave is a cool cat and all but he’s often been inaccurate with LU info and doesn’t seem to be as well informed there as he does with WWE and TNA. So while it’s serious enough for me to include LU here, for now I take the info with the tiniest grain of salt. If the report is true…well it would make sense. That’s not to say I want to see El Patron back in the Temple (I personally don’t think LU needs him) but I would understand why the staff would want him back just as much as I’d understand why they wouldn’t. At the end of the day El Patron is a guy who can bring eyeballs to the LU product (though not as much as Rey Mysterio), would probably not cost more than he did the first time around and, from a booking perspective, will be used correctly in the Temple. While AAA (booked by Konnan at the time for those thinking it be the same now) did use El Patron well for his one year stint I don’t think anyone would deny that LU understood him better, allowing him to be both the Mexican hero many saw him as while also giving him a legitimate edge (something WWE tried but never succeeded at giving him). I reckon they would also get what to do now, which is cast El Patron as a sellout rudo who left them and the fans high and dry and has now only returned because he either has nowhere else to go or because El Jefe has paid him off. Could the two sides mend fences enough to make it happen? Has El Patron been humbled enough that he won’t cause a fuss over matches being edited and not being “the guy” of LU now that Pentagon Dark and Mysterio have been established as such? Those are the questions and right now I just don’t see enough to suggest that’s the case. Anything can happen and even though I don’t love it LU is still the place that will use him correctly. I just don’t see it as the place he’ll end up. 10% chance.
There you have it folks! I’m off till later and yes, this time it will be a preview for the big IWRG show this Sunday. Till then, get the Spidey!