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Who is "La Sombra"? A CMLL Investigation
When you’ve watched CMLL for longer than two months, one thing starts to dawn on you; angles, actual honest to Grodd angles, are rarer than a Mew without a glitch or GameShark (remember GameShark?! Those were the days). Sure CMLL will do feuds and all, but the feuds mostly come down to two guys going at it for a few weeks in trios action, making challenges and then resolving everything with a singles match. It’s simple, it’s straightforward and it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for stuff like “Lizard Tribes”, “who is the third man?” or “IT’S ME AUSTIN!”. So imagine my, and everyone else’s surprise, when CMLL did this last Friday night.
What you’re looking at there is a picture of Rush, Pierroth and Misterioso Jr. standing next to a dude who looks an awful lot like La Sombra, the former identity of current WWE NXT performer Andrade “Cien” Almas back when he worked for CMLL. This “Sombra” quickly grabbed the attention of most people watching the show (myself included) and was even brought up by announcers, but most assumed that this was just a one off joke designed by Rush and Pierroth for their own amusement. Then Monday night in Puebla came and there was yet another “Sombra” hanging out with Rush and Pierroth (as seen above), this time played up by the commentary team as the actual Sombra. Now we all find ourselves in a situation where this “Sombra” might be a thing that’s not a joke (though it still could be), not to mention that his presence may make the upcoming Pierroth-Vangellys hair match…alright that’s still gonna blow more chunks than Samwell Tarly at sea, but it at least gives us a potential reveal angle to look forward to. But who is this guy? What plans do CMLL have for him in regards to Pierroth vs. Vangellys? And most importantly, WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY?! The second question has a relatively easy answer, at least in the immediate future; “Sombra” will undoubtedly be the catalyst that helps Pierroth beat Vangellys come Friday, July 14th. As for his identity? Well, I have a few ideas in mind; some that make sense, one that I may have literally pulled out of my ass and…well you’ll just have to wait a few paragraphs to find out. Let’s work our way down, starting with a candidate that isn’t actually a candidate.
There will be no reveal and CMLL/Ingobernables are just trolling us all
Look sports fans, this is CMLL; as great as they can get at their highest level, they often spend a lot of time making us believe they’re dumber than a bag of hammers. Would it really shock you if ultimately nothing came of this, “Sombra” never appeared again after last Monday and this joined the ranks of the Hummer Driver, Samoa Joe being abducted by ninjas and numerous other odd storylines that never ended? I mean sure, I don’t think that’s where we’re going; CMLL may be the same it’s always been, but it’s my experience that even the wackiest of promotions don’t play up stuff the way CMLL played up “Sombra” if there wasn’t a plan. Just don’t be surprised if come next year you find yourself wondering what happened to this angle as you await Pierroth vs. Rush in a hair vs. hair match for the Anniversary Show. I kid, I kid!
When it comes to these sorts of storylines, especially in Mexico, the first thing you look for is “which family member of Sombra’s is most likely to be playing the role?” Brillante Jr. had the fortunate (or unfortunate) distinction of being the first guy being brought up when “Sombra” showed up on Friday. He is indeed Sombra’s younger brother (who you may recall seeing along with Sombra’s family at the 82nd Anniversary Show), he’s using the same name Sombra used before he actually became La Sombra; it’s not a stretch to say that Brillante Jr. could be the guy. What does make it a stretch is that a) he’s significantly shorter than the person(s) we’ve seen portraying “Sombra” so far and b) he’s apparently greener than a PGA Tour golf course. The latter point means jack shit considering we’re on the verge of Pierroth headlining TWO major events for CMLL this year. But even if CMLL is just using stand ins right now till they’re ready to bring in a new guy to play “Sombra”, Brillante Jr.’s lack of build makes it hard for me to believe he’s the guy.
Depending on how you believe CMLL’s going about this, Diamante may be the most likely for the role or the least likely for the role. If CMLL is using stand ins then Diamante moves to the top of my list; he has history with CMLL (working there from 2009 to 2013), he has history with Rush (they were two thirds of the Mexican National Trios Champions with Ángel de Oro back in 2011), he’s Sombra’s actual brother-in-law and, perhaps most importantly, he is built very similar to the dude(s) we saw these past few shows. If it’s been the same guy playing the role each time however then Diamante is a no go, as he was working a show in Texas on Friday night while “Sombra” was gallivanting down the stage. There’s other factors in play that make him seem more of a fringe candidate (such as a few booking with The Crash), but until we know more Diamante looks to be a pretty intriguing candidate. That or the candidate list is really that small.
I feel the possibility of Espanto being “Sombra” can only be summed up like this.
And that’s not even hyperbole in my estimation; Espanto being revealed as “Sombra” would probably lead to so much bitching from the lucha community that you’d think they’d never watch CMLL again. Unfortunately this theory can’t be discounted. I don’t know how many are aware but Espanto Jr. is cousins with actual Sombra. That, coupled with him being a guy CMLL has easy access to AND someone who isn’t going anywhere in the CMLL undercard…this is not something to dismiss lightly. The only thing keeping me from saying Espanto is a strong candidate for the role is that I’m not sure how tall he is. Beyond that, his employment, family connections and the fact that CMLL (I’ll say it again) doesn’t care whether the new guy is Sombra or Sombra Diabólika in the ring gives me reason to believe he’s a strong candidate. Oh shit, now I do think I’m actually hearing thousands of lucha libre fans cry out in terror.
Props to Jared Aat of the International Lucha Libre Facebook community for bringing up this name. I know next to nothing about Zafiro, other than he’s yet another cousin of Sombra, his father (also named Zafiro, though not the same one that went on to be Pentagoncito) was also a luchador and he’s currently working on the lower rungs of Mexican indie circuit. Because he’s family he can’t be discounted, but he’s only 5’9 (significantly shorter than the guy(s) playing “Sombra” now) and his lack of notoriety make it difficult to accept that he’s the guy CMLL is bringing. Stranger things have happened, but I can’t see CMLL going for this.
Septiembre Negro Jr.
I legit had no idea who this guy was until Rob Viper brought him up in a podcast I listened to this morning. I guess he’s one of Pierroth’s brothers? Either way, it appears that Rush has been name dropping his uncle recently, which I guess could lead some to believe that he’ll end up being “Sombra” and thus continuing Los Ingobernables’ new tradition of sticking old guys no one wants to see in the group. However, after viewing some pictures of Septiembre, the only chance he’s playing this role is if a) he’s really slimmed down or b) CMLL really doesn’t care about the stand in(s) looking nothing like the actual guy playing the role. I don’t see that happening, thus I don’t see Septiembre being the guy, though I suppose it doesn’t shut the door on him joining the Ingobernables anyway just to annoy us all.
And now we’ve reached the pick I pulled out of my ass! Here me out though. Sure Star Jr. doesn’t appear to have any connection to Sombra, Rush or anyone else associated with Los Ingobernables and appears to be going nowhere faster than Speed Racer in the Gran Prix. So why do I have him here? First, he’s as tall as the guy(s) seen playing “Sombra” on Friday and Monday, as well as having a very similar physique (at least last I checked). Secondly, it turns out that Star Jr.’s father, former luchador Star Boy, shares the same last name as Rush and Pierroth. That’s right, Star Boy and Star Jr.’s are Muñoz’s! Does that mean anything; perhaps not as I cannot find any family connection between the two. But it’s possible that has just fallen through the cracks, which means if there is a connection, Star Jr. jumps right back into contention. Throw in the similar appearance and the fact that “Sombra” will likely be similar to the old Sombra (a high flyer, something Star Jr. can essay really well) and I like this idea as a “pull one crazy pick out of your ass” pick. There’s enough there that even though it’s out there it’s not entirely implausible. Speaking of implausible…
La Sombra is “Sombra”
The one constant ever since “Sombra” showed up Friday has been everyone and their brother making this point; there’s very little chance that this guy was actually the La Sombra we know, love and miss very much. And truthfully, I’d say that’s probably right. As far as I know of, Sombra is still under WWE contract for a bit, he likely wouldn’t be able to appear soon even if he wasn’t (due to the 90 day clause) and the thought of CMLL and WWE actually working together is Chris Rock’s Bring the Pain levels of comedy. It’s a hard sell to think that Sombra is actually back…and yet, there’s some circumstantial evidence out there that makes it very hard to dismiss him outright either.
1) He was in Arena Mexico Friday night. You know, only the same night that “Sombra” made his now infamous appearance. I’m not even trying to lead you along either; he was legit there, as this photograph looking out into Arena Mexico prior to showtime proves.
Now maybe you could argue this was a coincidence or what not but come on; the actual La Sombra being there on the same night a new Sombra actually appears is just a little too coincidental for my tastes. If nothing else, it clearly shows that Sombra is in on whatever this is, and perhaps means even more (and oh by the way, there’s evidence to suggest Sombra was still in Mexico on Monday when the Puebla show happened).
2) Sombra has a similar build to whoever was under the mask. Now this one is trickier, because many people were quick to point out that the guy under the Sombra mask Friday wasn’t built the same way as actual Sombra, followed by many saying the guy in Puebla was different than the first guy. I’m not as convinced. Whoever was playing “Sombra” on Friday and Monday was between 5’10 and 6’0 (you can tell when he stands next to Rush, who is 6’0 and about an inch taller); La Sombra himself is listed as being around 5’10 and 5’11, putting him right in the ballpark. Physique wise, there isn’t enough of a difference between Sombra and the guy(s) under the mask to make me completely dismiss him as a possibility (and it should be pointed out that the “Sombra” on Friday was wearing a baggier shirt, thus making it harder to tell his build). It’s all circumstantial and doesn’t point towards Sombra being “Sombra”; it doesn’t eliminate him from the equation either though unless you think he couldn’t hide his beard and hair under the mask.
3) He’s not happy in WWE. This isn’t a new subject for lucha fans; Sombra’s happiness in WWE has been a topic of discussion ever since Alberto El Patron claimed Sombra wasn’t happier in the fall of 2016. Most people shrugged it off because Alberto has been in “Die WWE Die!” mode ever since his second release, but he wasn’t wrong; I’ve heard multiple times from people I trust that Sombra isn’t happy with WWE, including as recently as Wrestlemania weekend just a few months ago. There have also been rumors that WWE hasn’t been happy with him, though those haven’t been confirmed. It’s certainly possible Sombra has changed his tune on WWE now that he’s been put with Thea Trinidad and given him the “Mexican Playboy” gimmick over the past few months, and even if he hasn’t, WWE contracts aren’t just things you can get out of short of being fired. But the fact remains that nothing about Sombra’s WWE tenure thus far has suggested he’s happy (nor that he’s adjusted from being a main event player in Mexico to being just another dude in the States), and the fact that WWE has had him lose to almost everyone under the sun (coupled with them pulling him from being called up just a few months ago) makes you wonder.
Again, how much you want to look into is up to you. It’s quite possible that Sombra was just in Mexico visiting family and friends during some down time and helped put this angle together, nothing more. The appearance of this “Sombra” isn’t a far cry from actual Sombra, but it also doesn’t entirely resemble him. And even if he’s unhappy with WWE there’s no guarantee that Sombra could get out of his contract in time to play the role even if he wanted to. It makes far more sense that this is another guy in the role than Sombra making his return. I’m just merely pointing out that a) he was there on Friday and possibly Monday, b) the look of this “Sombra” wasn’t that dissimilar from Sombra’s actual appearance and c) he’s disgruntled in his current place of employment and may want to come back (also; the fact that Sombra has yet to issue any sort of statement on the matter is telling, though I suppose he has informed WWE of what’s going on through back channels). Overall, I would advise people hoping against hope that this is actually La Sombra returning not to get their hopes up too badly. That said, I’d also advise not to entirely close the door until there’s reason to. This probably isn’t La Sombra; but it could be, and that’s perhaps the hidden genius (or madness) of what CMLL is playing with.
That’s game sports fans. I’m off to walk around, contemplate existence and be back in time for Lucha Underground tonight at 8 p.m. EST. Till then, THIS!