Lucha Tributes: Soberano Jr.
I don’t know if people have noticed, but there’s a shit ton of great talent out there in lucha libre right now. Every week, regardless of whether there’s five good shows or five bad shows between CMLL/LU/AAA/IWRG or whoever, there’s always something I see that reassures me that lucha libre’s future is bright and that there’s so much talent to keep things going well beyond 2016. It’s time we start talking about some of these young luchadors, and we’ll begin today with a lucha tribute for someone I’ve wanted to write about for weeks. This is a luchador I’m really high on and I know I’m not the only one. He’s a budding CMLL superstar who deserves a better push than what he’s been given, while also overcoming that to deliver some of the best unsung performances the promotion has had in recent memory. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lucha Tribute to the fantastic, the phenomenal Soberano Jr.!
What You Already Know
Not much unless you’re a diehard lucha libre fan. If you are then Soberano Jr. is the skinniest luchador you’ve ever seen and the only luchador on the CMLL roster who hits the ropes from the left side of his body as opposed to the right. He’s also known for being one of the most athletic luchadors in CMLL, having one of the most dynamic and unique move sets in CMLL and for being one of the most underused luchadors in CMLL. Granted that’s the case for many a CMLL luchador, but even the best of those guys can’t quite measure up to the talent or pedigree Soberano Jr. has.
What You Didn’t Know
Get ready to have your mind holes blown; Soberano Jr. is a third generation luchador. What an unprecedented thing to happen in lucha libre!
So what of Soberano Jr.’s lineage? Well his grandfather was the original Soberano, a Puerto Rican wrestler who made a name for himself in Mexico during the 1970’s. Other than that the only factoid anyone can find on the original Soberano is that all three of his sons would eventually get into lucha libre themselves. There was Stranger, who worked for CMLL and Promo Azteca in the late 90s before tragically dying in a car accident in 2000. There was El Hijo del Soberano, a freelancer who failed to catch on with CMLL in the mid 2000s before disappearing. And then there was Soberano’s youngest child and Soberano Jr.’s father, a luchador who once went under the Soberano Jr. name himself before finding fame as Euforia. Yes, that Euforia, the ultra impressive and ultra great base luchador you see having at least one good match every week for CMLL. As it turns out Euforia was only a teenager when Soberano Jr. was born (if you believe the ages listed for both), which not only allowed Euforia to train his son while he was still young himself but has allowed both to compete in CMLL at the same time. That a father and son are working the same promotion isn’t a rare occurrence; the fact that both Euforia and Soberano Jr. are two of the best workers CMLL has however is, because most lucha dads are too old to be at the level their sons are by the time they break in. Not in this case, and you’d expect both to perform at a high level for a long time given Soberano’s youth and Euforia’s safe style.
At it turns out though Soberano Jr. is already a decade long veteran in the business, as Euforia and the original Soberano trained the youngster when he was quite young. How young? Try thirteen years old, which was the age Soberano Jr. made his debut in his home town Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico. That’s some Teddy Hart/Harry Smith/Rey Mysterio Jr. shit right there! He would work his hometown for a few years under the name El Nieto del Soberano (The Grandson of Soberano), before changing it to Soberano Jr. (or El Soberano) after his father officially took on the Euforia gimmick. It wasn’t long after that that CMLL came calling and Soberano Jr. began training at the CMLL wrestling school in 2010 in preparation for his debut at the age of seventeen. He wouldn’t actually work a match for CMLL until a year later (a tag match with Trueno against Apocalipsis and the luchador who’d eventually become Taurus), but somehow found a slot in CMLL’s annual Bodybuilding contest, where he placed third in the beginners category. Of all the things Soberano Jr. has accomplished, that may be the most impressive considering he’s leaner that 100% ground beef. I guess CMLL likes the lean look combined with Soberano’s impressive 6’0 height that he inherited from his dad, uncles and grandfather.
Since then Soberano’s run has been… well it’s been fine but it should’ve been better. He’s had notable moments, including winning the 2013 Torneo Sangre Nueva (The New Blood Tournament) and a mask vs. mask match victory in tag team action with fellow up and comer Star Jr. over Ramstein and Cholo. Unfortunately CMLL did little with either victory; Soberano Jr. would ultimately take a backseat to the man he beat in the Torneo Sangre Nueva final (a luchador named Taurus who’d go onto become upper card fixture Gran Guerrero) and the mask vs. mask match was tarnished by a poor performance from the veteran rudos, who seemed to go out of their way to sabotage almost everything Soberano and Star Jr. did. It wasn’t until this year in fact that Soberano seemed to find his footing. His alliance with Star Jr., already successful in producing high quality matches, has recently added Hombre Bala Jr. to the fold and their first match as a unit was fantastic (despite the fact that the group lost). A couple singles matches have been thrown his way too, most notably a Lightning Match with Hechicero back in August that you will be hearing about in a minute. It’s early to say but there’s some evidence to suggest that things are looking up for Soberano Jr. in the near distant future.
Before we get into the match, I'd be remissed if I didn't post this awesome Soberano Jr. tribute video done by Doradafan. The highlights are a few years old, but it's a sick video and will give you just as much of the Soberano experience as the match I'm showing you will.
As for the match I picked, it's Soberano vs. Hechicero. I told you we’d be talking about that soon! The youngster actually crossed paths with the well respected rudo for the first time back in 2014, where Soberano defeated Hechicero in the first round of the En Busca de un Ídolo (The Search for an Idol tournament). But while that match was good, it doesn’t compare to the Lightning Match they had two months ago in Arena Mexico, one week before the 83rd Anniversary Show. What makes this match so great? Let’s start with analyzing the Lightning Match itself. Most Lightning Matches are average at best due to the ten minute time limit and CMLL’s insistence that these matches never come close to going full time. Not on this occasion! These two played with the Lightning Match conventions as much as they could and made you think this match would actually end in a draw, creating an urgency that most Lightning Matches don’t have. That urgency was also helped by what these two brought to the table. Hechicero, for those who don’t know him, is an exceptional luchador who should be main eventing Anniversary Shows for years to come. One of his great qualities is that he allowed Soberano to look like a monster here, unlike Ramstein and Cholo during that mask vs. mask tag I brought up earlier. It’s not the complete Soberano experience thanks to the lack of his awe inspiring corkscrew plancha, but you’ll see everything else that makes him a must see talent. It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to see more of his work.
I cannot rave about Soberano Jr. enough sports fans. There’s tons of great young luchadors that I’m privileged to see every week, but few stand out to me as much as this kid does. He does moves that no one else (other than his pal Star Jr.) does in Arena Mexico. He does moves that everyone else does better than they do. There’s a hidden charisma about him in that tall, lanky figure he carries around. Whatever you want to throw out he has it, except for CMLL’s backing. If he were to get that then there’s no limit to how big a star Soberano Jr. can be. If I were them I’d be looking to give him a push throughout all of 2017. Things are changing within CMLL, what with the Ring of Honor talent exchange, the already in place New Japan talent exchange and talents like Máscara Dorada leaving. Someone needs to replace Dorada and CMLL will be sending more talent to Japan and the States. You don’t get a much better candidate for all three roles than Soberano Jr. You can never say for sure but I would bank money on Soberano becoming a big star in lucha libre and beyond over the next few years. His family pedigree, his young age (still just twenty three) and his awe inspiring ability demand as such. Push him Paco! Push Him!
That’s all for now boys and girls. I’ll return later to review Lucha Underground. In the meantime, check out Soberano Jr.!