During the June 4th episode of AEW Dynamite, Andrade El Idolo made his highly anticipated return to the wrestling world. The former La Sombra initially sent the crowd at Daily’s Place into a frenzy, fueled by shock and excitement. The reaction he got on Twitter was far more electric, with “Andrade” trending from fifteen seconds after he came out of the tunnel to two hours after the show had ended.
He was introduced by his new manager (and everybody’s favorite nuisance) Vickie Guerrero, and when he got to the ring, he had a very simple message for the AEW audience: “I will be the face of All Elite Wrestling”
Andrade is an international superstar with a list of accomplishments and accolades longer than almost anyone else in wrestling. He is one of the most successful luchadores in CMLL history, founding the “Los Ingobernables” alongside Rush and El Mascara. He has held titles in NJPW, NWA, and, of course, CMLL under the La Sombra moniker before signing with the WWE in 2015.
Now going by Andrade “Cien” Almas, he initially debuted in NXT as a fun-loving wrestler who would much rather be out bar hopping with his buddies. WWE doubted his ability to work the microphone and refused to let him do much character work, thus forcing the former international champion into a pretty shallow corner. This version of Andrade would only last a few months, before being replaced with a character that much better reflected La Sombra’s capabilities.
Paired with Zelina Vega, Andrade became the wrestler he was meant to be: a man who combines brutality and elegance perfectly when in-between the ropes, or as he puts it, tranquilo style. This new shift in focus for Andrade was so hot and so successful that he would become NXT champion less than two months later.
During his reign, he would have unbelievably great matches, including the first match in NXT history and the first WWE match in almost a decade to be rated five stars by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He would lose the title to Aleister Black after a 140-day reign, but the WWE universe had seen enough to know he would be a star on the next level.
Sadly, main roster writers did not have a clear idea of what they wanted for Andrade and fumbled the ball from day one. He did have a short run with the United States Title, but outside of that, he was delegated to wrestling almost exclusively in the second hour of Raw. He was just thrown into a tag team with Angel Garza at the beginning of 2020, which was really the last notable thing he did.
Around this time, WWE would force Andrade to shorten his ring name to “Andrade” and release his Zelina Vega (Because she was streaming on Twitch and WWE refuses to let their talent make talent through third-party services like Twitch, Youtube, Cameo, Instagram sponsorships, Onlyfans, etc. They even made Xavier Woods give them ownership of his brainchild, UpUpDownDown.) which would be the straws that broke the camel’s back. Andrade would ask for his release in early 2021, be denied initially, but then be granted it in March.
He has not wrestled since his release, largely due to WWE’s notorious 90-day non-competes that they implement into every contract they write. He has, however, appeared, in video form, at a AAA Lucha Libre event, where he challenged Kenny Omega for the AAA Mega Championship that he has held since 2019. However, this was clearly not a full-time engagement, and fans have been nervously waiting for his next move.
A superstar of this level is a huge signing for AEW, and they should absolutely try to get him front and center as often as possible.
How better to do that than by making him the world champion?
Andrade is already scheduled to fight Kenny Omega at Triplemania 29 for the AAA Mega Championship in August, a month before AEW’s next pay-per-view, All Out. This gives AEW a storyline to build a feud on and an opportunity to make their match at All Out a gimmick match (say the Bucks or the Good Brothers or even Callis gets involved in their match in Mexico, they could use that as a reason to make their championship match a steel cage match or maybe motivation for Los Ingobernables to show up and create another blood and guts match). The opportunity for El Idolo to become champion is there, but is the time right?
Judging by the reaction Andrade got during his debut, fans are excited about him in Tony Khan’s “T-shirt business” but there are some questions that still need to be answered. The episode of Dynamite he debuted on was on at 10 PM eastern time, which is late to the point that only the most committed of fans were tuning in. Is an audience of nearly two million going to react the same way that 400,000 did? AEW returns to Wednesdays in a few weeks, and is that crowd going to accept Andrade?
Further, there were some problems with how he was presented. Vickie Guerrero is an extremely memorable and important part of wrestling history, but is she really the right manager for the future face of the franchise? Her gimmick is not sustainable for very long and I would be very surprised to see if she can stand by his side very long without impeding his progress.
Why does he even need a manager? Is his English/promo-cutting a concern of his and the executives? He cut a decent promo on Dynamite, although it was extremely short and probably scripted to a certain extent, so it did not answer any pressing questions.
There are a ton of questions that Andrade has to answer soon, but if he can come through and overcome the obstacles then Andrade El Idolo has the potential to be an amazing world champion and help push AEW into the stratosphere.