Monday, May 7, 2007

El Hijo del Santo, part 1

El Hijo del Santo ("The Son of the Saint") is a Mexican professional wrestler and one of the most successful stars in Lucha Libre. He is the son of legendary wrestler/actor, El Santo (Santo had eleven children total) , and his real name is Jorge Guzmán.

"Santito," as he is sometimes referred, was the only one out of El Santo's eleven children to become a professional wrestler. He began wrestling without his father's consent in February, 1982 as "El Korak" but he made his official debut as "El Hijo del Santo" in October of that year after he earned his college degree in Communication Science as per his father's request. He shared his father's look, the silver mask, tights and cape, and moves but he was shorter and, although he would never become the same cultural icon, he would become a better in-ring performer than his father.

Early in his career, he was wrestled mainly for WWA (The Tijuana circuit) and UWA (a promotion that worked in the Mexico City area) but he did make his debut for EMLL (the promotion that later became Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) in Arena Mexico in the summer of 1983. He also was voted 'Rookie of the Year."

He won his first title, the UWA World Lightweight title, on October 1985 and traded the title with Aristóteles. He next feuded with Espanto, Jr. (whose father feuded with the original El Santo) and Santo took his mask. Espanto took Santo's title but Santo regained it in 1988 and took Espanto's hair as well. During this time, he also feuded with Negro Casas, who would become his most important opponent, and took his hair in a 1987 match in the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium.

In 1990, he debuted in Japan for Gran Hamada's Universal Lucha Libre promotion and moved up a weight class by winning the UWA Welterweight title as well as the WWA Welterweight title. In late 1991, he left WWA and vacated the Welterweight title but continued to wrestle for UWA until the formation of Asistencia Asesoría y Administración. Santo regained the WWA Welterweight title and brought it with him to AAA. One of the first feuds he was put in was again Negro Casas' youngest brother, Heavy Metal. Heavy took Santo's WWA Welterweight title and won the National Welterweight title but Santo would come out on top of the feud and took both titles from Heavy before he lost them again to another young star, Psicosis.

His most memorable feud during his time with AAA was against the obnoxious American team, Los Gringos Locos. Eddie Guerrero's stiffer Japanese style offense, combined with Art Barr's cocky mannerisms made Los Gringos Locos a very exciting tag team. During the feud, the played up the old Pareja Atómica tag team which consisted of the original El Santo and Eddie's father, Gory Guerrero. Eddie turned on Santo, leading to a hair vs. mask challenge for the When Worlds Collide Pay-Per-View. The match was changed at the last minute when Art Barr pleaded with AAA officials to be included on the show which would be broadcasted in the United States. The new match was a double hair vs. double mask match with Santo teaming with Octagón against Los Gringos. Santo and Octagón were victorious in the critically acclaimed match but it was the last stand for Los Gringos Locos. Art Barr died shortly afterwards and the group broke up abruptly. AAA owner Antonio Peña tried to run an angle with an evil version of El Santo called "El Santo Negro" who supposedly came from South America. When the other members of Santo's family objected, the feud was scrapped and El Hijo del Santo jumped to CMLL in 1995.
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