Samuray del Sol

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Samuray del Sol
Birth name Emanuel Rodriguez[1][2]
Born (1986-11-14) November 14, 1986 (age 27)[3]
Chicago, Illinois[4][5]
Resides Orlando, Florida[6]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kalisto[7]
Octagón Jr.[8]
Samuray[9]
Samuray del Sol[3]
Billed height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)[3][10][4]
Billed weight 170 lb (77 kg)[4]
Billed from Berwyn, Illinois[10][11]
Mexico City[4]
Trained by Windy City Pro Wrestling[5]
Gran Apache[5]
Debut 2006[3]
Website
SamurayDelSol.com

Emanuel Rodriguez[1][2] (born November 14, 1986)[3] is a Mexican American professional wrestler better known by the ring name Samuray del Sol (Spanish for "Samuray of the Sun"). He made his professional wrestling debut in 2006, working under a mask on the Midwestern United States independent circuit. Having established himself as one of the top high-flyers in the area, he began working for larger national and international promotions in 2011 and was signed by Dragon Gate USA in 2012. The same year, he made his debut for Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), where, in November, he was repackaged as Octagón Jr., the storyline protégé of well-known luchador Octagón. He has also worked for promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (IWA-MS), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) and Resistance Pro Wrestling (RPW). In May 2013, he signed a developmental contract with WWE, where he was renamed Kalisto.

Early life[edit]

Rodriguez was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States, but spent his first years living in Mexico City, Mexico.[5][12] In the mid-90s, when he was still in primary school, Rodriguez's family moved to Chicago, though they also kept making regular trips to Mexico City.[5] In Chicago, he attended Curie Metropolitan High School.[13] Rodriguez grew up a fan of Mexican professional wrestling, or lucha libre, especially workers like Tinieblas, whose mask and physique caught his attention, and Octagón, whose in-ring style caught his attention.[5] As a child, Rodriguez bought both Tinieblas' and Octagón's replica masks.[5] After moving to the United States, Rodriguez started watching World Wrestling Federation (WWF), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), taking influence from the likes of Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam and Sabu.[5] In high school, Rodriguez started watching independent promotions like Ring of Honor (ROH) as well as Japanese promotions.[5] Rodriguez has a sports background in gymnastics, taekwondo, amateur wrestling and football.[5][12]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Rodriguez was initially trained in professional wrestling in 2006 at Windy City Pro Wrestling's (WCPW) training school in Chicago, where he was trained in not only American professional wrestling, but also lucha libre by a former Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) luchador.[5][12] Rodriguez has later noted that because of his youth, his trainers were strict on him, leading him to contemplating quitting the school.[13] Rodriguez made his debut for WCPW after only three weeks of training.[5] Combining his Mexican and Japanese influences, he adopted the ring name Samuray del Sol,[5] choosing to use the spelling "Samuray" in order to differentiate himself from several other workers using the name Samurai.[5] Much like his childhood idols, Rodriguez also began wrestling under a mask.[5] During his first years in the business, Samuray made a name for himself on the Chicago and Midwestern United States independent circuit.[3]

During 2010, Samuray began branching out of the Midwest, making his debuts for Pennsylvania-based International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) and New York-based East Coast Lucha Libre (ECLL).[14][15] On September 25, 2010, Samuray worked in a dark match put together by Berwyn, Illinois-based All American Wrestling (AAW) for Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), where he unsuccessfully challenged Silas Young for the AAW Heavyweight Championship in a three-way match, which also included Gran Akuma.[16] During 2010, Samuray made his first wrestling tour of Mexico.[3] During another tour of Mexico in April 2011, Rodriguez suffered a serious injury at an event held by independent promotion Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU), when he landed on the concrete floor and hit his head on a guardrail, when diving out of the ring onto his opponents.[5][13][17] In the aftermath of the injury, Rodriguez began suffering from post-concussion syndrome and fell into depression and contemplated quitting professional wrestling, before receiving a call to take part in a three-day tryout camp for WWE.[5][13]

Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (2011–2012)[edit]

During mid-2011, Mexican luchador Crazy Boy, who saw Samuray during his Mexican debut, got him a spot in Asistencia Asesoría y Administración's (AAA) reality television program ¿Quién Pinta Para La Corona?.[5][18] While taking part in the program, Samuray also returned to Crazy Boy's DTU promotion.[19][20][21] During the taping of the program, he also underwent further training under veteran luchador Gran Apache, whom he credits with "perfecting [his] career".[22] Although he did not earn a contract with AAA through the program,[23] Samuray was able to make his AAA main card debut on August 19, 2012, when he teamed with Joe Líder and Juventud Guerrera in a six man tag team match, where they were defeated by the villainous La Sociedad trio of Daga, Dark Dragon and Psicosis.[24] During September, Samuray worked several multi man tag team matches against Los Inferno Rockers (Devil Rocker, Machine Rocker, Soul Rocker and Uro Rocker), losing all of them.[25][26]

While training with Teddy Hart in Canada, Samuray received a call from AAA booker Konnan, who offered him a regular spot on the promotion's roster.[13] On October 7, 2012, at Héroes Inmortales, Samuray was placed in his first storyline in AAA, when he, not identified, referred to only as a "mysterious fighter", approached Octagón backstage after a match.[8] Shortly afterwards, AAA revealed that the fighter had been Samuray del Sol and he had requested for Octagón to start training him, which Octagón, having been impressed by the newcomer ever since noticing him on ¿Quién Pinta Para La Corona?, accepted.[27] On November 15, Octagón was ambushed during an in-ring interview by El Consejo members Silver King and Toscano, who, however, were quickly chased out of the ring by Samuray del Sol. Afterwards, Octagón gave Samuray a new mask similar to the one he was wearing himself and officially adopted him as his protégé, renaming him "Octagón Jr."[8][28][29] Prior to making his in-ring debut as Octagón Jr., Samuray wrestled one final AAA match under his old name and mask, when on November 18 he teamed with AAA World Heavyweight Champion El Mesías to defeat El Consejo members El Texano, Jr. and Silver King via disqualification.[30][31][32] Octagón Jr. made his in-ring debut on December 2 at Guerra de Titanes, where he, Octagón and La Parka defeated his debuting storyline nemesis, Pentagón Jr., La Parka Negra and Silver King in a six man tag team match.[33][34] In May 2013, it was reported that AAA was looking to replace Samuray del Sol as Octagón Jr. due to his busy independent schedule preventing him from appearing for the promotion.[35]

Combat Zone Wrestling (2012)[edit]

After returning from his ¿Quién Pinta Para La Corona? stint in Mexico, Samuray, looking to showcase the "new Samuray del Sol",[22] made his debut for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) on February 4, 2012, in a match, where he was defeated by AR Fox.[36] Samuray credits the match as opening him doors to bigger promotions, including Dragon Gate USA.[22] On March 10, Samuray and Uhaa Nation survived an eight-man elimination match to qualify for the Best of the Best 11 tournament.[37] The tournament took place on internet pay-per-view on April 14 and saw Samuray defeat Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano in a three-way first round match.[38][39] Later that same event, Samuray was defeated in his semifinal match by AR Fox.[38][39]

Dragon Gate USA and Evolve (2012–2013)[edit]

In March 2012, Dragon Gate USA announced that the promotion had signed a "mystery luchador" to a contract.[40][41] On March 29, Samuray made his Dragon Gate USA main card debut at an event co-promoted by DGUSA and CZW, appearing as Masato Yoshino's surprise opponent and defeating him in the following singles match.[12][41] The following day, Samuray made his pay-per-view debut at Open the Ultimate Gate 2012, defeating Johnny Vandal.[41][42] On the third and final day of the triple shot weekend, Samuray wrestled in a six-way match at Mercury Rising 2012, which was won by El Generico.[41][43] On April 13, Samuray made his debut for Evolve, a promotion closely affiliated with Dragon Gate USA, losing to Chuck Taylor in a three-way match, which also included Johnny Gargano.[44][45] Samuray then had two singles matches against El Generico; the first on June 28 at Evolve 14 was won by El Generico and the rematch the following day at Evolve 15 was won by Samuray.[46][47] Samuray returned to Dragon Gate USA on July 28, when he and El Generico were defeated in a tag team match by AR Fox and Cima.[48] Samuray and El Generico finished their trilogy of matches against each other on September 8 at Evolve 17, where Samuray was defeated in a main event.[49] On November 4 at Dragon Gate USA's Freedom Fight 2012, Samuray teamed with El Generico in a tag team match, where they defeated Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito.[50] The two continued their winning ways on December 8 at Evolve 18, where they defeated the Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno and Stupefied).[51] Samuray then qualified for the Evolve Championship tournament, but was eliminated by Sami Callihan in his first round four-way match, which also included Jigsaw and Rich Swann.[52] On June 2 at Evolve 22, Samuray unsuccessfully challenged Johnny Gargano for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship, submitting after being unmasked by the champion.[53][54]

Other promotions (2012–2013)[edit]

On December 14, 2012, Samuray del Sol entered the 2012 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, defeating Eddie Rios in his first round match.[55] The following day, he defeated Jonathan Gresham in the quarterfinals, Jon Davis in the semifinals and finally AR Fox in the finals to win the entire tournament.[56] On January 18, 2013, Samuray del Sol worked on the Hart Legacy Wrestling (HLW) promotion's inaugural event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In the opening four-way elimination tag team match, he and El Generico were victorious over the teams of Cam!kaze and Pete Wilson, Brian Cage and Trent Barreta, and Andrew Hawkes and Ryan Rollins. As a result, the two earned a spot in a main event ten man tag team match, where they teamed with Barreta, Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Jack Evans in a losing effort against the team of Teddy Hart, Brian Cage, Cam!kaze, Flip Kendrick and Pete Wilson.[57][58] On March 15, Samuray del Sol made his debut for Full Impact Pro (FIP), unsuccessfully challenging Jon Davis for the FIP World Heavyweight Championship.[59] On March 22, Samuray del Sol made his debut for Southern California-based Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), teaming with AR Fox in a tag team match, where they were defeated by the Inner City Machine Guns (Rich Swann and Ricochet).[60][61] The following day, Samuray was defeated by T.J. Perkins at another PWG event.[62] On March 24, Samuray del Sol defeated Paul London, AR Fox and Ricochet during a one night single-elimination tournament to become the 2013 King of Flight.[63] On April 21, Samuray del Sol, as Octagón Jr., appeared at Puerto Rican promotion World Wrestling League's (WWL) inaugural pay-per-view, Idols of Wrestling, unsuccessfully challenging Sicodélico, Jr. for the Zero1 Mexico International Championship in a four-way match, which also included Axel and El Hijo de Rey Mysterio.[64][65] On May 25, Samuray del Sol appeared at English promotion Southside Wrestling Entertainment's (SWE) Speed King 2 tournament, losing to Marty Scurll in his first round match.[66] After signing with WWE, Samuray del Sol wrestled his farewell match for his longtime home promotion, AAW, on June 28, where he and Colt Cabana were defeated by The Irish Airborne (Dave Crist and Jake Crist).[67]

WWE (2013–present)[edit]

In May 2013, it was reported that Rodriguez was undergoing pre-contract signing medical tests for WWE.[68] On May 26, it was reported that he had signed a developmental contract with WWE.[69][70] On August 29, Rodriguez's new ring name was revealed as Kalisto.[7][71] Kalisto made his NXT debut at a live event on September 20, defeating Baron Corbin.[72] In April 2014, Kalisto formed a tag team with El Local,[73] which led to him making his television debut on the May 8 NXT, where the two defeated the Legionnaires (Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort) in a tag team match.[74] On May 29 at NXT Takeover, Kalisto and El Local unsuccessfully challenged The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) for the NXT Tag Team Championship.[75] On the July 17 NXT, Kalisto announced he and El Local had parted ways and the following week revealed Sin Cara as his new partner.[76][77] Over the next weeks, Kalisto and Sin Cara won a tournament to become the number one contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship.[78]

Personal life[edit]

Rodriguez is married to a woman named Abigail.[13]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Nicknames
    • "The Most Agile Warrior in the Ring"[3] / "El Guerrero Más Ágil en el Ring"[70]
    • "King of Flight"[4]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Gladiadores Aztecas de Lucha Libre Internacional
    • GALLI Championship (1 time)[9]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]