WWE recently signed Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza, better known as La Sombra in CMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling, to a WWE developmental contract, and he is training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Standing 5-9 and weighing 200 pounds, Oropeza hails from a long line of wrestlers that has seen his grandfather, father, uncles and cousins compete in lucha libre. Born in Mexico, he signed with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in 2007 at age 17, where he trained under El Satanico.
Known as “La Sombra,” Oropeza held many titles during his time with CMLL including the Trio, Tag Team, Welterweight, Middleweight and NWA championships. The 26-year-old talent has also made multiple trips to Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling where he won the Intercontinental World Championship in 2013.
With seven training rings, a world-class strength and conditioning program and cutting-edge edit and production facilities, the WWE Performance Center in Orlando will allow Oropeza to hone his skills through a comprehensive program that includes in-ring training, physical preparedness and character development.
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The state-of-the-art, 26,000 square-foot facility offers a full training experience with real time feedback from WWE coaches, trainers and doctors, giving performers the resources they need to develop their talent both athletically and creatively. Additionally, Oropeza will be immersed in WWE’s Professional Development program that focuses on four key pillars of development – Life Skills, Education, Wellness and Career Success.
Email Q&A interview with La Sombra translated from Spanish-English
JV: What do you enjoy most about what you do and what will you bring to WWE?
LS: “I really enjoy everything about this profession. From the training I do preparing for my matches, to the time I spend in the dressing room getting ready, right up until I make my entrance to the ring and the final bell rings. Wrestling is my passion and what I love. Fans can expect me to bring my high-flying luchador techniques and a brand new character from my time in CMLL [Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre].”
JV: How did you get this opportunity to sign with WWE?
LS: “WWE is always searching for new talent all over the world. I was fortunate enough to have a great career with CMLL, which played a large role in helping me get noticed by WWE.”
JV: What does your family think about you signing with WWE?
LS: “They are all very excited and happy for me. Everybody knows WWE is the pinnacle of the sports entertainment industry, and they can’t wait to see me get started.”
JV: What advantages do you have being from a wrestling family?
LS: “Wrestling is in my blood and is who I am. It is my life and not only my job but my passion as well. This does not necessarily give me an advantage over others. I still have to work hard at my craft and soak in everything from the great coaches and trainers at the WWE Performance Center.”
JV: What do you think about the WWE Performance Center compared to places you trained?
LS: “The WWE Performance Center is absolutely magnificent and like nothing I have ever seen or trained at before. It will allow me to work on the physical part of my training at the world-class gym, my in-ring skills with the seven full-size training rings and my character development in the green rooms. Furthermore, while I am here, I will be immersed in the professional development program they offer that focuses on life skills, education, wellness and career success. Anything you could ever need in the sports entertainment industry is right here for me, and I look forward to taking advantage of all it has to offer.”
JV: Who trained you in CMLL and what did you enjoy about competing in CMLL and will you miss that?
LS: “I was trained by “El Satánico” and Franco Colombo. I especially enjoyed training with each of them and all the people I was fortunate enough to work with in CMLL. I have nothing but fond memories of my time there and will miss a lot of things. At the same time, I was ready for a new challenge and can’t wait for the next chapter of my career with WWE.”
JV: Do you know any of the wrestlers/sports entertainers/staff in WWE and/or NXT and if so, were you able to get advice from them about signing with WWE?
LS: “I know a few of them. Most of the advice I have received revolves around taking advantage of all the Performance Center has to offer and always giving my best, so I have no regrets.”
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To drop kick off Royal Rumble weekend, NXT tapings are Friday, Jan. 22 at the CFE Arena on the campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
The CFE Arena is home of the NCAA Division I UCF Knights basketball team.
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