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WWE signs top CMLL heel Averno to feud with old rival Sin Cara

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Our good friend The Cubs Fan has just posted some huge news at LuchaBlog.com: In a brilliant move, WWE has signed Averno, one of the top heels/rudos in Mexico's CMLL.  Rumors had been brewing for a while and today, this week's issue of Super Luchas hit newstands with a cover story about the jump.  When Sin Cara was on top in CMLL as Mistico, and even going back before that when he was Astro Boy on the undercards, Averno was his best opponent.  When Mistico went on his first tour with New Japan Pro Wrestling, be brought Averno with him so he could look as good he possibly could.  As a great working rudo, Averno was a the perfect base for Mistico's moves and they had a large variety of signature spots that they could put together.  

Since Sin Cara is getting over well with WWE fans but is having issues adjusting to WWE's style and working with most of the wrestlers WWE could throw at him, WWE needed a fix.  They asked Sin Cara "if he could work with anyone in the world, who would he most like to work with," so he picked long-time in-ring rival, best opponent, and probable good real life friend Averno.  WWE had already been exposed to Averno's work at the October tryout in Mexico, and he was secretly signed during their Mexican tour a couple weeks ago.

Where this leaves Averno after the Sin Cara feud remains to be seen.  He's being brought in for a specific role.  On one hand, that's good.  Whoever at WWE decided to go this route (Triple H, maybe?  It's so outside the norm of the usual Vince McMahon, John Lauinaitis, et al business that I think it adds legitimacy to the "Sin Cara is Triple H's first project in developing new talent" claim from WWE.) had enough faith in Sin Cara to set this plan in motion.  If Cara is being fast tracked to a top spot, he could even develop enough pull to keep Averno around, and even if he's gone after their program, he still returns to Mexico coming off a feud on WWE TV with one of the biggest stars in the country.

On the other hand, there are reasons to think that things won't go that well for him.  Averno has not told anyone in CMLL management about his deal with WWE (though obviously they will soon find out) and if he ends up released by WWE sooner rather than later, grudge-holding CMLL boss Paco Alonso could possibly refuse to take him back for a long time.  He could go to AAA, but he's a much better fit in the more wrestling-centric CMLL.  While he definitely has a unique, unprecedented entrance into WWE, we really don't know what will happen to him after he finishes feuding with Sin Cara.  Plus, even if they have great matches, what happens if things veer off too far from WWE style into straight-up lucha libre?  Averno is a great worker and should be able to adjust, but he could be branded as "not knowing how to work" if he veers too far outside WWE style.

As far as Averno and CMLL go, he told their programming department of the company that he needed to lose his mask as soon as possible, and if they wouldn't do it, he would go to the outside promoter that would give him the biggest payoff for the loss.  CMLL changed plans around and it's expected that he will lose his mask at their annual "Jucio Final" event on June 17th.  Mascara Dorada would be the best person to be Averno's opponent, but he will be on a New Japan Pro Wresting tour that week.  Now it looks like he'll lose the mask in a multi-man cage match where you eliminate yourself by escaping the cage and the last two wrestlers battle until there's a pinfall or submission, with the loser being unmasked.  CMLL could very well change plans with the news getting out, but the insular company could also ignore everything and go on as planned.

For now, is not believed that that this is the beginning of a WWE raid of CMLL wrestlers or top Mexican wrestlers in general.  The hiring of Averno is to help put Sin Cara over the top.

Averno is one of many wrestlers who benefited from the boom period where Mistico peaked.  CMLL had done a poll of the fans to figure out a new direction.  Overwhelmingly, the fans wanted new top stars, and with Mistico being the neew top star, his favorite opponent went along on the ride with him.

Averno had already received an increased push for the previous few years when he was drafted into possibly the best CMLL feud of the last decade or so.  Satanico, a legend who was still an incredible wrestler and top star even past middle age, had led a rudo trio called Los Infernales for many years with MS-1 and various third members before they split in 1996.  In 2000, he formed a new group with talented younger wrestlers Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Bucanero (who briefly worked for the WWF on their Univision-exclusive half hour "Los Super Astros" show).  Later that year, they turned on him, kicking him out of his own group and recruited Tarzan Boy (now Toscano) as the third member of Los Nuevos Infernales.

Satanico joined up with Shocker and Black Warrior to form a temporary unit against hist rivals in some great matches before recruiting new proteges Rencor Latino and Astro Rey Jr. as part of Los Infernales.  To officially become...Satanized...or something, he re-named and re-gimmicked them as Averno and Mephisto, respectively.  They formed an excellent trio and eventually defeated Los Nuevos Infernales in a match where the losing team gave up the Infernales name.  The non-Satanico trio changed their name to Los Guerreros del Infierno.  The feud, with its great matches and storytelling leading to the elevation of several younger wrestlers, was seeming a major factor when Satanico was voted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame as part of the 2001 class.