It doesn’t come as a surprise with all of the speculation over the past couple of weeks but this morning, WWE Superstar Andrade confirmed what had widely been reported: that he has requested his release from WWE:
It’s understandable as to why he would want to be free. WWE has not used Andrade since mid October and had really undercut his legs out from beneath him long before that. The question that I can’t figure out is how did we get here and why?
Admittedly, when Andrade first debuted in NXT, it wasn’t exactly magic to begin with. Looking more like Angel Batista from “Dexter” than the next big superstar, it took him a while to find his footing. Once he turned heel and joined forces with Zelina Vega however, it was absolute magic. In a matter of months, Andrade went from floundering directionless in the middle of the pack to the main event of Takeover and defeating Drew McIntyre to win the NXT Championship in November of 2018 and looking like an absolute superstar. To this day, I’ll argue with anybody that Andrade’s title defense against Johnny Gargano at Takeover: Philadelphia is the greatest match in the history of NXT. Andrade “Cien” Almas felt like an absolute can’t miss star, especially when looking at other factors that should have seemingly worked in his favor.
Jump ahead to April of 2019 and both Andrade and Zelina make their much anticipated debut on Smackdown and their usage was disappointing to say the least. Almost immediately, Andrade had a highly entertaining match against AJ Styles, but it never went anywhere from there. He would have several great television matches against Rey Mysterio, showcasing a style that clearly was different than anyone else in WWE at the time, had fans clamoring for more….but it never came on Smackdown.
Andrade’s greatest success on the main roster came at a house show the day after Christmas where he won the United States Championship from Rey Mysterio in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. I distinctly remember getting excited that FINALLY the time had arrived for Andrade, but here we are just over a year later and El Idolo appears to be done with WWE.
So why didn’t it work out? The biggest reason reportedly is that Vince McMahon simply didn’t see much in him. I find this astonishing for a couple reasons.
The first is that for seemingly ever, the reports have been that WWE is looking for their next big Latin superstar, the heir apparent to Rey Mysterio. This was the reason given for why we were all subjected to years of wasted opportunities from the painfully boring Alberto Del Rio. WWE had their guy right here! Andrade looked the part and definitely had the ability in the ring to back it up and fans WANTED to see more. The second is he’s dating Charlotte Flair. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but the reality of the world is that it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. Andrade happens to be involved with one of the biggest surefire stars that WWE has. It’s somewhat stunning that that didn’t work to his favor.
Others will point to his lackluster ability to speak English or point out that he failed a Wellness test. That’s all well and good but if a failed test was all it took to sink a career….well there’s more than one successful WWE star that would have washed out a long, long time ago. As to his English, he was paired with perhaps the best manager not named Paul Heyman of the past decade. Shoot, Asuka has proven each and every week you don’t need to speak great English to get across your point and resonate with fans.
Whatever the reason is, it appears that El Idolo wants to be finished with WWE and there’s been no reason to think WWE has any plans for Andrade in the immediate future and I find that really sad and disappointing. Andrade was one of the few guys in the past few years that I went out of my way to make sure I didn’t miss. I hope he finds success wherever he goes next and that the world truly gets to see the star power of Andrade.
What do you guys think? Why hasn’t it worked for Andrade for WWE? Where would you like to see him go next? Let me know on Twitter!
By Dylan Creighton (@DylanJames_77)