The name Mike Mendoza doesn’t ring bells to many wrestling fans who follow the growing international wrestling scene, but just this week, the so-call “Escorpión” was one of the recent trainees present in the WWE Performance Center in Orlando for a series of try-outs.
Who is Mike Mendoza?
Mike Mendoza is a third-generation superstar from Puerto Rico. He is the grandson of Salvadorian and Puerto Rican legend El Vikingo (The Viking) – he wrestled all over Latin America before settling down in Puerto Rico. In fact, Mendoza was trained by his grandfather and now is a trainer in his wrestling school Vikingo’s Power Gym – the most famous wrestling school in the island.
Mendoza started his career in the late days of the International Wrestling Association Puerto Rico, where he captured the IWA Cruiserweight Championship. When the company went defunct, he transitioned to the World Wrestling Council. It was here that Mendoza began his first steps to greatness, as he quickly rose from the Jr. Heavyweight Division – he captured once the WWC Jr. Heavyweight Championship – to the mid-card of the WWC. In that process, Mendoza would end up winning the WWC World Tag Team Championships – one with Ray Jr. and three times with Cuervo – and the WWC Puerto Rican Championship.
It was at the start of this year that Mendoza started to break out. His heel-turn on his longtime tag partner Cuervo was huge, getting reactions and becoming the number 2 heel in WWC, behind Ray Gonzalez. In January, he beat Ray Gonzalez Jr. in the finals of a battle royal to win the Puerto Rican Championship. For then on, Mendoza was cutting the best promos of his life, while leaving his babyface “enigma” gimmick and morphing into the “Scorpion” Mike Mendoza. He would join to the Syndicate – WWC’s main heel stable – and win also (under Freebirds Rules) the WWC World Tag Team Championship alongside La Revolución.
After a great run, but never answered by WWC’s illogical booking and lack of willingness to push young guys, Mendoza would jump ships to Savio Vega’s World Wrestling League in May – alongside other WWC wrestlers. He has had great matches in WWL as the front runner babyface, having a classic beat-out with JC Navarro and a big victory over Global Force Wrestling’s LAX.
The WWE Tryout
Mike Mendoza’s tryout with WWE came from nowhere. Nobody in the island was expecting him to go so soon to Orlando in this stage of his career. Some speculated that Mendoza’s trainee and Olympic Silver Medalist Jaime Espinal had something to do with the situation – as Espinal early this year had a tryout with WWE and even participated on their house show in San Juan –, but come to find out, it was way simpler than that. Sources close to Mendoza claimed that, “It was just a resume that Mike sent to the WWE, specifically to the WWE Performance Center, and luckily last week, it was answered”.
Mendoza has already a week in the Orlando in WWE’s Performance Center, as Last Word on Pro Wrestling writer and editor Jamie Greer pointed out about the list of trainees and the tryout, “Mike Mendoza has been at WWE’s Performance Center all week. There weren’t a lot of names, but in the men’s side Mike Mendoza’s stood out.” It’s unknown what process or impressions he made, but one source close to him said that he will be feature in the final day on a match for the men’s side – 1 of 2 matches for the men. It seemed that WWE saw something in him or wants to keep scouting him.
What does Mendoza brings to World Wrestling Entertainment?
Probably ahead from his peers on the island in terms of talent, Mendoza is a star on the rise. He has the looks – he weighs a solid 205 pounds and stands over 6’1” – and the capability to maintain the high demands of the WWE. His style is a mix of old school fundamentals and hard-hitting moves that he incorporates from his training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a Latino face for the company he is perfect, as he doesn’t come in with “bad” habits from the indies and WWE could develop something around him. Also, the company needs fresh Latino faces, specially Puerto Ricans, since The Colon’s are on their way out and Lince Dorado is barely used, Mendoza could fill one of those holes. We will have to wait to see how this new chapter on Mike Mendoza’s life ends up.