#OneYearDON: Sammy Guevara and the Rise of the Spanish God

#OneYearDON is a look back at All Elite Wrestling’s debut event with match by match retrospectives on how talent has fared in the year since the event as well as other profiles looking at how some performers have progressed from one DON to the next.  This piece looks at the rise of Sammy Guevara.

It is May 25, 2019.  Double or Nothing has arrived; the inaugural pay-per-view for Tony Khan‘s All Elite Wrestling promotion.  Some big stars are on the card.  Cody, the former mid-card WWE talent with wrestling heritage turned indie megastar.  Chris Jericho, the undeniably talented legend of pro-wrestling involved in all “GOAT” discussions.  Kenny Omega, the Canadian talent who became one of the two biggest stars in Japan – arguably the current “best in the world”.  Matt and Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks; the arguable Kings of the Indies.  Clearly, the Double or Nothing 2019 card was stacked with recognizable talent to draw eyes to this fresh, new promotion.  So stacked was this Vegas themed card that lost in the shuffle was a young, 25-year-old Cuban-American from Houston, Texas.  Sammy Guevara lost his debut match, but since then, he has become an undeniable prospect.  Let us take a look at the rise of the AEW man dubbed the “Spanish God”.

Background of a Spanish God

Sammy Guevara made his pro-wrestling debut on January 5, 2013.  The then 19-year-old appeared in a six-man gauntlet match at RCW‘s New Year’s Evolution Big Sed won that match, of course, but there was no denying the talent of the teenage Guevara.  His first victory wouldn’t come until four months later, when he won a triple-threat against Kharn Alexander and William Roberts in Anarchy Wrestling.  Sammy’s first championship was the Inspire Pro Junior Crown Championship – which he won from its inaugural holder, Ricky Starks, on May 25, 2014.  Even now, seven years later, you have to imagine that there will be many more victories in the future of Guevara.  Between Sammy’s debut and his signing with AEW in February 2019, he made a single WWE appearance.  Teaming with Tony Guevara, the current Laredo Kid, the Guevaras were defeated by Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) on an episode of WWE Main Event in 2015.  Whereas Guevara is perfectly content with AEW, he has not ruled out the possibility of an older Spanish God joining WWE one day.  Speaking to Wrestling Inc. after signing for AEW, he said:

“I was talking to a couple [of other potential employers], but honestly, I have no interest right now… Like, for me, Sammy Guevara, 25, and my current name where it’s at, I have no interest in going to WWE at the moment, which is very weird for me to say. If I ever do go there, I want my name to be at a much higher point. When I was at the tryout a couple of years ago, back in 2017, it kind of opened my eyes. It’s like, oh, if I don’t have a pretty big following of big names, they kind of don’t give an f- about you.”

Ability to Work Outside the Ring

Sammy Guevara is a smart man.  He knows how talented he is, but he is also aware of the importance of name value.  This is part of the reason why his connection with Chris Jericho is so important.  Being under the wing of Jericho – who has done everything there is to do in pro-wrestling – guarantees that Guevara is getting first class pro-wrestling education.  This will only make him more of a well-rounded performer going forward.  Additionally, just like Jericho was able to build a name with non-wrestling ventures, so too has Guevara.  Sammy Guevara’s self-titled YouTube channel is a hit; with 107,000 subscribers as of this writing.  Like Zack Ryder and The Elite before him, Guevara has used this platform to establish a cult following for himself.  Pro-wrestlers in the digital age need to be able to connect beyond wrestling.  Guevara, the Spanish God that he is, clearly understands this and has used this to his advantage.

Sammy Guevara in All Elite Wrestling

Sammy Guevara in All Elite Wrestling is clearly a future star.  Since debuting for AEW at Double or Nothing 2019, he has established himself as one of the certified prospects within the company.  For months now, his cocky, brash roguishness has drawn comparisons to a young Eddie Guerrero.  Whereas living up to an Eddie comparison is an impossible task for most who have this moniker placed upon them, Guevara works it.  It also helps that Sammy is clearly a very gifted in-ring performer – capable of wowing audiences with his ability.  It has been said a couple of times in the Last Word on Pro Wrestling AEW Dynamite previews that Sammy is a future top heel, whilst Darby Allin is a future top babyface.  Their feud can determine the shape of the company going forward.  It can quite possibly become the defining feud of the company’s next era.  Just as The Rock and Steve Austin defined WWE’s Attitude Era and Samoa Joe and AJ Styles defined Impact‘s most successful period.

Lockdown Breakout Performer

Since the COVID-19 epidemic disrupted the world and took live audiences away from pro-wrestling, Sammy Guevara has been one of the star performers.  It is relatively easy to conclude that Sammy Guevara has been the stand-out performer of AEW.  The same as Asuka has been the stand-out star for WWE.  The two of them have made wrestling enjoyable just recently.  They – along with the stars around them – have provided us with the weekly dosage of wrestling needed to make lock-down somewhat bearable.  His entertaining matches – with Le Sex God partner, Chris Jericho fawning over him on commentary – has been a highlight.  Sammy Guevara running for his life before being mowed down by Kenny Omega and “Broken” Matt Hardy in a golf-cart will live in wrestling memory for a long time.

Sammy Guevara Going Forward

Going forward, Sammy Guevara needs to win more matches.  Yes, there has been improvement on this front lately.  A big victory last week with Jericho over Hardy and Omega is evidence of this.  However, in a company where win/loss records are a big part of these shows (Sammy has won 12 and lost 13), future stars like Sammy need protecting.  Guevara, along with Darby Allin and MJF, are three potential megastars for AEW.  Young stars don’t need 50/50 booking; they need to be allowed to build momentum.  Whereas it can be argued that losses don’t hurt Sammy so much because of the nature of his character, they still matter.  Of course, this is a mere minor criticism; AEW is a very young promotion still finding its feet.  There’s no doubt that they have big plans for Guevara.  However, going forward, they must protect him a little bit more.  These empty arena shows have allowed Sammy Guevara to establish himself as an integral member of the roster.  Now imagine the potential with a live audience there to interact with.

Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and weekly on YouTube.

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