In the dictionary (a thing that actually does still exist), the word euphoria is described as “a state of intense happiness and self confidence.” That sounds about right doesn’t it? Whenever I think of the word euphoria my mind goes straight to the feeling of soaring, the type of thing I only get when listening to Belvedere’s “Two Minutes for Looking So Good”, every atmospheric Deftones song, the gang chorus of The Swellers’ “I Was Running Out of Places to Go” or when I’m watching Buffy or replays of Alex Hemsky’s game winning goal in Game 6 of the first round of the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs. Oh, and it also describes the feeling I get when I watch something unreal during a lucha libre match (look at that segue). It’s why euphoria is almost the perfect name for a luchador. Just think about it; isn’t it easy to picture some high flying luchador doing unbelievable dives, and then not be shocked to learn his name is Euphoria? It just makes too much sense…which is why, in the wacky world of lucha libre, the guy with that name is the exact opposite of what you’d expect.
To be clear, Euforia (that’s how they spell it in Spanish) is a guy capable of flying when the situation calls. Overall however the Euforia name seems less fit for the CMLL veteran and more so for his son, fellow CMLL star and ultra exciting talent Soberano Jr. (the name Euforia himself used at the start of his career). Then again a lot of things about Euforia’s career don’t make sense once you get past his familial ties to lucha libre (his father was 1970’s luchador Soberano). Most luchadores get their start at early ages and then get their big break a few years later. Euforia, as Soberano Jr., debuted in 1990 at the age of 16…and then proceeded to wait sixteen years before getting an opportunity with CMLL. Many luchadores’ primes are in their 20’s; Euforia’s has been in his mid 30’s into his mid 40’s. Many luchadores go their whole career without being in a stable or a faction; since joining CMLL Euforia has basically been glued to a stable, first with El Satánico’s Los Infernales, then with Virus’ Los Cancerberos del Infiernos and most recently with Último Guerrero’s Los Guerreros Laguneros. It’s not like Euforia has ever been the leader or even right hand man of these groups either. If he has main evented during this time it’s mostly been by proxy, as the second, third or sometimes fourth wheel of his respective stable. In many ways it be easy for an outsider to look at Euforia’s career and conclude that he’s been little more than a hanger on. They certainly wouldn’t think it was the career of someone worthy to have a name like Euforia…which is their loss because it couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is sports fans that Euforia, ever since CMLL gave him his first real shot thirteen years ago, has not only been one of CMLL’s top performers but arguably their unsung hero. Ironically it’s all in his style. Blessed with a lanky 6’0, slightly above 200 lb frame, Euforia was built to excel at one important skill in lucha libre; basing. The art of basing in lucha libre is almost as important as the exciting dives we see every week. As much as the moves of Hijo del Vikingo, Bandido, Fenix and Euforia’s son Soberano enthrall us, the moves are only as good as the guys on the receiving end allow them to be. When Mascarita Dorada does his multiple headscissors rotations, it looks as great as it does not just because of his athletic ability but because Demus, Dorada’s best base, is there to help. Hijo del Vikingo’s offense is on point almost all the time, but it looks just a bit better when a performer like Taurus is there to catch those moves? A great dive or great hurricanrana can be great on its own, but a great base can make it an all time great move…and for sixteen years Euforia has arguably been the best at it.
If you’re a CMLL fan I want you to take a second to think about some of the most jaw dropping moments over the last several years (emphasis on last several and not so much this year!). The chances are you’ll recall most of them involving Euforia being on the receiving end. The one that pops into my head first is Máscara Dorada’s (Gran Metalik for you WWE fans) famous hurricanrana where he leaped over the turnbuckle and to the floor. It’s breathtaking…and it sure as hell wouldn’t have worked with the bulk of CMLL luchadores trying to catch him. It worked here though because the guy waiting for him on the floor was Euforia. How about all those great Sky Team-Los Guerreros matches over the years? They were fantastic, and they largely were because Volador Jr., Mistico and Valiente had Euforia (along with Gran Guerrero, the UG and occasionally Niebla Roja) catching them. Titán, Stuka Jr. and especially La Sombra (WWE’s Andrade) are just a few more names who largely improved because of the matches they had with Euforia over the years. Frankly we could be here forever pointing out who benefited from working Euforia (pretty much everyone but his son ironically enough, and that’s because they aren’t really allowed to wrestle each other). The point is that, in the many great matches CMLL has produced in the last decade that featured some tremendous high flying, Euforia was more than likely there making those high flyers look like a million bucks while occasionally finding the time to get his own stuff in. In many ways he reminds of Jon Moxley in The Shield all those years ago. Like Mox Euforia may not have been the future of his stables or the flashiest member, but even by being the one no one noticed he was still largely the straw that stirred the drink, the guy in charge of the little things that ultimately made everything land.
Now you may be reading this now and asking “why is this all such a big deal?” Well it is because this week Euforia once again proved just how valuable and great a performer he is. On Monday night in Arena Puebla he wrestled top CMLL star Volador Jr.; the next night he was in Arena Mexico wrestling top CMLL star Carístico. No it wasn’t quite Hijo del Vikingo, Taurus and Puma King wrestling twice in one night but that doesn’t change the fact that in twenty four hours Euforia was able to have two good (Carístico) to great (Volador) matches with two top stars that, quite frankly, have spent a lot of this year coasting. They didn’t with Euforia because you don’t coast with Euforia. He made both guys (more so Volador) comfortable stretching out their game; he made them both work a different formula of match than usual and he did it while being firmly at the controls. You don’t see a lot of cool counters, reversals and great all around wrestling from Volador and Carístico these days, but you saw it with Euforia for two straight days. And quite frankly this is just par the course from him this year. All Euforia has done in 2019 is be part of the best/most creative CMLL tag team with Gran Guerrero, continued his expert basing and found time to have more awesome singles matches, most notably a show stealing match with Rush all the way back in January.
It’s understandable why this has all gone under the radar; CMLL has been like The Godfather: Part III for the bulk of 2019. But the promotion’s shit year doesn’t change that there have still been some bright spots (Cavernario and Star Jr. are others that come to mind) and this week confirmed yet again that Euforia is one of them. He may not be flashy, he may not do tornillos off the top rope, he will never get the credit he’s due from the pro wrestling Powers That Be and he’ll probably wind up being remembered as the George Harrison to the UG’s Paul and Gran Guerrero’s John. But that’s in some way the magic of Euforia. He’s quiet, he’s subtle, he’s consistent and he is always there to catch them when they fall. And watching him do what he does better than almost everyone else in the lucha libre game, even in a promotion falling flat on its ass, it can’t help but fill me with a feeling of…I’ll let you all figure it out.
And now a quick CMLL Super Viernes preview!
Ricky Boy, Skayde, Super Muñeco vs. El Gallego, Mr. Condor, Rocky Santana: In case you all forgot, this is the CMLL Leyendas show. Never fear though because CMLL clearly forgot this was a Leyendas show as well by booking Ricky Boy. WHO THE HELL IS RICKY BOY?! The only good explanation is that it’s Ricky Marvin with a name change and I’m guessing that’s not going to be the case. The good news is that Gallego, Condor and Santana are generally okay on these shows and Skayde is the man. As long as he wrestles the entire match while this Ricky Boy and Super Muñeco stand on the apron then this will be fine. Winners: Team Skayde.
Atlantis Jr., Audaz, Star Jr. vs. Hechicero, Misterioso Jr., Sagrado: Now this would’ve been a great spot for CMLL to use the hero of this column (Euforia) instead of Misterioso. Alas CMLL is dumb, the whole dumb AND NOTHING BUT THE DUMB! Somehow this match may work anyway because Sagrado is still good when he wants to be, Hechicero is great all the time and the Atlantis Jr./Audaz/Star Jr. trio might be the best thrown together unit since Class of ’99. That’ll just make it all the more hilarious (and sad) when they lose this match. Winners: Team Hechicero.
Blue Panther, Negro Casas, Virus vs. Mano Negra, Negro Navarro, Super Astro: The CMLL Leyendas in this match are all still very good and the outside Leyendas (save Mano Negro) have enough to potentially keep up with them. If CMLL keeps this short and on the mat then this could be the best Leyendas match on the show. Winners: Team Negro Casas.
El Satánico vs. El Solar: This is pretty much the last match only in singles form. If they keep this one fall and keep it on the mat then this could actually be a lot of fun. If not then it could get ugly. Either way this will still be historic, mainly because it, along perhaps two or three matches from Expo Lucha, will be some of the only wrestling Kevin Kleinrock will watch in 2019! That’s what happens when El Solar gets involved. Winner: El Solar.
Bandido, Valiente, Volador Jr. vs. Cuatrero, Forastero, Último Guerrero: Bandido’s first Arena Mexico match! And what a challenge it’ll be going up against two members of a trio (the Dinamitas) who haven’t tried hard for an opponent since the opening of Avengers: Endgame and an Último Guerrero who hasn’t been given anything to work since said time! That said the Dinamitas will probably want to be on their best behavior (potential matches with Bandido are a big deal) and the UG will most definitely be trying given that he helped train Bandido and all. I expect a bigger than usual effort from everyone and wouldn’t be surprised if this was the best CMLL Super Viernes match since the Gran Alternativa Final. Now that I’ve said that it’ll only go six minutes, end in a DQ and lead me to throwing my grunge pedal out the window. Winners: Team Bandido.
Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Tinieblas Jr., Villano IV vs. El Canek, Fuerza Guerrera, Máscara Año 2000: This will slow, this will be painful and this will make you regret almost every decision you’ve made that led you to watching CMLL this year. Somehow it may still not be the worst match the promotion has done this year, which tells you all you need to know doesn’t it? At least it’ll be nice to see Tinieblas Jr., even if he, Villano IV and MAYBE Fuerza Guerrera are the only ones who can still move. What a cheery note to end this column on! Winners: Team Canek.
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