|Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame Member|
Overview of Candidacy For The Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
1. Was he ever regarded as the best draw in the world? Was he ever regarded as the best draw in his country or his promotion?
No and no. He had periods where he was considered one of the top draws in his promotion (more to this later), but in that period there was people like Canek, Konnan, Aguayo, Cien Caras, who were clearly ahead of him in terms of drawing.
2. Was he an international draw, national draw and/or regional draw?
He is a national draw, and a regional draw. In fact, perhaps one of his biggest strengths was his ability to draw in the most remote of places. During years, his gimmick and nickname was that he was "the idol of the kids", and this was actually true as his popularity was amazing. As I said, he had an ability to easily fill out small to medium sized arenas (2,000 to 5,000, more or less) that could not afford bringing the top tier guys that would rather work somewhere else where there was more money.
3. How many years did he have as a top draw?
I'd say he was a top draw from 1988 to 1991. In 1992 AAA entered the game, and he didn't jump ship. Other than that, he did have good drawing periods building up to his mask vs. mask matches with Mano Negra (Oct 93) and Villano III (selling out Arena Mexico - in the last five years the only other times it has been sold out have been for Cien Caras vs. Aguayo, Aguayo retirement vs. Universo, Santo/Casas vs. Scorpio/Bestia Salvaje, Rayo de Jalisco vs. Steel, all of them hair or mask matches). After AAA, and not counting those times, he has not really been a draw, but there is periods where nobody in the promotion really has been.
Before that "drawing prime", he was many times on top of the cards and headlined some of them which were sellouts. He is a guy that during virtually all of his career, first based on work and charisma, and now on reputation, has been on top of the cards and he's always been counted on to headline "anniversary cards". His anniversary card record has all of the following cards selling out except for 1992 (11,500, weak card w/ a poor, thrown out, Dandy vs. Satanico hair vs. hair match in the semi that nobody wanted to see - this match is not to be confused with their previous classic bouts) and 1999 (15,000) but everybody knew neither Villano or Atlantis was going to lose.
- 84/09/21 - b. Talisman, mask vs. mask
- 89/09/15 - w/ Satanico b. MS-1/Tierra Viento y Fuego, hair/mask vs.
- 92/09/18 - w/ Rayo de Jalisco Jr. & King Haku b. Pierroth, Fiera, Gran Kabuki
- 93/10/01 - b. Mano Negra, mask vs. mask
- 99/09/24 - w/ Villano III b. Shocker/Mr. Niebla, losers fought mask vs. mask and Shocker lost.
- 00/03/17 - b. Villano III, mask vs. mask
When he was not headlining, he could be found several times in the semi-main event of those cards (90, 97, 99). Other sellout drawing matches were his mask winning matches vs. Kung Fu, and Hombre Bala.
One good conclusion would be saying that when put on big matches expected to draw, he delivered, but in the Mexico City arenas, except for a relative short period, he was not a week-in-week-out huge draw like Aguayo, Konnan, Vampiro, Santo Jr., Misioneros, etc. who people paid to see no matter who they faced. But to make up for it, he had the regional arena draw level.
4. Was he ever regarded as the best worker in the world? Was he ever regarded as the best worker in his country or in his promotion?
No to both. The first one is out of the question. Atlantis' best year work wise was 1989, and even then there was several guys ahead of him: El Dandy, Pirata Morgan, Emilio Charles Jr., Javier Cruz, Fuerza Guerrera, Satanico and that's only counting EMLL natives. If we add UWA and the indy guys, we could come up with a few extra names.
The only period where I can really imagine a very strong argument for Atlantis being the best worker in his promotion is 84 to 86. Charles was not as good and Dandy had not grown as much (by 87 I'd put both over Atlantis). I'd put Satanico above him and maybe Lizmark, though during those years Atlantis was more inspired than Lizmark and I know some would put Atlantis over Satanico as well. Fuerza was not EMLL, but indy who worked for both UWA and EMLL, so I am not counting him, or I'd put him above Atlantis too. Ditto Casas and Santo who also worked some Arena Mexico cards.
5. Was he ever the best worker in his class (sex or weight)? Was he ever one of the top workers in his class?
He's been a middleweight during the first half of his career and and a borderline Light Heavyweight during the latter half. When he was very young, he was a welterweight, but soon became a middleweight.
That being said, except for perhaps the period mentioned above, there's always been better workers in his class like Emilio Charles Jr., El Dandy when he became a middleweight (late 86/early 87), Negro Casas (in reality he was a welterweight who also held several welterweight titles, but he regularly faced the middleweight guys). That is only counting Mexico.
By 1991, while he was still very good, his work was already passed by several other guys in the Middleweight ranks. When he was "officially" a Light Heavyweight (early 93), there also was several better guys such as Parka, Jerry Estrada or Lizmark who were having great matches in AAA.
6. How many years did he have as a top worker?
His debut date is universally listed as 1983 (though I heard once, but never confirmed, that he had been under other name and mask at least two years earlier, 1981). In 1983, he already was very good. His work was clearly down by 1996, though he had that last hurrah vs. Villano III. Nowadays he can still have good matches, but only with top opposition.
7. Was he a good worker before his prime? Was he a good worker after his prime?
As said before, his prime being 1989 would tell us the answer to both questions is yes. Nowadays he is not bad by any means, but he is really predictable and his matches are bland and by-the-numbers unless motivated by his opponent or by the situation (i.e. title match or a big tournament). A huge feud would do wonders for him. But reputation takes you a long way and he still has got the rep, and it helps that he is very easy to work with.
8. Did he have a large body of excellent matches? Did he have a excellent matches against a variety of opponents?
Yes. Excellent singles matches vs. Blue Panther (best lucha match of the 90s that nobody ever seems to talk about), Villano III, Emilio Charles Jr., Jerry Estrada, El Dandy, Satanico, just to name a few. Also, a wide variety of trios matches were his performance was an important part in making the match excellent.
9. Did he ever anchor his promotion(s)?
He was, with Lizmark and Rayo Jr., the main tecnico star of the promotion during the last years in the 80s through 1990. By 1991 we had Octagon getting over from lowcard attraction to main event superstar fast, Aguayo wrestling more at Arena Mexico as a tecnico, Konnan, Anibal's return to lose his mask. By 1992, we also had Vampiro and Love Machine's push. In all fairness, Atlantis was still there, sometimes main eventing, but he was far from an anchor. He "took back" his spot when by May, everybody and their mothers had left to AAA. When AAA started the main tecnicos for La Empresa were Atlantis, Rayo, Lizmark and Vampiro. And not too much after, Lizmark and Rayo left.
10. Was he effective when pushed at the top of cards?
Yes. He played his roles well (more later), made a good champion when given a belt AND booked to look like a fighting champion (you can not blame him for CMLL not caring about some of their titles), and when given the chance he rarely let anybody down by not being good or charismatic enough.
His hardest career test perhaps was starting it off with a nice push in the market with the toughest fans, but he didn't let anybody down even then.
11. Was he valuable to his promotion before his prime? Was he still valuable to his promotion after his prime?
Yes and yes. Before his prime he was an amazing young worker who could be used on top if needed and was a natural successor for Lizmark. He was given the chance to headline several big shows, and through work and charisma he was seen as a big star. Years later, Mogur, who was a similar prospect (though not as good in the ring) was given a similar push and he failed. And also Angel Azteca was given a push as an Atlantis/Lizmark kind of guy, and got over well enough, but was never seen on the level.
After his prime, he had several big and huge matches. Nowadays he's still useful to the company as a "young legend" that can still go. He is still used in main events, both trios and singles, and currently is 1/3 of the CMLL Trios champions with Mr. Niebla and Black Warrior.
12. Did he have an impact on a number of strong promotional runs?
In one of those funny things, I think by 1989 guys like Atlantis, Satanico, Dandy, Pirata Morgan with their work, and others like Cien Caras and [[Rayo de Jalisco Jr.]] with their mask match a year later, along with the decline of novelty value in the UWA cards after Francisco Flores' death, were key pieces in making la Empresa the #1 promotion in Mexico again. But by 1991-92 with the TV boom caused by TV personalities like Konnan, Octagon, Vampiro, Brazos, etc., and legends like Aguayo, caused the guys that had been pulling the wagon during the last few years (except for Cien Caras) to be pushed back. Not to say it was a bad thing to do business wise, but I always think Peña never really knew how to use either Atlantis or Satanico.
13. Was he involved in a number of memorable rivalries, feuds or storylines?
Yes. His rivalries with Mano Negra and Villano III, even if it was just because of the value of the fallen mask, would be talked about in 30 years. Especially the Villano III. But they made them actually very interesting feuds, with one of them ending in one of the few memorable matches of the last five years, and the other one actually had a disappointing mask vs. mask match but was a very good feud overall.
Him feuding with Kung Fu is considered memorable because of Kung Fu's nostalgia value to Toreo fans, but I hated it. I'm putting the blame 100% here on Kung Fu as Atlantis did what he could. No way their matches could be memorable.
The Azteca/Atlantis vs. Dandy/Satanico rivalry was not long lived because of Dandy turning, but it was a hardcore lucha libre fan dream and matches were memorable. The Atlantis vs. Charles feud was great, too, but not memorable even though some of their matches were.
14. Was he effective working on the mic, working storylines or working angles?
Mic work is almost irrelevant in Mexico (but he is not good at it - during years he would endlessy stammer when in front of the mic, even though he didn't have a stammer). Working storylines, I think he always was very effective. Realistically, nobody with some vision of the business thought he'd ever lose against Kung Fu or Mano Negra as both were past their prime as workers (not that Kung Fu was ever great) and they were played out acts with no drawing power left outside of a big mask match. But he played the sympathetic babyface so well, that he made you doubt. Now, Villano III is another subject. We (as in the English language lucha community) had been hearing for months rumors about Villano wanting to drop the mask, but the feud was built so well that we were in the edge until the day of the match. I can honestly say that even though I had Atlantis as the winner I was not too confident of my choice because it was close to a 50/50 chance pick.
15. Did he play his role(s) effectively during his career?
Yes. He was a good "hungry young tecnico who can hang around with the vets". He played this role successfully during his early years by outworking veterans with a good worker rep, and not getting smoked when he was put in the same team than a Lizmark or a Mascara Año 2000 level tecnico (don't laugh, this guy used to be pure awesomeness).
As a champion, I guess he's a bit like Kobashi or Toyota, who makes a better challenger than champion, but he had credibility during his most important title reign (his third NWA Middleweight title) as he made a good fighting champion that defeated top challengers like Fiera, Panther, Charles, Cruz, Dandy or then up-and-coming young rudo Bestia Salvaje.
His other major role, which has been played on-and-off since 1988, was of the "top star who is the partner of hot young tecnico prospects". By teaming with him, he helped get Angel Azteca enough credibility to look like a threat to top workers like Dandy and Satanico. Of course this also has got to be credited to Dandy and Satanico for making Azteca look strong, and to Azteca for being good to keep up, but Atlantis played his role well. He's also had a somewhat similar role with Mr. Niebla, and Octagon was put in matches with him, Santo and others when Octagon was started to get recognition as the "new hot prospect that is on the level of the stablished stars". Also to his credit, Atlantis many times put his young partners over in pre or post match interviews.
16. What titles and tournaments did he win? What was the importance of the reigns?
National Middleweight Title: His first title. Can't say much on it, but he had several very good matches.
NWA World Middleweight Title x 3. First two reigns was hot potato title exchanges with Emilio Charles Jr., so little meaning, but the wrestling was very good. He eventually took back the title in 1990 from Dandy in his last reign, which is the one I already talked about.
CMLL World Light Heavyweight Title: First reign was more than a year and a half long, but was not much. No strong title defenses that I can recall. Second reign was a very good use of the title, as it was an extra to the Villano III vs. Atlantis feud. Villano III took it back, but strong title defenses all over (DF, Puebla, Cuernavaca) including V3 winning the title in a show with a very good 5,500 crowd in Tampico.
As for tournaments I can only recall the copa Victoria. Tournaments don't mean much in Mexico unless it's the Leyenda de Plata. Rayo de Jalisco Jr. loves to win lot of the small tournaments, so maybe Atlantis was in his team for some.
17. Did he win many honors and awards?
WON Match Of The Year 2000 vs. Villano III.
Back in the early 90s, the English speaking lucha community was the subscriber list of Lucha Libre Weekly (Steve Sims' newsletter) and Viva la Lucha (Kurt Brown's fanzine). The latter gave year end awards/polls from 89-94, while the other one usually had Steve's opinions only (IIRC). The Mexican magazine awards are way more markish and political than the PWI awards of the era, and they are hard to track down anyway, so I'm not counting them.
VLL Babyface of the year: 1989, 90 and 93. VLL Wrestler of the year: 1989 VLL Tope/Move of the year: 1990 (for his Quebrada)
18. Did he get mainstream exposure due to his wrestling fame? Did he get a heavily featured by the wrestling media?
No and no.
19. Was he a top tag team wrestler?
Not really, but tag team wrestling has not been really big in Mexico in the last 16-17 years. Now we see a lot of it with the team of Guerrero and Bucanero, though, which is good, and El Toreo's golden years featured mostly tag team matches on top, but Atlantis was a Coliseo/Mexico guy.
20. Was he innovative?
The Atlantida backbreaker seems to be his creation. Up to 1991, while not innovative, his flying was state-of-the-art. In 1991 the new generation of Volador, Oro, Misterioso, etc. passed him in that aspect. And around that time, he was smart enough to start dropping some of his crazy moves while still young and healthy.
21. Was he influential?
He's not a Lizmark-like influential figure, though because of him being popular, I guess many kids wanted to be like him. But I don't think that makes you HOF worthy unless you are Santo and those kids were half a country. :)
22. Did he make the people and workers around him better?
Nowadays he just goes through the motions, but in the past he could look good himself with a limited opponent, and he could make that opponent look strong by selling and bumping well. During years, Pierroth Jr. and Atlantis were the favorite rudo and tecnico (respectively) for the touring foreigners because how easy was to work with them.
23. Did he do what was best for the promotion? Did he show a commitment to wrestling?
He's considered the ultimate pro by his peers and the promoters, and he's got dedication. He's a guy that rarely, if ever, no-shows without telling the promoter in advance, and he's one of those guys that arrives to the arena early. I have never heard any complaints about Atlantis' attitude.
Nowadays, he rarely loses cleanly, but he puts people over when needed and when he has got big mask vs. mask programs he puts his opponent over really strong. Of course he will end up taking the mask, but he does a good job of making it work. In fact, it's not too uncommon to see fans that are not all that knowledgeable about the worked side of the business, cite how Atlantis took the masks of Villano and Mano Negra "with fluke wins" and "being an inferior wrestler" (in Villano's case one can understand, but no way with Mano Negra).
24. Is there any reason to believe that he was better or worse than he appeared?
He's always been really protected by Paco Alonso, probably due to loyalty. During his prime years, as good as he was, he was always facing the top rudo workers in the promotion so he looked even better. But to be fair, those rudos also looked better and stronger when facing Atlantis too, so it was more of a mutual help deal.
After being a career tecnico, Atlantis was changed to a rudo in 2005. It did not appear to be his idea or even the promotion's idea, but the fans forcing a change. CMLL had been building up Atlantis, including weekly Seccion Azul features trumpeting his work with kids or focusing an award being given to Atlantis, to push him as the ultimate good guy. The build was the setup for a Dr. Wagner Jr./Atlantis mask match, the culmination of a long rivalry.
Unexpectedly to the promotion, once the fans realized the long teased mask match would actually happen, they turned on Atlantis and threw their support vocally behind Dr. Wagner Jr. Wagner had turned tecnico in 2004 when the crowds adopted him as a new hero following the death of his father. The Doc was riding the wave of new tecnico support at the time, while Atlantis was the same unchanged man he'd been for years and had slowed down as a worker.
Some of the anti-Atlantis anger has also been attributed to Arena Mexico fans becoming more rebellious and more pro-rudo. The rudo Perros del Mal faction became popular at the same time by pushing those buttons, and Atlantis was the polar opposite.
While Atlantis was booed, Dr. Wagner grew stronger as a tecnico and a ticket seller. Even more than the fan reaction, the increased value of Dr. Wagner Jr. (and his mask) caused the planned mask match not to happen. Wagner may have agreed to drop his mask to Atlantis at a certain price, but by the time it came to sign the contracts, the price Wagner now wanted to lose his mask was more than CMLL was willing to pay (so much that CMLL couldn't pay him and hope to make a profit on the show in an arena the size of Arena Mexico.) The mask match, despite having been verbally agreed to by both parties in front of the crowd at the end of an Arena Mexico, was quietly discarded.
This left Atlantis in limbo; he was still being booed, and he was going to get the payoff. With no mask match, Atlantis and CMLL gave into the boos. They acknowledged the boos, and had Atlantis react angrily to them. The anger turned into jealously directed at fellow tecnico Mistico, and Atlantis turned on him. The feud progressed thru the fall of 2005, with El Hijo del Santo helping out Mistico, and Atlantis allying himself with Ultimo Guerrero. Atlantis became a full rudo, and a member of Ultimo's Guerreros del Infiernio, renamed Guerreros del Atlántida in honor of their new member. (His entrance into the group would eventually lead to Rey Bucanero's departure.)
The rudo turn, and the sequence of events leading up to it, seemed to reawaken Atlantis. He changed his look, replacing the white with black, and often substituting his trademark tecnico blue for red or other colors. In the ring, and after he went completely rudo, he seemed to relish the opportunity to use every dirty trick that was ever used against him. As a rudo, Atlantis has an over the top, bordering on cartoon-ishly evil personality, like a mix of a crazy old man and Snidley Whiplash.
Despite being a rudo, he still considers himself the idol of the kids, and he still has many fans among them.
In lead up to the aborted mask match, Atlantis won the NWA Light Heavyweight Championship from Dr. Wagner, and the title has been as visible as titles get in CMLL (though he doesn't always wear it to the ring.) He's virtual co-leader of GdI and still in a high profile position within the promotion.
|08/01/91||Arena Isabel de Cuernavaca||Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras/Mascara Ano Dos Mil/Universo Dos Mil) defeated Atlantis/Mascara Sagrada/Octagon to win the Mexican National Trios Titles.|
|06/07/96||Arena Mexico||Bestia Salvaje & Chicago Express beat Atlantico & Atlantis to win the Gran Alternativa.|
|09/24/99||Arena Mexico||Mr. Niebla beat Shocker to take his mask after a Parejas Increibles Suicidas match against Atlantis & Villano III|
|02/11/00||Arena Mexico||Villano III beat Atlantis to retain his CMLL Lt. Heavyweight Title.|
|03/17/00||Arena Mexico||Atlantis beat Villano III to take his mask(MATCH OF THE YEAR).|
|12/20/01||Arena Isabel de Cuernavaca||Tarzan Boy defeated Atlantis to retain his NWA Lt. Heavyweight Title.|
|06/16/02||Arena Mexico||Atlantis/Black Warrior/Mr. Niebla beat Fusion Lagunera (Blue Panther/Dr. Wagner Jr./Fuerza Guerrera) to win the CMLL Trios Titles.|
|07/01/02||Arena Puebla||Shocker beat Atlantis to retain his CMLL Lt. Heavyweight Title.|
|07/25/02||Arena Neza||Blue Panther defeated Atlantis to retain his WWA Middleweight Title.|
|08/22/02||Arena Isabel de Cuernavaca||Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero beat Atlantis & La Parka to retain their CMLL Tag Titles.|
|10/29/02||Arena Coliseo||Blue Panther beat Atlantis to retain his WWA Middleweight Title.|
|03/21/03||Arena Mexico||Black Tiger/Dr. Wagner Jr./Universo Dos Mil beat Atlantis/Black Warrior/Mr. Niebla to win the CMLL Trios Titles.|
|11/16/03||Arena Coliseo de Guadalajara||Atlantis defeated Rey Bucanero to retain his Tohoku Jr. Heavyweight Title|
|01/11/04||Arena Coliseo||Atlantis beat Black Tiger to retain his Tohoku Jr. Heavyweight Title.|
|01/21/05||Arena Mexico||Atlantis & Blue Panther beat Olimpico & Rey Bucanero to retain their CMLL Tag Titles.|
|07/01/05||Arena Mexico||Atlantis & La Mascara defeated Dr. Wagner Jr. & Misterioso II to win the Gran Alternativa.|
|07/11/08||Arena Mexico||Atlantis beat Blue Panther in his 25th anniversary.|
Luchas de apuestas record
|Date||Apuesta||Winner(s)||Loser(s)||Arena and/or Place|
|84/09/21||mask||Atlantis||Talismán||Arena México - Mexico City|
|86/12/05||mask||Atlantis||Hombre Bala||Arena México - Mexico City|
|89/09/22||mask/hair||Atlantis & Satánico||Tierra Viento y Fuego & MS-1||Arena México - Mexico City|
|90/10/26||mask||Atlantis||Kung Fu||Arena México - Mexico City|
|90/11/25||masks||Lizmark & Atlantis||The Animals I & II (Eddie Watts and Chuck Walton)||Arena México - Mexico City|
|93/10/01||mask||Atlantis||Mano Negra||Arena México - Mexico City|
|99/03/22||mask||Atlantis||Rey Pirata||Domo de la Feria - León, Guanajuato|
|99/07/19||hair||Atlantis||Gran Markus Jr.||Arena Coliseo - Guadalajara, Jalisco|
|00/03/17||mask||Atlantis||Villano III||Arena México - Mexico City|
|00/06/18||mask||Atlantis||Silver Fox||Arena Coliseo - Guadalajara, Jalisco|
|01/08/13||mask (1)||Atlantis||El Boricua (Herodes)||Plaza de Toros Lauro Luis Longoria - Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.|
|01/08/15||mask (2)||Atlantis||El Boricua (Herodes)||Arena Celaya - Celaya, Guanajuato|
|01/08/16||mask (3)||Atlantis||El Boricua (Herodes)||Arena Isabel - Cuernavaca, Morelos|
|03/??/??||mask||Atlantis||El Hijo de Gran Markus (fake?)||unknown - maybe Guadalajara|
|04/10/23||hair||Atlantis||Fidel Sierra (El Boricua)||Woodburn High School - Woodburn, OR, USA|
|12/06/10||mask (4)||Atlantis||El Padrino||Arena Guatemala Mexico|
|14/09/19||mask||Atlantis||Último Guerrero||Arena México - Mexico City|
|2015/09/18||mask||Atlantis||La Sombra||Arena México - Mexico City|
|(1-3) Unmasked as Big Von Hamemberg(fake name); (4) Four-Way Match that also included Voltron and Último Guerrero|