Former amateur wrestling titlewinner. Two-time UFC champ. Now Cain Velasquez can add "potential pro wrestling star" to his resume after a successful lucha libre (Mexican pro wrestling) debut at TripleMania XXVll, arguably the biggest annual event for the top pro wrestling organization in Mexico, on Saturday night.
"Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez made his pro wrestling debut Saturday at Mexican wrestling's answer to WrestleMania -- and absolutely KILLED it," according to MMAJunkie.com.
MMAfighting.com weighed in, adding, "Cain Velasquez surprised just about everyone, except those who had seen him train, pulling out several acrobatic moves in a very successful pro wrestling debut Saturday night."
"Velasquez was one of the most intriguing stars of TripleMania, the annual major show of the year for the AAA promotion, the most popular pro wrestling group on Mexican television," MMAfighting.com continued. "The show was at Arena Ciudad in Mexico City, the same venue where Velasquez lost his UFC heavyweight championship to Fabricio Werdum four years earlier."
MMAjunkie.com agreed, saying, "After about a year of training, the former UFC champion shined during his debut, and showed off some of his athleticism as well."
The former Arizona State wrestler teamed up with All Elite Wrestling star Cody Rhodes and Mexico's most popular pro wrestler, Psycho Clown ... two individuals from legendary pro wrestling families.
"Velasquez's team won, as they should have, but that was a foregone conclusion, and reviews were strong," MMAfighting.com continued. "With the exception of Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather in WWE and former NFL star DeAngelo Williams, Velasquez made probably the most impressive debut of a superstar pro athlete in going into pro wrestling in more than a decade."
Velasquez, a fan of lucha libre (Mexican pro wrestling), sought to be an authentic luchador -- complete with a black mask -- but did incorporate some of his MMA background to end the match.
Velasquez used a kimura on one of his three opponents -- Texano -- to win the match by submission.
MMA websites weren't the only ones to be impressed with the former Sun Devil's pro ring debut.
"Cain was a great student, not just because he's a great athlete, but because he as a great mind for lucha libre," said Vinnie Massaro, who helped train Velasquez at the Pro Wrestling Revolution school in San Jose, California. "He wants to learn everything and he isn't afraid to go out of his comfort zone."
In addition to working with Massaro, Velasquez also spent several days last year training with WWE at its Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
Does this mean that Velasquez is planning to leave the Octagon for a career in the squared circle? He may want to experience the best of both worlds, as he remains under contract with UFC.
The 36-year-old Velasquez has compiled a 14-3 record since launching his pro MMA career in December 2006, and 12-3 in UFC bouts.
Prior to entering MMA, Cain Velasquez made a name for himself on the wrestling mat. He was a two-time Arizona high school state wrestling champ who started his collegiate career at Iowa Central Community College, where he won the 2002 NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) heavyweight title. Velasquez then transferred to Arizona State where he was a 2005 Pac-10 conference champ, then went on to earn NCAA Division I All-America honors by placing fifth at the 2005 NCAAs. He was welcomed into the Arizona State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.