Andrade “Cien” Almas could be in line for a big push after impressing a lot of people backstage with his match against WWE Champion AJ Styles on last week’s episode of SmackDown LIVE.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com wrote on Tuesday, “As we mentioned during the We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Name Show last week in the Elite section of PWInsider.com, Almas’ work against AJ Styles last week really impressed a lot of people backstage and there was talk coming out of the show that he was in line for a big push.”
The match got set-up after Zelina Vega stepped to the WWE Champion on behalf of her business associate earlier in the night to challenge him to a contest.
Backing up Vega’s bold words, Almas was relentless in his onslaught on Styles in his biggest match so far on SmackDown LIVE. It even appeared Andrade may be closing in on the victory when he hit his signature running double knees to Styles in the corner, but “The Phenomenal One” narrowly kicked out before catching Almas in the Calf Crusher out of nowhere for the tap out win.
Vince McMahon likes Almas’ look (which plays a huge factor on a WWE star’s level of push) and sees potential in him as the next big Latino star, something he has been looking for since Rey Mysterio left WWE.
McMahon has also been impressed by Vega’s confidence on the mic and at ringside. The belief within WWE is that Vega will eventually wrestle (she wrestled regularly on the independent circuit before joining WWE last year) and that she has the potential to be one of their top female stars.
Almas squared off with Rusev this week on SmackDown LIVE after the two had a tense exchange backstage earlier in the evening. Counteracting Vega being in Almas’ corner was Lana, but notable in his absence was Aiden English, who it appeared “The Bulgarian Brute” was still at odds with after his WWE Championship defeat at WWE Extreme Rules.
Squaring off for the first time ever, Rusev and Almas had an evenly matched contest. As the fight continued, Vega and Lana got into a heated altercation at ringside. Vega slapped Lana, and “The Ravishing Russian” tackled Vega, prompting English to hit the scene to separate the two. However, Vega jumped on his back, causing English to fall into Lana and sending all three to the ground. With Rusev distracted by the ruckus at ringside, Andrade took advantage by dropping his opponent with the Hammerlock DDT for the win.
Moments after Lana and English got into an altercation with Vega that cost Rusev his match against Almas, “The Bulgarian Brute” is not sure either of his associates is good for him.