Why WWE Held Off Andrade “Cien” Almas’ SmackDown Debut, Who He’ll Probably Feud With Later This Year

Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

After weeks of hype and anticipation, former NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and his business manager Zelina Vega finally debuted on SmackDown LIVE last week. After Almas dominated a local competitor, Vega got on the microphone and said that she and Almas were expecting much more in their debut. Vega made it clear that nobody on Team Blue would be taking advantage of them or Almas’ talents, but she and “El Idolo” would be taking over SmackDown LIVE.

Almas’ SmackDown LIVE debut came four weeks after he joined the blue brand through the Superstar Shake-up. WWE creative held off his debut since they want to build him up slowly. His debut taking place in London, England was done by design as they felt he would come across as a major star by having his first appearance take place in front of a packed crowd in the U.K.

Almas will likely feud with Randy Orton later this year. WWE wanted Almas’ first major feud to be with Orton, but that was before “The Viper” underwent surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee two weeks ago. Orton could be cleared to return to action in two months, but WWE will likely save his return until after SummerSlam to jumpstart a new program.

Building off his SmackDown LIVE debut from last week, Almas decimated another local competitor on last night’s show.