Professional wrestler Sam Adonis, of Monroeville, takes his blue-collar attitude with him wherever he goes.
Pittsburgh is a part of his DNA. It is through grinding, hard work and skill he has made a name for himself in one of the biggest wrestling promotions in the world.
Adonis has become one of the top bad guys for Triple A Lucha Libre, a 30-year-old company based out of Mexico.
On Saturday, Triple A is hosting its first show inside the United States since September 2019.
“I do believe Triple A wants to do a lot more events across the United States as regularly as possible,” Adonis, 33, said. “They are trying to bridge that gap between a Mexican brand and an international brand.”
The event will take place at 7 p.m. at Mullet Arena on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. The venue is home to the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL.
Adonis will team with Gringo Loco and Taurus to take on Pagano, Blue Demon Jr. and Cain Velasquez in the co-main event.
The show will be available on Triple A’s YouTube page in the coming weeks as part of its weekly television programing.
Velasquez is well known for his career in MMA.
“Cain Velasquez is actually a childhood fan of lucha libre and Triple A,” Adonis said. “That is kind of where this all stems from. He grew up watching it, and then his love of professional wrestling led him to wrestle in high school, which is how he got started on his decorated MMA career. It ultimately led to him being UFC champion.”
Velasquez made his UFC debut at UFC 83 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 19, 2008.
On Oct. 23, 2010, Velasquez earned his shot at the belt when he took an 8-0 record into the octagon against heavyweight champion Brock Lesner. Velasquez earned a first-round knockout to claim the title.
He was twice the heavyweight champion and the first Mexican heavyweight champion. He is a legend in Mexico on scale with boxer Canelo Alvarez. He retired from MMA with a 14-3 record in 2019.
“He ended up training in northern California at the Pro Wrestling Revolution dojo, in order to do an event for Triple A,” Adonis said. “They brought him in first, and he did so well that it led to him going to WWE for a short stint. Even after he left WWE, he returned back to Triple A. in November of 2021 and he did the TripleMania show in Monterrey, where he wrestled LA Park.”
TripleMania is the biggest show of the year for Triple A, and Adonis won the trios titles at this year’s installment of the TripleMania in October.
Velasquez, 40, has drawn national headlines for this show due to his current legal situation.
Velasquez currently faces seven charges, including attempted murder, after he allegedly chased and shot at Harry Goularte, a man accused of molestation of Velasquez’s then 4-year-old son.
He is out on $1 million bail after eight months in custody. A Santa Clara County, Calif., judge ruled that Velasquez is allowed to travel for the event.
Adonis has only had brief interactions with Velasquez, but he came away with a positive view on Velasquez.
“He was just the coolest guy. So humble, such a sweet human being. He really knew how to make us all feel good, because this guy is arguably the biggest star in the locker room, and he was just as humble as could be,” Adonis said.
Adonis has an opportunity to add yet another marquee moment to what has been one of the most successful years of his career. Still, he never forgets where he came from.
“My career is a reflection of my Pittsburgh upbringing,” he said. “Because of that grind. It’s head down, work hard, never say no. Keep letting it unfold the way it should. I’ve always been able to push forward and succeed. Pittsburgh is full of hard-working people, who treat each other right.”
Saul works in sports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.