Angel Garza
Garza Jr BFG 17 crop.jpg
Garza in November 2017
Birth nameHumberto Garza Solano
Born (1992-09-23) September 23, 1992 (age 30)
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico[1]
Spouse(s)
Zaide Lozano
(m. 2020)
Children1
FamilyGarza
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Angel[2]
Angel Garza
El Hijo del Ninja[1]
Humberto Garza
Garza Jr.
Billed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]
Billed weight205 lb (93 kg)[2][1]
Billed fromMonterrey, Mexico[2]
Trained byMario Segura[1]
El Hijo del Gladiador[1]
DebutNovember 4, 2008[1]

Humberto Garza Solano (born September 23, 1992) is a Mexican professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Angel (shortened from his previous ring name Angel Garza).[2]

He is a third-generation wrestler, the grandson of luchador Mario Segura, known as El Ninja. From his debut in 2008 until 2015, Garza worked under the name El Hijo del Ninja ("The Son of the Ninja"). He is the nephew of Héctor Garza and Humberto Garza Jr. and the grand-nephew of Humberto Segura Garza. He is the cousin of fellow WWE wrestler Humberto Carrillo, who was his tag team partner in Mexico and currently is in WWE. Garza originally worked as an enmascarado, or masked wrestler, but voluntarily unmasked in 2012 in the series finale of a dating reality show and has worked unmasked ever since.

As Garza Jr., he previously worked for Impact Wrestling in the United States, for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, and on the Mexican independent circuit for a number of promotions including The Crash Lucha Libre. Garza Jr., along with Penta el 0M, Rey Fénix and Daga formed La Rebelión on the independent circuit after leaving Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. He signed with WWE in 2019 and was assigned to the NXT brand, wrestled under his current ring name, where he was a one-time NXT Cruiserweight Champion.

Early life

Humberto Garza Solano was born on September 23, 1992, in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. He is the grandson of professional wrestler Mike Segura, also known as "El Ninja".[3] Garza was named after his great-uncle, professional wrestler Humberto Garza (real name Humberto Segura Garza). He is the nephew of professional wrestlers Humberto Garza Jr., Héctor Garza,[4] and El Ninja Jr.[3][5] Two of his cousins are also professional wrestlers, Humberto Carrillo (son of Humberto Garza Jr.) and El Sultán (son of Héctor Garza).[1]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (2008–2015)

Garza was trained by his grandfather Mario Segura as well as El Hijo del Gladiador prior to his lucha libre debut on November 8, 2008, using the ring name El Hijo del Ninja ("The Son of the Ninja"), an enmascarado, or masked wrestling character.[1] Initially he worked for Federacion Internacional de Lucha Libre (FILL) as they promoted shows in his native Monterrey, Nuevo León. On August 25, 2009 El Hijo del Ninja won the 2009 Copa Arena Coliseo Monterrey defeating Pee-Wee, Kaientai, Angel Dorada Jr. and Hombre Sin Miedo in succession to win the cup.[6] He followed up his tournament victory by winning the FILL Light Heavyweight Championship that same year.[6] He would win his first Lucha de Apuestas, or "bet match", on September 30, 2009 when he defeated Black Morse, forcing him to unmask as a result of the stipulation.[6] A Lucha de Apuestas win is generally considered a bigger achievement than a championship victory and is an indicator of a promotional "push".[7] He would close out the year in another Lucha de Apuestas match, this time a Relevos Suicida where he teamed up with Silver Star to face the team of Memo Valles and Coco Viper. Since both El Hijo del Ninja and Memo Valles were pinned in the match the two were forced to wrestle each other risking El Hijo del Ninja's mask and Memo Valles hair. With the victory El Hijo del Ninja forced Memo Valles to have all his hair shaved off.[6] In 2010 he won another Lucha de Apuestas, forcing Estrella Dorada Jr. to have all his hair shaved off.[8] In 2011 El Hijo del Ninja won the FILL Rey del Aire ("King of the Air") tournament.[9]

By the late fall of 2011 a new promotion began holding shows in Monterrey, Llaves y Candados (LyC), taking over running shows in Arena Coliseo Monterrey.[9] On September 18 of that year El Hijo del Ninja won the LyC Championship.[9] He would later give up the championship as the promotion abandoned it.[10] In 2012 El Hijo del Ninja participated in a Mexican dating reality TV show called Mitad y Mitad: Lucha por el Amor ("Half and Half: Fight for Love"), where he voluntarily unmasked in the show finale, taking the El Hijo del Ninja mask off on national television to publicly show his face for the first time during his professional wrestling career.[5] From that point on he would wrestle without a mask. The TV show appearance led to a feud with local celebrity/wrestler Konan Big, a storyline feud that led to a Lucha de Apuestas match between the two. It was originally scheduled to be a one-on-one match where El Hijo del Ninja "bet" his hair while Konan Big "bet" his wife on the outcome of the match. During the lead up to the match itself both Silencio and Konan Big's show, El Hijo de Konan Big got involved, turning it into a four-way steel cage match. Silencio was the first wrestler to leave the cage, followed by Konan Big. In the end El Hijo del Ninja managed to escape the cage, forcing El Hijo de Konan Big to have all his hair shaved off.[11]

In 2014 some Mexican wrestling media sources reported that Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) was interested in signing El Hijo del Ninja to a contract, but nothing substantial came of the rumors at the time.[12] In 2015 El Hijo del Ninja and his cousin Último Ninja won the LyC Tag Team championship, only to lose them to the team of lucha libre legends Dr. Wagner Jr. and Silver King, as part of an ongoing storyline feud between the Garza family and La Dinastia Wagner. The storyline led to a six-man steel cage match where El Hijo del Ninja, El Ninja Jr. and Último Ninja took on Dr. Wagner Jr. El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. and Silver King Jr., with the last man in the cage being forced to unmask. In the end El Hijo del Ninja was the last man to escape the cage, while Silver King Jr. was left in the ring and thus had to unmask as a result.[13] During the spring of 2016 Garza Jr. was invited to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida as part of WWE's research for their upcoming Cruiserweight Classic, but ended up not participating in the tournament.[14] On August 13, 2016 the Garza cousins defeated Tony Casanova and Zarco to win The Crash Tag Team Championship on a show in Tijuana, Baja California.[15]

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (2015–2017)

Garza began working for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA), one of Mexico's largest wrestling promotions, in 2015 where was introduced under the ring name "Garza Jr.", abandoning the "El Hijo del Ninja" moniker from that point on. His first AAA match was at Héroes Inmortales IX held on October 4, 2015. He was introduced as "Garza Jr." for the first time, adopting both the ring gear and mannerisms resembling his uncle Héctor. Garza Jr. teamed up with Psycho Clown and Rey Mysterio Jr. to defeat the trio of Myzteziz, El Texano Jr. and El Hijo del Fantasma in the semi-main event of the show.[16] Garza Jr. teamed up with La Parka and Electroshock to compete for the vacant AAA World Trios Championship at the 2016 Guerra de Titanes show. The match also was a three-way match that included the trio of El Hijo de Pirata Morgan, Hijo del Fantasma and Taurus and the winning trio of Dark Cuervo, Dark Scoria and El Zorro.[17] Garza Jr. failed to qualify for the finals of the 2016 Rey de Reyes tournament as he was eliminated by Blue Demon Jr. In April 2016 Garza Jr. was defeated by El Texano Jr. and thus was not able to qualify for the 2016 Lucha Libre World Cup.[18] Garza Jr. was teamed up with El Hijo del Fantasma for a four-way AAA World Tag Team Championship match at Triplemanía XXIV against champions Los Güeros del Cielo (Angélico and Jack Evans), Drago and Aero Star, Paul London and Matt Cross. In the end Drago and Aero Star won the match and the championship.[19] After several mid-card matches Garza Jr. competed in the main event of Héroes Inmortales X, just over a year after his AAA debut. Garza Jr. unsuccessfully challenged Johnny Mundo for the AAA Latin American Championship in a match that was originally scheduled to be lower on the card but was moved to the main event on the night of the show.[20] Three months later Garza Jr. was involved in another featured match, this time at the 2017 Guerra de Titanes show, where he fought, and lost to El Hijo del Fantasma in a match where the AAA World Cruiserweight Championship was on the line.[21]

Mexican independent circuit (2017–2019)

On January 21, 2017, the day after Guerra de Titanes, Garza Jr. left AAA and made a surprise appearance at a "The Crash" show in Tijuana, Baja California alongside Daga and Pentagón Jr. who also left AAA. The trio was joined by Rey Fénix, stating that they were now independent of AAA and were forming a group.[22] Later that night Garza Jr. teamed up with Daga to compete in a five-team match against Pentagón Jr./Rey Fénix, Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy, Bestia 666/Nicho El Millonario and Juventud Guerrera/Super Crazy that was won by Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fénix. On the same night it was announced that The Crash Tag Team Championship was vacant, stripping Garza Jr. and Último Ninja of the championship to allow the Broken Hardys to win the championship in the main event of the show by defeating Juventud Guerrera and Super Crazy.[22][23] In subsequent interviews Garza stated that AAA prevented him from earning more money; when promoters across Mexico inquired if Garza Jr. would be available to wrestle on their shows AAA often told the promoters that Garza Jr. was already booked, only to not give him work on those dates themselves. The group of Penta, Rey Fénix, Daga and Garza Jr. later announced that they would not be using the Perros del Mal name for the group, like Pentagón Jr. and Daga had used in AAA but instead come up with a new name for the group.[24] The group was named La Rebelión and would later include El Zorro and Rey Mysterio Jr..[25]

Impact Wrestling (2017–2018)

Garza Jr., alongside Mexican wrestler Laredo Kid, made his surprise debut for the Orlando, Florida-based Impact Wrestling at their TV show taping on March 2, 2017.[4] The two made their in-ring debut by defeating Eli Drake and Tyrus.[26] Two days later Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid participated in a 4-team match for the Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championship, against The Latin American Xchange, Decay and Reno SCUM, which was won by LAX represented by Santana and Ortiz.[27] At Slammiversary XV, Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid competed in a Four-way tag team match for the Impact Wrestling World and GFW Tag Team Championships which was won by The Latin American Xchange. at Bound for Glory, Garza Jr. competed in a Six-way match for the Impact X Division Championship which was won by Trevor Lee.

WWE

NXT Cruiserweight Champion (2019–2020)

On April 18, 2019, it was announced that he signed a contract with WWE and begun working at their Performance Center, and his ring name was changed to Angel Garza.[28] In June, it was announced that Garza will compete in a tournament named NXT Breakout Tournament,[29] where he made his debut on the June 26 episode of NXT as a heel, defeating Joaquin Wilde in the first round of the tournament,[30] but losing to A. C. H. in the semifinals on July 24 episode of NXT.[31] On the August 20 episode of 205 Live, Garza debuted on the brand while cementing his heel turn, competing on Drew Gulak's team in a ten–man tag team match against Oney Lorcan's team, where Lorcan's team was victorious.[32]

On the November 6 episode of NXT, Garza defeated Tony Nese to become the number one contender for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against Lio Rush,[33] but Garza failed to defeat Rush the following week on NXT.[34] On the December 11 episode of NXT, Garza defeated Rush to win the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, his first title in the WWE.[35] On January 25, 2020, at Worlds Collide, Garza lost the title to Jordan Devlin in a fatal four-way match, also involving Travis Banks and Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, who Devlin pinned.[36] On the February 5 episode of NXT, after defeating Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, he called out Jordan Devlin, wanting a rematch as Devlin did not pin Garza to win the title.[37] The following week on NXT, Garza was defeated by Lio Rush in a number one contender's match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.[38]

Teaming with Andrade (2020–2021)

On the February 3 episode of Raw, Garza made his debut on the brand as a heel associate of Zelina Vega and opposed his cousin Humberto Carrillo, viciously assaulting Carrillo until the latter was rescued by Rey Mysterio.[39] Garza subsequently faced Mysterio, where Garza lost via disqualification, after performing a DDT to Mysterio on the concrete floor.[40] Garza was scheduled to team with Vega's other associate, Andrade to face The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) for the Raw Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 36, but Andrade was removed from that match due to an injury and was replaced by Austin Theory, who is another associate of Vega.[41] At WrestleMania, Garza and Theory were unsuccessful at capturing the titles.[42][43] On the April 13 episode of Raw, Garza, Andrade and Theory attacked Akira Tozawa as all three posed together, confirming their status as a faction.[44] However on the May 18 episode of Raw they kicked Theory out of their faction for accidentally costing them a match against Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews. The following week on Raw, Garza defeated Kevin Owens in an upset victory. On the June 8 episode of Raw, Garza competed in a Triple Threat match against Andrade and Owens for an opportunity at the United States Championship at Backlash but was pinned by Andrade. During the match, Andrade and Garza accidentally knocked out Vega after getting in to an argument.[45] At Backlash, Garza attempted to help Andrade defeat Crews but was stunned by Owens at ringside which led to Crews retaining the title. The following night on Raw, Garza lost to Owens after Andrade's interference on Garza's behalf backfired.[46]

On the June 22 episode of Raw, Garza and Andrade attacked the Street Profits after their match with The Viking Raiders making their intentions known for the Raw Tag Team Titles.[47] Over the next few weeks, Garza and Andrade would feud with The Viking Raiders defeating them in a Tag Team Elimination match but struggled to get on the same page as a tag team.[48] Andrade and Garza would start to coexist as a tag team as they defeated The Viking Raiders and Cedric Alexander and Ricochet to earn a Raw Tag Team Title shot against Street Profits at SummerSlam.[49] At the event they were defeated by the Street Profits after a miscommunication between Garza and Andrade. On the September 14 episode of Raw, Vega ended her association with Garza and Andrade having had enough of them constantly arguing and fighting with each other. The following week on Raw, Garza and Andrade (without Vega) defeated Seth Rollins and Murphy and Dominik Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo to once again become #1 Contenders for the Raw Tag Team Titles against the Street Profits at Clash of Champions. At the event they were once again unsuccessful at capturing the titles as Garza suffered a legitimate knee injury during the match thus causing an unexpected quick finish to the match, the following day Dave Meltzer reported that despite the botched ending The Street Profits were originally scheduled to Win the match and that plans did not change because of the legitimate injury.

Garza returned on the October 12 episode of Raw, defeating Andrade, thus officially splitting up the team. On December 31, 2020, Garza won his first WWE 24/7 Championship from R-Truth during a New Year's Eve party that was streamed live on TikTok. However on the January 4, 2021 episode of Raw, The Boogeyman appeared and scared him, thus pinned by R-Truth to retain the 24/7 Championship title. On the May 3rd Edition of RAW Gulak confronted Garza which lead to a match. Which Garza won. During the post match Garza shoved a rose down Gulak's pants & then kicked it.

Los Lotharios (2021–present)

In the following months, Garza would occasionally be seen backstage pursuing the 24/7 Championship. On the September 20 episode of Raw, Garza formed a tag team with his cousin Humberto Carrillo, defeating Mansoor and Mustafa Ali.[50] As part of the 2021 Draft, both Garza and Carrillo were drafted to the SmackDown brand.[51][52] On the November 5 episode of SmackDown, the team was named Los Lotharios, with both Garza and Carrillo shortening their ring names, being billed as Angel and Humberto.

Other media

Garza made his video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K22.[53]

Personal life

On December 11, 2019, immediately after winning the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, Garza proposed to sports journalist Zaide Lozano in the middle of the ring.[54] They got married on July 23, 2020.[55] They have a daughter named Dara (born July 2022).[56][57]

Solano/Segura family tree

† = deceased

Humberto Garza †Unidentified GarzaMario SeguraUnidentified Garza
Héctor GarzaHumberto Garza Jr.UnidentifiedNinja Jr.Máscara Púrpura
El SultánHumberto CarrilloAngel Garza

Championships and accomplishments

Luchas de Apuestas record

See also: Luchas de Apuestas

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
El Hijo del Ninja (mask) Black Morse (mask) Monterrey, Nuevo León FILL Show September 13, 2009 [6]
El Hijo del Ninja (mask) Memo Valles (hair) Monterrey, Nuevo León FILL Show November 3, 2009 [Note 1][6]
El Hijo del Ninja (mask) Estrella Dorada Jr. (hair) Monterrey, Nuevo León FILL Show September 26, 2010 [8]
El Hijo del Ninja (hair) El Hijo de Konan Big (hair) Monterrey, Nuevo León LyC Show December 16, 2012 [Note 2][11]
Draw El Hijo del Ninja/Cipriano (hair) Monterrey, Nuevo León LyC Show April 29, 2013 [Note 3]
Garza Jr. (hair) Silver King Jr. (mask) Monterrey, Nuevo León Coliseomanía III October 11, 2015 [Note 4][13]
Garza Jr. (hair) Samurai VIP (hair) Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua Live event July 16, 2017  
Bestia 666 (hair) Garza Jr. (hair) Tijuana, Baja California The Crash VII Aniversario November 3, 2018 [69]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Relevos Suicida, El Hijo del Ninja and Silver Star faced Memo Valles and Coco Viper, with Hijo del Ninja and Valles losing the falls and had to wrestle each other.
  2. ^ Final two wrestlers in a steel cage match that also included Konan Big and Silencio.
  3. ^ Both wrestlers had their hair shaved off as a result of the draw.
  4. ^ Last two men in a steel cage match that also included Dr. Wagner Jr., El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr., El Ninja Jr. and Último Ninja.

References

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