The Young and the Wrestled
Last Saturday Hector Canales snatched the SoCal Pro Wrestling championship belt from the hands of his former partner Ricky Mandel. Wasn't it just two years ago that these two were tag team partners, a couple of babyface peas in a pod dubbed "Cool Imagery"?
Then in the next year they became SoCal's first ever tag team champs, but last September they lost the title to the Ballard Brothers, the very team they had beaten to become champs in the first place. That loss shot Mandel over to the dark side, and he tackled Canales from behind and drove him to the mat.
Almost immediately, heel manager C. Edward Vander Pyle took Ricky under his sinister wing, promising to shoot the handsome long-haired heel to the top of the game. Canales sought revenge for the betrayal, but, thanks to Vander Pyle's shrewd manipulations, he was barred from any match involving Mandel.
Vander Pyle and Mandel set up their own title, the Mirror Image Title, which stayed safely in the hands of its creator against a string of challengers. Then a masked wrestler named El Tortillero emerged from the shadows and beat Mandel in a challenge match, wresting the phony title away from its namesake (i.e. "Mirror Image" Ricky Mandel).
No sooner had Mandel lost his trumped up title than he gained the bonafide SoCal heavyweight title. Then, surprise upon surprise, El Tortillero unmasked himself, revealing that he was, in fact, yes, you guessed it, Hector Canales!
Saturday, Canales got double vengeance against his old partner, beating him out of both his vanity title and the real thing in the same calendar year, taking a swipe at Vander Pyle along the way and ultimately making Mandel grovel on his knees for mercy. Who knows what will come next? Hard to say. The two bitter enemies (and MySpace friend favorites) are irreconcilable.
(Photos: R.P. Strickland)