Exclusive | Angelico: From Drumblade to Daily’s Place – A journey to AEW

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Born in Drumblade in Walkerville near Johannesburg, Angelico brings an undeniable South African flavour to All Elite Wrestling whenever he makes an appearance.

AEW are a fledgeling professional wrestling promotion making big waves in sports entertainment despite being temporarily confined to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida. Angelico has earned a prominent place on AEW programming in recent weeks. The 33-year-old featured on AEW Dynamite in a great match against Cody Rhodes on Wednesday 16 December and tag action with long-time partner Jack Evans against the Young Bucks the week before.

From Jozi to La La Land – Angelico’s winding road

Angelico has made a temporary home for himself in Los Angeles, California while he still calls Barcelona home.

Despite leaving South Africa at a young age, the man who would become Angelico spent an integral year on the South African professional wrestling circuit appearing on WWP Thunderstrike in 2008. While in South Africa he met the likes of former WWE Superstar PJ Black (Justin Gabriel) and worked alongside SA Wrestling legends Ananzi, Terri Middoux and Tornado.

In an exclusive interview, Angelico told us exactly how he came to be in AEW.

“I was born in Drumblade in Walkerville about 40 minutes outside of Joburg. Unfortunately we moved away when I was about ten or eleven years old to England where I did my secondary school or high school,” Angelico told us via Zoom.

“Then at 18 my family got up again and we moved to Spain, about an hour from Barcelona. That is currently still home base for me and my family. 

“And about that time was when I decided I was going to really make a go of becoming a professional wrestler which had been my childhood dream since I was about five-six years old.

“So then I actually went back from Spain to South Africa to start training. I trained in, at the time, the Booker T pro-wrestling school, which lasted all of about three months before it fell through. Then I went to Joburg and trained with a South African wrestler called Ananzi. That’s where I met PJ Black who has travelled the world and Tornado and Terri Middoux and all these great South African wrestlers.”

The gamechanger – Negro Navarro

In his match with face of AEW, Cody Rhodes, Angelico demonstrated his unique style which was developed training in Mexico City.

Angelico related how he met Lucha Libre legend Ultimo Dragon and wound up working with submissions master Negro Navarro and jumping off balconies in Lucha Underground.

“I was wrestling there for my first year in wrestling, and then I saw a couple of European wrestlers who came over for a tour, and I could just see that they had more reportoire and a different kind of experience and so I felt that I wanted a bit of that so I moved myself back to Europe, to England and I started wrestling there for another year and I was on a tour just by coincidence as an extra and I met Ultimo Dragon and he invited me to his wrestling school/dojo in Mexico City which is world renowned, and that’s where everything sort of jump started for me,” Angelico says.

“Training under Ultimo Dragon and specifically Negro Navarro was where I developed the style that I have today which is quite unique to me. I was in Mexico for nine years on and off and did a year back in Europe. Then about a year and a half ago, I signed for AEW.”

AEW Dyanamite is not available on traditional TV platforms in South Africa but can be streamed with a subscription to Fite TV. AEW’s Youtube channel features loads of wrestling action and related content, including the weekly AEW Dark show, which has given Angelico and others the platform to win over new fans. 

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