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Pro Wrestling

LaBar: Pittsburgh native is rising star in pro wrestling

| Sunday, June 26, 2016, 9:09 p.m.
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Courtesy of Alexis Salazar
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Courtesy of Alexis Salazar
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Courtesy of Alexis Salazar
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.
Sam Adonis in his debut week wrestling for CMLL in Mexico City.

Sam Adonis is a rising star in pro wrestling who has spent the past eight years under the radar.

Growing up in Monroeville as Sam Polinsky, he has been a long way from home for his career, residing in Tampa, Fla., then Liverpool, England, and now in Mexico City. He's one of the main-event stars for CMLL, a top promotion in Mexico with more than 80 years of history.

He was signed in 2011 to Florida Championship Wrestling, the developmental territory at the time for WWE. It was the first big point of his career that he admits he wasn't ready for as a 21-year-old. He left FCW that same year.

Luck was on his side with the assistance of WWE wrestler and trainer William Regal, who helped get him a job for All Star Wrestling in Liverpool. It was there he got to grow as a performer in an organization that has some of the best in the world but doesn't get the worldwide coverage.

“It's a hidden gem,” Adonis said. “It's far and away the No. 1 promotion in Europe by volume of shows and money generated, but because they don't do Twitter or Facebook and YouTube, it's almost like we didn't exist.”

Adonis has just moved to Mexico, where he's immediately being noticed. His 6-foot-4, 237-pound brash American character with platinum blond hair is hard to miss in a wrestling culture known for smaller, more agile performers wearing masks.

He has coined nicknames for himself such as El Rubio Fantastico, which translates to “the fantastic blond,” or El Rudo De La Chicas, meaning “the villain for the women.”

The Mexican style can be far more chaotic and fast- paced than anywhere else. It's common for four or more guys to be in a match, all involved in the action. You can only truly appreciate this if watching in person as the camera can only show so much at once.

It's a new challenge he's committed to conquering.

Adonis has been determined to succeed on his own. His best friend and older brother is WWE wrestler-turned-commentator Corey Graves. While Adonis praises his brother for always willing to help, he's adamant about earning opportunities based off his own name and reputation.

“It's probably why I'm not as well known as I could be,” Adonis said. “I'm quite stubborn about that.”

Now in CMLL, Adonis is using his career experiences to make the most of this opportunity.

“I'm prepared to be here,” Adonis said. “I show up every day in a suit, arrive on time, taking the time to do all the interviews they would like me to do.”

Adonis quickly realized the importance pro wrestling has in the Mexican culture. He compares going to the Friday night matches as the equivalent of a family outing to the movies or an amusement park.

He made his debut this past week in front of thousands in the main event. It was not a typical start in pro wrestling to be in such a prominent position for the organization in the first week.

It's just another bullet point in a unique career that looks to have the best yet to come.

Justin LaBar is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jlabar@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JustinLaBar.

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