Ari Romero (December 20, 1951 – December 29, 2013), was a Mexican professional wrestler who wrestled in the US, Japan, and his Native Mexico. Ari "El Rey del Tenedor" was notorious for using a fork to make his adversaries bleed in his matches. his nickname is "El rey de las Cadenas". (Spanish for "King of the bull terrier match")
Romero began his career in his native city of Querétaro under a mask with the name "el Gato" (Spanish for "the cat") at the age of 15. His father was the local Empresa Mundial de Lucha Libre (EMLL, now known as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL)) promoter but when he debuted his son he put him in the opening bout and ordered the guys to be a little extra rough with him. After a few years later Romero, a bit more mature and experienced, would get called up to EMLL full-time and would debut at Arena Coliseo in downtown Mexico City. After several years, with signs of promise, the EMLL offices send him to Ciudad Juárez with their local affiliate to further season. Cd. Juarez would become Romero's home as he became a fixture in the area and would later play a big role in the beginning of Eddie Guerrero and Konnan's wrestling careers. An injury while in Juarez forced Ari to return to Mexico City and soon after lose his "El Gato" mask Halcón Dorado as part of EMLL's "Martes populares" where they showcased new talent, mixed in with some of EMLL's veterans and established stars.
After losing his "El Gato" mask Romero returned to Juarez but this time with a rival promoter of the area, Gory Guerrero, who ran his shows at Plaza de Torros Balderas only two blocks away from the EMLL afitliate competition at the Gimnasio Municipal. It would for Gory Guerrero that Romero would begin his long lasting feud (storyline) with the Guerrero family. Romero began working under his real name, Jose Luis Arias Romero, later shortened to Arias Romero by Gory Guerrero himself. Guerrero decided to have Romero debut as a face, going against Romero's natural heel (bad guy, "Rudó" In Mexico) tendencies. During his debut against a hated local, Romero managed to rile up the crowd so much that he turned the heel face (good guy, "Technicó" in Mexico) in the crowds eye and had them booing him instead. Romero quickly moved into a storyline with the local top talent Hector Guerrero, Gory's son. Romero won a lot of matches while in Juarez, but his main accomplishment during his run with Guerrero's promotion was defeating all four Guerreros in an elimination 4 vs. 4 match. Romero singlehandedly eliminated Chavo, Mando and Gory and in a heated match finally also overcame Hector Guerrero. Not long after defeating the four Guerreros Ari Romero left to join the "la Division del Norte" wrestling circuit in Monterrey, led by lucha legend Rene Guajardo and composed of mostly ex EMLL guys.
It was here that Ari Romero got his most well-known name as local promoter, Ciclon Veloz, had shortened his name from Arias Romero to Ari Romero. After working in Monterrey Romero gained his first taste of international experience, working his first tour of the United States. He would first work in the southwestern part, working mainly on the Native American Reservations of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Later he would go to Southeast Championship Wrestling and work their territory in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia. While working in the US Romero picked up a more American style of wrestling and would take what he learned back to Mexico. Romero claimed that it wasn't until he wrestled in the south that he finally understood the psychology of pro wrestling. After his tour of the US Romero would return to EMLL with a lot more experience. This time round he had his first big run with the company, taking part in one of EMLLs first Central American tours to El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama. From here Romero would get sent by the CMLL offices to Los Angeles where he would work for Promoter Mike Labell at the Olympic Auditorium for the National Wrestling Alliance.
The NWA, EMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) had formed a working relationship and exchanged talents to help strengthen all three promotions. EMLL sent Mil Mascaras, Black Gordman and the Great Goliath among others to the Olympic, as well as Ari Romero. Romero enjoyed a good run in NWA, a run that saw him participate in his first tour of Japan, one of many to come, and also a tour of the Pacific Islands in Hawaii, New Zealand, Guam, Samoa, Fiji, Australia and Tonga for "High Chief" Peter Maivia. During his stint with them Romero managed to crown himself champion of Polynesian Wrestling defeating Peter Maivia himself. After this Romero would find himself back in EMLL as an established star, scoring victories over top talents of the time such as La Fiera, Alfonso Dantés and others. Later on Romero left EMLL and ventured out to San Antonio, Texas to work for Tully Blanchard's Southwest Championship Wrestling. After working in Texas Romero returned to Juarez where he helped several up and comers like Eddie Guerrero, Konnan, Blue Demon, Jr., Tinieblas, Jr., Heavy Metal get their start in wrestling. Romero continued wrestling full-time locally in Juarez while making annual appearances for EMLL and tours to Japan for many distinct promotions, among them All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW).
During the early 1990s Ari contacted the CMLL offices to ask for his scheduled dates where it was suggested to him to try to work with a new gimmick, a masked character. Romero took advantage of the Gulf War that was going on at the time, using it to return full-time with EMLL as El Gran Sheik, an Iraqi Sheikh. As El Grand Sheik he brought a slave with him to the ring to really sell the gimmick. Romero's career saw a resurgence as "El Gran Sheik", he even took part in Michinoku Pro's World Masked Tournament representing Saudi Arabia (even though his gimmick was supposed to be Iraqi). Romero placed in the tournament that was won by Dos Caras (Mexico) and saw local superstar, over the Great Sasuke (Japan) place second. The tournament also saw Sho Funaki, Jerry Lynn, Taka Michinoku and Super Delfin participate. Romero ended up losing the Gran Shiek mask to Blue Demon, Jr., but his popularity in the Orient led him to reside in Japan after his loss. Romero spent the next 10 years wrestling all over Asia doing shows in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and even Russia. In late 2003 Ari returned to Juarez to help his son, billed as Ari Romero, Jr., get his break in the business for the same local promotion that Romero, Sr. worked for years before.
Outside the ring
Outside the ring works with his favorite hobby, music. Romero formed a music group composed of nothing but pro wrestlers and musicians that would play just for fun at their anniversary shows. The group ended up performing at Mexico's prestigious "Teatro Blanquita" as headliners. The Group was compossed of Ari Romero (lead guitar and vocals), Kung Fu (drums), El Pantera (guitar), El Apache (Bass), Buffalo Salvaje (vocals), Mario Prado (percussion) and Estrellita (keyboard and vocals). Romero has recorded four CD's, three of which are his own material.
- Finishing moves
- "Gato" (Spanish for "Cat")
- "El Rey De las Cadenas" (Spanish for "King of the bull terrier match")
- "El Rey Del Tenedor" (Spanish for "King of the fork")
- "El Diablo"
- "El General"
- "Padre de los Guerreros" (Spanish for "Father of the warriors")
Championships and accomplishments
- Other titles
- Northern Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Flama Roja & Crazy 33 (2)
- Pacific Islands Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with "High Chief" Peter Maivia
- Querétaro Welterweight Championship
Lucha de Apuesta record
|Mask||Halcon Dorado||El Gato||Mexico City, Mexico||1975|
|Mask/Hair||Águila Solitaria and Franco Colombo||Cid Campeador and Ari Romero||Mexico City||June 19, 1982|
|Hair||Ari Romero||Doberman||Mexico City||August 18, 1984|
|Hairs||Ari Romero and Franco Colombo|| Los Destructores|
(Vulcano & Tony Arce)
|Mexico City||August 26, 1984|
|Hair||Eddy Guerrero||Ari Romero||El Paso, Texas, USA||1987|
|Mask||Blue Demon, Jr.||El Gran Sheik||Mexico City||November, 1994|
|Hair||Silver King||Ari Romero||Mexico City||February 9, 1995|
|Mask||Mega||Karma||Naucalpan||October 31, 2002||Castillo de la Muerte 10 men cage match.|