Sometime Saturday, in a rocking Ector County Coliseum, under bright lights and between loud chants, amid body slams, top-rope leaps, microphone-powered insults and the ding-ding of the bell, Aiden English will step through the curtain from backstage and do what he and his family do best.
The WWE is coming to Odessa, bringing its traveling pro wrestling circus with it, featuring a band of performers, including English, who are sure to incite cheers, boos and raucous fun with in-ring theatrical performances telling the stories of good and bad, and triumph and adversity.
Stars like current WWE Champion AJ Styles, longtime stalwart Randy Orton, and women’s champion Charlotte Flair, the daughter of Ric Flair, are also among those scheduled to perform Saturday in Odessa under the WWE’s SmackDown Live flag.
Opening belltime is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the coliseum box office, or online at ectorcountycoliseum.org.
“Every time we come through, it’s always exciting,” English said via phone. “You know it’s going to be hot. You know it’s going to be a good time.”
For English, in particular, the opportunity to perform in West Texas means something special.
On screen during WWE’s weekly shows, English proclaims himself to be the Rembrandt of rage, and the Picasso of pain, often times letting loose a condescending brag about his taste for fine arts to the ire and boos of live audiences — usually just before one of the crowd’s wrestling heroes arrives to shut him up.
Off screen, the 30-year-old English, real name Matthew Rehwoldt, is married to Shaul Guerrero, the daughter of late wrestling legend Eddie Guerrero, and part of the legendary Guerrero family hailing from El Paso — royalty in American wrestling and in Mexican lucha libre.
And while, if he gets the chance Saturday night, the snooty English will probably hurl insults to a hostile Odessa crowd in the heat of the action, the chance to showcase his talents in West Texas, near the Guerrero family’s stomping grounds, is a special opportunity for the performer underneath the bravado.
“There’s an emotional connection to there,” English said of El Paso, and West Texas in general.
“First and foremost, I’m proud of to be her husband, for who she is as a person and as a women and everything,” he said. “And after that, of course, there’s a sense of pride in having any kind of connection to a family like that, that has such a deep, rich history in not only our company, but the sports entertainment world in general.”
In February, as the WWE toured through the area, English had his first chance to perform in El Paso after marrying Shaul Guerrero in 2016. He marked the occasion on Instagram, posting a photo of street art depicting his late father-in-law from El Paso where he’s beloved, writing an open letter to the deceased in the caption.
It was in the month of February, in 2004, when Eddie Guerrero climbed wrestling’s mountaintop, pinning Brock Lesnar to be awarded the WWE Championship to the elation of 11,000 fans at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif. — a year and a half before his death.
“People ask me that. ‘Do you feel like you’re carrying on a part of the legacy?’ and everything like that,” English said. “It’s an awkward question for me, because I married into that family, but it’s not like it was some goal to carry on a legacy.
“But there is absolutely a sense of pride and honor to even be associated with that entire family,” he added.
The Guerreros are among wrestling’s most decorated families. Eddie’s father, Gory Guerrero, tag teamed with El Santo and wrestled in championship matches with the likes of Lou Thesz. Eddie’s brother, Chavo Guerrero Sr., battled ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper through a long rivalry in California in the 1980’s before his son, Chavo Guerrero Jr., won championships more recently in WCW and WWE.
Another brother, Hector Guerrero, was a long-time performer and commentator. Another brother, Mando Guerrero, made a career as a stuntman in Hollywood, but also worked as a trainer for the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion, now of Netflix fame.
Now, English is helping to carry a long-burning torch back through his family’s familiar stomping grounds.
“Without anything, my wife and the family or anything like that — El Paso, and western Texas in general, it’s just a great area,” English said. “The fans are just great crowds to perform for. They love when wrestling comes through town, when sports entertainment is there. They’re just some of the most passionate in the country.”
English, who’s one of WWE’s bright young stars at age 30, also recalled his early time in WWE’s developmental system in Florida, where he learned from, among other coaches, the late Dusty Rhodes, who grew into pro wrestling in Amarillo after graduating from West Texas A&M.
“They tore Texas up,” English said, thinking of the stories told by Rhodes about himself, the Funk family and other legends from the old Texas territories. “That area, you can’t go through there without having the kind of essence of that whole era and those guys. Those were your wrestlers’ wrestlers, man. To hear the stories Dusty would tell, it was very cool, and that’s another honor I feel very lucky to have, to have had a guy like him teaching me, and to pass that kind of thing on to me.”
English said he and others in the WWE locker room are relishing the opportunity to perform in the area this weekend.
“The people of West Texas, that whole region — people in Texas in general, but that region in particular … there’s always a little something extra when you come to towns like Odessa or El Paso or wherever it might be,” he said.
After Odessa on Saturday, the stars on this tour head to San Angelo for a show Sunday, then Cedar Park on Monday, before broadcasting SmackDown Live at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a really great chance to come out and see your favorites, and really get to experience everything that they bring to the table, and the chance to really experience, up close, what WWE is really all about,” English said.
- What: WWE Live: The Road to WrestleMania
- When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Ector County Coliseum
- Tickets: Starting at $15 at EctorCountyColiseum.org, or at the Ector County Coliseum box office
I’m not taking a selfie or snapping a picture of myself here…that’s because this isn’t about me. And honestly, it’s not really about you. It’s about what you’ve given me. Something you never knew you’d be doing. It’s about the greatest gift I’ve ever had in my life. The gift you and the woman I now get to call “mom” gave me is a blessing beyond words.
And that’s what this is about. It’s about her. She fills my day with love, laughter, joy and endless support. She sees me as I am and takes it all in with full heart – a job not always so easy. And here we are tonight in hers and your hometown to do what you spent your whole life doing to raise and support her and the family. I’m working tonight to try to do the same for her and to do the same for our future family. Here’s to work. Here’s to home. Here’s to familia. And here’s to her.