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Why the former Pentagon Jr. is happy again

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By Thomas Gerbasi for

The wrestler formerly known as Pentagon Jr. is happy again.

Now wrestling under the moniker Penta El Zero M, the Lucha Underground star has pulled off a rare double play since announcing that he was leaving the AAA promotion and going out on his own. He’s looking firmly at the future while returning to his roots at the same time.

“I feel good, I feel calm,” he said through translator Javier Clorio. “I’m the owner of my own time and of my own decisions, and I’m doing what I love, which is lucha.”

For a long time, that wasn’t the case, and as his career became more successful, he was also becoming more disillusioned with the business. Last month, he made his move.

“It was just the right moment in my career,” he said of his departure from AAA, which he announced at a show in Tijuana last month. “There’s a lot of stuff I wanted to do but wasn’t able to do, and I felt like I was being held back by the company. It became work and I wasn’t very happy or very comfortable with any of the decisions that they were making. Now I’m going back to doing lucha and wrestling with whoever I want wherever I want.”

The move was a shocker to the lucha libre world, but Penta’s friends, family, and fans have been nothing but supportive to the man who made “Cero Miedo” a buzz phrase in rings around the world.

“I’m happy with the support I’m getting from the fans, the promoters, and my lucha family,” he said. “They know I wasn’t very happy and I wasn’t accomplishing what I wanted. Now, they see me and they know that I’m doing better with the decision I made.”

This Sunday, February 19th, he will be in Queens, New York, making his third appearance for Tier1 Lucha Libre. It’s an appearance that comes with some drama, given his departure from AAA. But general manager Clorio is making sure that the show goes on.

“This has been a show that has had a few bumps,” Clorio said, noting a broken leg that scrapped Matt Cross (“Son of Havoc”) from the card, as well as the ongoing dispute between Penta and his former promoter.

“It is a business, it’s about money, and we understand that. But we support him (Penta) because he has done right for us in the past events. We know we’re taking a risk and we’re going against AAA, but it’s not personal. We have a deal with them and we did everything possible to work with them. They simply did not want Penta in the show and they didn’t even notify us a week after he was gone. We had to get in touch with them. So we did everything to do things the right way and we have a contract with them. And he (Penta) took full responsibility. He said, ‘I’m going to come in and do the match.’ The person is very valuable. The guy behind the mask is valuable to us, and supporting the indie events is crucial.”

Penta’s first two bouts in the Big Apple were rousing successes as he wrestled his brother Rey Fenix in matches that resulted in fans throwing money into the ring at their conclusion. You can’t buy that kind of response.

“I love the New York fans,” Penta said. “Every time, they ask me when I’m coming and every time I’m gone, they always ask when I’m coming back. (Laughs) I’m happy about the fans’ reaction and they’re always really good to me here.”

He returns that respect to the fans, not just with meet and greets and matches featuring his usual punishing style, but with a brand of in-ring storytelling that isn’t easy to pull off without the benefit of TV spots and high production values.

“Thank God it’s something that comes natural to me,” he said. “I don’t study or over think what I’m doing in the ring -- my movements, the way I react, the cheers of the crowd or how I look at my opponents. Fortunately, it comes natural for me. And when I come out for the match, the audience decides what I do in the ring. I always dreamed that I was gonna be a bad guy and was going to be liked as a heel, and now it’s just what I do.”

It’s paid off too, as Penta’s star has risen in the last couple years, largely in part to his stint on the El Rey Network’s Lucha Underground. But the Tijuana product insists that he’s remained true to himself as his profile gets bigger.

“Lucha Underground is something that pushed me and made me become more popular, but as a person, I haven’t changed,” he said. “I have grown, and I want to keep growing and accomplish more goals.”

The future looks bright. But for the moment, all that matters is hearing that crowd roar on Sunday.

“When that happens,” he said, “I feel my effort in the ring was worth it and it motivates me to push myself and to give them more so they keep cheering 'Cero Miedo' during and after the matches.”