That time of the year is upon us—WrestleMania season.
For those who aren’t fans of professional wrestling or World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), WrestleMania is the Super Bowl of this sports-entertainment industry and into its 33rd year has been a pop-culture phenomenon year in and year out.
With the WWE’s flagship show “Monday Night Raw” stopping in Philadelphia the week leading up to ‘Mania, Rowan alumnus and current WWE Superstar Lince Dorado was willing to reach out to The Whit for an interview.
Lince Dorado is a luchador by trade whose ring name translates to “Golden Lynx.” Raised in Camden, Dorado from a very young age knew he wanted to be a professional wrestler.
“I grew up Hispanic so from that I only knew about Mexican wrestling, which is the lucha libre and Puerto Rican wrestling, which is brawling, which was through my grandpop—he’s a big influence in my wrestling career,” Dorado said.
Dorado also cited how losing both his father and grandfather under different circumstances in the same year also shaped his passion. At a young age he was introduced to wrestling, and has been in love with it since.
“In 1994, my uncle came over and had a VHS tape, and it had no labels or anything, and he was like, ‘You gotta watch this,'” Dorado said. “He puts it in and starts fast-forwarding and he stops at this one match. It’s the Undertaker vs. Yokozuna in a casket match from the Royal Rumble. I watched the entire thing from start to finish and I actually missed my bus to go to school—that was the only day I ever missed school was that year.”
After that, Dorado found himself tuning into the likes of Philadelphia-based promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, developing a fondness for pro-wrestling, both inside and out of the squared circle.
From there, his journey led him to Rowan University.
Studying mathematics, Dorado always kept his passion close to him as he progressed through school. He stayed committed to independent bookings while balancing classes and being a lifeguard at the REC Center, working at the book store and even being part of Rowan’s cheerleading team.
“Hopefully, after wrestling, I can always go back and say how important school was to me,” Dorado said.
After making his professional wrestling debut in 2006 as “The Midnight Warrior” before assuming his current identity, Dorado eventually made waves in 2016 as a part of WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic, taking his ‘super hybrid’ lucha style to the mainstream.
“Every day is kind of surreal. I’m really good friends with Rich Swann. We have similar upbringings,” Dorado said, referencing his traveling partner whom he faced over the summer in the Cruiserweight Classic.
“We kind of joke around to ourselves after talking to somebody like Chris Jericho and just look at each other and ask, ‘What is life?’ It’s not like a negative thing, it’s like a ‘can you believe what our life is now, knowing what it was before?'” he added.
Dorado always strove to carve his own path in the world of wrestling, though, having wrestled with the likes of Chikara—a lucha promotion based out of Philly—as well as many other independent promotions throughout the years.
While many associate lucha libre with the likes of Mil Máscaras, El Santo and even in recent memory Rey Mysterio, Dorado always found comfort knowing he’d be making his own way.
“I didn’t want to be the next Rey Mysterio; I wanted to be the first Lince Dorado,” he said.
In terms of lucha libre, the subject of masks and heroes always is a focal point of that style. While his father especially is a hero in his eyes, Dorado’s education served as a key purpose guiding him through life.
“Without education, I’d be dead,” Dorado said. “Rowan, wrestling and education helped me be who I am today.”
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