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On this edition of THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT, I’ve decided to talk about someone that you wouldn’t expect.

In WWE today, Eddie Orengo is a standout referee, having called big matches for both NXT and the main roster, including this past weekend at WrestleMania.

But for me, Eddie will always be independent wrestling standout BANDIDO, JR.


Bandido, Jr was born to be in this wrestling business.

His father, Bandido, Sr, was a pro wrestler, born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and was a very influential performer and promoter of the UWA. He had friendships with Jorge Luis Rivera and Mike Morgan, who worked together during their time, helping inspire the development of what became American Championship Entertainment.

His son was no different, breaking into the industry as a second generation performer, Beginning his career in 2003, Bandido, Jr. quickly became one of New Jersey’s top junior heavyweights, alongside his peers Azrieal and Jay Lethal.

In Jersey All-Pro Wrestling, he formed a successful with heavyweight EC Negro as a part of La Familia. Eventually, Bandido, Jr broke out into singles competition and won the JAPW New Jersey State Title in 2008 and the Light Heavyweight Title in 2009. Little known fact: although Azrieal was not champion by the time December 2010 rolled around, he was a part of a legendary Best of the Light Heavyweights elimination match that Jushin “Thunder” Liger won and became Light Heavyweight Champion.

As a die-hard ACE Pro Wrestling fan, I loved watching Bandido perform. Seeing him win the ACE Diamond Division Title on September 19, 2009 from Shawn Walker made me smile. His match with Azrieal at Crossroads VI in 2010 was also the match that set the pace for the entire incredible show.

Az and Bandido wound up becoming a very successful tag team, winning the CZW Tag Team Championships twice and putting on show-stealing matches. The high-flying Bandido and the strong style “Good Guy” gelled tremendously, putting on classics with BLK OUT, Joe Gacy and Ryan Slater, and the Nation of Intoxication.

Before leaving the independents, Bandido won the Monster Factory Supersonic Title, a belt founded by “Tough” Tim Hughes, and had fun matches with Cheeseburger, Mikey Webb, and a gentleman called WAR.

Ultimately, Bandido signed with WWE and became a referee, working hard to be a weekly performer in the biggest company in the world. Eddie Orengo might not be a household name, but he is well known to fans and his peers.

Jon Harder, the founder of this website, had some words to say about Bandido, Jr:

“In the early days of trying to make it in independent wrestling, I always respected Bandido, Jr for being a hard working performer. Little known fact: the first ever live pro wrestling match I called in ACE, he won the Diamond Division title with a Koji Clutch submission. You always remember your first moment in wrestling, and I’m happy that calling a Bandido match was one of them.

When I ran my only wrestling show in 2018, Too Hot Steve Scott told me there was a chance that Eddie might stop by. We even made him a lanyard in case he did. Due to his schedule, he wasn’t able to, but knowing that he might have come, I wanted to make sure my show didn’t stink creatively.

I was never as close to Bandido as others, but so many people have said and say that he truly is a wealth of knowledge and a genuinely great dude. I am so happy for his success, and he deserves it all.”


Seeing Eddie referee at this year’s WrestleMania and count the three for Damian Priest’s Money in the Bank cash-in and Sami Zayn’s improbable win against Gunther for the Intercontinental Title made me smile. He has truly did the work and earned his chance in the sun.

Congrats Bandido, Jr. You earned the THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT. Continued success. #BANKONIT


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