After being extensibly kicked off of NXT after dropping a “Legado del Fantasma’s Freedom Vs. Santos Escobar’s NXT Career Street Fight” match to Tony D’Angelo the man formerly known as El Hijo del Fantasma had to make a plan for his future. Though he technically made one more appearance in the developmental brand after his banishment, picking up the rest of his faction in the parking lot, the prospects of pulling a Mr. America-style return wearing a different mask felt like some serious overkill.
No, the reason Legado was written off of NXT had more to do with the fact that the team had pretty much accomplished everything Paul “Triple H” Levesque needed to see in order to know their act would work full-time on the main roster and was ready to bring them up like oh so many other former black and gold brand acts before them.
But where would they go? Were Legado del Fantasma destined for RAW, a company that is sort of light on tag teams at the moment? Or would they instead jump ship to SmackDown, where they would serve as a smaller fish in a bigger pond?
Well, Hit Row, who shared some time with Escobar and company in NXT, learned the answer to that question first-hand, as before their match on SmackDown, the trio were beaten down by three-fourths of Legado, with Elektra Lopez surprisingly replaced by none other than Zelena Vega, who has a bit of a history managing luchador acts within the greater WWE Universe.
When asked about their debuts and what it means for the SmackDown roster moving forward following their win over Hit Row, Joaquin Wilde detailed the faction’s game plan moving forward in an appearance on the SmackDown LowDown.
“First impressions are everything,” Wilde told Meghan Morant. “Tonight was Legado’s in-ring debut, and it’s safe to say we made a statement.”
Based on how fans have reacted to the faction so far, it’s safe to say that assertion is correct, but there is still a small but vocal segment of fans who wonder whatever happened to Lopez, who left NXT with the trio before being replaced by Vega. Did Triple H and company believe that Vega is a better mouthpiece for the faction than Lopez, who was never a true full-on manager, or is there something else afoot? Fortunately, Dave Meltzer provided some insight on the subject in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
WWE might be preparing for matches between Zelena Vega and B-Fab.
Discussing the plans for Vega in WWE after the former Queen’s absence from televised action, Meltzer detailed why Lopez was ultimately held out of action for Legado and some of the other ideas the company had in mind for her returning, including a pair of concepts featuring members of the AEW roster. Check out what he had to say via an excerpt on the subject in an article by Dakota Cohen for Wrestling Inc.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Lopez was originally told by WWE that she would remain part of the group moving forward, even having a flight out to Worcester arranged. However, WWE ultimately decided to go with Vega in the place of Lopez, primarily because LDF’s first main roster feud is set to be against Hit Row, and WWE wants the women in the two factions to get in the ring. Lopez is relatively new to wrestling, however, while Vega is much more experienced, with a career that has spanned over a decade, and according to Meltzer, it was determined that she would be the better opponent for Hit Row’s also inexperienced B-Fab.
Meltzer also goes so far as to suggest that Vega, who has been off WWE television for some time, was originally planned to reunite with one of two potentially returning AEW stars — either El Idolo, her former client, who recently got physical backstage with Sammy Guevara in a move that some see as an attempt to get fired, or Malaki Black, Vega’s real-life husband, who is on hiatus from the company in the midst of a storm of rumors about his alleged desire to go back to WWE.
Oh snap, so not only did WWE consider pairing up Vega with either Andrade or Black should one or the other have shaken free from WWE’s biggest competitor, which isn’t too surprising, considering her pre-existing relationship with the duo, but they actually want to see her wrestle some matches with B-Fab, who hasn’t been in the ring for a televised match since 2021, according to Cagematch? If the WWE wants to make this a right-proper program moving forward, giving Legado Vega will certainly raise the ceiling on the in-ring work.