Monday, August 29, 2011

Was Mistico a Mistake?

Was Mistico fated from start to fail?
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When Triple H signed Mistico to a contract, most people who knew who he was were excited. He was one of the biggest standout wrestlers South of the Border, worked an exciting style and seemed to be a perfect fit for a company that seemed to take to high flying wrestlers very well. The fans loved him as Sin Cara too. He sold merchandise and got wows from the live audiences for all his acrobatic moves. The botches didn't seem to matter too much either.

The untold story to most fans was that Mistico was a headcase. There was a steady stream of reports from dirtsheets and C&P sites that noted he had a huge ego and brought down the brunt of management and the locker room for everything from those aforementioned botches to claiming that his matches in Mexico were shoot fights. Granted, none of these reports came from primary sources, so it's unclear how much of them were true. Still, the steadiness of said stream was troubling at the very least. That being said, his problems reared a more public head when he was suspended for violating the Wellness Policy.

One would assume that he'd sit out his thirty days, come back and feud with Sheamus, the guy who put him out in storyline with a vicious powerbomb through a ladder at Money in the Bank. That wasn't the case, as again, nebulous reports without primary sources surfaced that Mistico would not be back. More gas was thrown on that fire when the Sin Cara character was brought back two weeks before Mistico's suspension was up, only with masked FCW wrestler Hunico in the rule. A fake/real Sin Cara angle was teased, but ultimately it was dropped when Mistico took over the role again on house shows.

Then, the biggest kicker, Mistico was apparently sent home last Tuesday, with Hunico being placed back in the Sin Cara mask (which, oddly enough, got off to an inauspicious restart when he had to redo a match with Heath Slater twice before it was fit to air). Honestly, I'm not sure what the deal is here. Again, the reports say that he was sent home because of a combination of ego, sloppiness and frustration with the man himself. I'm not going to rule out this being the beginning of that aforementioned dueling Sin Caras angle, but then again, who knows at this point. I'm not sure who's getting the right information, but as of right now, it does seem plausible that the Mistico experiment was poisoned from the start.

The premise behind bringing him up to America was simple. He'd be a guy who'd wow the Anglo audiences, while providing a hometown hero for Mexican fans, a base that is a major growth sector for WWE (growth sector... shit, I feel so dirty for typing that, my apologies). Honestly, the former didn't need to be filled by a Mexican at all. Evan Bourne, for example, is a guy who is massively over with crowds despite being limited to bumping his ass off for bigger guys and doing the Air Bourne for a huge crowd reaction. If they'd turned him loose earlier, maybe he's the guy who'd have made it possible for Rey Mysterio to get his surgery before it became necessary thanks to injuries exacerbated by holding out.

But then again, he didn't fill the other void. You could argue Alberto del Rio did, but at the same time, would Mexican crowds cheer for a rudo in a company of gringos if he was the only one? It's a very good possibility he could have. I mean, WWE may try to keep heels heel in their hometowns through dastardly actions, but money spent on merchandise and tickets is a neutral language. CM Punk proved that at Money in the Bank. Bret Hart proved it in Canada in 1996-97. My guess is the fact that del Rio was crowned Champion so close to their next big tour of Mexico leads me to believe that they didn't necessarily need to have Mistico to have a Mexican draw.

That being said, it'd be nice to be able to have one on the RAW tour and one on the Smackdown tour as well. Again, the WWE could really expand in Mexico, so I guess you can't blame them for wanting to have as many. But why Mistico? Why couldn't they have put Hunico in the Sin Cara mask all along? It would have cost them less from the get go, and he would have been well-adjusted from start having been "broken" by FCW so to speak. It's easy to say that in retrospect, but the truth is, the Sin Cara role was created for Mistico. It wouldn't have existed if the Mexican superstar wasn't signed up in the first place.

The truth is, I really can't blame WWE for trying to sign the guy in the first place. They hit a home run with Dos Caras, Jr. Maybe they thought they could do better by having an established name come in and do business for them. However, what worked for the middling-to-struggling Caras wasn't just his heritage. It was a year in FCW, vignettes heralding his arrival as Alberto del Rio and working a generally less risky style that made him a success.

It's easy to look at this whole ordeal in retrospect and say what a terrible idea it was, but the fact is that it wasn't so much a mistake as it was a gamble. Triple H, in his first move, swung for the fences and yeah, he may have apparently struck out (remember, no one knows Mistico's status now), he's thinking enough outside of the box that his father-in-law has built that he's going to bring in new and eclectic guys. You live, and you learn, but you won't know if Mistico will be the guy for you unless you sign him (and really, if you divorce his ego from his in-ring, he was looking to be really huge).

Going forward, Hunico being in the Sin Cara mask is probably the right call, as long as nights like last Tuesday are aberrations rather than the norm. That being said, even if it didn't turn out as planned for WWE, bringing in Mistico was the right call. Sometimes though, the right call can turn out bad.

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