Best: What They’re Going For
Going back to that “if I were 10-years old” talking point, a mysterious, exciting guy in a mask having to do battle with his evil doppleganger is probably the coolest and best thing ever. Sin Cara II removed his blue mask to reveal a black one underneath. He comes out to a Boss Battle remix of the Sin Cara music. They do the same moves. How is this not amazing? This should be the very best thing happening in pro wrestling, period.
Worst: How They’re Going For It
If you told me two years ago that Mistico would be competing on a WWE pay-per-view and the fans would be chanting “boring”, I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) believe it. There are a lot of problems keeping this from being what it should be, and I’ve come up with a handful.
1. Lucha libre in Mexico is a different style of wrestling, and when I say “style” I don’t mean they do different moves and have different characters, I mean that it’s a completely different genre of pro wrestling. A lot of wrestling fans in the United States can’t get it through their heads that other interpretations of the Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin thing we cling to like a baby blanket exist, and that there is a world where selling doesn’t really matter. Nobody chants “you f**ked up” when somebody botches a spot, because the audience accepts that these guys are super heroes doing crazy sh*t and sometimes they aren’t going to land it. If WWE put a big Keystone Light logo in the middle of the ring, the Internet would berate them into unconsciousness and hashtag them to death until they changed it back. That’s not what happens in Mexico. When you have luchadores trying to add U.S. wrestling psychology to a very not-U.S. wrestling type of match-up, you shortchange lucha libre AND U.S. wrestling, and it comes out sounding like one of those country/rap efforts that sound good for a minute, but God, no.
2. Heel/face in the United States means “guy the fans like against guy the fans don’t”, and the reason fans don’t like the one guy is because he’s arrogant or cheats, or something. In Mexico, rudos and técnicos aren’t divided by “guy who cheats and guy who doesn’t”, they wrestle two very distinct styles. In WWE you’ve got Hunico playing Sin Cara 2, but he’s too big to be trying to match Mistico move-for-move. He’s not that guy. That’s why they’re messing up a lot. Sin Cara 2 should be wrestling a rougher, rudo style (like Averno, for example) to compliment Sin Cara 1 instead of detract from what makes him special. Hopefully they can move past the mirror image stuff now and get to some real rudo/técnico stuff, or Chico can come bumbling into frame as Sin Cara 3 and give us a punchline.
3. WWE fans and announcers don’t know what to look for. For example, Sin Cara went for an Asai moonsault and missed it. Michael Cole responds with “moonsault off the second rope, nobody home” and JR agrees with him. On the Internet you read that it was “botched in hilarious fashion” or whatever. That’s not what happened. THIS is what happened:
It’s a great spot, and it was missed and glossed over completely by the people watching, partially because Sin Cara 2 is jet black and lying down in blue and orange mood lighting. He didn’t get all of it (again, because he’s not Averno), but he got his foot up, and worst case scenario they could’ve just said “OH WOW SIN CARA 2 JUST KICKED HIM IN THE HEAD ON THE WAY DOWN” instead of “lol look at this f**kin guy”.
4. WWE fans are conditioned to remember everything WCW-related as being terrible and wrong, and mid-card junior heavyweight action featuring huge stars from around the world is an extremely WCW thing. You guys can pull “Vince Russo” and “fingerpoke of doom” and “bad nWo” all you want, but my twenty-ish years as an NWA and WCW fan put me in a crowd in front of The Great Muta, Jushin Thunder Liger, Akira Hokuto, CIMA before he was CIMA and Yuji f**king Nagata while you guys were cheering for goddamned Tugboat. You chant boring, but now you’re trained to only enjoy one kind of Not Boring.
5. Booker T is calling Hunico “Sin Cara Negro” and nobody seems to realize they’ve got a WWE Superstar named “Blackface”. I wish the movie Swing Time was sin cara negro.
Best: Booker T, Lucha Libre Historian
Speaking of Booker T, him referring to Sin Cara getting hit in the “mask area” is amazing. I want to see, like, Ted DiBiase get kicked in the face and have Booker refer to it as the “uh, mask area” and not be able to think of anything else to call it. His wonderful understanding of the human anatomy also gave us a brief reprieve from “boy” being his only available adjective. “SHEAMUS, SHEAMUS IS PUTTIN A WHIPPEN ON THAT BOY CHRISTIAN RIGHT NOW, AND THAT BOY CHRISTIAN NEED TO GET UP AND TAKE THE FIGHT RIGHT NOW TO THAT BOY SHEAMUS”. Maybe he just watched Kindergarten Cop and figured out the differences between boys and girls and has to make sure he’s clearly labeling them as he speaks.
Worst: Seriously Though, It’s Time To Kill The Mood Lighting
I cannot cheer for a wrestler whose ring ambiance would help Woody Allen get into the mood.