Sunday, October 30, 2011

State of Sin Cara: Taking a Gander at WWE's Young Luchador

Weeks prior to WrestleMania 27, WWE confirmed that they had come to terms of a contractual agreement with Mexican icon, Mistico to perform on the worldwide stage of WWE. Mistico is known for his legendary high flying prowess and his captivating sensational aerial maneuvers all over the world. From Japan to Mexico, worldwide, Mistico has been a staple to modern day Lucha Libre style wrestling. Cara has been a world renowned box office draw and the equivalent of what John Cena is to the American fans. Some believed it was only a matter of time until the masked crusader would be signed by the WWE. Soon enough, it happened and Sin Cara was born at a press conference at WWE’s headquarters in Mexico City. 

The presence of Mistico in the WWE is due to one man, Triple H. Cara is the first talent signed under the heir to Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment throne and Cara has also been deemed, “the next Rey Mysterio.” With his aerial specialty and undeniable athleticism, Cara has undoubtedly shown hints of the early days of Rey Mysterio’s Lucha Libre presence in the United States. Fast forward a few months later and I’ve learned one thing….Not any masked luchador can replace Rey Mysterio. 

Love Rey Mysterio or hate him, not one person can deny his talent for this business. From his early work in Mexico to adapting to the American style in ECW and WCW and finally winding up in WWE, Rey Mysterio has been able to work all different styles of wrestling. Adapting from the format of say CMLL or AAA (Mexican Professional Wrestling promotions) to the American format of WWE is something far more difficult to master than it seems. In this writer's eyes, he will be the most under appreciated wrestler to ever grace a WWE ring. 

Many don’t appreciate Mysterio due to the fact he’s not a great mic worker and he appeals to the children demographic almost his entire career. However, he is so gifted in the ring that he made the transition of Lucha Libre to American style wrestling seem so effortless. From 2002 to 2011, Rey Mysterio has been the most consistent in ring performer and always comes through in the clutch when needed to. I’m not here to talk about Mysterio entirely, rather say there will never be another Rey Mysterio, nor will there be another Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, or Rock. Sin Cara proves this and also demonstrates the transition of changing styles of wrestling is no easy task. 

When hitting the end of 2011, I found it a fond time to evaluate WWE’s biggest Superstar acquisition of this year and I honestly consider Cara a big time disappointment. However….Cara is not to blame entirely for his mishaps in his entrance, his sloppy in ring work, or one dimensional persona. One can only blame the guy with the bright idea for a trampoline entrance that is expected to be perfect from the first day of Cara’s job. Who has an entrance as convoluted as that? I mean…it’s cool, but when he botches it, the entrance seems more so of a joke than anything else, which is not Cara’s fault in the slightest. Maybe if they did something more simplistic, Cara would look very legitimate and mystical without the fear of him messing up his senton into the ring.The pyro and smoke effects are clearly enough. Not even Hunico aka "Sin Cara Negro," could do it consistently to perfection. The only Sin Cara that seems to be able to do it without effort is the one featured in, WWE '12.

As for Cara’s in ring work…let’s analyze the predicament…Cara is a Mexican luchador, never worked an American style match in his life. Cara also does not speak a lick of English and works in dim orange and blue lights every time he has a singles bout. How could there every be a problem here? Just because he is the first signing of the Triple H regime, does not make him exempt from the need of training at FCW, WWE’s main training facility. We must not forget that Alberto Del Rio made this transition last year, through Florida Championship Wrestling preparation and upon impact, Del Rio has become a mainstay in WWE and now even holds the WWE Championship. Cara, on the other hand, skipped this process and he has not had a solid in ring bout despite a few good bouts with Ted DiBiase, Daniel Bryan, and Hunico. If some doubt the lights are a problem as well, ask Christian…who promptly said, “I can’t see in these lights” during his bout with Cara on Smackdown a few months ago. Was he being comedic? Maybe to an extent, but I feel it is indeed a problem. 

Had Cara joined FCW and WWE toned down the hype to Cara with the million pyrotechnics going off and the extravagant entrance, and rather made sure the man could communicate with his adversaries in the ring and learn the American style of wrestling, he’d be in a far better place at the moment. Hell, if anything, this should prove that WWE needs to expand on their developmental territories on a global scale. If there were establishments in Mexico, Japan, and other big wrestling areas, stars could easily be scouted and prepared for a career in the WWE. The fans would enjoy him and Cara would be far more enjoying to watch if he were given the preparation he needed. Instead, we succumb to Cara shoved down are throat and performs at a disappointing level almost every time he is out. What WWE needs to do is spend more time with Sin Cara to hone his skills and take some English classes….only then will he be able to perform at his true potential. It’s too late for FCW, but Cara needs some extra tutoring that I feel someone like Triple H is responsible for. 

Even from a storyline perspective, how is he supposed to tell a story when he doesn't speak English and does not know the style? He's one dimensional and unexciting at times. The feud with Sin Cara Negro has been one of the poorest booked storylines in 2011 and it seems to not be getting much better, even with Hunico giving him decent matches. What can they do? Here's an idea, give Cara a mouthpiece or improve his English speaking abilities. Is this THAT difficult? We have seen professional athletes over the years adjust well, and it is sad to me that Cara looks more like Daisuke Matsuzaka than Ichiro Suzuki as of now. This is an issue that can be fixed, but WWE has not given Cara much to work with and Cara hasn't seemed to try and improve himself, even after his Wellness Policy violation. 

When I look Cara, I see a man who is a disappointment at no complete fault of his own. He lacks the proper training that any Mexican luchador needs to succeed in the WWE. I feel sooner or later, Cara will adjust and live up to his prior hype, but who knows when that will be? Mastering a language and learning a whole new style of your craft is not something you do overnight. It’s a process stars such as Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, and others have needed to do that have taken months, rather years of their lives. Cara needs to be motivated and inspired while WWE needs to realize the sheer potential of Sin Cara and learn to hide his weaknesses by displaying his strengths.

Cara is something special, with his athleticism and his broad aerial arsenal, he has much going for him. He even has the crowd behind him more than half of the roster as it is. This man has been a legend worldwide for a reason, he is very good, but is he WWE good? He has all the tools to succeed, and it is only a matter of time in this writer’s mind, that Cara will one day be a huge success. It will take time due to his lack of treatment before his debut, but Sin Cara is no flash in the pan if treated correctly from this point on. However, if this pattern continues, WWE will need to take another look at their developmental progression on top of how to treat these international talents as they work in the United States. It's a completely different animal in the United States, and we need to understand how difficult it must be to make such a transition. 

Sin Cara HAS the potential, but there needs to be some serious tweaks made in order to make him a success. It will not occur overnight, but in a matter of a year or two, he can be far better than he is now.


TheRealSmoothG said...

Interesting article, but I believe you do make some errors. To compare Rey Mysterio Jr to Mistico at this point is vastly unfair.

You said it yourself Mysterio has been wrestling in the US for well over a decade, he's worked with workers like Ultimo Dragon, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrero, Eddie Gurrero, Chavo Guerrero, Psychosis (Nicho el Millonario), La Parka (LA Park,) and many more who have made the transition in styles.

Mistico has been wrestling in the US for under a year and was not given the opportunity to learn English. Does he have the skills to become a Heavyweight Champion in the future? Yes, Mistico is amazing and can work. He put on some solid matches in New Japan and his merchandise numbers are also awesome.

But, you can not simply compare him to Rey Mysterio at this time. When Mysterio first hit the scene in WCW many people were calling him sloppy and thought that Juventud Guerrero would be the break out star. Mistico does not have the Luchadores around him to help in his transition, he's probably trying to figure things out on his own and with Hunico.

The WWE is also notorious for their "handcuffs" when it comes to matches, so there's no telling what he's allowed and not allowed to do. I just wanted to point out some things as it currently is not a fair comparison. If you make the comparison five years from now it will be a better look, but it still won't be adequate as the two situations are drastically different.

Thank You

Sharp Shooter Online said...

Thanks for the praise, glad to see a well thought out comment.

However, in this article I did not strictly compare Mysterio to Mistico for the sole fact that it isn't fair to compare the two. I agree with you there. This article was to take an evaluation of Sin Cara and see what his problems have been over the past year, what caused them, and how to rectify them.

Again, it is unfair to compare the two because it is unfair on Mysterio's part. Do I personally feel as though Cara can be the successor to Mysterio? Honestly, I'm not quite sure. There will never be another Rey Mysterio in terms of ability to adapt and perform in the ring as consistently as he has over the years. However, I am not saying Cara is a lost cause or anything like that either.

Sin Cara can be an asset. Sin Cara is able to work in the ring and entertain crowds. The point of this article was to address his first six months in the organization, not to say, "Sin Cara is lousy right now, so he'll be lousy forever." He needs a good amount of improvement and he needs to make it fairly quick, but I'm not saying it is A. impossible or B. at his own fault.

TheRealSmoothG said...

Thank you for the response. I think the WWE isn't giving him the best opportunity to succeed, they could of kept him off TV for six months and had him learn English.

I don't think there was ever any doubt that he would be a commercial success, but with the "WWE Style" of wrestling it was going to be difficult for him to have an immediate transition. Without those restrictions, he probably would put on the best matches out of anyone on the WWE roster. He can really work.

Mysterio just had a lot more time in an American ring, working with guys who weren't that athletic or worked a fast style. I remember him beating guys like Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton back in WCW. Then Mysterio also had much better workers to work with, without restrictions in WCW and some matches in Japan.

It's a good topic to bring up. I'm not much of a WWE fan, but I do follow Mistico (Sin Cara) when I can.

If you're ever in need of another writer hit me up on twitter. Good stuff here.

Sharp Shooter Online said...

No problem. As for keeping him off, having him learn English, and adapting to the style, I agree and stated something like that in the piece. That's my general consensus on Cara. They rushed him in and expected a new Rey Mysterio out of nowhere, without FCW even.

That really hurt his career and seeing what Alberto Del Rio turned into after his FCW stint, there's no doubt FCW could have easily been great for Cara. I also agree with the fact that he may be held back and also has to work a lot slower than he did down in Mexico. The transition is not an immediate process, but if I were in charge, I'd think it'd be a no brainer to hold him back a few extra months in order to at least give him some sort of head start.

I too, probably do not regularly follow WWE as much as I used to, but I'm really a huge supporter of Cara and hope he finds massive success in the WWE. I would also really enjoy having you on the staff!