Few WWE superstars have debuted with as much hype as Sin Cara did back in April of last year. The Mexican star had established himself as the preeminent luchador in the world prior to signing with the WWE, so the fans were excited to see what he could do. He broke onto the scene with a bang, but a suspension and injuries have held him back.
Sin Cara returned to action last month after missing sixth months due to a patellar tendon rupture he suffered at Survivor Series. Sin Cara has only competed in quick matches against lesser talent thus far, but he has seemed to be far crisper in the ring than he was upon debuting. Perhaps that is a sign of good things to come for the mysterious masked man.
Keep reading for another edition of my 25-superstar breakdown in which I analyze the upside, direction and long-term potential of every rising and established star in the WWE. Today I will examine Sin Cara's present and future in the company.
Sin Cara began wrestling at a young age as he joined Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in 1998 when he was just 15 years old. Sin Cara was initially known as Dr. Karonte, Jr., but he would take on many more personas over the years.
After that, Sin Cara used the name Astro Boy and then worked as Komachi during a stint in Japan in 2003. When he returned to Mexico in 2004, he was given the Mistico name and would go on to have great success with it.
He would become one of the greatest tecnicos (face) of all time in Mexico before shockingly becoming a rudo (heel) in 2010 when he teamed with long-time rival Averno. Sin Cara's heel turn was short lived, but it essentially assured that he had accomplished all he could in Mexico, including eight different title runs in the CMLL.
That prompted Sin Cara to sign with the WWE in 2011. He went on a long winning streak upon debuting, but a 30-day suspension for violating the company's wellness program just a couple months after debuting killed his momentum. Sin Cara gained some of it back during his feud with the fake Sin Cara, Hunico, but the significant knee injury he suffered has forced him to go back to square one.
Sin Cara has yet to be put in a true storyline since his return as he has had matches with the likes of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Hunico. Sin Cara made his return to pay-per-view on Sunday as he defeated Hunico yet again at No Way Out.
There have been some noticeable differences in Sin Cara since his return, though, as he no longer uses a trampoline to leap into the ring and he seems to have ironed out the kinks in his wrestling style.
The move from the Mexican way of wrestling to WWE's way couldn't have been an easy one for Sin Cara. He showed some great promise in his initial run prior to the injury and did some things that had never been seen before in the WWE, but he also had some instances where he botched moves. That hasn't been happening as much, if at all, over the past month and that is a credit to Sin Cara's willingness and ability to adapt.
It is clear that the creative team is biding its time until it can figure out something for Sin Cara to do, but the time is now to set up a feud for him. The mid-card is very light on legitimate faces at the moment outside of Christian and Santino. Randy Orton's suspension has a lot to do with that, but Sin Cara is a guy who gets a great crowd reaction and can replace some of what Orton brings to the table in that regard.
Distinguishing oneself from every other competitor is something that is very important in the wrestling business, and Sin Cara does that in many ways.
The most notable amongst them is his in-ring work. American fans generally aren't used to the lucha libre style of wrestling, so Sin Cara is very engaging because of that. He has an impressive arsenal of inverted hurricanranas and other high-risk maneuvers that make him interesting to watch every night.
His look is something that the fans can really get behind as well. Aside from Rey Mysterio, there haven't really been many masked wrestlers in the WWE over the past decade. Sin Cara is a lot different than Mysterio, though.
You can see a good portion of Mysterio's face when he wears his mask, but unless you do some deep digging, Sin Cara's true identity is a mystery. It almost is as if he truly is faceless as his name suggests when translated from Spanish.
Another thing that works to Sin Cara's advantage is that he is already somewhat of a worldwide brand. He has an absolutely massive following in Mexico, so he can be used to headline any show when the WWE ventures there. The Mexican fan base is one of the WWE's biggest and most loyal outside the United States, so Sin Cara can feel pretty comfortable in his position knowing how much of an asset he is to the company.
As much as it may not work as part of his character, I have to believe that Sin Cara's lack if mic skills are going to prevent him from accomplishing all he is capable of in the WWE.
I fully understand that Sin Cara being faceless and silent makes him unique in and of itself, but you can't be a world champion nowadays without being able to cut a promo. Talking takes up more air time than wrestling now, so Sin Cara needs to refine his English-speaking skills in order to become a major factor.
You also have to worry about the trials and tribulations that Sin Cara has gone through during his brief WWE career. When he was initially being pushed to the moon, Sin Cara really damaged himself by violating the wellness policy.
For a guy to debut amid so much fanfare and to be given such a golden opportunity only to ruin it by getting suspended is disconcerting. Also, the significant knee injury he suffered may suggest that he is injury prone and unable to be counted on in big angles.
Sin Cara still has to fully adapt to the North American style of wrestling as well. It seems like he has smoothed some things out since returning, but he just needs to make sure that he's a well-rounded competitor who can do a little bit of mat-based stuff and some brawling too rather than strictly high-risk moves. I do feel like he is coming around in that area, though, so it may soon be considered a strength if he continues to improve.
Sin Cara has had a lot of solid matches during his time in WWE thus far, but since he generally isn't given a ton of time in the ring, it's tough to narrow his greatest match down to just one.
My personal favorite would have to be his match against Daniel Bryan on SmackDown in May of last year. In order for Sin Cara to have the best bout he possibly can, he needs a versatile competitor in the ring with him, so that is why Bryan was the perfect opponent.
In this particular match, Sin Cara got to show off his incredible athleticism and rare skill set, and it was enhanced by Bryan because he is able to adapt to any style. It's difficult to put Sin Cara into a big feud because his opponents have to be chosen carefully.
He isn't likely to have a great match with a bigger guy or a brawler, but somebody like Bryan is perfect. It also explains why he has been facing Hunico so often since he returned to action.
If put in the right situation, Sin Cara is the type of wrestler who is capable of putting on a five-star match any given night. That is a quality that makes him extremely valuable to the company.
As much as he needs to continue to broaden his in-ring horizons, though, perhaps some of his opponents need to do the same. There are plenty of superstars who are athletic to have a go with Sin Cara, so it's time that they start getting groomed to wrestle him and perhaps feud with him.
Sin Cara seems to be the perfect face mid-carder to me, and I'm not sure there is any real reason to change that. Prior to his return, the mid-card was somewhat of a wasteland, but he instantly brought some credibility to the table and should provide it with a great boost moving forward.
It's obvious why Sin Cara and Mysterio are compared to one another so often as they both come from a lucha libre background, but I believe their place in the WWE should be similar as well.
Mysterio has largely been a mid-carder for his entire career, and while he has had some main-event runs and a couple World Heavyweight Championship reigns, he is far more valuable lower on the card.
That is because his ability to put on great matches ensures that there will be depth to each every show outside of the main-event matches. The same can be said of Sin Cara as he is the type of wrestler than can ensure that the mid-card matters.
I would have Sin Cara follow a similar career arc to Mysterio minus the world title reigns. It may seem like I'm picking on Sin Cara's lack of English-speaking skills, but I can't see him becoming a world champion without being able to do anything on the mic.
WWE's world champions are expected to go on talk shows and the like, so a silent character wouldn't work too well. There is no reason why he can't win plenty of gold in the form of the Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship and Tag Team Championships, though.
How He Gets There
There doesn't seem to be a lot on the table for Sin Cara currently, but whenever Mysterio finally returns from his suspension and injuries, I would love to see the two of them team up.
The tag-team division is in shambles right now, so much so that the awful team of Darren Young and Titus O'Neil is currently in line for a title shot. An exciting team like Sin Cara and Mysterio could really revitalize the division, particularly if they are given a long and fruitful run with the Tag Team Championships.
In fact, I would have them win the straps a few months prior to WrestleMania and put them in a TLC match against Primo and Epico, and perhaps another team that is manufactured between now and then. That would promise to be an absolutely incredible match and I could see it being a pivotal moment that takes the tag-team division from being a joke to being credible once again.
After holding the titles for perhaps as long as a year, I'd like to see them drop the belts to an up-and-coming tag team. Perhaps leading up to losing the titles, some friction can begin between Sin Cara and Mysterio as they continually try to one-up each other in the ring and prove who the better member of the team is.
That will lead to them losing the titles and ultimately having a match at WrestleMania XXX to settle the score. It's a match that everyone would love to see and I believe that this type of buildup would make it special.
Check back daily for new entries in this WWE 25-superstar countdown. Here are the five most recent editions for your viewing pleasure:
17. Kofi Kingston
16. Jack Swagger