Finally, the WWE's latest tag team, Los Matadores, made their television debut. After weeks of being promoted, the team of Fernando and Diego, a pair of bullfighters from Spain, have made it onto television, and while last night's Monday Night Raw crowd may not have shown the level of excitement that WWE officials would have liked, it's not too late to still be excited about Los Matadores.
But who are these mysterious masked men?
As I have pointed out in the past, the men portraying Los Matadores are not new to WWE television. Former tag team champions, Primo and Epico are now donning the mantle of Los Matadores—Primo is Diego and Epico is Fernando in case you were wondering—and by the looks of it, they appear to be enjoying their new gimmick.
Silly and strange gimmicks are rarely, if ever, successful, but part of the success of a gimmick begins with the wrestlers' ability to embrace whatever level of silliness they need to portray. It's the reason why silly gimmicks like Santino Marella or Rikishi (with Too Cool in the late 90s) work. Silly gimmicks start with the performer behind them—Fandango is perhaps the best current example of that.
Of course, the audience needs to get behind the gimmick, too, and audiences can be very fickle.
Was Mississippi the best place to debut a pair of Spanish bullfighters? Probably not. It remains to be seen what kind of response the Matadores will be getting as the WWE travels into cities with larger Hispanic populations—after all, this new gimmick could be interpreted as the company's latest strategy to capture the booming Latino market in the United States.
In addition to audience response, gimmicks are made when they enter into an entertaining feud—there is no reason why the Undertaker's "dead man gimmick" should have ever worked other than it was built around interesting storytelling. Again, maybe the WWE dropped the ball here. Was debuting against 3MB the best idea?
With a feud between Los Matadores and the Real Americans naturally setting itself up, why did the company debut these men against 3MB? It seems like the WWE knows the best feud that will come out of this is against the Real Americans, and they don't have a long-term plan for the team. Could this be the reason Los Matadores debuted with a whimper instead of with a bang?
Finally, let's not forget about the unexpected third piece to this puzzle, El Torito—who, as I have pointed out in the past, is currently one of the most exciting luchadores to watch. Although I knew the man formally known as Mascara Dorada would also be making his debut last night, I had no idea what to expect—never in a million years could I have envisioned the mini bull-man the WWE is calling El Torito.
This, I believe, is a positive for the WWE. For one, people are talking. Buzz around a new character is always good. Maybe the high level of energy El Torito is bringing to Los Matadores is just what the team needs to survive the cutthroat audiences of the modern wrestling world.
In the end, the question still remains: should the WWE consider cutting their losses with the silly cartoon-like gimmick? Or could the following weeks fuel the fire necessary to boost the Matadores into stardom?
Personally, as a fan of the product, I want the company to succeed, and while the Matadores may not be the John Cena heel turn or the Undertaker versus Sting WrestleMania match fans have been asking for, there could be a niche market for Los Matadores. As Triple H has been stating over the past weeks, the actions of the WWE are dictated by what's "best for business," something that the Matadores have yet to prove.