The Sin Cara era of WWE's limited, but lucrative, Lucha Libra genre is set to begin whenever the promotion—and Rey Mysterio—is ready. Much has been made of Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, the original man under the mask, and his questionable status with WWE.
None of it matters.
If and when WWE sees a Sin Cara-Rey Mysterio showdown, it will be a relevant and money-drawing spectacle.
Sin Cara's replacement may be an indictment on the wrestler, but WWE's insistence of moving forward with the character is a testament to its brand.
According to PWInsider (via WrestlingInc):
Hunico will be working as Sin Cara going forward but may not be behind the mask permanently as there's already talk of bringing someone up from NXT to play the character.
WWE chose not to kill off the Sin Cara character completely because his merchandise has done well and there's a feeling that they have built up a character that pays into the colorful personality of WWE. The feeling is that the character didn't fail but the performer who played the character failed.
The positive news for Sin Cara's relevance breathes life into his tilt with Mysterio that has long since been thought of as a dream match.
The above-mentioned Alvirde was once the purveyor of the popular Mistico character. Like Mysterio, Mistico is a legend in Mexican wrestling lore.
His WWE signing was such a big deal in 2011, a press conference was held in his hometown of Mexico City. A WWE press release touted his "strong international following" with the stud high-flyer "expected to reach new heights of global success with WWE."
Above all else, the signing meant WWE's money match between Mysterio and Sin Cara (aka Mistico) was a possibility, if not an inevitability.
With the character now portrayed by Hunico, however, any talk of Mexico's answer to "Once in a Lifetime" appears to have been diffused.
This could not be any further from the truth with Sin Cara's brand successfully translating to the American consumer. Sure, fans of Lucha Libre wrestling pine for a Mistico-Mysterio showcase that is in jeopardy of never happening.
That fanbase, however, is but an ant on the proverbial WWE log.
The establishment of Sin Cara in the states, combined with the popularity of Rey Mysterio, presents a blockbuster scenario for the two masked stars, albeit for reasons different than they were when the character was created.
With Sin Cara now a faceless out-of-body sensation, and Rey Mysterio in his twilight, he will be fully equipped to supplant Mysterio as the top masked WWE Superstar. This is a common-sense storyline that can dictate the progression of their would-be feud.
In October, WWE.com asked the aging luchador if he ever thought about retiring. A defiant Mysterio told the website:
No. I’m 39 years old and I know I’ve been doing this for quite some time, over two decades. Retirement is, for me, something that’ll be down the road, but not within the next two or three years. I feel like, with how medicine is evolving, something will be out there soon that can help you heal from arthritis. That might be what helps my longevity and pushes me to keep performing.
Unfortunately, the body tells the wrestler when his time is up and so does WWE. Despite Mysterio's optimistic outlook, the article was entitled "Rey Mysterio's Last Stand."
The piece opened with the discouraging statistic that "Rey Mysterio [had not] competed in a WWE ring since Feb. 4, 2013." Mysterio's slowed recovery after aggravating a knee injury is telling of the multitude of prior ailments that are now catching up with him.
PWInsider (via WrestlingInc) reported Mysterio was even seen limping backstage immediately following his November return.
His time is coming if it hasn't already.
If WWE marketed a Mysterio-Sin Cara WrestleMania match the same way they did his recent interview, as the Lucha legend's last stand, it will add to its already budding sanctity. Mysterio's diverse and international fanbase wouldn't dare miss an acrobatic clinic from the career overachiever in his final act.
WWE remains intent on breaking the record for Lucha Libre masks worn at WrestleMania according to F4WOnline (via WrestlingInc), which would exponentially bolster the attraction aspect.
Rey Mysterio is running out of memorable moments inside a wrestling ring given his physical limitations through an injury-plagued career. At the very least, he deserves the spectacle that a match against Sin Cara would create.