WWE Pushed to Punished, Edition 32: The Faceless Facade of Sin Cara
Two weeks ago, I revived my WWE Pushed to Punished series, which highlights the controversial careers of past and present Superstars whose futures looked to be promising, but they inevitably met their demise for one reason or another.
From John Morrison to Zack Ryder, I've discussed the downfalls of various wrestlers over the last two years. However, one individual who has alluded the series up to this point is Sin Cara.
A legend in Mexico, hopes were high when the artist formerly known as Mistico signed with WWE in January. Unfortunately, Sin Cara failed to live up to the hype upon his arrival and fizzled out quite quickly.
Although Cara is still employed by WWE, the future looks grim for the International Sensation. His various start-and-stop pushes since his debut are what earned him a place in this series.
Arriving on the WWE Scene
In late January 2011, news broke that legendary Mexican luchador Mistico had signed with WWE. Many fans saw this as an attempt by WWE to find a new masked marvel to replace Rey Mysterio, whose nagging injuries signaled that the end of his in-ring career was drawing near.
During the road to WrestleMania, vignettes aired on various episodes of Raw hyping the debut of Mistico, who had since been renamed Sin Cara. After weeks of anticipation, Sin Cara made his initial appearance on WWE television the night after the Show of Shows, attacking Sheamus.
Despite his attack on the then-United States champion, Sin Cara was not immediately inserted into the title picture. Instead, he competed in his first WWE match the following week, where he soundly defeated Primo.
However, the finish of the bout with Primo accidentally falling from the top turnbuckle was badly botched, which didn't come across well on live television. From that point forward, Sin Cara earned a reputation for making mistakes in the squared circle more often that not.
Moving to SmackDown and Feuding with Chavo Guerrero
In subsequent weeks, Sin Cara would score victories over the likes of Jack Swagger and Tyson Kidd on episodes of Raw and SmackDown, respectively. At one point, he teamed with John Cena to defeat the duo of then-WWE champion The Miz and Alex Riley, which helped boost Cara's credibility considerably.
Despite being a member of the Monday night roster for less than a month, Sin Cara was sent packing to the SmackDown brand via the 2011 WWE draft on the April 25 edition of Raw. This was the best move for the masked marvel, as WWE officials probably felt his in-ring work needed more polishing and SmackDown was the best place to do that given the fact the show was taped each week.
Upon his arrival on the blue brand, Sin Cara was met by a challenge from Chavo Guerrero. The two met in a match at Over the Limit, where Cara emerged victorious in his pay-per-view debut.
Five nights later on SmackDown, Cara once again defeated the Mexican luchador in what would be one of Guerrero's final WWE matches. Pairing them together seemed to be a good idea at first, but unfortunately, their matches against one another were uninspiring and failed to get Cara over the way WWE had initially hoped.
Aligning with Daniel Bryan and Getting Suspended
After Sin Cara defeated Daniel Bryan on the May 13 edition of SmackDown, the two formed an alliance from that point forward. The two feuded with the reuniting Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in the weeks that followed, which led to Sin Cara defeating DiBiase on more than one occasion.
Sin Cara remained undefeated in singles competition before being on the losing end of a match with Christian on the July 1 episode of SmackDown. Despite the loss, Sin Cara bounced back a few weeks later with a huge upset victory over Sheamus two nights before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
However, the former WWE champion avenged the loss during the SmackDown Money in the Bank match that Sunday, where he put Sin Cara through a ladder at ringside. It was reported the next day that Sin Cara suffered an injury from this scary sport and would be out for up to four weeks, but in reality, the masked marvel was being pulled from television for an entirely different reason.
Shortly thereafter, news broke that Sin Cara had actually been suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. This incident halted any push Sin Cara was on the verge of getting and was the first indicator that his career in WWE would not bode well.
Feuding with Hunico and Getting Injured
The Sin Cara character returned to television on the August 12 episode of SmackDown in a winning effort against Tyson Kidd. However, this was before Mistico's suspension was over, so a wrestler from developmental named Hunico portrayed Sin Cara instead for the time being.
Hunico remained under the mask for nearly a month before turning heel on Daniel Bryan, but it was well known by that point in time that he wasn't the real Sin Cara. Mistico returned in mid-September to confront Hunico, which jump-started a feud between the two.
In order to identify who was who, Mistico was named Sin Cara Azul while Hunico was referred to as Sin Cara Negro. At the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, the two masked marvels finally met in a one-on-one match, which was won by Sin Cara Azul.
During their rematch on the October 21 edition of SmackDown in Mexico City, the stipulation was that the loser must unmask. After coming up short to Sin Cara Azul, Sin Cara Negro removed the mask and later identified himself as Hunico.
Their feud concluded at November's Survivor Series event, where Sin Cara injured himself while performing a dive through the ropes to ringside. It was reported that the injury he sustained would sideline him for a total of six months, thus ending his debut year in WWE on a sour note.
Officials originally hoped to have Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio face off at WrestleMania 28, but with both luchadors out with injuries, the chances of that dream match coming to fruition were squandered.
Returning from Injury
After rehabilitating his injury for six straight months, vignettes began to air in May 2012 promoting his return to the SmackDown brand. He returned to action on the June 1 edition of SmackDown, defeating Heath Slater.
Upon his return to the ring, Sin Cara's matches seemed to feature less botches and had a nice flow to them. It was good to see that he had improved in his absence, which would only help him in the months that followed.
The following month, Sin Cara qualified for the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Although he came up short, he had a strong showing in the bout and displayed some exciting spots that would not soon be forgotten.
Teaming with Rey Mysterio
On Raw 1000, Sin Cara teamed with Rey Mysterio for the first time ever in six-man tag team action. With Sheamus as their partner, they defeated the trio of Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio.
From that point forward, the two joined forces on a regular basis and dominated the tag team division. However, their alliance was put to the wayside when both where vying for the The Miz's Intercontinental Championship in September.
At Night of Champions, both masked marvels participated in a Fatal 4-Way for the prestigious prize, but neither of them were successful in winning the gold. Regardless, they resumed their partnership shortly thereafter and chased after the WWE Tag Team Championships.
With various victories over Primo and Epico as well as The Prime Time Players, the dynamic duo advanced to the finals of the WWE Tag Team Championship tournament. The finals were held on the October 22 edition of Raw, where Mysterio and Cara were unable to defeat Team Rhodes Scholars.
The following month, Mysterio and Cara teamed with Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel and Brodus Clay to defeat The Prime Time Players, Primo, Epico and Tensai in a five-on-five elimination tag team match at Survivor Series. They were given an opportunity to contend for the WWE Tag Team titles but once again lost to Team Rhodes Scholars in a Tables match at WWE TLC.
On the subsequent edition of SmackDown, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio were written off television after being attacked by The Shield. In reality, both were injured and required time off from the squared circle.
The following month, they returned as participants in the 2013 Royal Rumble match but came up short of winning the annual battle royal. They reunited as a tag team on that week's edition of SmackDown, defeating then-WWE Tag Team champions Team Hell No.
However, Mysterio and Cara were never given their shot at the Tag titles and once again disappeared from television a short while later. Although he was able to knock off then-United States champion Antonio Cesaro on an episode of WWE Main Event in March, Cara was injured during the course of the contest and wouldn't return for another two months.
Since returning to action, the International Sensation has done very little of note and has lost a majority of his matches. At one point, Sin Cara scored a victory over then-Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett but never ended up contending for the title.
What Does the Future Hold for Sin Cara?
Upon his arrival in WWE in early 2011, Sin Cara was seen as the potential replacement for Rey Mysterio. However, whether it be his imperfections in the ring, lack of mic skills or numerous injuries, Sin Cara hasn't been able to live up to most fans' lofty expectations.
Last fall, there were talks of having Rey Mystero and Sin Cara feud going into WrestleMania 29, which would have been perfect given the fact they were already appearing alongside each other in the tag team division.
Similar to the year prior, their respective injuries halted those plans, delaying the dream match yet again. At this point, there is a very small chance that the two will ever clash with Mysterio nearing the end of his career, but fans still hold out hope, regardless.
If Mysterio was healthy enough to return by SummerSlam, I would love to see him reunite with Sin Cara to rival Zeb Colter's newest client, Antonio Cesaro, and Jack Swagger at the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Cara doesn't have the mic skills to be a midcard champion any time soon, but that doesn't mean he should be released from the company.
Regardless, I look forward to how Sin Cara will be used going forward and if his anticipated in-ring encounter with Rey Mysterio ultimately comes to fruition. He's an extremely talented individual and has a lot to offer, but it is up to WWE to utilize him correctly.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Sin Cara's fall from grace and what you believe the future holds for him. As always, your criticism and overall feedback on my latest piece is welcomed and greatly appreciated.
Read every archived edition of WWE Pushed to Punished here.