Thoughts on CMLL Introducing a New Mistico!
Written By Alfredo Esparza
Ever since Mistico left to join WWE and became Sin Cara, it has been the worst kept secret within lucha libre circles that CMLL wanted to put a new luchador under the mask and introduce him to the fans as the NEW MISTICO. Everyone assumed that with the creation of yet another tournament last year were they would build a new star, that the final prize would be that the winner would don the Mistico character. Last year, Forjando Un Idolo ended and over the next few CMLL press conferences (the place they like to showcase their booking ideas) everyone assumed that Angel De Oro, who won Forjando Un Idolo, would be announced as the new Mistico. It didn’t happen.
Up next, everyone figured CMLL would go with one of the younger, lesser experienced, still relatively unknown wrestlers. Magnus, a cousin to Mistico, was the next guess. Dragon Lee was the other guess. Nothing came of it.
As more CMLL press conferences passed in recent months, the less people discussed that possibility that a NEW MISTICO would be debuting.
June 20th, 2012, CMLL holds another press conference…
- Maximo’s going on an upcoming New Japan tour…
- Mr. Cacao’s returning to CMLL for a few shows…
- Yujiro brings a plate of tacos for El Terrible…Terrible issues a trios hair match with him teaming with Rey Bucanero & Tiger (Fuerza TRT) to face Yujiro, Namajague & Okumura (Yellow Fever)….
- Ladies are gonna put their hair and masks on the line in a cage match…
- Volador Jr., Mr. Aguila & Black Warrior are getting a shot at the Mexican National Trios Titles held by Atlantis, Guerrero Maya Jr. & Delta, PLUS they’ve named their trio “Los Depredadores del Aire”.
- Negro Casas had recent eye surgery due to taking a bad bump to the head.
- The four finalists for En Busca de Un Idolo are introduced. Diamante is in last place, but he’s got new gear that has some hints of El Hijo Del Santo’s mask, Dragon Lee is in third place, Euforia is in second and Titan is in first.
- It is announced that Euforia and Titan will have a singles match to determine the winner. Also announced the winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, a 1-year gym membership at Gimnasio HD Sport Fitness, will wrestle on the 2013 Fantasticmania cards in Japan, top contender with a shot at a CMLL title in their weight class, and he will be booked on main event/semi-main event matches all year in Arena Mexico. All great prizes for someone winning first place in a tournament. Then it happens…
As the four En Busca de Un Idolo participants are leaving, Fray Tormenta shows up and asks Dragon Lee not to leave. Fray Tormenta made an appearance at the recent Arena Mexico show were he was ‘scouting’ Dragon Lee, so it wasn’t a surprise that this was gonna happen. Maybe a surprise he was at a press conference on a Wednesday afternoon. Fray Tormenta mentions there is a lot of talent in CMLL. He tells Dragon Lee that he was impressed with him and offers him the Mistico mask. Dragon Lee cries a bit and accepts. A new Mistico is born…
For those not familiar with Dragon Lee, he’s a second generation wrestler. The son of Toro Blanco and the younger brother of CMLL star RUSH! If that’s not enough to get a decent push in CMLL, his uncle, Franco Colombo, happens to be part of CMLL’s programming department. He’s really young and has only been in CMLL for less than 2 years. I’m sure he was there training prior to his debut, but as an active wrestler in CMLL its only been less than 2 years. Pretty crazy. The original CMLL version of Mistico had a few years behind him and even had a tour of Japan before getting the Mistico gimmick and big push.
Dragon Lee’s a high flyer, but he still hasn’t shown anywhere near the level of consistency were you would think he was the right guy to go with. He’s had more moments were you worry if he’s gonna make it through a match without injuring himself. I’m not sure adding the extra pressure of being the new Mistico is going to do anything but even hurt him more.
The early reaction among fans online hasn’t been very positive. Probably the most positive thing I’ve seen is that a few people think Dragon Lee is an “okay wrestler”. However, the reaction to bringing back the Mistico character with a new wrestler has mostly been negative by a lot. Fans who grew to dislike AAA often point out to the “clones” that Antonio Peña introduced when some of his stars had left. Lets not forget a few years ago when Mascara Dorada was re-gimmicked (previously known as Metallik), he had his share of struggles early on and he was far more advanced at that stage than Dragon Lee is right now.
This whole Mistico situation leads to a bunch of questions that will definitely be answered and known by everyone because we now get about 9 hours of CMLL shows on TV and online. Social media allows more fans from around the world to interact and share their opinions. Just some questions I have…
THE THIRD PLACE GUY GETS THE BIG PUSH, SO WHY DO THESE TOURNAMENTS?
This just adds more to the problem that CMLL has with all these tournaments. I totally get the concept that a tournament is used to create a new star, but the problem here is that CMLL does so many of them and the end of all of them don’t really amount to anything. Booking all these tournaments hasn’t increased attendance and hasn’t really created more interest. Haven’t really created new big stars either. They’ve done a good job of elevating guys like Rey Escorpion, Angel de Oro, and Euforia, but none of these guys are big stars.
At the press conference it seemed like CMLL realized they had to make the grand prize from winning the “En Busca de Un Idolo” tournament something far more important than just getting a trophy. A trip to Cancun, gym membership, title shot, main event appearances for a full year, all were overshadowed with the announcement of the GUY IN THIRD PLACE being selected as the New MISTICO. If they were going to create a new Mistico, use the tournament to do that. THAT SHOULD BE THE GRAND PRIZE. I know that tournament was completely worked from the judges votes to the fan poll voting, but its not like they couldn’t fix the voting to get their first choice the win and give him the Mistico gimmick.
The fan voting on the web site was a total joke and despite what we fans tried to do, we all knew that it could be easily fixed by the promotion itself. When it first came about, several fans figured out you could vote more than once if you kept refreshing the browser. Dragon Lee was nowhere near first place. He was in last place. Strangely within a few hours, Dragon Lee had gone from being in last place to first place with a couple of thousand votes. Within hearing about this, there was a simple “fix” with just using the firefox browser to get back and beat the system. Dragon Lee had slipped. The fans thought they beat the system. Unfortunately, there is always a press conference in the CMLL horizon. By about the 3rd day when CMLL started posting videos of the matches to youtube, it seemed a little ridiculous to see so many votes for each wrestler while there were maybe a couple hundred to low thousand who had even watched the matches.
If anyone thinks that CMLL couldn’t have just gotten Dragon Lee vs. Euforia as the final of this tournament, well they are fooling themselves. Titan at best was the third place guy, despite reaching the finals. I don’t think they’ll elevate 2 tecnicos within the same week. I’d be pretty shocked if Titan won. Its clear from all the prizes, Euforia was going to get the consolation prize. Dragon Lee was gonna get the big prize of moving up and getting to be the new Mistico. Which leads to the next question…
HOW WILL DRAGON LEE DO AS THE NEW MISTICO?
I mentioned earlier how there is now going to be far more pressure on Dragon Lee than anyone could imagine. We’ve seen other guys go through the same situation, but several of those guys were already far ahead in their careers and at least back when AAA was known for creating “clones” of top stars, they had Antonio Peña backing them.
The Mistico character adds way more pressure than any of the Peña created wrestlers he cloned. La Parka wasn’t AAA’s top star when he left AAA. Neither were Psicosis or Mascara Sagrada. They were near the top of the promotion and not the top guy in the promotion. While there were fans who couldn’t tell the difference, there was still a significant gap in talent between the original La Parka and Psicosis and their clones. Both clones eventually earned some respect, but they never matched or surpassed their predecessors. The closer comparison would be to what WWE did back when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left the promotion to join WCW. WWE owning the rights to the names, reintroduced two new wrestlers as Diesel and Razor Ramon. People knew they were fakes and didn’t accept them. Mistico was CMLL’s top draw during a boom period. The promotion for years booked every top match and big show around him.
Dragon Lee has a few things going in his favor. He has a lot of family backing him in CMLL. As I mentoined his uncle (Franco Colombo) is involved in the programming department. Most of Mistico/Sin Cara’s old rivals (Averno, Volador Jr., Ultimo Guerrero and Negro Casas) are still around and of there is one thing those guys remember is that the previous Mistico was a major draw. They’ll likely bust their asses trying to get this new guy over. CMLL is going to go all out in making Mistico II into a star. It could fail completely, but they will put their full backing and time behind him. I would expect Mistico II to be put in that 3rd spot with La Sombra and Mascara Dorada. As much as we might not want Mistico II to be pushed, CMLL has to do it and go all in with him.
What he has going against him far outweighs the positives. He doesn’t have the same presence that Mistico had in the ring. Mistico as Sin Cara is still around and can be seen on WWE TV. The comparisons will always be there and more people in Mexico view WWE as the bigger show. He’s not as good as the previous Mistico (I’m trying to not call CMLL’s Mistico the original, since the original was Hunico under that gimmick.) and as much as people might accuse Mistico of only doing a handful of moves, he still did them far more consistently than anything Dragon Lee has done. One of the positives, I posted previously about having CMLL’s backing is also a big negative. CMLL’s booking committee has been pretty dreadful in the last couple of years. They’ve gone the easy way by booking tournaments and doing a lot of parity booking were no one has gotten a huge push. Remember, the last Mistico had the entire promotion built around him. He was the star of the promotion for several years. Can we really expect this current booking team to do this and can we really expect this out of Dragon Lee?
And then there’s the biggest issue of all…
HOW WILL THE ARENA MEXICO CROWD REACT TO A NEW MISTICO?
There are two things I know about fans who attend Arena Mexico shows. One, the loudest group attending are very pro-rudo and two, they won’t be too thrilled that “la serie y estable” (Serious and Stable) is bringing out a clone.
Fans booed Mistico/Sin Cara heavily his last few years with CMLL, but they still attended because the fans were split between fans who still liked him, viewed him as a superstar and the fans who wanted to see him get beat. Attendance didn’t bottom out as badly as it has within the last year. Dragon Lee’s debut as the New Mistico in front of the Arena Mexico fans will be the first test. The second and bigger test will be if crowds increase. We’ll know real soon if he’s gonna be the next Mistico or the latest flash-in-the-pan that CMLL has taken a chance in.