What to do about Mistico?

It’s amazing that we’re having this discussion about the guy who’s been universally acclaimed as the Luchador of the Year (Box Y Lucha, Super Luchas – I haven’t seen the inside of Luchas 2000 or Guerreros del Ring, but I’m thinking Yes – and maybe by y’all if I ever get around to doing awards), and nothing in these rest of these paragraphs should detract from the aseptic and economic triumphs of Mistico in 2006 and before. He had a great year, he’ll always be remembered for this 2+ year run of being the top guy in the country, and he’s assured himself a place of always being pushed in a place of prominence based on his past achievements (see: Octagon, or a dozen other guys) unless he actively tries to screw it up or walks away.

Where is he going now?
CMLL has appeared to feel Mistico was never going to be a long term draw, but instead a guy who’d run out of steam within a (relatively) short period of time regardless of what was done with him. They’ve pushed him hard and had him work as often as possible to get as much as they could get out of him while they still could, and I think they’ve followed the plan pretty well. They’ve gone as close to the line of overexposure with Mistico as they possibly can, and sometimes a bit past that line, and his core group of fans still appear mostly into him. The young adults/hardcores have fallen out of love with him, but the kids still love them and their parents are still bringing them to see Mistico. He’s still got his fans.

Mistico appears to still be in good health, especially considering his style and schedule. We haven’t heard any comments about him being mentally burnt out or plain tired from his life. There definitely have been complaints about his match lengths at spot show, but since that’s the match length CMLL (and Mistico) seems to be doing everywhere, it may be the promotion’s directive and not Mistico’s choice – it’s hard to tell.

My point is there still seems to be life in Mistico’s career, both physically and economically, but it seems like CMLL and Mistico are at stumbling block creatively. In the matches, Mistico appears to have been doing just about everything he can do – there’s no flashy new move coming down the pipe, and Mistico’s protection makes the finishes obvious the moment the match is announced (DQ or Mistica, and almost always Mistica when Averno’s involved.) There’s no obvious programs for him – he’s not going to have major feuds with the top guys because CMLL can’t afford (or is unwilling to spend enough) to get to actual mask/mask payoffs, and any feuds with lesser guys are obvious romps.

It feels like Mistico’s been booked into a corner and may be heading downslope in ’07, which is an awful harsh prediction for the 8th day of the year. Ocampo posted about this over on Super Luchas’ blog (which kinda inspired this digression), believing that if Mistico doesn’t break out of the formula he’s stuck in, he’s going to end up damaged for it by the end of the year, and I think I’m agreeing with that here, so I want to flip from the big picture to small one:

How they going to Mistico vs Averno again? Twice (once for the belt, one for the title)? The highspots looked good on Accion, but Chui and others who’ve seen it complete say it’s not a great match. I don’t think you’re probably getting a much higher match out of these two, and if you are, you’re repeating a match fans in the DF have seen many many times in the last couple of years (both in singles and plenty in trios exchanges) and asking them to pay for it a couple more times. For one time, especially in the down season, I liked the idea because people hadn’t seen it on that stage and hadn’t seen it much recently, but it’s a lot to expect the other two matches to be demonstratively different (much less better) when they’re already throwing out all the highspots they know in the first one.

If this was WWE or some other environment, they’d throw a stipulation on these matches to make them seem different. (Seeing as they’re two lesser weight guys, it’d be a ladder match, but I may die before I see a ladder match on CMLL promoted show in Arena Mexico.) I guess the idea of the title match is to be the stipulation, but they haven’t really been working title matches that different that people are going to believe it’s going to be different (until after it happens a few time.) And, despite good defenses against Russians, the CMLL Middleweight title is not particularly meaningful. And while Mistico wins in mask match will still draw people as an event, that draw is obviously going to be hurt by the one-sided nature of it all. I’m not saying they won’t do good business, but I don’t know if that’ll sell out without strong stuff underneath.

I guess the proper thing to would’ve been to save stuff last Friday to break it out in those latter matches, but people are so used to getting the 100% Mistico experience, they might have gone home unhappy. Do it now, nothing for later, don’t do it now, risk people don’t come out later – see what I mean about being stuck in a corner? I have no idea what you do here.

If overexposure was the only concern, you’d do like El Hijo del Santo and cut down Mistico appearances drastically, while opening up a void for a new star to ascend. But making money for CMLL (in the short term) is also important, and if they still do believe Mistico’s short term, there’s no sense in holding him back to keep him fresh.

It doesn’t help that CMLL’s house wrestling style is so omnipresent – it’s tough for Mistico to separate himself from past performances, but it’s tougher still when everyone other young tecnico is trying to do the most of the same moves. It seems like all tecnicos do seven of the same ten moves (this was never more apparent when Kronos was doing the same stuff as Leono) – Mistico’s only difference is that he does them better, and even that’s debatable. I have no idea how you solve that issue.

Even if CMLL does nothing, I think Mistico and the promotion will still be making money in ’07. I’m just thinking it’ll be less than last year.

4 thoughts to “What to do about Mistico?”

  1. I think it is logical to think that 07 will be a step down for Mistico simply because he was placed on top of his company, and there’s no place to go unless they bring foreigners… which seems unlikely…

    I’m not buying that they want to make a Masks match with Mistico vs Averno, to me, it’s a smoke screen while they come with something else, which could be Eclipse, Ephesto or Sangre Azteca.

    Unfortunately, I’m leaing toward the last one, as I see it, 2007 will have:

    *Sangre Azteca fueding with Virus, Virus loses a title match and then his hair in the March show, probably semis for a Perros vs Capos.

    *Volador Jr feuds Sangre Azteca, Mistico feuds Averno… June cage match has them as the final four… Averno escapes, Sangre follows after Volador “accidentaly” hits Mistico… so Mistico takes Volador Jr’s mask and vows revenge on Sangre… which he gets on the December show…

  2. I like Chui’s Idea. But too bad CMLL doesn’t like big stip matches.

    It could be a Loser leaves town for 90 days match and Volador loses and turns Rudo. Mistico takes his mask in December.

  3. I think the best gimmick match would be 3 way or maybe even 4 way matches, which have been done before, not that long ago (Anniversaries 2004, 2005) and could serve to take Mistico’s title away without him losing, with a bit more credibility and suspense than the usual “blind foul”, which happened with Black Warrior.

    They could also get him to lose clean to someone like Santo Jr, or even Wagner or Casas in a Gran Prix or Leyenda Cibernetico/Tourney… to try to make him more… human?

  4. I actually wanted to take the time and comment on this but I have a feeling I’ll never make the time. So the one thing I wanted to add is that if CMLL really wants Mistico to be their Rey Misterio Jr., they need to let him loose and start allowing him to work various opponents where he can try new things out. Part of the reason he is so stale is b/c he only works with the same 4 or 5 guys(Averno, Mephisto, Warrior, Perrito and Garza) and he has specific spots with each guy that he always uses. Either he needs to expand his moveset with those guys or he needs to work new guys who will motivate him to try new stuff. I remember an IWRG show from July or August where he worked with Misterioso II and it seemed like a whole new Mistico.

    Rey Jr. was always trying new stuff and especially when he worked against new guys. He and Psicosis had their usual spots but they were trying new stuff and Rey would never try the stuff he does with Psicosis against a guy like Heavy Metal or one of the Payasos.

    I’m with cubs when he says:

    “Even if CMLL does nothing, I think Mistico and the promotion will still be making money in ’07. I’m just thinking it’ll be less than last year.”

    The CMLL bookers are lazy. Plain, simple and 100% true. But you combine that with the fact they hate touching anything when it’s going good, even if it means overdoing it to the point it stops being profitable, and it’s a recipe for disaster. 2007 won’t be any different from 2006. They may even recycle the Mistico/Warrior feud at some point if Warrior decides to grow his hair out. This is why I’m hoping Mistico steps it up on his own and doesn’t coast through the year. I love the guy, he’s still my favorite wrestler to watch not named Turbo, but it’d be nice to see him freshen up his ring work so the matches aren’t predictable. Then he can truly claim to be the new Rey Misterio Jr..

    BTW, I still haven’t seen the Mistico/Averno match from this past weekend so I’m not implying it was a generic predictable match. I’ll wait to watch to decide that.

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