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.