Tuesday 19 July 2011

Wellness Policy Sin

Anyone who watched Money in the Bank will have witnessed the impressively brutal spot that saw Sin Cara power-bombed from the ring apron onto a ladder propped several feet above the floor. At the time I assumed it was done to protect Cara: had he been in the ring at the finish of the match he’d have been “just another guy that lost”, being carted out by medics showed that it took a lot to stop him.

Then WWE released this statement on Monday morning:

Sin Cara suspended
STAMFORD, Conn. – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde (Sin Cara) for 30 days for his first violation of the company’s policy.

While it’s still possible the impressive bump was arranged to protect Cara (and perhaps leave a potential program with Sheamus open for the future) it’s now obvious that the main reason the spot happened was to write Cara off of TV so he can serve his suspension.

While Cara is a talented wrestler he has not found it easy to adapt to the WWE style. Nor has he found it easy to fit into the locker room or form a bond with the audience. All of these problems stem from his inability to speak English. Being unable to communicate with his peers limits him both in the ring and the locker room, and also means he cannot make himself understood to the majority of WWE’s fans. In an age when managers in WWE are practically nonexistent (especially for babyfaces) Cara would never be able to climb beyond the mid-card because he cannot cut a promo.

It’s possible he may not be brought back to TV at all. All the reasons above would be contributing factors, with the main one being that he simply hasn’t gotten over to the extent the company would like. They’ve certainly done everything they can to help him achieve stardom: he received weeks of hype with the always effective video package approach before he made his debut, he has been protected in tag matches and permitted to look strong against far more established stars, he was moved to a taped show so that his various botches could be edited from his matches, and he’s had a flashy entrance and lighting effect designed for his matches. Not only that but he was allowed to bypass FCW, the training facility most newcomers are sent to in order to learn the WWE style (ensuring they are able to work with everybody else). If anybody ever needed to spend some time in FCW it’s Sin Cara. He could have picked up the basics of the style he needs to know in order to succeed, and also worked on his English while he was at it. WWE hyped his debut for around two months before it actually took place and I don’t understand why he didn’t spend that time in the farm system.

The other big reason I can imagine Cara not returning to TV is that he was the first man signed to a contract by Triple H, as part of ‘The Game’s’ talent scouting initiative. Cara’s failure to connect with the audience coupled with this Wellness Policy blunder has placed Triple H in an embarrassing situation. As we have seen before (with Vladimir Kozlov, Gene Snitsky, and Mike Knox, to name but a few) the McMahons will only tolerate so much before they pull the plug on a push. For now, I think Sin Cara has used all his chances.

Will he really never return to TV? It’s possible. WWE management could just decide to cut their losses and future endeavour him. It would be easy enough to sign a new luchadore to replace him. They could even find a high-flying US indy star and put a mask on them (there’d be no awkward language barrier there and WWE could still push them as a Mysterio replacement). But if I were in their shoes I’d post him to FCW once his suspension is up. Were he to spend six months there learning how to mesh with his colleagues and working with a language coach he could return to the main roster in a position to take advantage of the golden push he has just messed up (he’d be just about ready for a surprise return at the Royal Rumble).

Sin Cara is not an unskilled worker. He’s just been unlucky and foolish since joining WWE. He deserves a chance to learn from his mistakes, and WWE deserves to make a return on its investment and promotional work. Still, a release seems far more likely.

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