Monday 30 April 2012


On Thursday 26th April WWE announced Rey Mysterio had tested positive for a substance banned by its Wellness Policy and would be serving a sixty day (unpaid) suspension. This is the second time Mysterio has violated the company’s Wellness Policy, the first being in August of 2009 (which came into effect in September of that year to allow WWE time to shift the Intercontinental championship off of Mysterio). The 37-year-old is currently recovering from surgery he underwent in the latter half of 2011, which is a silver lining of sorts as it means he doesn’t need to be written off television.

WWE are not currently relying on him and he will still likely be the recipient of a healthy push when he returns to TV later in the year. Rumours were that he would return around late July and even with the suspension taken into account that date still seems likely. Being suspended won’t stop him rehabbing after all.

So, no harm done then?

Well, not really. That Mysterio has been using substances banned by WWE’s Wellness Policy while recovering from injury is worrying news. It’s most likely to have been some form of enhancement that made his healing quicker (or less painful) or something to help him “relax.”Whatever the case may be it shows that the man thinks he can get away with behaviour that others can’t. The likeliest reason for that sort of thinking is that he thinks he is irreplaceable, that WWE could not create a star to take his spot on the roster.

This feeling could also stem from the abject failure of Sin Cara (also currently recovering from an injury). Mysterio may have taken that as WWE attempting to replace him, or at least prepare someone to take his place sometime in the future, and failing.

Whatever the cause of his recent rule-breaking and subsequent suspension Mysterio could not be more wrong: he is very much expendable.

Over the last several years Mysterio has consistently been WWE’s second biggest merchandise seller (behind merch kingpin John Cena). This has earned both he and WWE a lot of money and has been going on for so long that Mysterio has very possibly convinced himself that nobody else would be capable of blending popularity, working ability and marketable as well as he does. Were he in any other wrestling promotion he would very probably be right. But WWE has a very large, very experienced and very successful marketing department behind them. If they wanted a new masked babyface to push to the top and replace Mysterio they would have one by now.

Rey Mysterio is not the only man who can do this. Far from it
It’s true that Sin Cara has failed to reach the levels of popularity WWE were clearly hoping for but that doesn’t mean they can’t try again with someone else. The main reasons Cara didn’t work out were his inability to speak English (which severely limited his ability to connect with audiences and work comfortably with opponents), his unfamiliarity with the sports entertainment style, and his general clumsiness.

Those problems could easily be combated by hiring a US indy wrestler capable of working a fast-paced style (and let’s face it, there’s no shortage of them) and familiar with WWE programming. The language barrier would clearly cease to be an issue there and the risk of mistakes could be reduced simply by not making the newcomer enter the ring via a trampoline.

If put under a mask and left alone to put on exciting, fast-paced matches men like Jack Evans, PAC, or TJ Perkins could easily become very popular in WWE very quickly. The draw is a masked guy wrestling a fast style. That’s not something exclusive to Rey Mysterio.

‘The Ultimate Underdog’s’ popularity stems from the fact that he was a novelty when brought into the company: smaller than everyone else with a fresh look that WWE fans weren’t used to, he was pushed as a star from the beginning and as such was able to gain acceptance from the promotion’s worldwide audience. It was the treatment he received and his own talent that made him a star. WWE can give a similar push to anyone they chose, and there are plenty of talented people for them to pick from. Mysterio would be advised to remember that.

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