Who deserves to be called Sin Cara?
WWE's two Sin Caras have been at war for more than ten years, you probably just didn't know it. The rivalry between WWE’s two Sin Caras, who collided like Mexican missiles at WWE Hell in a Cell last Sunday (PHOTOS), truly began more than a decade ago, ironically over the right to use another ring name. According to both Sin Caras - who spoke exclusively to WWE.com - the dispute is one neither has forgotten, nor plan to until only one Sin Cara is left standing.
It was November 1999 in Juarez, Mexico, when a multiple-time state high school wrestling champion, born across the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas to Mexican immigrants, made his professional in-ring debut in a mask and under the name “Mistico” (Spanish for “Mystic of a religious nature”).
“All I ever wanted to do was become a luchador,” he recalled. “When I first went to wrestle in school, I looked at the mat and told the coach that the ropes were missing.”
In less than two years, this young man’s outstanding athletic ability and undeniable charisma made him a top star in Juarez. Soon after, his reputation also allowed him to leave behind government housing along the U.S./Mexico border and travel to larger cities in Mexico, where he’d further his career as a true luchador. However, the meteoric rise of Mistico came to a screeching halt in 2005, thanks to the longest tenured wrestling promotion in the world, Mexico City’s CMLL.
Founded in 1933 as EMLL (Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre, or Mexican Wrestling Enterprise), CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, or Worldwide Wrestling Council) had trademarked the name “Mistico” while the teen worked for the company – something that the young man from El Paso had never thought to do. After he left the organization, CMLL gave the name “Mistico” to another wrestler from Mexico City, who made his professional in-ring debut for CMLL in 2004. This young man, the son of CMLL wrestler Dr. Korontes and nephew of wrestler Tony Salazar, never even knew there had been a Mistico before him.
The original Mistico attempted to hold on to the identity he created, competing as “Mistico de Juarez,” but that wasn’t enough to pacify CMLL. “I was soon out of work,” he told WWE.com. ”CMLL called all the local promoters and said if they allowed me to work as ‘Mistico,’ then they would no longer be allowed to use CMLL stars on their events. I was forced to change my name.”
All of this, according to CMLL’s replacement Mistico, was unbeknownst to him. “I didn’t know another Mistico had existed for two years before I started using the name, “ he insisted through WWE referee Rod Zapata, who translated his words for WWE.com.
CMLL’s Mistico went on to become the biggest star in Mexico before making his American debut in March of this year as the blue and gold WWE Superstar, Sin Cara. As for the original Mistico, he continued to work in Mexico for the country’s other national promotion, AAA (Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, or Assistance, Consulting and Administration). He also began working in the United States – a benefit of speaking both Spanish and English. Despite his successful career, however, he could not get past the fact that his previous identity had been wrongly stolen from him.
When asked if he is better than the man who took his name, the original Mistico - now the black-and-red Sin Cara - stated with conviction, “Yes, I am, and everybody knows it. I want to wrestle the impostor in blue and gold for the name Sin Cara. He took my identity, and now I’m going to take his.”
Meanwhile, WWE’s original Sin Cara (the second Mistico) is much more complimentary of his opponent.
“Many WWE fans may see us as identical because we have a very similar style of wrestling,” he said. “However, we do take different approaches to our styles. We match up very well, but I believe my pedigree and training at the hands of my father and uncle make me a little better.”
At WWE Hell in a Cell, the two Sin Caras battled in a truly unique scenario - a match pitting original vs. duplicate in several different iterations. The original Sin Cara (the second Mistico) was barely able to defeat his opponent, almost certainly warranting a rematch between the two masked Superstars.
When asked to respond to William Shakespeare's famous 1595 question, "What's in a name?" the two luchadores – once both named Mistico, now both named Sin Cara – each had the same reply: “Everything!”