Yes, you read that right, the WWE seems to be considering putting NXT’s Kalisto in a blatantly stereotypical and offensive Latino gay hairstylist gimmick. This new and considerably disturbing information has been leaked on Reddit by MetsFan4Ever, who has previously released legitimate inside stories from the WWE.
At the moment, the information can’t really be verified. It might go in the same bin as the rumour of Adrian Neville getting a Mighty Mouse makeover. However, in case the idea is really on the table, it’s better that the IWC tries to be the voice of reason before something as ridiculous ends up ruining a man’s future.
The reasons given for the considered change in Kalisto’s gimmick sound quite odd, as well. It’s being said that the WWE is looking for a Latino superstar to fill in the gap that Rey Mysterio will leave upon his departure. Since Kalisto, allegedly did very well in a try out for the gay hairstylist gimmick, the idea of giving it a go was brought up. This is also why the Lucha Dragons dropped the titles so suddenly.
To me, this makes no sense whatsoever. First of all, Mysterio has been off TV for so long that if there had been any gap left by him, it has already been filled by something/someone completely different. Releasing him officially won’t change anything. Then, even if losing Rey really was an issue, the WWE could easily replace one luchador, who appeals to kids and sells masks the way a superhero would, with another masked luchador. Instead, they want to make sure that the possible replacement no longer wears a mask and debuts in a non-luchador gimmick that offends not one but two minorities at the same time. It sounds completely insane.
It could be argued that Sin Cara tried to fill the void that Rey left but failed and that’s why the WWE wants to try something different. Also, if we have to be realistic here, the WWE audience is not accustomed to masked wrestlers. To the casual WWE fan, a face is extremely important. In both the European and the American culture a faceless hero is harder to get behind. In Mexico the mask becomes the face of the fighter, his character, if you wish, but in our part of the world, hiding behind a mask is a gimmick in its own right and more than one superstar in a mask can often be perceived as a “Rey Mysterio rip-off”.
It’s a cultural barrier that won’t break itself. It needs to be worked on. That doesn’t mean that Kalisto can’t be Kalisto and win the audience. It can be done if he comes in with a purpose. He either needs to be sold as masked vigilante or he should be marketed in the ancient warrior gimmick that Lucha Underground uses as a central point of their storytelling.
Whatever the WWE goes with, it will definitely be better than throwing in an outrageous, cringe-worthy stereotypical character with no foreseeable future, other than jobbing alongside Heath Slater and Fandango.
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