The biggest surprise in recent WWE happenings has obviously been the injury that took Seth Rollins out of the equation and forced him to vacate the championship, but second in line for shocks in my mind would have to go with Kalisto’s defeat over Ryback in the tournament to determine Rollins’ replacement champion.
Obviously, the little guy has defeated the big guy (no pun intended) many times in the past, with people like Rey Mysterio making a career out of doing that storyline over and over again, but the sheer fact that Kalisto was placed in the tournament was reason enough for me to be curious. Ryback seemed like an easy choice to lose to Alberto Del Rio in the quarterfinals—he’s an imposing figure and just held the Intercontinental title. Surely, Kalisto was just filling a spot for the sake of it and he would put up a good fight, but come up short, right?
Oddly enough, The Big Guy fell and Kalisto moved on to fight the United States champion. He would lose on tonight’s episode of Raw, but not without getting in some decent offense and having a video package played beforehand to put some genuine focus on him. WWE acknowledged the upset, but didn’t act as though this was Maven eliminating The Undertaker. Instead, Kalisto was portrayed as someone who has all the talent to go far, but just hasn’t yet, so he was overlooked before and shouldn’t be anymore.
One has to ask where this is going, if it’s indeed going anywhere.
The Lucha Dragons could have easily been a throwaway team in NXT, but were given the honor of dethroning The Ascension for the tag team titles. Sadly, their run was lackluster and they dropped the belts to Blake and Murphy, and the titles have bounced around since then, but that’s a story for another day. Upon coming up to the main roster, it seemed for two or three weeks that The Lucha Dragons would be heavily featured in the tag team division and possibly the ones to put The New Day in their place, but again, they would quickly be relegated to the background, competing on Superstars and Main Event almost exclusively.
This Kalisto push is coming out of nowhere and Sin Cara is not yet hooked in for the ride. The optimist in me says that this means WWE is finally willing to put some spotlight on the guy to show off just how talented he is, but the pessimist in me can’t trust that things will go down well.
History has shown that these types of pushes usually result in the same formulaic outline:
1) The team either splits with one of them turning heel (the one who is getting the push) or they just stop coming out to the ring together.
2) The one getting a push wins some random singles matches while the other loses his singles matches or stops appearing on television entirely.
3) After a few weeks, WWE grows bored with this experiment, gives up, and starts using the previously pushed star to job out to an upper midcard heel.
4) Before long, both of them are back to wrestling on Superstars and Main Event, but no longer as a tag team, so their singles careers are going nowhere and the tag division is missing a duo for their ranks.
I highly doubt Kalisto will be turning heel; nor do I think Sin Cara will turn heel to try to put Kalisto over in some kind of a feud that most people likely wouldn’t care about. If that’s the case and Kalisto separates more from his fellow Lucha Dragon, he’ll need to wrestle more regular singles matches, particularly on Monday Night Raw. Those matches can’t be ones where he loses week in and week out to Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens, Sheamus and King Barrett while only defeating Heath Slater on SmackDown, which nobody will see or care about.
This is the time of year where people either make a huge difference or they get lost in the shuffle. If WWE wants to put some stock in Kalisto, what’s next for him has to be legitimizing his midcard status. By the time the Royal Rumble comes around, he needs to be viewed as someone on par with Neville—and that can’t be accomplished by demoting The Man That Gravity Forgot, but upgrading Kalisto.
However, what I fear is actually next in store for the luchador is a bumpy road. Now that he’s been knocked out of the tournament and The Usos are firmly feuding with The New Day over the tag team titles, the best he can hope for in regards to Survivor Series is to be tossed into the mix for the traditional elimination match. Keep in mind, at the time of this article’s writing, that match hasn’t even been confirmed. There’s a good chance Kalisto will be sitting out Survivor Series entirely and will need to pick up where he left off after this loss come the end of November with the build to TLC. The likelihood that he’ll make a big impact there is slim, and each passing show that doesn’t feature him paints a bigger picture that he’ll be just another number to eliminate in the Royal Rumble.
Kalisto is not someone who needs to be a top priority and pushed to the moon, but if WWE does want to utilize him as a singles star going forward, there needs to be a concerned effort to book him like a worthwhile superstar and not just one half of a team that hasn’t been relevant since the fall of 2014.
So what is next for Kalisto’s career following this random surge and then loss?
My hope is for a slow and steady rise to the midcard scene where he could be a serious contender for the Intercontinental or United States Championship titles by roughly Payback of 2016.
My prediction is that Kalisto fans will be disappointed to see that this was a rare instance of WWE throwing some random ingredient out there for the sake of spicing things up, but not incorporating it into the weekly meal plan.
What do you think will end up happening? Are The Lucha Dragons over and done with, or will they stay a team? Will Kalisto get a legitimate push or will this fizzle out in no time? Do you think he even deserves it to begin with?
Sound off with your predictions and preferences in the comments below!