Professional wrestling has seen countless promotions that have pushed the boundaries far beyond the usual threats of injury or assurances of victory. Fans have heard everything from wrestlers promising to use items in unexpected ways to suggestions of lewd actions involving opponents’ loved ones. Nikki Bella once went so far as to tell her twin sister Brie that she wished Brie had died in the womb.
Yet Santos Escobar delivered perhaps the most vile promo in wrestling history when explaining why he attacked his former idol, Rey Mysterio, a week ago.
And it was exceptional.
In the November 17 edition of Smack down, Santos Escobar stood in the middle of the ring, chanting “You Suck” and “What” to angry fans gathered at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. But the technician transformed into Rudo and gave what could have been the best monologue of 2023.
Escobar began by reminding everyone that he comes from a rich lucha libre tradition and that his family had been called heroes. Yet it was Rey Mysterio that Escobar adored and took inspiration from. He hoped fans would one day see him the way they saw Mysterio, who Escobar said had become a father figure to him.
But when Mysterio seemingly aligned himself with Carlito and Carlito’s claims that Escobar was responsible for costing Mysterio the US title at Crown Jewel, Escobar was devastated. Suddenly, everything Dominik Mysterio had said about his legendary father became true for Escobar. He then accused the elder Mysterio of stealing his title opportunity and hijacking his group, Legado Del Fantasma, which Rey renamed Latino World Order (LWO).
Worse yet, Mysterio welcomed Carlito, who Escobar called a stranger, into their family.
Speaking to Carlito, Escobar became even angrier. He took off his sports jacket and spoke in Spanish, pretending to be Carlito’s worst enemy and vowing to punish him like he punished the WWE Hall of Famer. He then turned his rage on his former hero, saying he hoped Mysterio’s pain reminded him of the misery he caused Escobar by siding with the foreigner.
From there, Escobar didn’t just cross the line; he erased the ground where the line was drawn.
Earlier this week, Mysterio underwent knee surgery to treat a legitimate injury that WWE has since incorporated into its storyline with Escobar. Taking credit for injuring the iconic luchador, Escobar said:
“I apologize for not doing more damage. And Rey, this one comes from the bottom of my heart. I hope the operation didn’t go well. I hope you get an infection and they have to amputate your leg! In fact, I hope you never come back!
This reprehensible statement was more than the LWO could bear as Zelina Vega came out to confront Escobar.
Vega, in tears, slapped him and declared that the only person she hated more than Escobar was herself for trusting him. Then, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz del Toro, who have been alongside Escobar since their NXT days, replaced Mysterio. Escobar responded by calling them dead weight before attacking them. Carlito came in to make the save, but Escobar rolled out of the ring.
As far as promos go, it didn’t top Austin 3:16, CM Punk’s Pipe Bomb or Hulk Hogan’s explanation for joining the nWo at Beach party in 1996. However, Escobar’s speech was notable because he perfectly explained his actions while revealing what awaits figures like Carlito.
But more than anything, Escobar felt real. He spoke the way you do when you’re legitimately hurt by someone you love, which is why he went to the darkest place possible by wishing for Mysterio’s leg to be amputated.
And as disgusting as that sentence was, it was refreshing. Professional wrestling, or more specifically WWE, has been playing it safe with its heels for too long. Due to corporate sponsorships and network deals, WWE rarely allows its villains to sink to the bottom of the barrel to anger the public.
Living in this safe zone has often resulted in a tame product, which is the antithesis of professional wrestling. Bad guys are supposed to push buttons. Their job is to make people angry and, sometimes, disgusted. The bad guys have to make fans uncomfortable to get them to side with the good guys or babyfaces.
Therefore, wrongdoers – in their words or actions – must cross the line from time to time. Escobar did just that, digging into the crevices of his wounded soul to spew visceral hatred that would only serve to mask disappointment and sadness. And as despicable as it is, it’s a refreshing glimpse into reality that makes Rey Mysterio’s return and eventual showdown with Santos Escobar that much more appealing.
Gn En tech