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WWE's Sin Cara: the Story of Mistico

By Sean Farrell

Ignacio Almanza, 28, or Mistico as he best known, is all the wrestling world is talking about since he signed with the WWE under the name Sin Cara(Spanish for “Without Face”). He is a legend and best known for his time in the lucha libre promotion called Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre or simply the CMLL. Under the ringname Místico, he was the main tecnico (face) in CMLL and the biggest box office draw in all of Mexico. Místico is Spanish for “Mystic”, a religious character who is the kayfabe protege of the wrestling priest Fray Tormenta.

Místico is the son of Manuel Almanza, who wrestled as “Dr. Karontes”, and the brother of wrestlers Astro Boy, Astro Boy II and Argenis. Mistico was trained for his professional wrestling debut by his father and his uncle Tony Salazar who is also a retired wrestler that works as a booker for the CMLL, Mexico’s oldest and largest wrestling promotion. Místico made his debut on April 30, 1998 working as “Dr. Karontes, Jr.” at only the age of 15. By 2000, he changed his ring name to “Astro Boy” to honor his older brother who had died months earlier, who worked as the original Astro Boy. Later on he was joined by another brother who worked as “Astro Boy II” to form a tag team. In 2003, Místico went to Japan to work for Michinoku Pro where he was billed as “Komachi”, a ring persona he took over from fellow luchador Volador, Jr. who had played the part for about a year. Mistico became one of the greatest wrestlers this world will ever see or know, his stature (5’8 175 pounds) made him an underdog by nature and his high flying moves such as diving arm-drags and physics defying rana variations made him popular with Mexico City crowds. Wrestling Observer had voted Místico the 2006 “Performer of the Year”, “Biggest Box Office Draw”, and “Best Flying Wrestler” in their “Year-End Awards”. He was also ranked third in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s list of the top 500 wrestlers of 2007.

In July 2008, Místico went to China and participated in the Beijing International Martial Arts Training Camp, organized by Belgium-based martial arts instructor Mike Martello. Throughout the training camp, Místico received instruction in Chinese traditional wrestling (shuaijiao) from Shuaijiao expert Yu Shaoyi, and learned his joint-locking techniques (Qinna) from Mike Martello. On January 4, 2009, Místico made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling where Místico wrestled the opening match, Místico won using his trademark move “La Mística”. After the match, Místico announced that he would like to return to the organization and spent the next two years making three tours to NJPW.

Místico returned to Japan in January 2011, taking part in the CMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling co–promoted shows. On the first show on January 22 Místico teamed with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt in a six man tag team match, where they were defeated by Averno, Shinsuke Nakamura and Tetsuya Naito, when Averno pinned Místico. At the second show the following day, Místico defeated Averno in a singles match, which would turn out to be his final match for CMLL and NJPW.

On January 30, 2011 it was confirmed that Místico had signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). On February 24, 2011, WWE held a press conference in Mexico City to introduce Místico under his new name, Sin Cara, On March 25, 2011, Sin Cara made his WWE debut at a RAW Live event where he defeated Primo in a dark match. Many were wondering how Sin Cara would be packaged and what his moves and finisher would be and all that was answered in his match with Primo as Sin Cara got the win with the infamous “La Mistica”. WWE has only changed the name and wrinkled the appearance slightly, but Sin Cara is still Mistico, and he will be an icon in the WWE when he is debuted for the public to witness. The mystery and legend that is Mistico, is something all must see if they haven’t done so yet and give nothing but the utmost respect to probably the best luchadore to ever to it.

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