“Horror is the removal of masks” – Robert Bloch
“Success is the removal of masks” – Koala Mask
I love masked wrestlers! One of my favourite promotions in Chikara because of their focus on masked heros and villains. I love the variety of masked characters, from the fun and wacky (Australia’s Bee Boy, Curry Man, Ophidian), to the dangerous and insane (Kobald and the Batiri). But for some wrestlers, the mask just didn’t work out. I’m going to take a look at some wrestlers who wore masks early in their careers, some successfully, others not, but later on got rid of the mask and went on to bigger and better things without it. I’m not saying that their success was purely due to removing the mask, but there certainly is a pattern.
First on the list:
El Generico/Sami Zayne
Before there was Sami Zayn, the guy on WWE NXT who can wrestle better than half the guys on WWE’s main roster, there was El Generico, the generic luchador with an orphanage in Mexico, who wrestled better than half the guys on WWE’s main roster.
El Generico was a hugely popular independent wrestler who captured gold in multiple promotions such as; ROH and PWG. He’s a former PWG Champion and former ROH tag team champion with also hugely popular independent wrestler Kevin “Liker of Zoos” Steen.
After joining the WWE, Generico ditched the mask and became Sami Zayn (at least that’s what some people say. Others say Generico actually returned to Mexico to help the children in his orphanage. I’ll let you be the judge.) Though he hasn’t reached the same success in NXT than he did on the independent circuit in terms of titles, he did have some of the greatest matches in the WWE with the likes of Cesaro and Bo Dallas in 2013 and is continuing the trend into 2014. And he’s not even on the main roster yet! It won’t be long until Zayn is having the match of the night at WrestleMania alongside (or with) the next name on the list.