A Matter of Character - Hunico
It is a very common practice for a Television Series to bring in a guest star to be a part of a very specific story on the program. Every show has done it, Dexter bringing in Mos Def last season to play Brother Sam, Breaking Bad (one month till it returns!) introduced the character of Tuco Salamanca, even sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother, Community, and Modern family have had a series of very funny guest spots. These characters are usually one-off appearances, thus they don’t require long stretching arcs or storylines planned into the future. They simply need to be entertaining and progress the story of the main character. Unfortunately for the WWE and more specifically Hunico, this TV trope doesn’t work for WWE, because the superstar sticks around after the specific storyline he was brought in for is over.
Hunico was brought to WWE TV to be “Sin Cara Negro” and feud with the original Sin Cara over which of them was the true “Faceless” man. Once the original Sin Cara defeated Hunico and removed his mask, Hunico’s purpose was served, but his character remained, now directionless. It was clear that he was only brought in to put Sin Cara over, and further Sin Cara’s rise in the WWE. In any other serial that concept would work, but in the WWE, you need to have some idea where the character is headed after his initial purpose has been fulfilled. The slapped a stereotypical Mexican Thug gimmick on Hunico, gave him a Samoan posing as a Mexican as his enforcer and a low-rider bicycle to ride to the ring, and called it “character development”.
This week’s edition of A Matter of Character will analyze the character of Hunico. I will highlight his strengths, and point out the weaknesses I perceive in the character and the performer. Following my analysis, I will suggest ways to improve and get the best out of the character in the future. Let’s Do This!
At 5 ft 10 in, 205 lbs, Hunico is a small guy in the world of the WWE. His size is one of the reason’s I think he shouldn’t be a heel, but rather a babyface. Each week he comes down to the ring donning a bandana, a wife-beater, and jeans in an attempt to make him seem like a Mexican thug. In some ways it works, because at first glance he does look like a dangerous dude, flanked by Camacho. That’s all it is though, a look. Behind the thuggish attire its easy to see that despite giving his best effort to play the character he was given, the thug being portrayed isn’t a reflection of the real Hunico. It’s a look and nothing more.
In the ring, Hunico is nothing short of amazing. He works the fast paced Lucha Libre style as well as anybody. His aerial arsenal is incredible, his balance and athleticism are off the charts. His talents are wasted every week he wrestles the slow, rest-hold and strike heavy offense he’s using as the thug heel character. The WWE has a real problem getting greatness from their role players, and Hunico is a prime example of why. He’s nothing more than a look to them, and they’ve essentially neutered his in ring style to fit the stereotypical look they’ve given him.
The personality he is showing in his promos and matches is pretty straightforward; he’s an arrogant thug. Is there anything special about that? Nope. Part of the reason his personality isn’t resonating with people is because he spends most of his promo time speaking in Spanish, without translating to English. No offense to the Spanish speaking community, but I don’t understand the language, so when Hunico talks, I tune out and thus don’t get a read on the personality he is exhibiting when he speaks. Another reason this character’s personality doesn’t hit home with the WWE Universe is that it’s one note. Arrogant heels are a dime a dozen and we want more than that. We want to know who you are before we can really get into your character. Here's a link to a five-minute video Hunico did for the WWE YouTube page talking about his time in Mexico and showing off his mask collection. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsi63N-91lk)
In five minutes, Hunico showed more personality than he has during his entire run on WWE TV. In those five minutes we got to know who Hunico is, what’s important to him, and even the basis for his feud with Sin Cara (which before then we could only speculate on). After watching that edition of “Superstar Toyz” I can honestly say that I like Hunico, because for the first time I got to see him be a real person rather than the arrogant Mexican thug that he portrays on TV. Would it be too hard to get some of the real Hunico into his on screen character? It’s really too bad they can’t get substantive promos for the superstars like this on TV, because this, and that YouTube only clip of Mark Henry after he got drafted to Smackdown actually make me care about the characters. I know, it’s a crazy concept.
Words and Action
Hunico’s promos are done mostly in Spanish, so if you’re like me and don’t speak the language, his words are essentially meaningless, because I can’t draw meaning from them. When he does cut English promos, it’s the basic disparaging America, touting his own skill and calling himself the future of the WWE. There’s nothing there that makes him stand out, nothing there that adds any depth to his character. Not only are his words flat, so are his actions. He’s been in two feuds in his WWE career, the first with Sin Cara as Sin Cara Negro, a rivalry that was never fully explained on TV. The second was with Ted DiBiase, because he was mad about not getting invited to the DiBiase Posse Tailgating Party. None of these feuds did anything the advance the character in the slightest.
Hunico is part of the completely flat, one-dimensional mid and lower card for the WWE. I know those characters aren’t as important as the Main Event guys, but they are part of the show too, and deserve to have some (not a lot but some) depth. Hell, Game of Thrones juggles between 20-30 characters beautifully in their 10 hours of programming a year, each character getting screen time that allows them to convey emotion, purpose, and advance their character’s narrative to the viewer. In the last 10 hours of WWE TV, I’d say only about 5-8 character’s have had their narrative advanced and been allowed to show the depth of their character. In comparison, the WWE looks pretty pathetic.
As things stand, I can’t really get a read on Hunico’s motivation. He came into the WWE impersonating Sin Cara, only to be beaten and forced to remove the mask. Then he had a rivalry with DiBiase over not being invited to the DiBiase Posse Pre-Show Parties. What in the blue hell does this guy want? What does he expect out of his time in the WWE? Why does he do the things he does? The only answer I have based on the character the WWE has presented is I don’t know.
In the episode of “Superstar Toyz” that Hunico showed off his masks, it seems that a very big apect of wrestling, at least to him as a person, is respect. The masks he has gotten from his idols in Mexico, people that he looked up to and inspired him to fight to get to where he is today, are a sign of respect. Being respected and earning the respect of others are important to him and that shouldn’t change from Mexico to the WWE. Hunico desires respect from his peers. Respect for him is not just a word, it is shown through actions, and chronicled through tokens. His mask collection shows the respect he garnered in Mexico, and he’s looking to start a new collection, one that commemorates the respect he earns from each WWE Superstar.
In the “Superstar Toyz” segment, Hunico showed great respect and reverence for the Masks he’s collected. The mask is a very important and respected part of wrestling in Mexico, and wrestling mask-less for the first time in his career will present its own emotional conflicts for Hunico. He will feel like he’s lost all the respect he’s worked so hard for and for all intents and purposes, failed himself. He will fight to earn back that respect (and tokens of respect), but will more importantly need to learn to forgive himself for the loss of his mask, because no tokens he earns will be enough until he does so.
In my opinion Hunico is miscast as a heel. I personally believe his personality, size, and in-ring style all lend themselves better to being a babyface. If I were allowed to turn him, I would make his character the resilient and tough luchadore, stripped of his mask, fighting to re-gain his respect. I’d convey that losing his mask upon his arrival to the WWE stripped away all the respect he earned as a masked wrestler in Mexico. Feeling disgraced, Hunico is attempting top earn back that respect match by match. His story will be one of redemption, and everyone loves a redemption story, because everyone can relate on some level to someone who’s been disgraced. I feel like this babyface Hunico character could take the mid-card by storm.
All that being said, if the WWE is intent on keeping Hunico a heel character, I’d portray him as a highly skilled, business-like mercenary. Think along the lines of “The Cousins” in Breaking Bad (if you haven’t seen the show, what the hell is wrong with you?) or a new cleaner business like version of the APA. It’s not about arrogance or being a thug, it’s a job. One that Hunico does very cleanly and efficiently. His only vice is that he needs to collect a token from his victims. That’s what his mask collection is, and he’s starting a new collection.
Have him offer his services to heel superstars, who laugh due to his stature, until he shows them his collection of tokens as proof that he has taken out many a man. Then just let him be a talented hired gun for heels, and allow him to actually take out a few lower card guys to build credibility. I’d get a kick out of a character like that, and it would also give the WWE Universe a real reason to be afraid of Hunico (not just an aesthetic one).
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think? What are your thoughts on the episode of “Superstar Toyz” featuring Hunico? Did it make you a fan of his? Do you think that Hunico would make a better babyface than a heel?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas wishing every father out there a Happy belated Father’s Day! Hope it was a good one. Have a great week everybody!