Several top WWE stars — namely CM Punk, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan — have bickered over who is really “best in the world,” but could there be another contender for the crown in their midst?
The cat is already out of the bag: WWE has signed El Generico (or at least made him a verbal offer contingent on passing the required fitness/drug tests).
Although this may mean nothing to hordes of young’uns bedecked in “U Can’t See Me” t-shirts at Raw tapings, it means a lot to fans who follow independent wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, Chikara and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
For nearly a decade now, El Generico has built a reputation as one of the most entertaining, hard-working and physically gifted performers on the independent scene.
Many who have followed his career, in fact, believe Generico is unrivaled on the indies.
Colt Cabana — himself one of independent wrestling’s most recognized and respected performers — recently told WrestleNewz that Generico is the epitome of a great independent performer:
“El Generico, at this point in his career, is the best unsigned wrestler in the world,” Cabana said during an interview with WrestleNewz shortly before Generico was acquired by WWE. “In the ring, he is the best.”
Cabana is not the only person to have suggested that Generico is king of the indy mountain.
The so-called Generic Luchador is the “indy scene’s best wrestler,” according to cagesideseats.com. The Wrestling Observer newsletter picked Generico’s long and brutal rivalry with Kevin Steen as its 2010 “Feud of the Year.”
Then again, Generico ranked at a respectable but not overwhelming 46th place on the venerable PWI 500 in 2011, and at 82nd in 2012.
Wrestling is, after all, a subjective art form, so a number of other indy warriors could be considered the “best” in the world (Kevin Steen, the Briscoes, Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan make the shortlist).
No matter how you slice it, though, Generico has accomplished incredible things in wrestling (especially for a pale, gangly ginger from Quebec portraying a Mexican who can’t speak English). His accomplishments are too many to list, as are the kudos he has earned from fans, wrestling pundits and fellow wrestlers alike.
According to the scuttlebutt, Generico’s ample talents were noticed by Triple H, who is apparently eager to invest in young standouts that could quickly adopt the WWE style and rise to the main roster.
So perhaps Generico will be given the opportunities and leeway to show off the talents that have made him an independent star. Perhaps he’ll transition from being arguably the best independent worker to a viable main-event contender against the likes of Punk and Bryan.
Or perhaps not. Maybe he’ll be stripped of his mask and persona, to be repackaged as an inbred moonshiner from the Ozarks named Cletus, or a streetwise breakdancer called Fresh Beatz, or some other goofy gimmick. Perhaps he’ll go from being El Generico to simply generic — an athletic but uninteresting “good hand” trapped in the NXT puppy mill. It has happened before, and it will surely happen again.
Fans who have followed Generico’s ascent up the indy ranks can only hope the talent and charisma that have set him apart will serve him well in wrestling’s big leagues. Ole!