The Hispanic athletes in wrestling tend to make for some of the most entertaining, high-octane wrestling in the squared circle, as these superstars have been serving the sport for over 50 years now. These superstars have been taught the art of wrestling in their own style called the lucha libre style of wrestling which mostly teaches the high-flying maneuvers which ups the tempo of the match. With this, their own technical knowledge of wrestling along with the ability to entertain the crowd easily makes them a strong pull for a company like the WWE, who want to stay liberal and promote superstars of all races and countries to showcase how diverse their product is.
Hispanic superstars have always been an asset for the WWE, especially with the turn of the century when more and more Hispanics from WCW flocked into WWE and received immense stardom in the company. While not every Hispanic superstar can make it to the very top of the company, some have risen to being the top guys of the company for a while as their antics and ability to entertain turned them into some of the most entertaining pulls of the WWE. These guys brought something different to the company with their lucha libre style and the sizzling personality of these superstars has many a times escalated them to the top.
The WWE has seen so many Hispanic superstars enter and exit the company in the last decade or so, as the death of WCW and ECW solidified the WWE as the prime company for these luchadors to try and shine in. While not everyone is necessarily a high-flying luchadors, the entertaining gimmicks of these superstars and quirky mannerisms have always brought a sense of intrigue from the audience towards them. While many Hispanic wrestlers found success in the WWE, many failed to get over with the fans and therefore had to leave.
THOSE WHO SUCCEEDED
15 Chavo Guerrero
A 3rd generational wrestler, Chavo Guerrero has wrestling in his blood as the Latino came into the WWE with his uncle, Eddie Guerrero. Chavo would debut alongside Eddie as part of Los Guerreros who quickly became the best thing about the WWE tag team division, and sneaked out victories with their cheating behavior. This got Eddie hugely over as he went onto main event shows, as Chavo was left to the cruiserweight division. But he took the opportunity by the scruff of the neck, as he soon went onto become the top heel of the division as well as sizzling with his impeccable technical ability in the ring. He soon became a four time Cruiserweight Champion, when tragedy struck when Eddie shockingly passed away. Chavo had to man up and take the Guerrero family’s pressure on his shoulders now as Eddie’s death got him a small push as he went onto have some top-level feuds. Chavo then got drafted to the ECW brand where he became ECW champion, before spending the last of his WWE days in the mid-card and becoming a mentor of Darren Young on the 1st season of NXT. He would leave the company after almost 10 years in it, and even though he never could become one of the “top champions” of the promotion, he did dazzle everyone with his “lie, cheat & steal” mentality as well as making for a brilliant heel.
14 Eve Torres
Eve Torres was one of the first Latinas to enter into the WWE ring, as she was scouted off the WWE’s Divas Search program as she became the winner of the 2007 Divas Search program. After some raunchy divas contests, she made her official debut on RAW in 2008 and started feuding with veteran Diva, Michelle McCool. Eve also started to feud with Layla after the feud with McCool, where she got over by pining Layla twice. After that, she had a short stint with Cryme Tyme and feuded with Natalya, after which she was soon drafted to RAW. Here, Eve participated in the tournament for the vacant Divas Championship, reaching the semi-finals where she was defeated by eventual winner, Maryse. She soon defeated Maryse to win her first ever Divas Championship, before losing it to Alicia Fox. But she dug in deep and soon won her 2nd Divas Championship. She held it this time for around 4 months and saw herself became one of the top Divas in the company. Eve then saw herself move to a bizarre romance story-line with Zack Ryder and John Cena, after which she turned heel and became the Executive Administrator of Raw and Smackdown. She then turned face after a couple of months, after which she feuded with the new-comers of the Divas division and put some of them over. Eve asked for her release from WWE in 2012, as she decided to focus on her role as an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program. She’s now am ambassador for the WWE and has served well for the company, finding much success during and after her reign in the company.
13 Tito Santana
Tito Santana was one of the first Hispanic superstars to gain prominence in the WWE, as he laid down the path for more of these exciting superstars to come and try to excel in the company. Santana received the spotlight upon his return to the company, as he started feuding with Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco and finally won the Intercontinental Title after a lengthy feud. He became the first ever Hispanic wrestler to do so and soon got into some prominent feuds, even having a WWE Championship match against The Iron Sheik. After an injury, Santana returned to try to reclaim the Intercontinental Title from nemesis Greg Valentine, and recaptured it in a brutal steel cage match. Santana eventually lost it to Randy “Macho Man” Savage, after which he was moved to the tag team division. He formed the popular tag team “Strike Force” with Rick Martel in 1987 and won the WWE Tag Team Championship, holding it for five months. He kept on tagging with Martel for two years, after which the team disbanded and Santana would be left to have some oddball feuds. Santana left in 1991, leaving a legacy to be proud off for other wrestlers as he was the first Hispanic Intercontinental Champion and also went onto wrestle for the first nine WrestleManias.
“I Spit in the Face of People who don’t want to be cool” was the famous catchphrase of Carlito, who with his disrespectful attitude went a long way in the WWE, becoming one of its prominent mid-carders when he was in the company. After spending a long time at Ohio Valley Wrestling(OVW) which was the developmental of WWE responsible for bringing out stars like John Cena and Brock Lesnar, Carlito was introduced in the Smackdown! brand of WWE as this trash-talking Caribbean heel and went onto win the US Championship from Cena in his debut match. Carlito would then demean everybody on the roster, chewing and then spitting apples on others. This would get him over as a heel, as he would soon be drafted to the A-Show in RAW and won the Intercontinental Championship in his first match for the brand as well. He’d then get Torrie Wilson as his on-screen girlfriend, before ditching her and continuing with his heel persona. This persona got him to be like the Razor Ramon of his era, as he later on went to win the Unified Tag Titles with his brother Primo. This went well for a time being, after which Carlito would start losing prominence in the company and lost his place in the company when he refused to go to rehab for a reported addiction to painkillers. But Carlito’s cool behavior was pretty awesome back in the day and he solidified the Hispanic superstar’s status in the company as a return to the company can’t be cancelled out.
11 The Bella Twins
The Bella Twins’ rise in power and popularity in the WWE is admirable, as the two started from the scratch in the WWE and soon rose to the very top of the company. Brie and Nikki both debuted in the same year, with Brie being introduced first and then Nikki being introduced as her sister. The sisters then started to have on-screen love affairs with many superstars, as well as working matches where the twin would illegally come into the match to win it for her sister. This soon escalated them to the top, as the Bella’s soon arrived in the Divas’ Championship scene with Brie being the first sister to win the gold. A year later, Nikki would become Divas Champion as both took turns to hold the gold. Then came a hiatus of keeping low-key in the company, before Brie started feuding with Stephanie McMahon and was betrayed by Nikki who turned heel. The Sisters then went onto feud, with Nikki winning it and keeping Brie as her assistant. Nikki would then win the championship and Brie would turn heel as well, calling themselves with Team Bella as Alicia Fox soon joined them. Nikki went onto have a record-breaking Divas Title run of 301 days before losing it to Charlotte. After that, Nikki has been down with injury as Brie recently retired from the company after her husband Daniel Bryan was forced to retire as well. The Bellas are still off great brand value for the WWE, with both advertising it very well and encouraging more Hispanic ladies to come to the WWE.
10 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio has been called “Mexico’s greatest export” in the WWE, which indicates the stature of the guy who is extremely talented in the ring. The son of Mexican luchador Dos Caras, Del Rio has wrestling in his DNA and utilizes it to the most by dishing out great matches in the squared circle. So when he debuted as this rich Mexican who loathed everyone else, he had a swagger about him which not many had at the point and that escalated him to the top of the company soon. His impressive aura got WWE to win him the Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble in 2 years as he went onto hold the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships soon enough. Del Rio kept on feuding with the best of the lot after his title reigns, as his excellent heel gimmick reaped the crowd’s attention towards him. But after a backstage incident, he was wrongfully fired from the WWE and spent the next years working for the other top promotions in the world. He made a shocking return in the 2015 Hell in a Cell PPV, where he defeated John Cena to win the US title and seemed to be back in the thick of things again. Del Rio was dented by the League of Nations role afterwards, but is again back into prominence after it and looks to be the major heel of Smackdown after being drafted to the brand. And if things start to go his way soon, we’ll all be dancing to the tune of “Viva Del Rio” soon enough.
9 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was probably one of the hottest coups from WCW as he decided on travelling to the mighty WWE in order to become a bigger star. And boy did he become a star. Mysterio’s WWE career would begin in the budding cruiserweight division, where he showed his incredible athleticism and high-flying skills to wow audiences and put on amazing matches with other wrestlers. After multiple Cruiserweight Title reigns and ruling over the division, he moved onto bigger things as he tagged with and then had an amazing feud with fellow Latino, Eddie Guerrero. Eddie’s sad demise would be a blessing in disguise for Rey, who would uphold Guerrero’s legacy and get a major push in the company. Rey would go onto win the 2006 Royal Rumble match after entering at #2 and later go onto make for one of the greatest underdog stories by winning the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania. This would elevate him to the main-event status, as dropping the title didn’t deter him and he kept on featuring in high profile matches and would later on go onto win the Intercontinental Title and WWE title as well. His popularity fell towards the end of his WWE career because of the inflow of new talent, as the aging Mysterio still manages to pull off crazy move since his departure from the WWE in 2015. Mysterio’s rise in the WWE is inspirational enough for a young luchador to try and give it a go in the extremely competitive and cut-throat environment of WWE.
8 Eddie Guerrero
There was a point in WWE when people tuned into the Smackdown! brand to see Eddie Guerrero “lie, cheat & steal” his way to win matches. Eddie showed how good a wrestler he was during his WCW days and WWE had to acquire his services after buying off WCW. Eddie debuted in the WWE with his friends Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn as part of The Radicalz but quickly escalated to “Latino Heat” with Chyna at his side. This stint was very entertaining but didn’t get him that over, but the turn of the century did the trick for him as he returned alongside his brother Chavo to form Los Guerreros. They arrived in a low rider and lied, cheated and stole their way into success as this gimmick got Eddie extremely over with the fans. The WWE made for his push very well, escalating him from the US Championship scene to the main event scene perfectly as he dethroned the mighty Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship as that match is still one of the most memorable ones in the history of the company. Eddie’s reign as WWE champion was brilliant, as he pulled off some hilarious antics as well as some amazing matches and kept his place as one of the top guys even after he turned heel after losing his title. He had an intense feud with Rey Mysterio and also competed for the World Heavyweight Title against Batista at No Mercy 2005, which would be his last ever wrestling PPV. Eddie was actually booked to win the World Title at a Smackdown! taping from Batista but we sadly saw his demise due to an acute heart failure. But the legacy Eddie left in the company for Hispanic superstars is incredible, as he has been the icon and a source of inspiration for budding wrestlers over the years and also was responsible for more Hispanic superstars gaining a place in the company, as Latino Heat is undoubtedly the greatest Hispanic superstar to have ever set a foot inside the WWE ring.
THOSE WHO FAILED
7 Essa Rios
Essa Rios was only 18 when he debuted in the WWE as part of its newly relaunched light heavyweight division and Rios saw himself becoming a part of the division quickly. Rios went to the semi-finals of the light heavyweight tournament, where he lost to eventual winner Taka Michinoku who he went onto have a match against at WrestleMania XIV, for the Cruiserweight Title. Although Rios didn’t manage to win it from Michinoku, he kept on challenging for it and soon became a main-stay for the cruiserweight division and went onto win the Cruiserweight Title from Gillberg. Rios then took Lita as his manager, as Lita would often repeat Rios’s moves on his opponents after the match had finished. Rios went onto lose the Cruiserweight Title a few weeks after winning it to Dean Malenko, as he and Lita would go onto feud with Eddie Guerrero and Chyna for a European Championship match between Guerrero and Rios. But he was unable to win this and soon fell out of order after disbanding with Lita (who went onto join the Hardy Boyz) and fell in obscurity. After being out of TV for months, Rios left the company in 2001 and tried his hand in the Japanese circuit, as his WWE career had been an utter disappointment.
One of the most prominent cruiserweights during his time in the WCW where he became a two-time Cruiserweight Champion, Psicosis was a crazy genius for the WWE to have but they failed to utilize him properly. After dazzling in WCW and a short stint in the independent circuit, Psicosis was called upon by WWE who put him in the Mexican stable of The Mexicools as they entered riding on lawn mowers. They tried to take over the cruiserweight and tag team divisions but couldn’t do either, as Psicosis failed to win either the Cruiserweight or the Tag Team Titles. He would secure the first PPV win for The Mexicools by beating The Blue World Order, as he would be key to The Mexicools making their way up the tag-team ladder but wasn’t ever given a fair chance at the cruiserweight division. Psicosis went onto win some matches as part of The Mexicools but then turned heel on his team-mate Super Crazy as fans were intrigued at the thought of them feuding together. All the excitement would come to nothing, as after a match between them Psicosis would never appear in WWE TV again. He was inactive in the company for around 4 months after which he was fired by the WWE for getting arrested in Mexico, as his WWE run had been extremely underwhelming and disastrous compared to his WCW run and his exciting talent was put to complete waste by the company.
5 Epico and Primo
Epico and Primo have a great chemistry together as the real-life brothers have grown together as wrestlers, but just don’t seem to have that swagger which led Carlito to success in the WWE. After becoming a team in 2011, Epico and Primo saw success towards the early parts of their career as they went onto win the WWE Tag Team Titles some months after debuting. They kept it for some-time, even retaining the titles at WrestleMania XXVIII but the stacks were always against them with newer tag teams staking a claim for their title. Epico and Primo soon saw themselves drop down the order after losing the titles, and went down the order to start working NXT shows. They were repackaged to become Los Matadores as Diego and Fernandes with their “bull” El Torito. They had a nine match winning streak over the likes of 3MB and The Real Americans but couldn’t manage to get the fans’ attention. El Torito soon got more over than the team who barely won matches and were mostly jobbing to others. They finally turned their backs on El Torito and again got repackaged as The Shining Stars. After a series of vignettes over the course of a few months, they finally debuted to no ovation at all and haven’t been seen on Raw since. The lack of charisma in the team doesn’t allow them to catch the audience’s attention, as their WWE career seems to be going down with each passing moment.
4 Juventud Guerrera
Another one of WCW’s greatest Cruiserweight Champions, Juventud Guerrera was called to the WWE because of the The Mexicools stable alongside Psiscosis and Super Crazy. Juventud quickly established himself as the leader or mouthpiece of the group, calling himself by his old nickname “The Juice”. The Mexicools feuded with The Blue World Order and defeated them in their first PPV, as Juventud lead the group well as they later on went onto feud with Cruiserweight Champion Nunzio and his tag partner Vito. They mostly feuded with people on Smackdown’s sister show Velocity and never gained prominence as Juventud won a battle royal to get a shot at the Cruiserweight title. Guerrera then went onto win the title from Nunzio, but lost it again quickly. He again regained the title, but this reign was also cut short by Kid Kash who won it from him. The hesitance on the part of the WWE on keeping a title on him never let him shine as a superstar, as he was fired from the WWE in early 2006 after having backstage issues with the management. Juventud never even got a chance at shining like he did back in the days in WCW, as the lack of a proper gimmick or push massively derailed his WWE career.
It’s rather difficult to even remember that Konnan who’s known for his career at WCW and later on TNA was a part of the WWE at some point. He did in fact appear in the company, as one of the hottest free agents of the time was contacted by Pat Patterson himself and was escorted in a personal jet to meet Mr. McMahon. He was later signed on by the WWE who completed ruined the anticipation for him by giving him some horrible gimmicks. After wrestling a few matches as Relampago, he was repackaged into the gimmick of Max Moon a moon character created by Konnan was that off a cyborg. The petty technicality to all of it as well as the antics surrounding this gimmick made for an awful impression on the crowd who absolutely dissed him. Be it him “hailing from the future” or “Outer Space’ or the techno song which was his entrance theme or the fact that he “shot sparkles” at the crowd, everything words against his development. It’s absolutely shocking to believe that WWE actually purchased his costume for $13,000, as he only would go onto wrestle 4 televised matches. Konnan then stopped working WWE shows after an argument with Vince McMahon, as his rising popularity in Mexico made him go back there. This meant for a loss for McMahon who had put in a lot for the Max Moon character both financially and creatively, as Konnan’s WWE career was an absolute bust for this horrific creation.
2 Super Crazy
Super Crazy was definitely crazy inside the squared circle, as he attempted risky moves which not many could dare to and gave for some exciting matches in his career. A king of the independent circuit, Crazy rose to prominence in ECW where he fit in with his enigmatic, dare-devil attitude and went onto win the ECW Television Title. He kept on giving some amazing matches in the sinking ship of ECW, after which he went back to the indy circuit. A call came from WWE (where he had worked earlier in the career as a jobber) as they paired him with fellow Hispanic wrestlers to form The Mexicools. Crazy was the high-flying, exciting guy of the villainous stable as he soon got a Cruiserweight Title opportunity which he couldn’t capitalize on. Crazy would not receive popularity because of his gimmick as he would get odd victories but never got a solid push which he craved for. He defeated some lower-mid carders only to job to prominent guys and was drafted over the shows many times. Crazy would leave the WWE in 2008 after voicing displeasure at his position in the promotion, as the extremely-talented athlete was ruined by WWE’s hesitance at pushing someone like him.
1 Sin Cara (Mistico)
The original Sin Cara was Mistico who is one of the best luchadors in the world right now, and there was a lot of hype surrounding him coming to the WWE in 2011. Cara got his own vignettes before his debut and there was a yellow light over the ring when he wrestled in matches, adding to the mysticism of the character. Mistico got a lot of victories under his belt heading into the 2011 Money in the Bank PPV, where he couldn’t capture the briefcase and was out with a storyline injury. After his return, he would have a bizarre and underwhelming feud with an imposter Sin Cara. This culminated in a Mask vs Mask match between him and the imposter where he won, but the story-line tainted his character’s reputation. Sin Cara would later feud with Cody Rhodes, where he’d lost some matches and then team up with Rey Mysterio. This didn’t help him much, as the pair failed to capture the Tag Team Gold and soon were disbanded, leaving Sin Cara to start from scratch again in the singles competition. But Sin Cara dislocated his finger in a match against Alberto Del Rio on RAW and fell down the order, returning only for irrelevant matches. He was released in January 2014, as Mistico revealed that he still owned the “Sin Cara” character and that his failure was due to the WWE not letting him use his own style. The high-flying luchador might be a king in the Mexican circuit, but he failed to deliver in the big stage as the hype surrounding his WWE debut resulted in an absolute bust in the end.