Few people outside of Mexico understand just how important the mask is to that countries top and most popular luchadores. It is their identity but also a symbol of dignity and respect. To lose one's mask is to lose those two irreplaceable gifts. In some cases, losing one's mask can be tantamount to career suicide. Thus, Mask vs. Mask matches are hyped as a big deal, as they should be. More important than any championship match could be south of the border, they are headline matches that promise great disgrace for the unfortunate loser. But they are not matches exclusively reserved for Mexico. The influx of luchadores into the American product, particularly World Championship Wrestling, allowed an all new audience to bear witness to the special attraction match. Unfortunately, Eric Bischoff and company never fully understood the importance of the bout and thus, it was approached flippantly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyGxxRCsspo Juventud Guerrera lost his mask to Chris Jericho. Rey Mysterio was unmasked following a loss to Kevin Nash. Psychosis lost his mask in a match with Billy Kidman. To his credit, WCW commentator Mike Tenay did an extraordinary job of putting over the importance of what fans were seeing but booking prior to, and coming out of, the match was so subpar that it meant little. It was not until Mysterio put the mask back on and debuted in WWE that the threat of losing his match was treated with the respect and importance that it deserved. His Mask vs. Intercontinental Championship match against Chris Jericho at The Bash in 2009 was one of the hottest and most anticipated bouts on the card, thanks in large part to the seriousness with which WWE Creative approached the stipulation.
Erik Beaston is a freelance pro wrestling writer who likes long walks in the park, dandelions and has not quite figured out that this introduction is not for Match.com. He resides in Parts Unknown, where he hosts weekly cookouts with Kane, The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango and The Boogeyman. Be jealous.