This time two years ago El Generico was in the midst of Ring of Honor’s hottest feud. His former tag team partner Kevin Steen had turned on him at Final Battle 2009 following a loss to the Young Bucks. Steen, aided by Steve Corino, embarked on a vicious war against ‘The Generic Luchador’, claiming that he’d been holding him back from achieving his full potential.
Something about the feud connected with fans. Generico was the perfect underdog babyface: feeling betrayed by Steen’s betrayal it took six months for the masked man to begin fighting back. When he did he received heartening cheers from the fans in attendance. Steen played his role perfectly too: he was the sadistic, bullying heel that got off on mentally and physically destroying his former teammate.
It was this rivalry that set ‘Mr Wrestling’ on his route to singles stardom. It was that programme that set him on the path to the top of Ring of Honor, ultimately resulting in him becoming the ROH world champion. He managed that despite making only a handful of appearances for the company during 2011. Generico has suffered a very different fate since that feud ended (or, perhaps more accurately, paused) at the end of 2010.
The first portion of last year saw Generico drifting aimlessly. It wasn’t until the summer that he finally got something to sink his teeth into when he was put into a program with the House of Truth. That feud saw the “Mexican” capture his first ROH singles title when he defeated ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels for the TV championship at Best in the World.
Sadly that state of affairs didn’t last as Generico was booked to drop the title to Jay Lethal a month and a half later at the first set of SBG tapings. It felt like a wasted opportunity, because itwas. At that point Generico was one of the promotion’s most over acts and seemed like he was on the cusp of establishing himself as a genuine headline star. Had the booking team gotten behind him and kept the TV title on him for longer that may have happened. They didn’t and the opposite happened instead: Generico has been largely neglected since dropping the belt to Lethal nine months ago.
Steen and Generico came out of their feud with the same amounts of momentum but it is ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’ who is enjoying the more prominent role. That’s with the aforementioned year off. Generico had an entire year of exposure that Steen didn’t and despite that he is currently lower on the card than at any point since 2009.
That our boy was left off of the Border Wars iPPV illustrates just how far his stock has fallen. He’s billed from Tijuana but he is famously from Quebec. A year ago it would have been a surprise had he been left off of a major show emanating from his (genuine) home country but now it doesn’t come as a surprise.
In fairness I imagine part of the reason he was kept off of the card was to provide a logical reason for his lack of interference in the Richards v Steen match: it would be unlikely for him to allow his arch nemesis to capture the company’s greatest prize if he were in attendance. That could easily have been addressed by having Generico hit the ring after Steen captured the title. The simple truth is that Ring of Honor just aren’t interested in utilising him as a star and this has been the case for so long that fans are no longer especially bothered about him as a performer.
Things aren’t all bad though. Steen having the title should guarantee Generico a title match at some point, and considering their history I’d be surprised if it happened anywhere but on an internet pay-per-view. Despite his recent booking Generico remains popular (just not as popular as he was two years back) and still has the skill and talent to wrestle compelling, entertaining matches. If ROH’s booking team has a mind too they could turn ‘The Generic Luchador’ into another headline talent.