All of this talk about the WWE hiring a “fake” Sin Cara – who has at times replaced the original Sin Cara played by Mexican superstar Mistico – is just the latest in a series of personnel moves by the promotion to rehab characters.
I remember the famous story when Konnan left the WWF after only playing his masked character Relentico for a few appearances in 1992, and Paul Diamond later mentioned in the dressing room that the costume fit him. All of sudden, Diamond was Max Moon in the get-up.
Back in the 1980s, we had Moondog Spot replace Moondog King, although I don’t think that was an attempt to brainwash fans. However, after Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka left the WWF, a new wrestler coincidentally hailing from the Fiji Islands, wearing similar tights, and originally being billed as “Superfly” showed up in 1986: Sivi Afi.
In fact, when Afi was introduced as “Superfly” Afi in his Madison Square Garden debut, half of the crowd only heard the first half of the name and erupted, thinking Snuka had returned. Then reality hit them, as they saw a noticeably smaller guy doing a crazy dance in the ring, and they turned on Afi big time. To make the disaster complete, Afi wrestled a sub par match in MSG against Ron Shaw.
The WWF referred to Afi as “Superfly” for a short time, with TV announcer Vince McMahon claiming he was the cousin of Snuka, but it never flew with fans. And why would it have? Snuka for a short time was the biggest star in wrestling who had a special connection to the fans, and it’s impossible to manufacture that type of magic later.
Afi hung around until about 1990, much of it as an upper prelim guy. His time in the WWF was forgettable.