The Shining Stars may burn out before they even get a chance to burn bright for the WWE Universe. WWE fans were teased for weeks with vignettes promoting the arrival of the tag team from Puerto Rico, “the shining star of the Caribbean.” It’s a new gimmick, but most fans reacted in blasé fashion to the returns of Primo and Epico, who are now on their third versions of themselves, all met with minimal fanfare and success.
Before they were the Shining Stars, the real-life cousins performed as Primo and Epico, debuting in late 2011. They actually captured tag team gold in their first run during a downswing in the division. They were even champions during the build to WrestleMania 28, but were relegated to the pre-show for a triple threat match against The Usos and the team of Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd. The two were taken off television at the beginning of 2013 after suffering 17 and 20-match losing streaks, respectively.
The pair reemerged in the fall of that year as Los Matadores, two masked Spanish bullfighters and wrestlers. They were even given several months worth of promotional vignettes and a manager, El Torito. But their run as Los Matadores failed even more, and this iteration only lasted until September of 2015. They were taken off WWE programming yet again, but kept on the payroll as the WWE creative team was instructed to come up with the gimmick we see now: The Shining Stars.
To very little surprise, the reaction from the fans mirrored that of the one backstage. Daily Wrestling News is reporting that the debut of the Shining Stars fell flat with officials, and a source indicated they wouldn’t be surprised if they fell down the ladder fast. If they were to continue as currently constructed, the Shining Stars may even be extinguished quicker than any of their other runs. As noted, this is Primo and Epico’s third shot at tag-team success, and some backstage feel that if a middling tag team can get second and third chances, why couldn’t the writing staff find more meaningful programs and gimmicks for the likes of the recently-released Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow.
Some are attributing it to the team’s family lineage. Primo’s father, and Epico’s uncle is Carlos Colon, Sr, a 2014 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. Colon’s other son, and Primo’s brother, Carlito, is, of course, a former WWE superstar in his own right. There are some backstage that feel the only way to save the Shining Stars is to bring Carlito back to the WWE and have him manage or represent the team in some fashion. The source noted that Primo has not been over since Carlito was on the active roster, and if Carlito can’t help them climb the tag team division, then they might be a lost cause altogether.
The feeling is that there are only two ways to get the Shining Stars over to the degree WWE desires. They have been re-packaged as heels, so the reaction is already there, but the hope is that live crowds continue to at least react, rather than sit on their hands. Carlito coming back is the first option. The second is to provide the pair with a backstory that fans can invest in. Many are wondering why the tag team is called The Shining Stars, their finisher is called the Shining Star and their theme song is entitled Shining Star. With a writing staff of nearly 30, you’d have to hope that isn’t just a poorly-checked coincidence.
One of Triple H’s missions since becoming an executive was to reignite the tag team division. It was executed nicely two years ago, took a dip, and now has bounced back again in 2016. The Shining Stars were developed to add even more depth and present more heel challengers to The New Day. But with the emergence of The Club and Enzo & Cass on the main roster, and American Alpha and The Revival waiting in the wings of NXT, the Shining Stars may need an extra shot of creative before they’re sent packing back to Puerto Rico for good.
[Image via WWE]