Santos Escobar Turns Heel By Attacking Rey Mysterio On WWE SmackDown

Santos Escobar and Rey Mysterio have spent almost the entirety of 2023 as friends and partners in the Latino World Order, but it all came crashing down on Friday's episode of "WWE SmackDown," when Escobar viciously turned on Mysterio following a match between fellow LWO member Carlito and Bobby Lashley.

In the show's opening segment, Mysterio and Escobar were confronted in the ring by Carlito, who questioned Escobar's role — intentionally or not — in Mysterio losing the United States Championship to Logan Paul at Crown Jewel. Escobar responded angrily and left the ring, walking out on the group. He returned to ringside during Carlito's match after Lashley's associates, the Street Profits, got involved, but when Carlito lost and Lashley and the Profits began beating him down, Escobar hesitated instead of helping his stablemate. This prompted Mysterio to come down to the ring, where he and Escobar got physical with one another before Escobar rolled onto the ring apron. A remorseful Mysterio joined him there, trying to mend the breach, but Escobar shoved him into the ring post proceeded to crush his leg with the ring steps. Escobar then left ringside while the other members of the LWO came down to help Rey, including Zelina Vega, who vocally rejected Escobar's protests that the incident was Mysterio's fault.

While the attack by Escobar didn't appear to be premeditated, the turn is likely part of a storyline between he and Mysterio that goes back months. As Kevin Owens reminded viewers on commentary, Escobar has had a legitimate grievance with Mysterio since Mysterio took an injured Escobar's place in a match against Austin Theory that resulted in Mysterio becoming United States Champion.