According to one of the people involved, a Survivor Series moment was not planned before the show.
For luchadores, the removal of an opponent’s mask is seen as extremely disrespectful, so much so that in many promotions it can result in matches ending in disqualification. If a star’s mask is ripped off in the course of a match, the wrestler’s first priority is to cover up his face as soon as possible to prevent fans from seeing it.
At WWE Survivor Series, Santos Escobar attempted to do just that to Dragon Lee during their heated match. Looking back on the bout on Freddie Prinze Jr.’s Wrestling With Freddie podcast, Escobar claimed that ripping Lee’s mask was unplanned and was “just the heel in him” coming out.
“I think nowadays, our audiences are understanding the importance of the mask. I don’t know if you recall, at the latest premium live event, Survivor Series, I tore Dragon Lee’s mask. That was 100% non-scripted. That was just the heel in me and I think it’s important that our audiences get that feel.
“Now we have Dragon Lee, now we have Axiom, now we have Rey, now we have more and more people diving into the lucha culture but like really, really doing it with the mask, the tradition, the respect that’s behind the mask.
“It’s important that our audiences know, for a fact, that when someone with the mask goes against the mask, it means something. It ups the stakes. We were in Chicago of all places, Chicago is Mexico [laughs]. So when I tore that mask, I could feel the white heat.”
To add insult to injury, Escobar defeated Dragon Lee decisively with a Canadian Destroyer and Phanton Driver for the pinfall.
Dragon Lee Deliberately Removes Mask For Fan At WWE Live Event
Earlier in December, Dragon Lee willingly removed his mask to swap it with a young fan he spotted at ringside wearing a Rey Mysterio mask during a live event.
Unfortunately, the new mask didn’t help the star as he once again fell to Santos Escobar.
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.