WWE SmackDown‘s 1000th episode is today and what better wrestler who represents the spirit of the Blue Brand than the famous masked luchador, Rey Mysterio. The 3x World Champion is finally returning home after spending several years wrestling in the international scene. It was on SmackDown that Mysterio captured his first world championship. Moreover, Mysterio’s performance on SmackDown helped him become the most famous luchador of the 21st centaury.
The Arrival of the Jr.
Rey Mysterio came to SmackDown in the year 2002. The former WCW star spent the previous year wrestling for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) in Mexico, World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and various US indies. Mysterio debuted for the blue brand with his mask back. People often forget about the WCW fiasco that made Mysterio wrestle without his iconic mask in the international scene, before arriving in the WWE. It was Vince McMahon and management that saw promise in Mysterio’s unique persona and look.
The Jr. – as he was dubbed when he debuted – quickly established himself as one of the best of the WWE Cruiserweight division. He began to feud with the likes of Chavo Guerrero, Tajiri and Spike Dundley. In the process, he captured on three occasions the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
The moment that made fans fall in love with Rey Mysterio Jr. was his amazing run with Edge in the WWE Tag Team Tournament. The finals was between the team of Edge & Mysterio against Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle. Although the latter won the tournament, it was the final match that really made fans pay attention to the small masked luchador. Till this day, many fans regard that tag team match as one of the best in WWE history and in tag team wrestling.
My Brother and Foe, Eddie…
The years 2005 and 2006 were the biggest for Mysterio. He and Eddie Guerrero won the WWE Tag Team titles. Later, at WrestleMania 21, they would wrestle each other in one of the best matches of the night. After losing to Mysterio, Eddie would start a feud that really got personal, to the point of Mysterio’s son, Dominick, being involved. This would lead into a ladder match at SummerSlam for the notorious custody papers of Dominick. As crazy that feud sounds, it would end up being the last big summer for Eddie and Mysterio. On November 13, 2005, Eddie Guerrero was found dead in his hotel room in Minnesota.
The Smallest World Champion
Mysterio started to tag with World Heavyweight Champion Batista. In the process, the won the WWE Tag Team Championships. The Animal would get injured and had to relinquish his world championship, which subsequently started Mysterio’s hunt for just such a championship.
In the battle royal for the championship on SmackDown, Mysterio fell short, with Kurt Angle winning the World Heavyweight title. In the 2006 Royal Rumble, Mysterio would enter second and survived the historic event. Mysterio eliminated Randy Orton and had in his hand a World Championship opportunity for WrestleMania 22. Because of Orton’s greed, Mysterio agreed to put his opportunity in the line and, with Orton’s cheating, lost it in No Way Out. Teddy Long reinstated Mysterio into the match and in such triple threat, on the grandest stage of them all, Mysterio beat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton to capture the World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio till this day, is the lightest world champion in WWE history.
Injuries and Revenge
Rey Mysterio lost the World Heavyweight title to Booker T on SummerSlam. It was an horrible title reign for the masked luchador, with Mysterio not getting legitimate wins and looking weak. In the latter part of 2006, Mysterio would injured his knee and had to take some months off – on tv, this was done with Chavo Guerrero hitting Mysterio’s knee with various chairshots. Mysterio would return in SummerSlam 2007 and score a win against Guerrero, but, after a fail run to capture the world title, he injured his bicep. Mysterio would later be drafted to Raw on the summer of 2008.
Rey Mysterio Against the Straight Edge Society
In 2009, Mysterio was drafted back to SmackDown. He tagged with Batista to go against Jeri-Show, but failed in their attempt. Batista would betray his old friend and start a bitter feud that saw Mysterio getting KO by successive Batista Bombs. The gem of that run would be the rivalry against CM Punk‘s Straight Edge Society. Punk had a messiah-like gimmick in which he wanted Mysterio to join his cult. It was the best stuff of the SOS and for Mysterio at the time. This lead to a match on WrestleMania 26, which Mysterio won. Later in Over the Limit, Mysterio would win Punk’s hair.
Pride of Mexico and 3x World Champion
Mysterio started in 2010 to feud with Kane. Mysterio in a fatal 4-way won the World Heavyweight Championship, but, after defeating Jack Swagger on Money in the Bank, Kane cashed his title opportunity – he had won the Smackdown MITB early that night – and won the World title that Mysterio had won a month ago. They continue their feud until SummerSlam, but Mysterio never recuperated himself from that defeat.
In the coming year, Mysterio would suffer injuries, wellness policy violations and even his status as the main Latin American star, as Alberto del Rio became a favorite of Vince McMahon. He would tag often and have brief moments of light, like winning the WWE Championship on Raw. But in reality, his best years were behind on SmackDown. Mysterio would eventually be released from his contract – he didn’t wanted to re-sign.
After his turbulent last years, Mysterio found himself back were all started, in AAA Worldwide. He started to tour in every corner of the world, wrestling in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and recently for New Japan Pro Wrestling. It wasn’t until the 2018 Royal Rumble that we saw Rey Mysterio back at WWE. He was in the best shape of his life, we the greatest reaction of the night – after the Ronda Rousey surprise. Now, after months of speculation, Mysterio is coming home, wrestling in the place that saw him flourish. The most famous luchador of the 21st Centaury is back on the blue brand.