Booyaka Booyaka 619: 30 Years of Rey Mysterio

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Photo: WWE

Today is the 30th Anniversary of Rey Mysterio’s debut into professional wrestling, as he continues to carry on his legacy of not only the greatest luchador of all time but quite possibly the greatest wrestler to ever dawn a mask in the world of pro wrestling. The impact Rey Mysterio has had on pro wrestling is among the biggest in the history of the business, and with that here is a celebration of the Greatest Mask Of All Time and his long, storied career.

Rey was trained by his uncle, Rey Misterio Sr., and debuted in Mexico at the incredibly young age of 14 years old on April 30th, 1989. As Rey said in his tweet, April 30th in Mexico is known as “Día del Niño”, which means “Day of the Kid”. And was it the day of the kid alright, as Mysterio would make his debut at such a young age and begin to perfect his craft in the Lucha Libre style under the name of Colibrí. It wouldn’t be until his uncle handing down the name of Rey Mysterio to him that he would take the name that would be remembered forever.

A 14-year old Rey Mysterio

In 1992, Rey Mysterio would join Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, which many now know as AAA. He would make his debut on July 10 of 1992, teaming with Super Calo and Winners to defeat El Magnante, Marabunta, and the incredibly well-known Psicosis in a best two out of three falls match for his first victory. For much of 1992, he would compete in 6-man tags as the young Mysterio continued to learn and become well-known with the Mexico crowd. In the same year, Mysterio won his first championship in his long career when he captured the Mexican National Welterweight Championship, getting his first true taste of success at just the age of 17 years old. He would hold the championship for 121 days before eventually losing to Heavy Metal, but what was clear is that Mysterio was on his way to be a budding star in the business.

Rey Mysterio at 17, 1992

As time went on, he would begin to really wow crowds in his first big-time rivalry with Juventud Guerrera, which would put both stars on the map, respectively. The rivalry involved the WWA World Lightweight and Welterweight Championships, battling for much of 1995 in battles that would include Guerrera’s father Fuerza Guerrera and Rey’s uncle, Rey Misterio Sr. As his time in AAA lessened, Mysterio would make his way to the United States, leaving his mark in two of the most well-known pro wrestling companies in US history, as he began competing in Extreme Championship Wrestling for a few matches at the tail end of 1995.

Mysterio would battle familiar foe Psicosis in his first ECW match, coming out victorious at the ECW Gangstas Paradise event. He would even manage to get an ECW Championship match against Mikey Whipwreck in his short time, as he would fall to the champion, but continued to leave his mark in the states and become a name to look out for in the years following. As 1996 rolled around, Mysterio would continue his career in AAA and ECW among companies before signing with World Championship Wrestling, which the world remembers as WCW.

Mysterio would be brought in to be a key part of the Cruiserweight Division which was incredibly game-changing for WCW, allowing them to build these younger stars with highlight making incredible matchups while also having the big names in the main event scene. Rey would make his debut on the 1996 edition of The Great American Bash PPV, challenging Dean Malenko for the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship. And despite a losing effort by Mysterio, he showed a new dynamic of athleticism and jaw-dropping move set that would make him a mainstay in the division moving forward. Mysterio would ultimately get another shot against Malenko by defeating Psicosis once again but this time in WCW’s Bash at the Beach, battling Malenko the next night and winning his first ever WCW World Cruiserweight Championship. Mysterio would successfully defend the title against the likes of Ultimo Dragon, Juventud Guerrera, and Billy Kidman before losing it back to Malenko at Halloween Havoc in the same year.

At the end of 1996, Mysterio would take on the incredible Jushin “Thunder” Liger in their only matchup in their history. The two greatest masked performers of all time and simply put, cruiserweights of all-time would go to battle at Starrcade in a match that so many talk about to this day. These two would show a tremendous amount of respect to each other throughout the match and to this day. Both men would put their bodies on the line in order to prove who is the best cruiserweight in the world on this night. The veteran Liger would just nab the victory on Mysterio, as he would hit the Liger Bomb for the three count. As Liger plans to retire at Wrestle Kingdom 14 next year, it would be cool for WWE to make a deal to allow Liger and Mysterio to face each other one last time.

Rey would be unmasked at the beginning of 1999 after losing to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall with teammate Konnan in a hair vs mask matchup. To this day, Mysterio continually disagrees with the decision to make him unmask, however it would not stop him by any means in his rise to super fame. Mysterio would go on to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship six more times before the ultimate demise of WCW in 2001. He would battle the likes of Eddie Guerrero, including their incredible match at the 1997 edition of Halloween Havoc. Following the demise of WCW in 2001, Mysterio returned to Mexico to wrestle in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) for ten matches before once again returning to the United States, battling the likes of Eddie Guerrero once again, as well as a young man by the name of CM Punk in 2002 in IWA Midsouth in a marvelous three way. Guerrero would come out victorious in this matchup, as this would be one of Rey’s last matches before joining WWE for many years to come.

Rey Mysterio would finally debut in the WWE on July 25, 2002 where he would face off against one of his best friends in Chavo Guerrero. Mysterio would be given this incredible hype on his way in after proving what a star he could be outside of the company, even getting an incredible entrance where he would pop out of the ramp and into the eye of the fans. Rey was an instant fan favorite that would never go away, being one of those superstars that would forever be loved by the WWE fans, adults and kids alike. Mysterio would quickly become a huge part, becoming a key part of the famously known “SmackDown Six as for the last half of 2002, Mysterio, Eddie, Chavo, Chris Benoit, Edge, and Kurt Angle would put on an incredible batch of matches week in and week out. The team of Edge and Mysterio would defeat the team of Benoit and Angle to win the WWE Tag Team Championships in a 24 minute, best two out of three falls classic on the November 5 edition of SmackDown. The six men would battle once again just 12 days later, this time in a three-way at Survivor Series as the Los Guerreros would defeat both teams to become the new WWE Tag Team Champions.

Following the continuous battles at the back end of 2002, Rey would return to be a singles competitor in 2003, where he would have his three WWE Cruiserweight Championship reigns in the period of 2003 to 2004. He would defeat Matt Hardy, at the time Matt Hardy Version 1.0, for his first reign on the 199th edition of SmackDown on June 3, 2003. Mysterio would grab his second reign by defeating the man who ended his first reign in Tajiri at the end of 2003. His reign would be short-lived, losing to Chavo Guerrero, and then beating Chavo Guerrero Sr. to have his third and final reign with the championship.

After fighting these two pairs of Guerreros, Rey would team up with best friend Eddie Guerrero to face The Basham Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Titles who had dethroned Rey and his partner Rob Van Dam when RVD went down with an injury. Rey and Eddie would win the WWE Tag Team Championships at No Way Out in 2005. Instead of defending those championships at WrestleMania 21, they would instead faceoff against each other, where Mysterio would get the better of Eddie, leading to frustration and the ultimate betrayal by Eddie on his best friend Rey, leading to the rivalry that took over the summer and was, unfortunately, the last big rivalry before Eddie’s passing. Rey and Eddie would have the battle for the custody of Mysterio’s son Dominic, where Mysterio would defeat his best friend.

Once Eddie passed away, Rey would go on a respect tour of sorts for his best friend, winning the WWE Tag Team Championships with the World Heavyweight Champion, Batista. And while it would be a short-lived reign, it was all about Eddie with that victory. Mysterio would then enter the Royal Rumble in 2006 at number two and would be able to shock the world, lasting 62 minutes and eliminating Randy Orton to guarantee his opportunity at WrestleMania 22 for the World Heavyweight Championship, and most importantly for him, doing it for Eddie. After losing to Orton at the No Way Out PPV, having his opportunity at World Champion Kurt Angle slip away, SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long would enter him back into the match, making it a Triple Threat and having his destiny in front of him. Rey Mysterio would win his first ever world title when he’d pin Randy Orton in the Triple Threat at WrestleMania 22, marking a moment that would be remembered forever.

After losing the World Championship three months later to Booker T at the Great American Bash, Rey would suffer his first major knee injury, sidelining him all the way until SummerSlam 2007, missing WrestleMania 23 in the process. Rey would then injure his bicep before WrestleMania 24, missing the biggest show for a second straight year. Finally, Mysterio would return to the show of shows as his feud with Intercontinental Champion JBL would culminate at the show of shows, where Mysterio would win his first ever Intercontinental Championship in just 21 seconds. Mysterio would then enter a feud with Chris Jericho, where they would flip the title back and forth, including a title win by Jericho and Mysterio winning it back one again just weeks later. He would leave the title picture after losing the title to John Morrison on the September 1 edition of SmackDown in 2009.

Mysterio would enter a feud with his friend Batista at the end of 2009 following Batista snapping when Rey caused Batista to lose his World Heavyweight Championship at the Bragging Rights PPV. These two would enter a heated feud, with Batista coming out the winner at Survivor Series and a street fight weeks later. The two would continue to battle on, including a number of matches where they would interfere with each other. Mysterio would eventually beat Batista in a number one contender’s match for the world title but would fail at the 2010 Royal Rumble to The Undertaker. Rey would get another chance, however, battling inside the Elimination Chamber, where he would eliminate the Straight Edge Society’s leader, CM Punk. This would lead to a WrestleMania match between the two men, where it would become a Mask vs Hair match that Mysterio would win, causing CM Punk to shave his head and dawning a mask for the months following.

Rey would win the World Heavyweight Championship for the second and final time in his career at Fatal 4 Way in June of 2010, defeating rival CM Punk, The Big Show, and champion Jack Swagger. Unfortunately, the reign would be short as he would lose it at the Money in the Bank PPV when Kane would cash-in, blaming Mysterio for the suffering of his brother Undertaker. Following his loss of the title, he would switch over to the veteran role big time, giving the likes of Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes huge victories over him and growing the young star’s brand at the end of 2010 into 2011. His contributions would be appreciated, however, as Rey would find himself on Monday Nights as a member of Raw and winning the WWE Championship tournament on July 25 following the exit of CM Punk to become the new WWE Champion, his only time in his long career. He would, unfortunately, lose it the same night to John Cena, but it’d finally lead to Alberto Del Rio once again before suffering an injury and ending his 2011, missing almost a year of action.

Rey’s last few years in the WWE would involve him teaming with Sin Cara, as he was put into a position to try and groom the next masked star of the company. The team would last for much of 2012 before the team would be ended at the hands of The Shield in December of 2012. Rey would be sidelined again with a major knee injury and it would become clear that Rey’s days may be numbered. He would return once more in 2013 but would have no serious feud in his final months. Mysterio would finally be released on February 26, 2015, but the door remained open for the masked man to return someday.

Mysterio would return to AAA and the independent scene in 2015, truly refreshing himself as a superstar. From 2015 to 2018, Mysterio would travel around the world, wrestling in promotions like AAA, Lucha Underground, House of Glory, The Crash, Defiant Wrestling, and even New Japan Pro Wrestling. He would battle the likes of Ricochet, Pentagon Jr, Will Ospreay, The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll and Kazuchika Okada. In his time away from the WWE, he would rebuild his image and career that many felt would be over following injury after injury at the end of his first run with WWE. Mysterio proved that not only could he still go, but that WWE was going to want him back.

Mysterio would shock the world when his music would hit in the 2018 Royal Rumble match in absolutely amazing shape. It would be the talk of the town before Mysterio would finally return to WWE full-time on SmackDown LIVE 1000. Now, Mysterio looks to enjoy the final years of his career in the place he created an incredible stigma and became the greatest luchador to ever to it. With this writing, we hope Mysterio’s legacy so far is truly appreciated after his first 30 years of hard work and dedication. At the age of just 44 years old, who knows when Mysterio will stop going, as he continues to put on absolute classics with the likes of Andrade to this day, and still has plenty of stars to face before he hangs up the boots.

Simply put, congratulations to Rey Mysterio on 30 years in the wrestling business!

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