The Mystique of Rey Mysterio
One of the WWE’s biggest attractions isn’t quite that big.
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Anyone who needs further proof that big things come in small packages need not look any further than the high-flying master of the 619, Rey Mysterio. By most estimates, at 5’3, 160 pounds – though billed at 5’5”, 170 pounds – Rey Mysterio is the smallest performer in the World Wresting Entertainment. Since his arrival to the scene in 2001 he has continued to defy odds as well as he defies gravity.
Born Oscar Gutierrez in Tijuana, Mexico, he began his pro-wrestling career in 1996. He lost his mask in 1999 and, under wrestling rules in Mexico, he can not wear a mask again while performing in the ring. When he joined the WCW, however, Vince McMahon asked him to resume wearing the mask.
First competing as a cruiserweight, and winning the Cruiserweight Championship a record eight times, Mysterio began establishing himself among the bigger performers, taking down big guys such as Bam Bam Bigelow and Kevin Nash. He even managed to pin the Big Show once though with a little help from Batista.
In December 2005, in a match leading up the ultimate Raw vs. SmackDown showdown, Mysterio teamed with JBL against the Big Show and Kane. During the match, JBL left the ring feigning a serious hand injury, leaving Mysterio alone with the massive opponents. Incredibly, Mysterio found it within himself to continue the match alone. Using his cat-like speed and agility, Mysterio held his own amazingly well against the two giants and at one point appeared poised to scoring perhaps the biggest upset in WWE history. But finally, Big Show and Kane were able to contain him, each one delivering a vicious choke slam on Mysterio. He was saved only by the timely arrival of Batista.
In the 2006 Royal Rumble, Rey Mysterio defied odds when he outlasted 28 other men in the ring and eliminated Triple H to win a title shot in Wrestlemania 22. However, a few weeks later he was goaded by Randy Orton into putting that title shot on the line at No Way Out when Orton made cruel remarks about Mysterio’s friend, the late Eddie Guerrero. Orton won the match and the title shot by using the ropes as leverage to pin Mysterio. However, upon reviewing the match, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long declared that Rey Mysterio would be put into the title match as well at Wrestlemania, making it a Triple Threat match for World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio would go onto win the match, and title, by pinning his nemesis, Randy Orton.
As the champion, Mysterio defended the title many times and was goaded by JBL, his challenger at the upcoming No Mercy, into “proving” himself worthy as the champ by accepting non-title matchups against behemoths like Khali, Mark Henry and Kane, each one who would beat Mysterio easily. Rey Mysterio would still go on to beat JBL and retain the title.
He finally lost the title to Booker T when Chavo Guerrero hit him on the head with a chair, enabling Booker T to get the pin fall. Mysterio went on to try to get revenge against Guerrero in an “I quit” match, in which Mysterio was badly injured in the knee when force to yell “I quit!” After recuperating from his injury months later he exacted vengeance on Guerrero by making him yell, “I quit!”
Rey Mysterio continues to be one of the most dedicated professionals to the business. Being so small, he has had to prove himself time and time again against opponents trying to seize on his small stature. But his mixture of speed, agility, skills and a big heart has sufficiently made him evenly-matched against every opponent he’s faced. At age 33, he is still young in the pro-wrestling business and will no doubt continue to be on of the WWE’s biggest draws.