There have been few wrestlers in the WrestleMania era who have been more influential than Rey Mysterio. Rey spawned a generation of wrestlers who tried not only to defy gravity but more importantly tried to defy those that told them they were “too small”. High flying as we know it was taken to new levels by Mysterio in the mid 90s. After wowing crowds in Mexico as a teen, it was Paul Heyman who first gave Rey a chance on American soil in ECW. Arriving with his dance partner Psicosis (and then later Juventud Guerrera), Rey gave the ECW faithful a glimpse of wrestling they had never dreamt of seeing. When WCW sought to build up their Cruiserweight division, Rey was a natural choice and he was poached from ECW. Rey immediately got over on the national stage, and by going up against the likes of Dean Malenko and Eddy Guerrero, he was able to become a much more well-rounded wrestler. Of course, WCW didn’t take full advantage of what they had in Rey and moronically had him drop his mask in a horrid feud with Kevin Nash. Rey’s career stalled in WCW’s final years and he wasn’t picked up in the WWE purchase.
In 2002, after much prodding from their wrestlers, WWE finally brought Rey in. They made an immediate smart move by re-masking him and built up his debut as something special. For the last ten years, Mysterio has been arguably the best wrestler on their roster. Injuries have slowed him down, but his mind for wrestling and his ability to be an incredible babyface have more than made up for it. He has been one of WWE’s best draws both in terms of merchandise and TV ratings during his tenure and is up there right beside John Cena as far as loyalty from the younger audience. Unlike Cena, Rey is almost unanimously loved across the demographics with the calibre of his in-ring performances being undeniable. The high points during his WWE career have been feuds with Guerrero, Chris Jericho and CM Punk where both the matches and storylines were extremely captivating.
Defining Match Of The WrestleMania Era: Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho at The Bash 2009
This match from The Bash in June 2009 was maybe Rey’s best performance ever in terms of bringing together all aspects of his game. It’s a masterclass in athleticism, psychology, babyface selling and innovation.