Examining Where Rey Mysterio Fits into the WWE Landscape Upon Return from Injury

David BixenspanFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2013

Rey Mysterio (Photo by WWE.com)
Rey Mysterio (Photo by WWE.com)

After doing a run-in the previous night in Queretaro, Rey Mysterio made his promised in-ring return last night at the WWE house show in Guadalajara, Mexico.  He had been out of action for over seven months with his latest knee injury.

Mysterio had announced his return for the Mexican tour at a house show in Hidalgo, Texas a few weeks ago. He had always been announced as appearing, just not wrestling.  On Wednesday, his status appeared to be a little more questionable, as WWE.com posted an interview with him where he said that he expected to make his in-ring return at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

WWE.COM: Do you have a target date for your return to the squared circle?

MYSTERIO: With this new procedure, it’s been floating around in the air. There’s not that much time left before the end of the year. I’m hoping that either Thanksgiving comes a little early or Christmas comes a little early.

WWE.COM: You recently announced that you’ll be a part of WWE’s upcoming tour of Mexico. What does it mean for you to go back to Mexico?

MYSTERIO: It feels good. That’s where I came from. Those are my roots, my people. To be able to go back and treat them with my presence and whatever else I can give to them is fulfilling.

WWE.COM: Any chance you’ll get involved in the action during the tour?

MYSTERIO: I think if the crowd really wants it, why not? Why not try?

As you can see, the implication was that he'd do a run-in like he did hours after the interview was posted, not work a match like he did the next day.  If the plan was that he'd wrestle anyway, I'm not really sure why WWE would post that part of the interview, as the shows on the tour did not sell out.

Anyway, as you can see, it's a little unclear if he will return to TV more or less immediately (if he's cleared to return full time, it might make more sense to wait until after Hell in a Cell) or if he only wrestled for the sake of the Mexican tour.  When he'll actually return to TV affects how exactly he'd fit into everything.

If he comes back in the next couple weeks, then first you have to consider if Alberto Del Rio retains the World Heavyweight Championship in his match with the returning John Cena at Hell in a Cell.  If he does, Mysterio would be a good new opponent for him.  They have history, they have good chemistry, and Rey as a babyface headliner would be a huge boon to the former SmackDown house show tour.

In addition, Del Rio obviously has extensive Lucha Libre experience.  The better someone is as a base/catcher for Mysterio's moves, the less likely he is to get injured, and the only other really strong base in WWE is Antonio Cesaro.

If Del Rio sticks with Cena, then there are a few different ways he could go.  I would go with someone I just mentioned: Antonio Cesaro.  Cesaro is is on the cusp of a new push and would probably have better matches with Mysterio than any other WWE heel right now.  A good series with Mysterio (who could probably take a hell of a giant swing, too) could do a lot for him.

Regardless of when he comes back, his next program also depends on where WWE sees Mysterio's role right now.  Randy Orton may be freed up soon and has had incredible matches with Mysterio in the past, but during Rey's last run it seemed like they didn't see him as someone who belonged in the top part of the card.

If you move him down a little bit, besides Cesaro, he could have some interesting matches with Ryback or in singles and tag matches against The Shield.  Give him a partner (Sin Cara?  El Local?  Kofi Kingston?) and he'd be a good foil for Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.  He would also be a good challenger for Dean Ambrose and could be slotted in as a partner for the Rhodes Brothers in trios matches.

Of course, if he doesn't end up back on TV for a couple months, the landscape could be a lot different then.

What does everyone else think?  Who would you like to see Mysterio matched up with?  How much time do you think he has left?  Let us know in the comments.

David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.