Rey Mysterio Fans Should Be Cautiously Optimistic About His Return

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Rey Mysterio Fans Should Be Cautiously Optimistic About His Return
WWE.com

Slip on your Rey Mysterio mask and lift your 619 sign above your head, but don't expect too much from the high-flyer.

The future of Hall of Famer is too worn down to get overly excited about. Chances are, we've already seen the best of Mysterio, and what he gives fans next has more of a chance to be a letdown than a thrill ride.

Mysterio sped down to the ring during Monday's Raw, the fans in Nashville, Tenn. saluting him with screams. The Wyatt Family and The Real Americans stomped on CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. They were outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Enter the hero fans haven't seen on WWE TV for most of 2013.

Within moments, Mysterio had tossed Antonio Cesaro and Erick Rowan out of the ring. He soon had Luke Harper and Jack Swagger draped over the ring ropes, his boots zooming toward their faces. The WWE's greatest underdog was officially back.

He's since been booked for a traditional Survivor Series elimination bout, joining Cody Rhodes, Goldust and The Usos against The Shield and The Real Americans.

This will be a good match for him to make his in-ring comeback. He won't have to carry the bout or be asked to perform for 15 to 20 minutes on his own. It's uncertain how well he'll be able to compete in longer, sustained action in the future.

It's not that Mysterio is nearly 40 that should have fans temper their expectations—it's the state of his body. 

In October, Mysterio spoke with WWE.com, revealing just how damaged his left knee is. He said that the inner part of the knee has "no more cartilage" and is "bone on bone, arthritic."

He talked about the numerous ACL tears he's had, that the ligaments are now held together artificially. He appeared to be healthy in his appearance Monday night, but what fans witnessed after the show went off the air is disheartening.

WrestlingInc.com reports that "Mysterio was seen limping around the ring and up the ramp."

If he's hurting on his first day back, before taking a single bump, it's hard not to imagine that he'll be limited going forward. Mysterio admitted as much in the aforementioned interview, telling WWE.com that, "I definitely won't be able to do certain things that I've done in the past, but there's no way I shouldn't be able to replace those moves with others."

A Mysterio with a toned-down arsenal can still be entertaining, but it's his array of stunning aerial moves that makes him who he is.

Can Mysterio still put on matches like this?

Should he be forced to trade out some of his signature moves for tamer ones, he'll be fighting without his best weapons. Other wrestlers have made similar transitions, but it's a difficult one to make.

Mysterio has been wrestling an all-out, high-flying style since he was a teenager. This is a late stage in his career to make too big of an adjustment.

The other question is whether he can stay healthy, even with some changes in his style.

In the last two years, Mysterio has been out of action more than he has for his entire career. In August of 2011, he required surgery after an injury suffered in the ring.

Mysterio talks about his recovery after surgery in 2011.

He wasn't back until July the next year. A month later, he missed time due to a concussion, as reported by PWTorch.com. In early 2013, Mysterio was written off TV, per PWTorch.com, to recover from another knee injury.

That stretch does little for one's confidence in Mysterio. Will his knee hold up? Will he get injured trying to avoid getting that knee hurt? Will that concussion lead to others?

Doubts should accompany any fan's hopes for what Mysterio will deliver this time around. He could very well find ways to keep his knee intact and perform at a high level, but it's just as likely that he'll end up on the disabled list before too long.

It's exciting to have Mysterio back. If WWE keeps him in tag team action for the most part and keeps him on a reduced schedule, that excitement can be maximized. Asking him to be the Mysterio of old, the dynamo that we remember, is being unrealistic.

Mysterio will attempt to soar with a damaged wing. His fans just can't expect the same flight they have seen from him in the past.

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