Dubbed the "Biggest-Little Man" and often recognized as one of the greatest "high-flying" wrestlers of all time, Rey Mysterio has undoubtedly cemented his status as one of the best in-ring performers in the 21st Century.
With his mere 5'6" frame, and array of colorful and decorative masks, Mysterio is the living, breathing example of ol' time saying, "Size doesn't matter." Mysterio has not just one, but two WWE World Heavyweight Championship runs on his resume and in his decorated career.
After being continuously put down by World Championship Wrestling Creative and WCW's front office, Mysterio has certainly proved all of his critics wrongs.
And from a simple "human being" standpoint, we/I couldn't be more delighted. As humans, we love hearing the beautiful "underdog" stories.
In the NFL, fans can't get enough of how good Tom Brady is, because this guy was projected to be a life-long back up quarterback and was the 199th selection in the NFL Draft, but three Super Bowl Rings and 250 touchdowns later, Tom Brady stand as arguably the best QB of his generation. Quite simply, he has proved that if you work hard enough, good things WILL happen.
Rocky was a movie that captivated a nation because it showed how a complete and total nobody off the streets can do something worthwhile with his life. As Rocky, or Slyvester Stallone, went the distance against the undefeated Apollo Creed. Though he lost via split decision in the end, Rocky was the true winner.
Barrack Obama, struggled in his childhood, from not having his father in his life to struggling financially, Obama is the real "American Dream." He has now reached the pinnacle of success as the President of the greatest country on the planet (debatable), The United States.
These are all stories of inspiration, these men shouldn't have succeeded, but persevered. They were all underdogs.
And for wrestling fans, Rey Mysterio is known as the "Ultimate Underdog," because of his distinct size disadvantage in matches, his lack of power in matches, but his overwhelming heart and persistence.
But for the logical wrestling fan, anyone can see that Rey Mysterio is probably no longer fit to hold that nickname.
Rey used to be a man who would make you want to see him; he used to be guy that always interested the "IWC," because unlike The Undertakers, Kurt Angles or Brock Lesnars, Rey Mysterio was never a "lock" to win a match.
Whenever Rey Mysterio made his entrance, no matter whom he was facing, there was always a good chance that Rey could have fallen victim to the dreaded, 1-2-3 pin.
In other words, a few years ago, Rey Mysterio was actually booked as the "Ultimate Underdog." You weren't going to see Rey get his arm "busted" up, and then magically pull out a victory over a guy twice his size, all the time.
Rey Mysterio's wins were..."special." He was a guy that DID represent everyday people, because Rey won some and he lost some. That, along with all of his other intangibles, created a connection between him and the "WWE Universe."
A connection that a lifelong main-eventer like The Undertaker could never touch. A connection that an Olympic Gold Medalist like Kurt Angle could never create. A connection that an absolute monster like Brock Lesnar could never understand.
Rey's dreams came true at Wrestlemainia 22, where in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship, Rey walked out champion. And the good thing about his run was, it was still booked as "believable" by WWE Creative, because even though he became champion, he was still booked as a true underdog.
Mysterio DID lose to competitors like Booker T, The Great Khali and Mark Henry. Fans wanted the little man to succeed, because during his first run as champion, he didn't gain "super human powers" like John Cena.
Rey even seemed "human" in matches with Finlay and Edge after he lost his belt.
Because of this, Mysterio retained and gained a whole new legion of fans.
But for some reason, starting around 2008-ish, the WWE started to strip the "innocence" out of the Rey Mysterio character; they watered "The Masked-Warrior" down to the point that he was no longer the underdog, but anyone that would face him in a match would be the seen as the "David" and him as the "Goliath."
Do you think Rey is still a under dog?
We started to see Rey go on these ridiculous winning streaks where he would "vanquish" total beasts like Umaga, Big Show, Kane and Mark Henry with complete ease.
Win after win, after win, after win, Rey Mysterio finally became immune to any kinds of kryptonite and that special connection he had with the mature fans, had been broken.
Week in and week out it was the same thing; 619, spring-board drop, and 1-2-3. Quite frankly, Rey Mysterio was just John Cena with a mask.
Some might say; "Hey, how do you expect a star of Mysterio's caliber to be booked?"
And the simple answer is: You can't book Rey Mysterio like Hulk Hogan, you can't book a guy who's under 6 feet like The Undertaker.
I know people don't like hearing this, but a sense of reality also has to be taken into account when booking a match. Certainly I'm not saying Rey Mysterio has to lose to a big man EVERYTIME out, because I'm not, but are we really going to buy into Rey winning 10 weeks in a row over?
But if you continue to make him look unstoppable, continue to make him look like the second coming of Muhammed Ali, you make him...well...as the title suggests...boring. WWE are being complete hypocrites because there booking a guy to win every time, but at the same time, are projecting this guy as the "Ultimate Underdog."
Did you like Rey when he lost sometimes?
The WWE thinks that they NEED to have Rey Mysterio keep winning matches, but they fail to realize that guys instead of booking Rey like Triple H, they should be booking him like an old-school Shawn Michaels or Chris Jericho.
Guys like Michaels never won all their matches, but they let what they could do in the ring get them "over" with fans; they let their in-ring ability get them to the main-event.
And I really wish they would let Rey do the same thing. Rey Mysterio is as talented as they come, but the fact that he always wins DOES over shadow that.
As we stand here, 2011 is coming, and Rey Mysterio has become the example of what boring is. The main aspect of his character is now long gone, and there aren't many feuds that the invincible Mysterio can make interesting.
Rey's mic skills don't really persuade anyone to be interested, and like I said before, he's a lock to win whatever feud he participates in, which takes the fun out of watching his matches.
His current feud with Alberto Del Rio just hasn't seemed interesting to me. It feels like it should have ended a month ago, but WWE continues to "beat the dead horse" and try salvage months of Creative writing on the feud (much like what they are doing with Nexus). They almost don't want people to think that the feud has been dry, and largely due to Mysterio's inability to deliver provoking promos.
To me, I think WWE Creative have turned Rey into a bathroom break, something Divas matches are supposed to be.
Well, what can get us interested in Rey again?
Aside from the obvious "have him lose a little more" solution, I do think there are a couple more ways to get us interested in the once "IWC" beloved wrestler.
Since Rey is a true main-eventer now, high profile feuds with JUST main-eventers or experienced wrestlers would be nice. Obviously this is hard considering he's on SmackDown, and SD is a brand that mainly has mid-carders, and a ton of main-eventers have left the company, like Jeff Hardy, Batista, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho (for now), but there are some experienced vets like Christian and Edge. Feuding with them could make for some interesting episodes.
Also, I do think that feuding with a heel that has good mic skills would help Rey out. (That's why I suggested Edge and Christian.)
The WWE is in dire need of some tag team help, and a SmackDown mid-carder by the name of Kofi Kingston isn't really doing anything, so how about grouping those two up?
A couple of great high-flyers, and credible performers would certainly put the "Two Big Pennies" that the WWE is trying to put over as World Tag Team Championships, "over."
What would get you interested in Mysterio?
The WWE have tried to draw ratings from Mysterio by putting his mask on the line in matches, so...could it finally be time to unmask the luchadore? Personally don't see it coming, but again, it would be something that gets us back into Mysterio's character.
And along with the unmasking, we could also get a "heel" Mysterio.
Again, don't see it happening, but if it were to happen, Rey would be the talk of pro wrestling for quite some time.
In conclusion, I just want to say that it IS a good thing when a wrestler that we all like takes a loss once in a while; it makes these wrestlers seem human, something wrestling fans can really appreciate in this day and age.
We are no longer living in the "kayfabe era;" things that worked in pro wrestling 20 years ago aren't going to work now. Just as the "super hero" character that Hulk Hogan made famous and that the WWE has turned Mysterio into isn't going to work.
Comments and feedback are appreciated!