Rey Mysterio's in-ring debut for New Japan Pro-Wrestling was spoiled Saturday at Dominion, as Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll and Hangman Page beat him, Jushin Thunder Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a six-man tag team match when Cody pinned Liger.
The 43-year-old Mysterio was originally scheduled to face Liger at Strong Style Evolved in March, but a biceps injury prevented him from competing.
Rather than going up against Liger at Dominion, the lucha legends were placed on the same team alongside one of the most accomplished Japanese wrestlers of all time in Tanahashi.
While all three competitors have left an indelible mark on the wrestling business, it can be argued they entered Dominion at a disadvantage. Since Cody, Scurll and Page are all Bullet Club members, they have extensive experience when it comes to teaming together.
Although Mysterio and Liger have more than 60 years of combined wrestling experience and were part of WCW at the same time, they entered Dominion having never teamed together. They did face each other once in a singles match and in an eight-man tag in 1996, though.
Even so, the team wasn't totally unfamiliar since Tanahashi and Liger have teamed up many times in NJPW over the years.
The dynamic in Saturday's match was an intriguing one since all members of the babyface team are in the twilight of their respective careers, while Cody, Scurll and Page are in their prime and performing at a higher level than ever before.
That put some additional pressure on the veterans to hang with their younger counterparts, and they managed to do precisely that despite the loss.
There wasn't much in the balance in terms of championship opportunities, but the match was an entertaining affair that served an important purpose on a stacked card.
The main question coming out of Dominion relates to whether the working relationship between Mysterio and NJPW will stretch beyond his first in-ring appearance for the company.
Mysterio received great reactions when taking part in the Royal Rumble in January and the Greatest Royal Rumble in April for WWE, which suggests a more permanent return with the company could be on his radar.
If NJPW can keep him in a fold for a while longer, though, it would likely go a long way toward growing the promotion's rising popularity in North America.
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