Rey Mysterio surprisingly lost his WWE pay-per-view debut at the 2002 SummerSlam, but Kurt Angle – who defeated him – sees the situation different to what others may.
‘The Biggest Little Man’ lost to the Olympic gold medalist at 2002’s SummerSlam pay-per-view, a night that marked Mysterio’s pay-per-view debut in the sports entertainment giant. It wasn’t, however, a bad start for Rey Mysterio, at least not in Kurt Angle’s mind.
Speaking with Adrian Hernandez of KXST 1140 The Bet Las Vegas, Kurt Angle explained how defeating Mysterio that night was actually beneficial to the WWE career of the masked marvel:
“I think that Vince (McMahon), you have to remember, you come from another company. You didn’t choose WWE, you chose WCW. You come in, you think Vince is actually gonna have me put that guy over, one of his WWE homegrown talents? Hell no. Of course Rey was going to lose.
At that particular time, I was one of the top guys in the company. I think Vince gave him a good opponent to utilize for his debut match. Of course, he lost, but it didn’t hurt his career, it actually helped. The thing with Rey is that he’s always been beatable, but he also has been able to beat anybody at any particular time. That’s what makes it so exciting about watching Rey Mysterio wrestle.
He could beat the Big Show, he’s gonna have to sneak a win on him, but he’s the most exciting kid in the world to watch wrestle. For the most part, if he’s going to wrestle Big Show, he’s going to lose to him, but there’s a chance he could win. That’s what the fans believe in. That Rey Mysterio always has a chance.”
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) August 4, 2018
Kurt Angle was successful over Rey Mysterio in around nine minutes, opening SummerSlam 2002 in style. The card – heralded as the best in SummerSlam history – also saw an Unsanctioned match between Triple H and the returning Shawn Michaels, as well as Brock Lesnar lifting his first WWE Championship.
This marked the first of several singles encounters between Mysterio and Angle; their most recent occurred in March 2016 outwith WWE, with Rey Mysterio going over the WWE Hall of Famer in a Two out of Three Falls match.
Although Kurt Angle is currently a free agent, Rey Mysterio remains with WWE, returning in 2018. He celebrated his 20th anniversary in WWE on Raw’s 25 July broadcast, and most recently teamed with his son Dominik to challenge Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos.