There are many matches that define a wrestler’s career. Countless moments that make up a legacy that will never be matched or duplicated. However, there is always that one moment, that standout battle that everyone will remember over the rest.
For Rey Mysterio, a list could be made of such clashes and moments be they from ECW, WCW, WWE or anywhere else in the world he has competed. But if you ask the man himself, there is only one fight that defines his entire career.
On Halloween weekend, Rey Mysterio celebrated the 23rd anniversary of his epic encounter with the late, great Eddie Guerrero at WCW Halloween Havoc 1997. The match which saw Rey’s mask on the line against Eddie’s WCW Cruiserweight Championship made an entire industry sit up and take notice.
Recently, the innovator of the 619 joined the cast of WWE’s The Bump to look back on that fateful night, arguably the greatest match of his entire career and his friend, his blood brother, Eddie Guerrero.
Talking about Halloween Havoc 1997, the WWE Superstar revealed that not only had the pair shared a WCW ring a handful of times before, but the majority of their instant classic was devised on the spot:
“It’s very special! On Monday, we celebrated 23 years [since] that match; it brought back a lot of memories. I knew Eddie very well. I had the opportunity to share the ring with him three or four times. The connection was already there without a doubt because I had the opportunity to work Eddie in Mexico. We already knew our styles, but the meaning of that match and the tension going into the ring that night was on another level.”
Staying on the subject of the bout, ‘The Biggest Little Man’ talked a little about the stipulation of potentially losing his sacred mask. A sign of disrespect to the luchadores of Mexico who hold the privacy of their identity close to their hearts:
“I had the weight of having my mask taken off. The decision was changed, [but] I was nervous as hell. I asked Eddie, ‘What are we going to do?’ He said, ‘Aw Rey, just open your ears and listen to me.’ A lot of things that happened that night and the magic we created was on the fly. That’s what makes it even more special.”
It’s rare that a wrestling match means so much to a life or career, especially when a competitor with the tenure of Mysterio has countless thousands under his experienced belt. However, without Halloween Havoc 1997 and without the stellar contribution of Eddie Guerrero, Rey talked about how his later achievements would never have happened.
“Every time they ask me what’s my favorite match, I like to use the world title match at WrestleMania 22 because that was a historical moment for me. But, without this match at Halloween Havoc, there probably wouldn’t have been a WrestleMania 22 for me. So, this is the one that definitely gives me more pride and honor. I feel truly blessed to have been part of that event and to present this match to fans around the world. We tried to recreate that magic several times, but it just didn’t happen. I think that’s why this match is even more special.”
Finally, an interview about such a revered and loved outing wouldn’t have been complete without heartfelt thanks to the man in the opposite corner.
The relationship between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero throughout their lives and careers has been well documented. Blood brothers, best friends, Familia. To conclude his thoughts on WCW Halloween Havoc 1997, Rey turned his attention to Eddie, the effect both men had on today’s talent and the love he holds for ‘Latino Heat.’
“I think it definitely opened up the viewership for the fans. They were accepting this new style that was coming in. [I also] think it opened the gateway for future generations yet to come. To say we have Santos Escobar, another Latino that is a Cruiserweight champ after 23 years– I think the direction that we put on that match definitely has been a barrier opening for younger talent. I wish he was still here, you know, so he can receive all this ovation from the fans and he can understand how much it meant 23 years later. I’m sure he is from the heavens.”
It’s astounding that two decades later one mid-card match is still remembered as fondly as Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero. It’s not only a tribute to how strong WCW’s cruiserweight division was at the time, but also homage to two friends who will always rank among the greatest of all time.
After all the Halloween tricks, we can all be thankful there’s one very sweet treat.
Credit for the interview: WWE The Bump
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.