Rey Mysterio has seen and done it all over the course of his 30-year long career. From competing in some of the greatest matches in history, to headlining Wrestlemania’s. The Master of the 619 has forged a near untouchable legacy inside the squared circle.
On the latest episode of WWE’s The Bump, Rey Mysterio took some time to reflect on that career, and a couple of his most illustrious opponents, starting with Dean Malenko. ‘The Man of 1,000 Holds’ has always been seen as a ‘wrestler’s wrester,’ and Mysterio was full of praise for his former foe.
“Dean was the first guy that took me in when I went to WCW. The Great American Bash was actually my first tryout match in WCW… “There was definitely a connection right off the bat. Dean had already been – numerous times – to Japan and did the J-Cup. So, you know, I think the size and the weight difference and him wanting to learn and do a little more Lucha, as well as being around Eddie [Guerrero] and [Chris] Jericho, it definitely gave him a different vision of what could really happen with that Lucha Libre style.”
“I tip my mask off to Dean because he was the one that kind of held me by the hand and took me along the way. I learned so much from him. I have so much respect, and I love that man very, very much.”
Elsewhere in the episode Mysterio spoke about his legendary match with Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc and how that paved the way for his WWE World Heavyweight Title win at Wrestlemania 22.
When looking back at Mysterio’s career much of the spotlight is (understandably) given to his match at Halloween Havoc in 1997, but his clash with Malenko the year before may be equally as important. It was his debut with WCW, it was live on pay-per-view, and Dean Malenko made the young high-flyer look every inch the superstar. He may have lost the bout, but it was immediately clear that Mysterio belonged on the big stage.