WWE Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio was very happy with his debut in World Championship Wrestling.
The first time the WCW audience would witness the legendary luchador would be at the 1996 Great American Bash pay-per-view, where Mysterio would unsuccessfully challenge Dean Malenko for the Cruiserweight Championship.
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With a billed height of 5 feet and 6 inches, the ultimate underdog was mismatched in size compared to the titans of the WCW roster, which at the time included Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner and The Giant, better known as The Big Show in WWE.
Speaking with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Mysterio commented on the intimidation that felt the first time that he walked into a WCW locker room:
“I remember walking into the building in Baltimore, and I felt so uncomfortable. I was walking into a locker room full of giants. The Steiners, Big Show, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. It felt really awkward. I kept on hearing voices say, ‘Who’s that kid? What the hell is he doing in here?’ No one knew who I was. It felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there,”
The former World Heavyweight Champion continued, crediting Dean Malenko for his performance in the debut match. Mysterio also revealed the overwhelmingly positive reaction that he received following the first match at the WCW pay-per-view.
“I’d been trying to study Dean, watching his matches. In the ring, we connected right away. It was immediate. From my understanding, Eddie spoke with Dean and told him a little bit about me. That was extremely important. Dean could have easily buried me, but no. He took me under his wing and made me look like a million bucks I remember coming back after that opening match. Everyone had been glued to the monitor, and we got a standing ovation from the boys. It’s still one of the greatest moments of my life. That was the moment I felt I’d made it,”
Rey Mysterio would sign with WWE following the closure of WCW and debut on SmackDown in 2002. The former WWE Champion would have a legendary career in the company, winning the World Championship 3 times. Mysterio attempted to add a 4th World Title to the record in 2019 by challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
H/t to Fightful for the use of transcriptions.