At 5’6″ and 175 pounds, Rey Mysterio is often considered WWE’s ultimate underdog
Despite his size disadvantage, it’s not uncommon to see the masked marvel chop his opposition down to size at a dizzying a pace. Utilizing a repertoire that features a unique combination of high flying and heavy impact, Mysterio has established himself as one of the premiere stars of the professional wrestling industry.
Mysterio’s earliest years were spent perfecting his lucha libre style at events across Mexico. After more than five years battling the likes of Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis, the young high-flyer finally caught the eye of ECW’s Paul Heyman, who introduced North American fans to Mysterio in 1995.
Word of Mysterio’s innovative offense began to stretch past ECW’s Philadelphia footprint; and it wasn’t long before the San Diego native was scooped up by national powerhouse WCW. Within weeks of his June 1996 debut, Mysterio picked off Dean Malenko to capture the coveted Cruiserweight Championship. The win marked Mysterio’s first of a record eight reigns with the title (WCW and WWE combined).
Mysterio made his WWE debut in July 2002, and as expected, cemented himself as a top threat in the cruiserweight division. He also started to show signs of becoming a main-event star. Shortly after his debut, the Master of the 619 captured the WWE Tag Team Championship with Edge; and as time went on, he partnered with other main eventers to claim gold, including Rob Van Dam, Batista and longtime friend Eddie Guerrero.
Following Guerrero’s tragic passing in 2005, Mysterio focused his efforts on honoring his friend by winning a WWE World Championship. He took the first step in realizing his goal when he last eliminated Randy Orton to win the 2006 Royal Rumble.
Then at WrestleMania 22, Mysterio accomplished the unthinkable when he defeated Kurt Angle and Orton to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Following the match, Mysterio celebrated his victory with Guerrero’s family. The image of him embracing Chavo and Vickie Guerrero on the WrestleMania stage remains one of the most emotional scenes in WWE history.
Ironically, it would also be Chavo Guerrero who cost Mysterio his World Heavyweight Championship three months later. Fueled by jealousy, Guerrero turned on Mysterio at The Great American Bash, allowing King Booker to walk away with the gold. Over the course of the next year-plus, Mysterio repeatedly gained retribution from his former friend, including at No Mercy in 2006 and SummerSlam in 2007.
Mysterio joined elite company in April 2009, when he became the 21st wrestler to win WWE’s “Triple Crown.” The honor came at the expense of John “Bradshaw” Layfield, who Mysterio trounced in a matter of seconds to claim the Intercontinental Championship. A few months later, Mysterio became a two-time Intercontinental Championship when he defeated Chris Jericho to regain the gold in a Mask vs. Title Match.
In June 2010, Mysterio outlasted SmackDown’s best when he won a Battle Royal for the right to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio was given his opportunity at Fatal 4-Way, where he turned back CM Punk, Big Show and defending champ Jack Swagger to win the World Heavyweight Championship for a second time. He held the gold for four weeks before Kane cashed in this Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated a weakened Mysterio for the title.
The longtime SmackDown Superstar moved to Raw in April 2011, courtesy of the annual WWE Draft. As a member of the Monday night brand, Mysterio continued to prove himself as an elite WWE Superstar. Just months into his stay, the Master of the 619 defeated The Miz in a tournament finals to capture his first-ever WWE Championship. As a result of the victory, Mysterio became one of the elite few to have held both the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship.
More than 20 years after his first match, Mysterio continues to prove his skeptics wrong. And with multiple world championship reigns, amazing WrestleMania moments and a Royal Rumble victory to his credit, the ultimate underdog continues to prove he truly is the “Biggest Little Man.”