Rey Mysterio's 10 greatest WWE matches

Rey Mysterio wasn’t always "Rey Mysterio." The first time WWE’s Little Big Man made that uneasy climb to the top rope as a teenager in Mexico, he was "Colibrí" — the hummingbird. It was the perfect name for the man who would one day fly through the air with such weightlessness, such blatant disregard for gravity. Soon, he would become Rey Mysterio, but he would never lose that effortlessness in flight that made his so captivating to watch. Rey — like any great athlete — was capable of things that normal men thought impossible. While the rest of us were firmly planted here on earth, Mysterio was reaching unimaginable heights.

It’s been more than 11 years since The Master of the 619’s amazing drive brought him to WWE. In that time, he’s captured both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, won the Royal Rumble Match and achieved things that 5-foot-6, 175-pound competitors just shouldn’t be able to do in the oversized world of sports-entertainment. That Rey is still defying the odds to this day is hard to grasp. Injuries and setbacks that would have defined the shortened careers of other men have come to be story points in Mysterio’s epic hero’s journey.

With that in mind, WWE Classics attempted to chronicle the 10 matches that best exemplified Rey’s trip from underdog to top dog. ( PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)

10

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk: Over the Limit (May 23, 2010)

Before he was the voice of a generation, CM Punk was pretty much a slimeball. Formerly the puppet master behind a group of dead-eyed zombies he dubbed his "Straight Edge Society," Punk sought to induct Rey Mysterio into his misguided horde. So desperate was he to do so, he put his oily mop on the line against Rey in a bout that was billed as a "Straight Edge Society Pledge versus Hair Match."

Determined to rid the bizarre Superstar from his life, Mysterio accepted the challenge and very nearly fell to the disturbed competitor. Overwhelmed by the outside interference of The Straight Edge Society, Rey received an unlikely assist from Kane, who hit the ring to chase Punk’s cronies back to the locker room. With no distractions, The Master of the 619 dropped his opponent with a seated crucifix for the win and then sheared his greasy locks. ( WATCH)

9

2006 Royal Rumble Match: Royal Rumble (Jan. 29, 2006)

If any bout exemplified Rey Mysterio’s fighting spirit, it was the 2006 Royal Rumble Match. On a night he dedicated to his late friend, Eddie Guerrero, The Ultimate Underdog entered the 30-man, over-the-top battle royal in the unfortunate No. 2 position and held on for more than an hour to set the record for longest time in a Royal Rumble Match and earn himself a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity at WrestleMania 22.

It was another moment in the masked Superstar’s career that should have never happened. By far the smallest man in this wild fracas, Rey managed to avoid elimination at the hands of monsters like Kane and Big Show while dumping Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton and Triple H on his way to victory. You’d think Mysterio’s impossible run would end on this night. In truth, it was only beginning. ( WATCH)

8

Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu: ECW One Night Stand (June 11, 2006)

Fans tend to remember ECW’s One Night Stand 2006 for the heated WWE Title Match between John Cena and Rob Van Dam in front of a hostile Manhattan crowd. But on that same card, Rey Mysterio defended his World Heavyweight Championship against another iconic ECW Superstar in a hard-hitting classic with Sabu.

No stranger to the anything-goes aesthetic of sports-entertainment’s most outrageous promotion, The Ultimate Underdog was ready for everything the unpredictable Arabian threw at him in this Extreme Rules Match. But neither man could have prepared themselves for how the clash ended. With Mysterio standing on top of a table that was bridged between the ring apron and the guardrail, Sabu flew from the ring and spiked Rey through the unforgiving pine with a DDT. The impact was so devastating it led to a doctor calling off the bout before both men were carted out of the Hammerstein Ballroom on stretchers. ( WATCH)

7

Rey Mysterio vs. John Morrison: SmackDown (Sept. 4, 2009)

As The Ultimate Underdog, Rey Mysterio doesn’t always get his hand raised at the end of a match. But, somehow still, The Master of the 619’s losses can be as thrilling as his victories.

Such was the case with Mysterio’s Intercontinental Title defense against John Morrison on SmackDown in September 2009. In the familiar position of facing an opponent with whom he shared a mutual respect, Mysterio expected to face a hungry, young competitor. Rey got all that and more as The Guru of Greatness fought back from the 619 and repeated aerial maneuvers while scoring with his own unpredictable offense. The grueling bout finally ended when Mysterio missed the mark on a top-rope hurricanrana, allowing JoMo to execute Starship Pain for the victory and the title. ( WATCH)

6

World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match: No Way Out (Feb. 15, 2009)

Locked in the unforgiving structure with Kane, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Mike Knox and Edge, Rey Mysterio probably wasn’t the favorite going into this Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Title. His chances dropped even further when he became the first Superstar to enter the cage. But The Master of the 619 defied the odds as he always does.

Scoring pivotal eliminations over Y2J and The Big Red Monster in the brawl, Rey fought with everything he had for nearly 30 minutes before the bout came down to him and Edge. With Cena’s World Title hanging in the balance, The Ultimate Underdog called on his deepest reserves to overcome The Rated-R Superstar. In the end, he failed, as Edge put him away with a Spear, but the loss didn’t take anything away from Mysterio’s inspiring struggle. ( WATCH FULL MATCH)

5

Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero: No Mercy (Oct. 8, 2006)

In the months after Eddie Guerrero’s passing, things between Rey Mysterio and Eddie’s nephew, Chavo, got complicated. Claiming that The Master of the 619 leeched off the legacy of his family name, Chavo plotted to send Mysterio out of WWE. First he cost Rey the World Title in a bout against Booker T, then he aligned with Eddie’s torn widow, Vickie, in a wicked attempt to break the masked man’s spirit.

Chavo nearly succeeded in his depraved plot, but Mysterio fought back, culminating in this Falls Count Anywhere Match at No Mercy 2006. Determined to silence his disrespectful rival, Rey battered Guerrero throughout Raleigh, N.C.’s RBC Center, now PNC Arena, until the exhausted Superstars ended up brawling among the concrete and steel of the bleachers. The Little Big Man, fueled by rage, then launched himself from a riser and down onto Chavo below, ending the battle and the war.

4

Rey Mysterio vs Shawn Michaels: Raw (Nov. 14, 2005)

The night after Eddie Guerrero unexpectedly passed away, Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels squared off for the very first time in a bout that was billed as a tribute to the late Superstar. Both wearing black armbands emblazoned with a white "EG," HBK and WWE’s Little Big Man began the match with a respectful handshake and then put the niceties aside for a competitive classic.

Two of the quickest Superstars in WWE history, the former WWE Champions managed to outsmart each other at every turn. Mysterio went for a 619, Michaels rolled away. HBK attempted an elbow drop, Rey wasn’t home. Finally, after narrowly avoiding Sweet Chin Music, Mysterio sent The Showstopper into the ropes and connected on his third 619 attempt before putting him away with a springboard splash. When the bell rang, Rey helped Michaels to his feet and embraced him in one of Raw’s truly inspiring moments. ( WATCH)

3

World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match: WrestleMania 22 (April 2, 2006)

When Rey Mysterio began wrestling in a church basement at the impressionable age of 15, he couldn’t have imagined he’d one day be standing in the ring at WrestleMania with the World Heavyweight Title in his arms. It was too far-fetched of an idea for anyone to grasp. But it happened on April 2, 2006, when The Ultimate Underdog defeated Randy Orton and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match to claim the Olympic gold medalist’s World Championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

Earning this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after miraculously winning the 2006 Royal Rumble Match, Mysterio entered Chicago’s Allstate Arena in the full regalia of an Aztec warrior and fought with that undying spirit. Narrowly avoiding the submission assault of Angle and the vicious cunning of The Viper, Mysterio dodged disaster after disaster before nailing Orton with a springboard hurricanrana to achieve the impossible. ( WATCH)

2

Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero: WrestleMania 21 (April 3, 2005)

The friendship between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero was always an interesting one. Sometimes rivals, always brothers, Rey and Eddie became the first tag team champs to go one-on-one on The Grandest Stage of Them All when they clashed at WrestleMania 21. The reason? A purely personal one for Latino Heat: He needed to prove to himself that he could beat The Master of the 619.

It was a shortcoming that plagued Eddie for some time. Although he’d become WWE Champion, the charismatic competitor always had struggled against Rey, dating back as far as their classic WCW encounter at Halloween Havoc 1997, which Mysterio won. ( WATCH FULL MATCH) Unfortunately for Guerrero, The Show of Shows would be no different, as The Ultimate Underdog reversed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a pin to score another win over his friend. ( WATCH)

1

Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho: The Bash (June 28, 2009)

For Mexican wrestlers, victories and championships are important, but masks are everything. So the man of mystery had a lot more riding on this "Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask" Match than just another notch on his win/loss record.

Months into a personal rivalry with Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio had been unmasked ruthlessly by his underhanded opponent on more than one occasion. Wisely assuming the nefarious Jericho would try to humiliate him again in this bout, The Master of the 619 prepared. When Y2J yanked Rey’s mask off after a heated back-and-forth, he was shocked to see a second mask underneath — a momentary distraction which gave Mysterio the split-second he needed to send Jericho into the ropes and hit the 619. With that, Rey won the Intercontinental Title, maintained his dignity and successfully capped off the most thrilling match of his WWE career. ( WATCH)

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