5 dream matches for the returning Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is back! Full time! That would be exciting enough news as it is (hence the exclamation points), but perhaps the most tantalizing aspect of The Master of the 619’s return is that he’s coming home to a WWE that’s almost unrecognizable from his last stint as a full-time Superstar. In the nearly four years since Mysterio departed the company, a whole new crop of talent has come to play, either through free-agent signings or the NXT system, and there’s a staggering array of first-time matches awaiting The Ultimate Underdog upon his return. He's already scheduled for one such match. Here are our picks for the others we want to see:
There are, perhaps, no two competitors better suited to square off against each other than Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles.
Mysterio was an innovator in WWE, showing that a fast-paced, high-flying style could take a Superstar to the top of the mountain, capturing the World Heavyweight Championship twice, the WWE Championship once and outlasting 29 other competitors to win the 2006 Royal Rumble.
The Phenomenal One turned SmackDown into the house he built on the foundation laid down by Mysterio. Styles vaulted over his opponents and clobbered them with a Phenomenal Forearm or laid them out with the Styles Clash to capture the WWE Championship and hold onto it for over 330 days (so far).
While it’s tough to call a winner in this battle, there’s no doubt that these two never-say-die Superstars would give the WWE Universe a match for the ages. — BOBBY MELOK
Andrade “Cien” Almas
Thunder and lightning lives in the wishful event of a Rey Mysterio and Andrade “Cien” Almas matchup. As decorated luchadors, these two combustible forces are as dangerous in the ring as they are in mid-air, having regularly accomplished the unthinkable with their unorthodox arsenals. As a matter of fact, they made that notion very clear when both Mysterio and Almas entered this year’s Men's Royal Rumble Match.
But beyond their proven abilities in aerodynamics, the real magic here would be to see their hair-raising in-ring IQs come into play. The mat-wrestling exhibition would cause electricity to pulse from the squared circle and quicken the heart rhythms of the WWE Universe. Picture the emotional tilt-a-whirl that would come via clockwise reversals – Almas going for his signature diving double foot stomp but misses and leaves room for Mysterio to pull off a breathtaking top-rope moonsault. In the eye of this storm, seeing is believing. — RALPH BRISTOUT
At this point, in terms of selecting dream opponents for a new signee or returning Superstar, it’s almost a cliché to pick Cesaro. The guy could have a classic with a broom, and we’re pretty sure he might have done just that on the indies. With that being said, there are actually some broader factors at play here: The King of Swing’s WWE debut overlapped slightly with the end of Rey’s last run, but somehow they avoided a singles confrontation, making this one of the unsung “what if’s” of the modern era.
Blame Rey slowing down amid mounting injuries at the time and Cesaro’s still-ongoing matriculation for that match never being a thing back then; there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have been as good as we wanted it to be anyway. But now that Mysterio is back to 100 percent and Cesaro has leveled up from “rugby player who stole Teddy Long’s woman” to SWISS WRESTLING MACHINE WHO WENT 20 MINUTES WITH HIS TEETH DRIVEN INTO HIS OWN HEAD, there’s no reason this couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be the international exhibition of skill and finesse the WWE Universe so richly deserves. Plus, Cesaro did kind of steal Rey’s 619. There’s your grudge right there, guys. No need to thank us. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
If you’re laughing at the idea of Rey Mysterio going toe-to-toe with Braun Strowman, then you don’t know Rey Mysterio. The Ultimate Underdog has made a career out of doing the impossible, using his astonishing athleticism, world-class speed and breathtaking aerial attacks to slay colossal Superstars and leave the WWE Universe begging for more.
In the name of self-preservation against the towering Strowman, Mysterio would be laser-focused and bounding about the ring to evade his opponent’s deadly clutches. Strowman, meanwhile, would need a giant-sized lucky rabbit’s foot to get the slippery, elusive Mysterio in position for the Running Powerslam.
On the other hand, if Strowman could square up the lightning-quick Superstar and land a clubbing blow or two, things could get ugly for Rey in a hurry. Either way, the spellbinding sight of the 5-foot-6 ball of energy attempting to outwit and outmaneuver the increasingly incensed behemoth would have everyone on the edge of their seats. — JON CHIK
In many ways, Rey Mysterio paved the way for Finn Bálor. Long before the Irish Superstar captivated the WWE Universe as The Extraordinary Man Who Does Extraordinary Things, Mysterio’s aerial innovation blew minds on a weekly basis. Had The Ultimate Underdog not first risen from the Cruiserweight ranks to the pinnacle of sports-entertainment, it’s entirely possible that Bálor — a similarly undersized Superstar compared to giants like Braun Strowman — wouldn’t have come within sniffing distance of the Universal Title.
Then there’s the flair for the supernatural that both Superstars possess. If Bálor vs. Mysterio ever moves from dream fodder to reality, it’s fair to suggest Bálor might tap into his dark side, and the thought of The Demon staring down Mysterio in big-match regalia is enough to make us salivate. The only trouble is picking a winner, because let’s be honest: Nobody’s clamoring to root against either of these two. — JOHN CLAPP