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Mysterio's underdog story

Mysterio's underdog story

WWE.com's No. 1 Over-the-Top Rumble Performance far exceeded the 20'x20' dimensions of a WWE ring, and its performer, though lacking in size, had a heart bigger than a dozen Great Khali's. For Rey Mysterio, winning the 2006 Royal Rumble wasn't just a drastic step toward realizing the dream he first had as a 15-year-old wrestling his first match in a small, rundown church in Tijuana, Mexico—a chance for championship immortality at WrestleMania 22. Winning was also the ultimate homage he could pay to his best friend, the late Eddie Guerrero.

The masked Superstar felt the mischievous spirit of "Latino Heat" around Miami's American Airlines Arena while reading his Rumble entry number in Mr. McMahon's office. He looked up toward the heavens, smiled and said, "Eddie…you got me, man." WWE fans were momentarily confused by the meaning of Mysterio's words when Triple H was announced as the No. 1 entrant; however, everything became perfectly clear when Rey—wearing an Eddie Guerrero T-shirt and armbands—drove toward ringside in a lowrider that would have made Eddie proud.

It's a common-sense, yet overlooked Royal Rumble fact: drawing No. 2 gives you just as much (or little) chance of winning the contest than if you were to grab the No. 1 slot—especially when you're a five-foot-six, 165-pound high-flyer (see WWE.com's "Royal Rumble Recommendations") against a six-foot-four, 260-pound Cerebral Assassin. But that didn't stop the fighting Mysterio from trading blows with The Game, or with any of the 28 other Superstars who emerged from the back every 90 seconds. If anything, hearing 16,000 strong in the standing room-only arena chant "Ed-die, Ed-die" seemed to only spur Rey further into battle.

Approaching the 60-minute mark, the Rumble lineup had whittled down to the exhausted No. 1 and No. 2 entrants, as well as a still-relatively fresh Randy Orton (No. 30). The Legend Killer briefly realigned with his former Evolution mentor to double-team Mysterio, but Rey refused to succumb to the overwhelming odds. Instead, he called collect on Triple and Orton with a dual 619 through the ropes, then caught The Game off-guard with a body-scissors that catapulted him to the outside floor. Enraged, Triple H pulled Rey out of the ring (beneath the ropes), sent him crashing into the unforgiving steel steps, and tossed him back inside like he was discarding a broken toy. Tasting victory, the Legend Killer casually proceeded to dump Mysterio's seemingly limp body over the ropes...until Rey surprised him with a head scissors that pulled Orton over as well. The only difference was that Orton crashed to the floor, while the masked Superstar, still clinging to the ropes, fell only as far as the ring apron.

By winning the 2006 Royal Rumble, Rey Mysterio didn't just accomplish the improbable—he performed what everyone considered impossible, recording the longest time ever in a Rumble (one hour, twelve minutes and two seconds) and becoming the lightest (and only masked) WWE Superstar to win the event match. Even more amazing, he did it not only through his immense talent, but in the manner by which he best remembered Eddie Guerrero: with an indomitable will and desire. Viva la raza!

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