Dream or nightmare?
Tonight on SmackDown, Rey Mysterio will defend the World Championship against a man he has never beaten. But this isn’t just any ordinary man; it’s the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry. Henry holds several victories over Rey in the last few months, and most recently he destroyed Rey in early May in a non-title match that JBL goaded the champion into. Despite the history, however, the champion is confident that tonight is finally his night.
“I think tonight will be different because he’s not being smartened up by JBL,” the champion told WWE.com. “(Last time) he wasn’t going out there because he wanted to accomplish something; he was doing something for somebody else. He was doing JBL’s dirty work. In my case, being World Champion, I have every reason to go out and prove myself now against a big man.”
Of course, Henry sees it just a bit differently.
“Man, I think Rey Mysterio is in for the beating of his life and it’s time that he gives that (World Championship) up,” he said. “It’s my time.”
For months now, the World’s Strongest Man has been tearing through SmackDown. He has put numerous men on the shelf, including Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and Batista. Just last week, Chavo Guerrero felt his wrath, taking a pair of World’s Strongest Slams before being slammed into the ring post. Of course, Henry offered no condolences for Chavo when asked about the situation.
“My attack on Chavo was not an attack, because it wasn’t anything premeditated; Chavo just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Henry sneered. “Nobody gives a (expletive) about him retiring; people are worried about the right now. What has Chavo done lately? Nothing, and that’s exactly why he should retire. I hope that I helped him in the process.”
To Mysterio, however, it was just another instance of Henry throwing his weight around…and also a setback in his quest to get his friend to return to the ring.
“What he did to Chavo Guerrero was uncalled for,” the champion stated. “Right after Chavo said that he didn’t want to be a part of wrestling anymore, there I was trying to convince him, trying to bring his hope back and trying to guide him and show him where his heart should be. And what happens? Here comes this big monster, the World’s Strongest Man, and (he) just takes him down. He had no reason to do that. So now I think I have to work harder and try to convince Chavo that he does belong in the ring, and that’s my job.”
The Chavo situation aside, many feel that Rey has to worry about his own safety tonight. The World Champion has been through hell in the last two months; but whether or not he’s 100 percent, Mysterio says he’s ready to go.
“Yes I’m physically ready; I think that every day I step into the ring I’m physically ready,” he said. “I don’t care if I’m hurt, I don’t care if I’m tired, I don’t care if I didn’t sleep the night before; every time I walk through that curtain I’m ready to go. I proved it against Sabu (and) I proved it right after the match with Sabu when I stepped in the ring against Gregory Helms. I proved it many times against Khali, against Kurt Angle, and (so on). Sometimes you don’t win and sometimes you do. In my case, the one thing that I have to say is that I haven’t lost the World Championship, and I have to be proud of that.”
But can Mysterio still be proud of that come tomorrow morning? According to Henry, the answer is an emphatic no.
“Man, the only thing that can stop me is me,” the World’s Strongest Man crowed confidently. “Nobody has been able to stop me. Lightning has struck only a couple of times since I have been back; once with Kurt Angle and once against Undertaker. I guarantee you that lightning will not strike again.”
Both men are confident, but only one will walk out of SmackDown as the World Champion. Will this be the night Mysterio finally overcomes the World’s Strongest Hurdle, or will June 23, 2006 be forever known as the night Mark Henry finally claimed the World Championship?