SAN JOSE — “Once a victim, always a victim” is how Randy Orton described Rey Mysterio on SmackDown LIVE after weeks of escalating attacks against Rey’s body and heritage. But The Ultimate Underdog flipped the narrative in painful, emphatic fashion, defeating WWE’s Apex Predator in a brutal Chairs Match at WWE TLC.

Mysterio did not hesitate to take advantage of the match’s signature stipulation, bringing the chairs into play almost immediately. Even if Orton entered with a clear advantage in cruelty, Mysterio’s creativity proved difficult to top: In one incredibly impressive sequence, the former World Heavyweight Champion rode a chair under the ropes like a boogie-board and crashed down on Orton in what amounted to a steel-assisted splash.

Rey Mysterio finds an innovative use for a steel chair in his clash with Randy Orton: WWE TLC 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

The Ultimate Underdog slides from the ring and through the air on a steel chair to take down The Viper: Courtesy of WWE Network.

That creativity proved to be a liability as well as an asset — an attempt to hit a chair-bound Orton with a seated senton sent Mysterio crashing into the chair when The Viper moved out of the way — but Orton’s desire to prolong his opponent’s punishment gave Mysterio more than enough recovery time. It also contributed directly to his undoing.

The Viper had rallied from a 619 to get The Ultimate Underdog in position for an RKO atop a row of steel chairs, but the lengthy set-up allowed Mysterio to exploit an angle that nobody else in the arena seemed to see. The Master of the 619 writhed free of the RKO, superkicked Orton in the midsection, hit a drop toehold that left The Viper dazed on the chair, and before Orton even knew what was happening, Rey nimbly leapt up and hurricanrana’d his foe off the chair and into a pinning combination. Once the G.O.A.T., always the G.O.A.T.

SAN JOSE — “Once a victim, always a victim” is how Randy Orton described Rey Mysterio on SmackDown LIVE after weeks of escalating attacks against Rey’s body and heritage. But The Ultimate Underdog flipped the narrative in painful, emphatic fashion, defeating WWE’s Apex Predator in a brutal Chairs Match at WWE TLC.

Mysterio did not hesitate to take advantage of the match’s signature stipulation, bringing the chairs into play almost immediately. Even if Orton entered with a clear advantage in cruelty, Mysterio’s creativity proved difficult to top: In one incredibly impressive sequence, the former World Heavyweight Champion rode a chair under the ropes like a boogie-board and crashed down on Orton in what amounted to a steel-assisted splash.

Rey Mysterio finds an innovative use for a steel chair in his clash with Randy Orton: WWE TLC 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

The Ultimate Underdog slides from the ring and through the air on a steel chair to take down The Viper: Courtesy of WWE Network.

That creativity proved to be a liability as well as an asset — an attempt to hit a chair-bound Orton with a seated senton sent Mysterio crashing into the chair when The Viper moved out of the way — but Orton’s desire to prolong his opponent’s punishment gave Mysterio more than enough recovery time. It also contributed directly to his undoing.

The Viper had rallied from a 619 to get The Ultimate Underdog in position for an RKO atop a row of steel chairs, but the lengthy set-up allowed Mysterio to exploit an angle that nobody else in the arena seemed to see. The Master of the 619 writhed free of the RKO, superkicked Orton in the midsection, hit a drop toehold that left The Viper dazed on the chair, and before Orton even knew what was happening, Rey nimbly leapt up and hurricanrana’d his foe off the chair and into a pinning combination. Once the G.O.A.T., always the G.O.A.T.