In 2018, Rey Mysterio had a short run in NJPW which had fans excited.
Mysterio was in his best shape in 20 years, having spent the last few years healing his various injuries after leaving WWE in 2015.
The Mexican wrestling legend only wrestled twice in NJPW in 2018, although there was so much more promise than what actually happened for Rey Mysterio in NJPW.
He wrestled in two six-man tag matches for the Japanese company, featuring some of the biggest names in Japan.
However, he teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Liger at the event, in a losing effort to the Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Adam Page and Marty Scurll).
His second and final match took place 2 months later at the NJPW Climax shows. On day 19 of the 2018 edition, he teamed with Ryusuke Taguchi and KUSHIDA to take on CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO and YO).
Mysterio was victorious in this match, pinning YOH after a 619.
In the post match press conference, Rey Mysterio teased even more matches, including a one-on-one encounter against one of NJPW’s top stars, Kazuchika Okada.
“It’s been an honor to be part of NJPW and it has been an honor to compete in Japan. It’s a whole other level.“
“I’ve competed around the world, and I’ve been here with other companies, but to feel the presence, that unique feeling of the fans of New Japan, its just unbelievable, I get nothing but love and respect when I step out there in the ring and for that, I thank you.“
“The only thing I can give in return is perform like I did today and i have I the past, for many years to come”
“What a trio. In Mexico we call them Trios. I have two of the best partners (Taguchi and KUSHIDA) I can ask for, and three of the best opponents, YOH, SHO and (Kazuchika) Okada. I’d love to see a singles match between Mysterio and Okada. Lets see what happens.”
Rey Mysterio in New Japan came to an abrupt end after that. He competed at ALL IN in 2018, but soon after signed for WWE again, where he still competes to this day.
His run in NJPW could have been so much more, and could’ve had some huge matches against some of the top stars.
Rey Mysterio in NJPW
Rey Mysterio’s run in NJPW was meant to go on even longer than it originally did. As mentioned previously, he was rumoured in having a match with top NJPW star Kazuchika Okada.
That match would have been a dream match for many, clashing two of the best wrestlers from two very different eras in one ring.
Mysterio was also rumoured to have a match against Jushin Liger. The pair had previously clashed in WCW in a huge match at Starrcade 1996, but NJPW were rumoured to be intending to book the match for the NJPW show in Chicago in 2018.
The match was booked for NJPW Strong Style Evolved on March 25th 2018, but Mysterio eventually pulled out of the match due to injury.
Just two months prior, Mysterio made a shocking return to WWE in the 2018 Royal Rumble.
It was no secret that he was in negotiations to return to WWE in the months following, and fans were sure that he was set to return, especially given his great performance in the 2018 Royal Rumble.
Rumours of the reason for him pulling out the match vary. Whether the injury was the true reason or not is not fully know.
Some have theorised that WWE asked him to pull out the match, fully intending to book him on the Wrestlemania card just one week later. However, we will never know the full reason why we were deprived of the legendary match, 22 years on from their WCW classic.
What did you think of Rey Mysterio in NJPW? Would you have liked to see Rey Mysterio vs Kazuchika Okada in NJPW? Let us know in the comments or click below to read more.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.