Rey Mysterio‘s WWE debut introduced a new set of fans to one of the greatest Mexican wrestlers of all time. Mysterio wowed fans with his high flying Lucha Libre moves that many fans had never seen before, and it instantly made him a fan favourite in WWE.
His long and storied career had him wrestling in ECW, WCW, WWE and even NJPW for a spell, but his home was always WWE. Here is what happened in Rey Mysterio’s WWE debut, and which legend revealed that it came later than anyone would have expected.
While he was unemployed following the purchase of WCW, Rey Mysterio debuted in WWE after a long time away from the ring, recommended to him by one legend of the wrestling business.
When Did Rey Mysterio Debut In WWE?
Rey Mysterio’s WWE debut came against Chavo Guerrero on July 23 2002 on an episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown. The match was shown on TV on July 25, 2002 and was the first time Rey Mysterio had wrestled since WCW had folded the year prior.
The match was a little over five minutes, but did well to introduce Rey Mysterio to the WWE fans in his debut. Pairing him with fellow Luchador Chavo Guerrero was a genius move, allowing them to perform some of Mysterio’s most impressive Lucha Libre spots.
Rey Mysterio’s debut match ended in victory, when he hit Chavo Guerrero with a 619, followed by a springboard Frankensteiener to get the three count and the win.
Mysterio would go on to become a two-time world champion in WWE, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in 2006 and the WWE Championship in 2011. He also won the 2006 Royal Rumble as the highlight of an incredible career.
Jim Ross on Rey Mysterio WWE Debut
WWE Hall of Famer and former WWE Head of Talent Relations Jim Ross has revealed by Rey Mysterio did not join WWE during The Invasion storyline, with other WCW Talent like DDP and Booker T.
On his podcast, Grillin Jr, Jim Ross revealed that he spoke to Rey Mysterio after WWE bought WCW in 2001, in attempts to try to sign the diminutive luchador. However, due to his large garuntee still being paid by Time-Warner, he gave Mysterio to sit out the last year of his deal, heal up and come to WWE a year later in 2002.
“Here’s my advice: I will hire you, you’re a great talent and you can become more famous than you are by being on this television. But the smart money right now for you is to stay home, train. He’d been wrestling since he was 14, why don’t you just enjoy the money you were making, get your body to the way you exactly want it, and then we’ll bring you in in January. The guys around me knew and I knew that working with Rey, the Jericho’s of the world, couldn’t say enough nice things about Rey.”
“I remember talking to Vince. I said he’s coming in January, ‘Vince he’s getting big money, more than we’re going to guarantee, and let’s let the guy get healthy.’ Heal, get better and save your damn money. Vince understood that logic. We know you’re going to get over, let’s take this approach and see if it works for us. I don’t think that’s the answer Rey was expecting.” – SOURCE
What did you think of Rey Mysterio’s WWE debut vs Chavo Guerrero? Let us know in the comments or click below to read more about Rey Mysterio
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.