The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Rey Mysterio at the Crossroads
The Kingfish Arnie Katz evaluates the pros, cons and possible future of Rey Mysterio at this pivotal juncture of his ring career.

Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez Rubio) often makes headlines with his ring exploits, but lately, he has gotten even more space in the wrestling press for the behind-the-scenes negotiations with WWE. He actually stopped appearing for a brief interval and, though he has now returned to action, reports insist that the money issues surrounding his contract are still not settled.

Rey has had in-ring, impact, too. He was unmasked in one of the shoddiest storylines in some time and he has won and lost the Inter-Continental Championship.

Rey, approaching his 35th birthday this December, is at a crucial point in his illustrious ring career. He has already lasted longer than many fans thought possible, given his high-risk style and propensity for injury. While some Latino wrestlers have worked to advanced ages, it doesn’t seem likely that Rey has more than

He wrestled his first pro match at 14, but now he must start to think about how he plans to conduct the balance of his professional career. His numerous injuries have not lengthened his career and may, in the final analysis, bring it to what some fans would view as a premature end. Presumably, that’s why he is showing such caution in the current negotiations.

Mysterio is sometimes called the “ultimate underdog? That’s a good way to deal with the problems, but it doesn’t mean that those problems don’t exist. There are two major ones:

1. Size. There’s no getting around the fact, no matter how WWE manipulates the height and weight stats, that Rey Mysterio is small of stature compared to most WWE wrestlers. He can work the big man-small man gimmick with the best of them, but sometimes the disparity is just too overwhelming. For all his athleticism and high-flying skill, he sometimes looks just plain ridiculous against the really huge competitors.

2. Ring work. Rey Mysterio is a prisoner of his own success. He perfected a very strong program that culminated with the 619 and West Coast Pop. The problem is that he has stuck with it far too long without freshening it with new holds and moves.

His matches are often as predictable as Ric Flair at his most pat (complete with delayed forward flop and missed to- rope move). The bookers have recently taken a step in the right direction when they started allowing Mysterio’s opponents to block or even reverse the 619. That made his matches with Chris Jericho much more compelling.

Still, it is only a start. Rey probably needs to add at least one more hold to his finishing sequence and a couple of other high spots for earlier in the match.

Rey Mysterio is far from done making headlines. He is still very much an elite performer who merits inclusion in WWE’s main event group on whatever show they put him.

WWE has to do better, too. The unmasking was atrocious. They can still rescue the situation, but it doesn’t help to start with a dud.

WWE would be making a mistake if they let him go at this point, because he can still do a lot for the promotion. I think I would put him on ECW, where the wrestlers average a bit smaller and let him light up that show.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back Saturday with a fresh installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]

Special Thanks to Nic Farey for suggesting the topic of today’s column.