Since June 2002 Rey Mysterio has been a part of WWE. Following the purchase of WCW by Vince McMahon Mysterio did not immediately make the jump over to WWE. He has been with the company for 11 and a half years now and has spent the majority of 2011 onward out of WWE with injuries sustained mostly to his knees, and he did spend 60 days out in 2012 due to a second wellness policy violation. Since then it has seen WWE trying to introduce new characters to keep the interest with their Mexican audience. Has WWE seen any success from this or is Mysterio simply proving so far to be irreplaceable? I give my opinions of this and what WWE has done so far.
I would personally say the most successful Mexican WWE superstar of all time is Rey Mysterio, Prior to him I do not believe anyone other than Tito Santana has been such a big hit with WWE’s Hispanic audience. Rey has proved time and time again for WWE that he is reliable, has a great appeal to fans of all ages, and he is probably the greatest Mexican worker of all time. For everything Rey Mysterio has achieved in WWE I think it is safe to say that he has had a Hall of Fame career, so how easy is it really to replace Rey? For me there is no one who can work harder and wrestle a style like Rey does. His size has never held him back, and he has successfully proven himself as the World Heavyweight Champion in the past.
One of WWE’s answers to replacing Rey was to introduce another masked Mexican superstar in Sin Cara. I’m not sure what the thought process was for this other than having a guy in a mask worked before so surely another can. I think it’s fairly safe to say that Sin Cara, when portrayed by Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, has been a complete a total flop. If he wasn’t making a mess of his in-ring moves he was injuring himself, thus earning himself the nickname of ‘Botch Cara’ whenever I talk about him. The character itself could be successful but it needs someone else to come in and take the character forward. It looks like Hunico has now taken over the role and he has already proven he can wrestle the style WWE want for the Sin Cara character. However I’m not sure that the Sin Cara character can ever replace Rey Mysterio as the 2 men wrestle different styles, and I think right now a lot of fans remember the Sin Cara that Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde made a laughing stock with fans.
One of WWE’s other attempts to replace Rey Mysterio came in Alberto Del Rio, the Mexican aristocrat who led a lavish lifestyle and drive expensive cars to the ring. Del Rio was a success for me in that he could actually wrestle, and has shown on multiple occasions he can do really well as both the WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion, however one thing that really lets Del Rio down for me is his attitude. He knows how good he is in the ring, and there is no denying that, however for me I think Del Rio thinks he is better than he truly is. In the past he has been quoted as saying he doesn’t get on with a lot of the other stars in the back, and he has shown how he can lack professionalism in the ring, once lifting the mask of Sin Cara to expose his face during a match. For me, Del Rio has not connected with the fans in any way close to Mysterio. I don’t think the character helps them buy into him as the majority of WWE fans will not live the life style like Del Rio is portrayed to live. If people can’t relate to something then it’s hard to follow.
Thinking about stars from the past who could perhaps come close to Rey Mysterio in the ring, the one name that immediately jumps out is Eddie Guerrero. Eddie had it all, charisma, great in ring skills, he had a strong connection with the fans, and he had a great following with the Hispanic fans. My only criticism of Eddie, and this may be controversial to some people, but for me he was never WWE Champion material. I felt in all honesty the belt made Eddie rather than Eddie making the belt. He really stepped up and showed what he could do with the the Intercontinental Championship, but I can honestly say I can only really remember 1 thing from his run as WWE Champion and that was when he bled profusely against JBL at Judgement Day 2004. However, there is no deny Eddie Guerrero is the closest WWE has ever gotten to replacing Rey Mysterio.
Will WWE ever replace Rey Mysterio? Well ultimately everyone on the roster is replaceable at some point so there is no doubt the answer to this is yes. However, will it be one of the current characters in WWE that take over Rey’s mantle? If Hunico can bring credibility to the Sin Cara character then maybe he has a chance, but I feel he will struggle while Mysterio remains in the WWE picture. Del Rio will never come close to Rey and I believe that to be due to lack of connection with the fans and his character. It may be a long time before Mysterio is replaced but WWE is certainly going to have to find an exceptional talent to do half of what Rey does in the ring and with the fans. Until the time comes that he is replaced lets enjoy what we have left of Rey Mysterio in WWE as it looks like injuries are starting to seriously take their toll and it appears more evident each week that Rey is struggling right now. He may not be active much longer in WWE, or wrestling, but there is no doubt Rey Mysterio will leave a lasting impression and some seriously big boots for WWE to fill.