Monday, March 11, 2013

If This Be the End for Rey Mysterio...

So much doubt...
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Rey Mysterio hurt his knee again. His body before that was already held together by Gorilla Glue, twine, and putty, so he was already at risk for injury, but his short return from the Royal Rumble until getting killified by Mark Henry was so jarring. It was feared that he had a torn ACL, which would have effectively ended his wrestling career. As it turns out, he'll "only" miss three months, which means he could come back, but as has been the rumor for the last two or three years, WWE is apparently looking at cutting him loose. The fact that Alberto del Rio has become an effective ambassador to the Latin audience has made these rumors feel like less rumors and more the Sword of Damocles.

If WWE let him go, there wouldn't be a guarantee that he would retire like I'm pretty sure his health might dictate at this point. I don't know if he'd go into the good night or not, but if WWE did let him go, is there anyone in the room who wouldn't think TNA would pounce on him the moment he hit the market? Whether that would be a good idea or not is fodder for another topic at this point though.

There is the real chance that if Mysterio were to be let go by WWE, he could retire. No one would blame him, given how hurt he's been working for the last five or so years of his career. He's been a repeat Wellness violator, and while some will believe it's for steroids due to his physique, if I had to chance a guess, I'd say it was painkillers. The man has worked one of the most physically demanding styles for almost two decades. I'm surprised he didn't hang up the mask sooner.

Not only has he been putting himself through the wringer though, he's been excellent at doing it for years now. Dylan Hales calls him the best television wrestler ever. I can't go by my own memories of his days in WCW because I watched more RAW than Nitro and I can't even remember what I had for lunch two days ago. But ever since I got back into wrestling in late 2008, there are very few wrestlers whom I thought week-in and week-out have been better on RAW/Smackdown/Impact than Mysterio has been, if any. That run has come with his knees being devoid of any cartilage. It'd be very hard for me to refute any claims of him being the GOAT in that regard.

So with that in mind, if he retires, it'll be a major blow to WWE and wrestling in general, even if his influence has brought up a generation of guys who now know how to go hard when the cable cameras are rolling, not just when the people have to pay to see them. Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and Daniel Bryan are all guys who took Mysterio's lead and decided that the fans should get to see top quality wrestling every night. And they're just the wrestlers still in WWE right now.

Rey Mysterio is a guy who might get lost in the annals of history just because he was "just a cruiserweight," or because people were annoyed that he beat Kane, or that he was the beneficiary of WWE's exploitation of Eddie Guerrero's death. His impact in WWE, WCW, and wrestling in general was far greater than what some might have you believe. For selfish reasons, I hope that he's not done, but if he is, he needs to be remembered as one of the all-time greats. It might be hyperbolic to say there wouldn't be a modern WWE as we know it without Mysterio, but the company isn't as popular abroad without him, and who knows if their in-ring product continues to evolve without him in matches week in and week out, showing fools what needs to be done.

Whatever happens to the man, I hope he's at least appreciated, and that he's happy with whatever decision he makes, obviously. He sacrificed being able to walk for wrestling. I hope it wasn't just so assholes could mock him because he's not big enough to sate their preconceived notions of success and size in a staged sporting theater.