Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero (10/26/97)
WCW -Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero
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Granted, the pay-per-view stunk to high heaven, as many WCW PPVs did. It’s hard to imagine any other end to a show in the late-90s, headlined by Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. A dude beat a chick, a bunch of good wrestlers found themselves putting on mediocre matches and, in the most awful run-in of the night, Kevin Nash disguised himself as the much shorter Sting and ruined what was a good match between Macho Man and DDP (I’m going to stick with “was” on that one–it’s been years since I’ve seen the match and I have no idea if it holds up).
The reason Havoc 97 stood out (still stands out, really) is because of this match, an absolute gem between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio for the WCW Cruiserweight Title. Rey wanted the title so badly that he was willing to put his mask on the line. This was huge for a number of reasons: Not only was the mask a huge part of a luchador’s identity (it’s arguable that WCW’s crowd probably wouldn’t be able to tell Rey Mysterio apart from, say, Juventud Guerrera, were it not for their masks), but Rey unfortunately looked like a 12-year-old boy; something that stopped him from making any real headway as a credible main event player until he debuted in WWE and toiled in their makeshift cruiserweight division for what seemed like an eternity. So there’s a lot of HATE in this match, something that you didn’t typically see in an American cruiser battle, and Rey the underdog shows a lot of guts and intestinal fortitude–true grit, you might say.
While Eddie was a beloved and eventually sainted face in WWE, I’ve always preferred his stuff as a heel. Between the mullet, the moustache, and his absolutely venomous looks towards Rey as the little guy kicks out of a plethora of pinning combinations, this swarthy, less bulky version of Latino Heat gets me every time. This match is particularly gripping because it seems like Rey could and should be done, that Eddie has him dead to rights, but Rey keeps getting back up. Good heels show they’re frustrated with that turn of events. Great heels milk it for everything they’re worth. Eddie Guerrero was a great heel, and this was maybe his greatest performance as such.
Paul Arrand Rodgers
Paul Arrand Rodgers has this blog, and that's about it.