REVIEW: WWE SUPERSTARS REY MYSTERIO
I've been a fan of professional wrestling for quite some time now. I started out in the 1980's, watching "World Class Championship Wrestling" late night on weekends on a local independent station (this was well before I had Cable), whose only other worthwhile programming amounted to the animated series "ThunderCats" and "Spiral Zone". Sometime later, I would discover the WWE, then known as the WWF, as well as WCW.
However, I never really collected any wrestling action figures, and certainly there have been plenty of these over the years, and they have traditionally been alloted a generous amount of space in the average toy store and action figure aisle. This, as much as anything, is testament to the popularity of this form of entertainment.
I think one of the reasons I never really brought any of these figures in was there was simply too much to choose from. Current wrestlers, legendary superstars of the past, multi-packs representing specific events -- it was easy to be overwhelmed. And in all honesty, I had other priorities, such as various soldiers, robots, super-heroes, and space-based characters.
However, I decided to take another look. Part of this is likely due to the fact that at the moment, the various soldiers, robots, super-heroes, and space-based characters aren't as well supplied in the stores as they used to be. I'd like to see that change, but it's not exactly in my control. But I think the major part of it is that the current licensee for WWE action figures, Mattel, has provided an excellent "basic" line of WWE action figures, known as the "Superstars" line, that presents a wide range of currently-active WWE individuals, at a very reasonable price, that lets one pick and choose without having to concern oneself with all of the fancier figures and multi-packs -- not that there's anything wrong with those if you have the wallet for it. Mattel's been doing a great job across the board with the WWE.
Obviously, I have no intention of being a completist. There's literally dozens of these Superstars figures, including any number of repeats. I'll pick and choose. But then, I do that with most action figure lines these days anyway. One WWE Superstar that I picked and chose recently is a longtime wrestler who goes by the name of REY MYSTERIO. Hailing from Mexico, he is one of the popular "masked" wrestlers, masks being a huge part of Mexican wrestling tradition. And he's had quite the career, most of it with the WWE. Let's consider some of Mysterio's history, and then have a look at his action figure.
Rey Mysterio, real name Oscar Gutierrez Rubio, born December 11, 1974, was trained by his uncle Rey Misterio, Sr. and wrestled early on in Vadodara, where he learned the "Lucha Libre" high flying style that has been his trademark.
Gutierrez originally worked for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) in Mexico, from 1992 to 1995. He wrestled in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from 1995 to 1996 and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from 1996 to 2001, as Rey Misterio, Jr./Rey Mysterio, Jr. ("Rey Misterio" is Spanish for "King of Mystery") but dropped the "Junior" from his name when he began working for WWE in 2002.
Mysterio is known for having a high flying style, which helped kick-start the cruiserweight wrestling revolution in the United States in the late 1990s during his time in WCW. In WCW he won the WCW World Tag Team Championship three times, and the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship once with Billy Kidman. In WWE, Mysterio is a three-time world champion, having held the World Heavyweight Championship twice and the WWE Championship once, and is currently listed as the lightest world champion in WWE history. He has also held the WWE Tag Team Championship a record-tying four times, and the WWE Intercontinental Championship twice. He also held the WCW/WWE Cruiserweight Championship a record eight times (five times in WCW, three in WWE). All totaled, he has won 21 titles between WWE and WCW. Mysterio was the 21st person to win the WWE Triple Crown Championship, and was the winner of the 2006 Royal Rumble.
Mysterio made his debut in Mexico on April 30, 1989 when he was only 14 years old. He had ring names such as "La Lagartija Verde (The Green Lizard)" and "Colibrí" before his uncle gave him the name of Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Mysterio signed with Paul Heyman's Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1995. He debuted in September, defeating Psicosis, who was also making his ECW debut. A feud between the two began, which included a two out of three falls match and a Mexican Death match. Mysterio also had a series of matches with ECW-newcomer Juventud Guerrera during the first half of 1996.
He made his World Championship Wrestling debut on June 16, 1996 at The Great American Bash, challenging Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, which Malenko retained by cheating to win. In July at Bash at the Beach, he defeated longtime rival Psicosis in a number one contender's match to earn another opportunity at the Cruiserweight title. The next night, on the July 8 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, he defeated Malenko to win his first Cruiserweight Championship.
In 1998, fellow Mexican wrestler Eddie Guerrero formed a group known as the Latino World Order (LWO), a spin off of New World Order that included nearly every Mexican wrestler in the promotion. Mysterio continually refused to join and feuded with Guerrero and the LWO members, however, he was finally forced to join the group after losing a match to Eddie Guerrero.
In 1999, after the two factions of nWo reformed, they demanded that the LWO disband. Mysterio refused to take off his LWO colors and was attacked by the nWo as a result. This led to a match at SuperBrawl IX where Mysterio and tag partner Konnan lost against Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, forcing Mysterio to remove his mask. After the match, he phoned his uncle to tell him the news. Mysterio has publicly expressed his disappointment over being unmasked.
In June 2002, Mysterio signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, and promos that hyped his debut began airing. The "Jr." was dropped from his name and was billed simply as Rey Mysterio. At the insistence of Vince McMahon, Mysterio agreed to wear his mask again. While this angered lucha libre fans in Mexico as it violated tradition, Mysterio did receive permission from the official luche libre organizations to wear his mask again, since him losing his mask wasn't in a traditional mask vs. mask match. To this day, WWE has since censored footage of Mysterio being unmasked in WCW.
Mysterio made his WWE debut on the July 25, 2002 episode of SmackDown! as a fan favorite in a match against Chavo Guerrero, which Mysterio won. He eventually began a feud with Kurt Angle, which culminated in a match at SummerSlam that Angle won after forcing Mysterio to submit to the ankle lock. He later formed a tag team with Edge; the two participated in a tournament for the newly created and SmackDown!-exclusive WWE Tag Team Championship.
On the January 1, 2004 episode of SmackDown!, Mysterio defeated Tajiri to win his seventh Cruiserweight Championship. After a successful title defense against Jamie Noble at Royal Rumble, Mysterio lost the title to Chavo Guerrero at No Way Out in February.
After an unsuccessful attempt at regaining the Cruiserweight Title, Mysterio formed a tag team with Rob Van Dam, and went on to win the Tag Team Championship from Kenzo Suzuki and René Dupreé on the December 9 episode of SmackDown!. They successfully defended the title against the former champions at Armageddon, before losing the title to the Basham Brothers on the January 13, 2005 episode of SmackDown! after Van Dam was injured.
Mysterio then teamed up with Eddie Guerrero to win the Tag Team Championship back from the Bashams at No Way Out. Two months later, at ECW One Night Stand, Mysterio faced and defeated long-time rival Psicosis for the first time in nearly five years.
At the 2006 Royal Rumble match, Mysterio entered as the number 2 entry. He would go on to win the match and earn a world title shot, last eliminating Randy Orton, he lasted 62 minutes, making him the person to be the longest lasting competitor in the Royal Rumble. Orton urged him to put the title shot at stake in a match at No Way Out. Orton won at No Way Out, earning Mysterio's title shot for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22. General Manager Theodore Long re-added Mysterio to the WrestleMania 22 title match, however, making it a Triple Threat match between Orton, Mysterio, and then-champion, Kurt Angle. At Wrestlemania 22, Mysterio pinned Randy Orton to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. On the April 7 episode of SmackDown!, Mysterio – who was billed as being an "underdog champion", made his first successful World Heavyweight title defense against Randy Orton.
On the August 31, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, Mysterio won a "Championship Competition" to become the number 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Batista and Finlay. On the September 7 episode of SmackDown!, Mysterio had an "I Quit" match with Chavo Guerrero, which he won after hitting Guerrero's knee with a chair repeatedly in a similar manner to which Mysterio had been put out of action. Mysterio then began a feud with The Great Khali, which would lead to a match at Unforgiven where he would face Khali for the World Heavyweight Championship; the match was eventually made a Triple Threat match also involving Batista, but was unsuccessful in recapturing the title.
He re-entered the world title picture when he emerged victorious in the Beat the Clock challenge for the chance to face the World Heavyweight Champion Edge at Royal Rumble. However, he was unsuccessful in winning the championship. WWE.com announced on February 14, 2008, that Mysterio suffered a biceps injury during an overseas tour. Despite the injury, Mysterio faced Edge for the title again at No Way Out. On the February 22 episode of SmackDown!, Mysterio announced that his injury would keep him out of action for at least six months, and he eventually underwent three surgeries within the space of a month.
Mysterio made his return on the June 23 episode of Raw, as Mysterio was the first wrestler to be drafted in the 2008 WWE Draft from the SmackDown brand to the Raw brand. On the June 30 episode of Raw, Mysterio came to make an announcement to all the Raw fans which led to a minor fight with Santino Marella. Mysterio made his Raw in-ring debut the next week, pinning Marell
Later, Mysterio accepted John Bradshaw Layfield's (JBL) challenge for Layfield's Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XXV, which Mysterio won in 21 seconds. With this win, Mysterio became the twenty first Triple Crown Champion in WWE history. Mysterio was drafted back to SmackDown! during the 2009 WWE Draft on the April 13 episode of Raw, in the process making the Intercontinental Title exclusive to SmackDown for the first time since mid-2002.
He then began a long-time feud with Chris Jericho, resulting in Mysterio defending and retaining his title at Judgment Day. At Extreme Rules, Jericho managed to unmask Mysterio and pin him for the Intercontinental Championship, however his face was never shown, as he covered it. As a result, Mysterio and Jericho were booked in a Title vs. Mask match at The Bash, in which Mysterio was victorious after tricking Jericho with a second mask.
On January 1, 2010 Mysterio participated in a Beat the Clock Tournament for the #1 contendership of The Undertaker's World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble. In the tournament, he defeated his former rival Chris Jericho, beating CM Punk's time. During Batista's "Beat the Clock" challenge against R-Truth, Batista was about to beat Mysterio's time, but Mysterio pulled the referee out of the ring during a pinfall as time ran out, costing Batista the tournament. Later it was announced that Mysterio and Batista would face each other the following week to decide the Number #1 Contender. However, this match also ended in a no-contest, following interference from the Undertaker. The following week in a rematch, Mysterio managed to win the title shot for the championship by defeating Batista in a Steel Cage match. At the Royal Rumble, The Undertaker successfully defended the championship against Mysterio.
On the May 28 episode of SmackDown, Mysterio fought The Undertaker unsuccessfully, to qualify for the World Heavyweight Championship title match at Fatal 4-Way but in the process, accidentally injured the Undertaker and took him out of the competition. On June 4, 2010, Mysterio won a Battle Royal involving the whole SmackDown roster by lastly eliminating Kane to earn The Undertaker's vacated spot, joining then-champion Jack Swagger, Big Show, and CM Punk at the pay-per-view. At Fatal 4 Way, Mysterio defeated Big Show, CM Punk and Jack Swagger to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the second time in his career. He would later lose the title to Kane.
On the August 20 episode of SmackDown, Mysterio lost via submission to the debuting Alberto Del Rio. On the August 27 episode of SmackDown, Mysterio lost a No Disqualification match to Kane, and afterwards was attacked by Alberto Del Rio on his injured left arm, sparking a feud between the two. Mysterio returned on the first episode of SmackDown on Syfy and confronted Alberto Del Rio. After Del Rio escaped the ring, Mysterio hit his personal ring announcer with a 619. On the October 8 episode of SmackDown, Mysterio defeated Del Rio, and thus ending his undefeated streak.
On the January 21, 2011 episode of SmackDown, Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes. During the match, he broke Rhodes' nose when he hit Rhodes with a 619 with his exposed knee brace, thus sparking a feud. Mysterio participated in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble, though he was eliminated by Wade Barrett. The match would later be won by his rival, Alberto Del Rio. Five days later on SmackDown, Mysterio qualified for a spot in the Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view for the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Jack Swagger. At the event he made it to the final two but was eliminated by Edge.
In the 2011 WWE Draft, Mysterio was drafted back to Raw. On the May 9 episode of Raw, Mysterio lost a Triple Threat match to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship. Following the match, Mysterio was attacked by R-Truth which led to a match between the two at Over the Limit, which R-Truth won. From May, Rey Mysterio started feuding with CM Punk, with the pair exchanging victories on successive episodes of Raw. Their feud ended at WWE Capitol Punishment when Punk beat Mysterio.
On the August 8, 2011 episode of Raw, Mysterio was brutally attacked by The Miz, leaving him with a storylined injury. At SummerSlam 2011, Mysterio competed in a six man tag-team match with Kofi Kingston and John Morrison to defeat The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and R-Truth. The following night on Raw, Rey Mysterio received a rematch for the WWE Championship against new champion Del Rio, however Del Rio would retain.
Mysterio subsequently suffered an in-ring injury at a house show. Thereafter, it was put in a storyline injury inflicted by Alberto Del Rio following a match in August 2011, which would write Mysterio off television for about 10 months.
After almost a year's absence, Mysterio returned on the July 16, 2012 episode of Raw, saving Zack Ryder from his old rival, Alberto Del Rio. Four days later on SmackDown, Mysterio returned to in-ring action when he teamed up with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus to defeat Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler via disqualification. At SummerSlam, Mysterio unsuccessfully challenged The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. During the match, Mysterio suffered a legitimate concussion. He returned on the August 31 edition of Smackdown, defeating Cody Rhodes. At Night Of Champions, Mysterio failed again to capture the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz in a fatal-four way match, also involving Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara.
At the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Mysterio and Sin Cara were victorious in a 10 man elimination tag team match. Mysterio and Sin Cara challenged Team Rhodes Scholars once more for #1 contendership to the WWE Tag Team Championship at the 2012 TLC pay-per-view event, but were unsuccessful. After a few days, when Rey was to accompany Sin Cara to a match, he couldn't come, as he was ambushed backstage by The Shield. This was used as a storyline to write them off television as he was taking some time off, and Sin Cara underwent a knee surgery.
Mysterio returned as the fourteenth participant in the 2013 Royal Rumble match on January 27th, 2013. However, he was elimated by Wade Barrett, before his tag team partner Sin Cara entered. He returned to teaming with Sin Cara on the February 1st edition of SmackDown, defeating WWE Tag Team Champions Team Daniel Bryan and Kane.
You know, the one problem with presenting a history of these WWE Superstars with lengthy careers is deciding what to include. You should've seen what I left out. If you're a fan of Rey Mysterio, I encourage you to do further research on your own.
So, how's the figure? Really excellent -- if not especially big. Rey Mysterio is a hugely popular WWE Superstar around the world, but he's not all that huge himself. In fact, he's one of the smallest Superstars in the WWE. His billed height is 5' 6", and his billed weight is 175 pounds. Now, that's perfectly fine anywhere else in the real world, but when you consider the sizes of a lot of the people active in the WWE, it's a good thing that Mysterio has his speed and agility going for him, because he's not going to out-power much of anybody.
Mattel has seen to it that they keep their figures properly scaled. There's a certain amount of common parts usage here and there, but it should be noted that the WWE line isn't like, say, Mattel's DC Universe or Masters of the Universe line, where if most of the characters have pretty much the same somewhat stylized physique, it's not really a problem. In fact, I appreciate the consistency. But that wouldn't work in the WWE line, where you're dealing with real people that, however muscular their builds may be, there are differences.
As such, while there is some common usage in the line, it's nowhere near as extensive as in some of Mattel's other lines, and I believe that Mattel sincerely tries to get the figures to look as much like the actual individuals as possible, and they are to be commended for this.
Needless to say, in the case of someone like Rey Mysterio, he's likely an almost completely unique figure. I wouldn't be surprised if the molds used to make his arms might turn up on someone else, since a size comparison with some other figures did show some similarities, but for the most part, Rey is one of those entirely unique figures in the line, in this respect having this in common with some of the other more distinctive physical builds, such as Big Show.
That's about all Rey has in common with Big Show. To give you an idea of the size range of these figures, Rey Mysterio stands just about 6-1/4" in height. A more typically-sized WWE Superstars figure, in this case The Miz, stands about 7". Big Show is very nearly 8", and Rey is not quite shoulder height to him.
What's really funny is that all of these figures are offered on identical packaging, with identically-sized plastic bubbles on the cards. Need it be said that Big Show takes up nearly his entire bubble, to the point that his feet are pretty well right up against the bottom of it, whereas Rey Mysterio's package bubble could readily be described as more -- roomy. The only time I've seen a more hilarious package comparison was when Hasbro had to cram a 6" scale Avengers figure of the Hulk, who was more like on the high side of 8", and overall just plain huge, into a rather tight package bubble distinctly scaled for the smaller figures, and had to pose him in a semi-seated position to get away with it. At least Show and Rey are both standing.
One of my criteria for buying these WWE figures, is I want it to look as much like the actual individual as possible. For the most part, Mattel has done a good job with this, although I've seen a few that just weren't quite there, and I don't expect to be adding them to my collection. In Rey Mysterio's case, "facial likeness" is a tricky definition at best, since he's wearing his mask, which covers everything except his eyes, the lower portion of his face, and the back of his head -- which is bald anyway, and probably wasn't a terribly difficult sculpt as such.
As such, my second criteria is facial expression. Many of the WWE Superstars are very expressive individuals, and some of them even have trademark expressions, that they'll use during interviews or ring entrances or whatever. Fine and well, but they don't retain those expressions throughout their matches. I'm not really interested in a figure who looks like he's perpetually screaming, is suffering some sort of intestinal distress, or has a peculiar facial tic.
There have been Rey Mysterio figures in the Mattel line before the one I purchased. But as odd as it sounds, some of them weren't that great likenesses, largely because of some slightly odd expression to the visible mouth. This Rey Mysterio has a bit of a smile on his face, but is otherwise a straightforward expression that I found most agreeable. In other words, it looks like Rey.
The mask Rey wears, whatever its color scheme may be, has a number of common attributes. The eyeholes are fairly large and somewhat up-angled, rather reminiscent of Spider-Man in my opinion. There's a vertical stripe from the nose over the top of the head, and a cross on the forehead. Perhaps the most distinctive part of the mask are these wings that sweep upward from either side of the jaw, along the sides, nearly to the top of the head. There are eyes and a beak at the base of the wings near the jaw. This mask design has been superbly duplicated on this action figure.
There was another reason I decided to bring Rey Mysterio into my collection. I wanted some color. Many of the WWE Superstars wear black trunks, with some sort of imprinted design on it. Fine and well, but that gets a little drab in an action figure collection after a while.
Rey Mysterio is not drab. I'm not sure the man has worn the same costume twice. Some of his costumes have even imitated certain super-heroes. I've seen costumes based on the Flash and Captain America. He usually saves these for major Pay-Per-View events. But, suffice to say, Rey Mysterio dresses colorfully, and that is certainly reflected on this particular figure.
Mattel has produced a variety of costume colors on their previous Rey Mysterio figures -- including even one dressed in black. This Rey is not dressed in black. His mask, trousers, and the sleeves he sometimes wears up his arms are molded in a rather eye-searing neon green that I frankly doubt has duplicated all that well in the photographs accompanying this review. It's one of those colors you sort of have to see in person. I've got this DC Universe Classics figure of The Riddler, who's wearing a very bright green, and Mysterio's outfit is even half a shade brighter than that.
The outfit is trimmed in red, white, and black. Most of the details on Mysterio's mask are white. The cross and wings are red. Down his left sleeve are the numbers "619" in red, with white outlines. This is the name of one of Rey's signature moves in the ring, the name derived from the area code for San Diego, which Rey calls home. On the right sleeve is another intricate design, mostly white, with black and red trim. The "sleeves" are clearly standard arm molds, by the way.
Rey is wearing rather thick black gloves, with a decent amount of detail shown in the sculpt. He is wearing rather baggy bright green trousers -- and it amazes me that he can manage the acrobatic moves in the ring that he does wearing these things. The left leg has the same "619" pattern as the left sleeve, and the right leg has the word "Mysterio" on it in red, with a black cross, a design that's half skull and half Mysterio mask, and the number "619" in black, followed by a second cross on a necklace. Rey is also wearing black shoes.
Rey Mysterio is one of those WWE Superstars with a generous amount of tattoos. I think one of the reasons Mattel gave him the sleeves, which he doesn't always wear, was to cut down a bit on the tattoo imprinting. Rey's tattoos have steadily increased over the years. He must've driven Jakks Pacific, the previous WWE toy licensee, absolutely nuts for a while. It seemed every time he took a break, he'd come back with more tattoos.
I would say that as of this writing, this particular Mattel figure is decently up to date. He has the bird-like wings of his mask, very ornately styled on his upper chest, along with a cross on a tattooed necklace. He has the word "Mexican" across his abdomen in ornate lettering. His right shoulder has a sun-like symbol on it, and his left shoulder has a stylized version of his mask. His back is very extensively tattooed, with a cross at the base of his neck, followed by a skeletal spinal column all the way down, and these strange, bone-like-looking extensions coming out of the spinal column and spreading across his entire back, and I'm not entirely sure what they're supposed to be. Certainly highly detailed, and Mattel has done a good job with this.
Overall, the paintwork and detailing on the Rey Mysterio figure is most impressive. Articulation is excellent, as well. Rey is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. About the only limitations in the articulation are the lack of a mid-torso joint, and the fact that while the legs move forward and back, they don't move outward. This is, as much as anything, a result of the price point. These are Mattel's most basic WWE figures. If you want more articulation, you buy the Elite Collection. However, on the average, the figures in the Elite Collection cost 1-1/2 times that of the basic figures. For me, that's a bit much just to get mid-torso movement and somewhat more poseable legs. I don't need these guys to be able to perform yoga or breakdancing. Not for that much more money. If you have the pockets for the Elite Collection, fine and well. I have a couple of these from some time back, and they're excellent figures. But speaking for myself, I'm content with the Superstars line.
So, what's my final word? This is a cool figure. Certainly the bright green costume adds some much-needed color to the collection. The figure is distinctive both in color and in size, and definitely represents one of the WWE's most popular superstars, especially with the younger crowd, as he always makes it a point to greet kids on his way to the ring, as well as a long-and-well-established member of the professional wrestling community. If you're a fan of the WWE, or of Rey Mysterio in particular, I promise you will enjoy this figure.
The WWE SUPERSTARS figure of REY MYSTERIO definitely has my highest recommendation!