WCW's Bash at the Beach '96. Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Psychosis were booked to open up the show. Mysterio and Psychosis had wrestled each other all over Mexico and Japan, and even in ECW, but mainstream American audiences were unfamiliar with them. They proceeded to put on arguably the best match against each other they ever participated in (and according to many, their best match ever), completely won over the initially lukewarm and disinterested fans. The highspot of the night and the finish of the match was Psychosis going for a move called Splash Mountain, a top rope Crucifix Powerbomb, only for Mysterio to deliver a mid-air hurricanrana that brought the fans to their feet. Although high-flying moves have gotten more acrobatic in the days since this match, it's amazing to watch it and see how many modern cruiserweights are following in the footsteps of Mysterio and Psychosis, and it's a Crowning Moment of UnAwesome that Psychosis never became a star like Mysterio did.
His match with Eddie Guerrero at WCW's Halloween Havoc 1997 is a classic and arguably put Mysterio on top of the company's Cruiserweight Division for the remainder of WCW's existence. (It also did wonders for improving Eddie's status as an Ensemble Dark Horse until he jumped ship to WWE in 2000.)
Mysterio's match with Chris Jericho at WWE's The Bash 2009 saw him pulling out spots he hadn't done since 2002. WWE itself ranked it the #2 match of the year (behind only Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker).
The climax of the match saw Jericho get a chance to rip off Mysterio's mask, but rather than desperately try to cover his face and be left helpless, Mysterio hit Jericho with a 619 because he was wearing another mask under his mask!
2002 was Rey Mysterio's debut year in the WWE. Let's briefly run down why it was awesome:
He has one of the most memorable debuts by jumping off the top of a steel cage.
Mysterio goes on to No Mercy to have a tag match with partner Edge against reluctant tag team partners Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle for the new SmackDown-only tag team championships, which was an instant classic (and hailed as Match of the Year by many a wrestling critic).
On the next SmackDown, the two teams face off again, this time with a Two-Out-of-Three Falls stipulation; that match was just as good as the No Mercy effort.
Mysterio and Edge defend those titles against Los Guerreros (Eddie and Chavo) and the Angle/Benoit team at Survivor Series. All six of the "SmackDown Six" in the ring together? If that isn't a classic, then what is?
His first World Championship win at WrestleMania 22, defeating Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match.
He won the 2006 Royal Rumble. A fine achievement by itself, but Mysterio started off at number 2 alongside Triple H.
Let's put this into perspective: Standing at 5'2 and the majority of his arsenal being aerial acrobatics which really isn't the best moveset for the Royal Rumble, Mysterio had to go through every single thing that was thrown at him, including eliminating Triple H and an extremely pissed off Cerebral Assassin pulling him from under the bottom rope and hurling him to the steel steps and then finally eliminating Randy Orton (who, it should be noted was number 30 and much fresher than Rey himself) with a head scissors to an uproaring crowd. He holds the record for the longest time spent in the Royal Rumble at 62:12, a record that still stands. And Mysterio made his entrance with one of Eddie Guerrero's low-riders and wearing Eddie's t-shirt. That is how you make it at the Royal Rumble.
To explain more on the Number 2 thing, when Rey gets his number, he's told by Vince that Eddie is probably looking down on him. Rey looks at his number, pauses, then laughs before looking up and stating how Eddie must be proud of himself. Also a nice Call-Back to the previous Royal Rumble, where Eddie was revealed to have been #1.
In late 2010/early 2011, Mysterio suffered a similar injury as The Undertaker and was told by WWE doctors and trainers to stop wrestling—even though the company needed him to tour. Instead of taking a break like 'Taker, Rey went on tour, further aggravating the injury while supporting the company. As a reward for his commitment to the job, WWE gave him the opportunity to run a program with anyone of his choosing (since he wasn't in a major storyline at the time). He chose Cody Rhodes—and helped elevate Rhodes to near-main-eventer status based on the strength of their impromptu program.
While this wasn't televised, a face-off between Rey and fellow high-flying luchadore Sin Cara actually occurred during a battle royal. This was something that everyone has been wanting to see since Sin Cara debuted on WWE. This delivered. Everyone in the ring completely stopped to watch the incredible moves the two were pulling off. Kofi Kingston's reactions said it all.
...until The Miz threw Sin Cara over the top rope to a wall of booing.
Not long after the above event, WWE made the decision to pair Rey and Sin Cara together and unleash them on the new-look Tag Team division. The HSQ is predictably through the roof.
In his WWE Championship match with John Cena, it looked like Cena was going to go for the STF, only for Rey to quickly get out of it and put the STF on Cena. Sure, Cena managed to get out of it ( and ultimately win) but this was something we'd never seen from Rey before. And it was awesome.
He appeared in the WCPW Championship Rumble at WCPW No Regrets, despite already doing a match against El Ligero earlier that night. He only lasted for a short time, but it was still an awesome moment considering he is a former Royal Rumble winner.
The fact that he's only 5'2 (billed as 5'6) and can still pose a threat to towering, lumbering giants in a sport where size usually matters.
Or how about the fact that, despite his age (over 40) and the trauma his long career has inflicted on his body (pray to Kneesus) he's not only still working in AAA and Lucha Underground, but still capable of putting on matches equal to some of the best in his career. In particular, his match against Prince Puma in the main event of Ultima Lucha Dos was considered an absolutely brilliant performance where he proved he can still hang with the hottest new talent around, and he is still el Rey.
Finally returning to WWE at Royal Rumble 2018 and actually making it to the final six. At age forty-three, an age at which most wrestlers have either retired or are seriously considering it.
Rey appeared via video at New Japan Pro Wrestling's New Beginning in Osaka for one huge reason: to challenge Jushin Thunder Liger at New Japan's Strong Style Evolved show in Long Beach! And incredibly, Liger accepted!