Rey Mysterio Fronts The New WWE 2K22 Game - Out Now
It’s no slur when wrestling fans refer to Rey Mysterio as the best ‘Little Man’ to ever grace the WWE roster. While other, more physical superstars may loom larger over his 5ft 6inches in the locker room, the influence of Rey on the sport is as vast and far reaching as they come. As for his heart, few possess one bigger.
This year, the future WWE Hall of Famer and Lucha Libre superstar fronts WWE 2K22, the latest instalment in Visual Concepts’ venerated series. Rey’s presence isn’t only a celebration of the culture from which he hails – “This is an incredible moment for me,” says the man himself. “To be able to represent the culture of Lucha Libre as the cover superstar of WWE 2K22, it’s a moment of great pride, not just for me, but for the generations that come after me and for all my people, for all of the Latinos” – but for triumph over adversity.
WWE 2K22 is your chance to defeat the odds as you revisit the legendary in-ring career of the 619 master.
The nephew of the legendary luchador Rey Misterio Sr, Rey began his professional wrestling career in 1989 at the age of 14, on the independent circuit, before signing with Mexico’s most significant promotion, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) in 1992. Within three years he’d signed with Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), making his debut in Paul Heyman’s renegade promotion in the September of 1995 at the Gangstas Paradise PPV. Here he defeated fellow debutant and luchador Psicosis. The feud that followed is the stuff of grappling lore.
And yet it was his appearances in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) the following year that truly told the world that Rey had arrived. In Atlanta, he won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship five times and the WCW World Tag Team Championship three.
Here his rivalry with the great Dean Malenko lit up Monday Night Nitro each week. And yet his performances in the southern promotion did more than just deliver gold. It’s no exaggeration to say that the exciting cruiserweight division that formed around Rey’s high-flying style is the reason that many tuned into the promotion at all. And yet a growing reputation as a ‘Giant Killer’ suggested that Rey could face down the biggest of obstacles and emerge victorious. Big wins against big men like Kevin Nash and Bam Bam Bigelow became part of his resume, while his barn burning bout against Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc in 1997 – which you can recreate in the new game – is the stuff of legend.
After WCW went down in 2001, it was obvious to all that Rey wouldn’t be without a gig on the national stage for very long. And the following year, after a much-hyped debut, Rey arrived in the WWF, as Sports Entertainment’s biggest stage was then known.
By November, after teaming with future Hall of Famer Edge, he won the WWE Tag Team Championship. In the months that followed, much like in WCW, he became the undisputed MVP in WWE’s consistently exciting cruiserweight division, which included a victory over one of the sport’s true greats, Chavo Classic, that resulted in a record-setting third Cruiserweight Championship reign. But much like in WCW, Rey wasn’t about to let his weight class decide his future.
What followed is a rivalry that wrestling fans talk about with reverence even now. As WWE blurred fact and fiction to create a storyline that simmered with heat, Rey clashed once again with the great Eddie Guerrero after the forever-missed Latino Heat claimed to be the biological father of Rey's real-life son Dominick.
This culminated in a legendary ladder match for the custody of the child at SummerSlam 2005 (with papers in a briefcase suspended above the ring, obviously), which saw a young Dominick aid his father while Eddie’s wife Vickie turned on her husband. 2005 was a big year for Rey – and his confrontation with Shawn Michaels from Raw that year is another classic match you can revisit in WWE 2K22. And yet few then could have imagined that one day Rey would team up with the adult Dominick – who also appears in the new game – in WWE decades later.
Eddie passed away in the November of that year, and though consumed with grief, the months and years that followed saw Rey pay tribute to his friend each time he set foot in the ring. Entering the Royal Rumble as the number two entrant the following year – and doing so wearing a shirt featuring Guerrero’s visage, as well as riding into the arena in a lowrider like Eddie himself – somehow Rey survived until he was the last man standing, the reward being a title shot at WrestleMania 22. Here Rey faced off against Randy Orton and the then-champion Kurt Angle. He pinned Orton to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Sometimes, nice guys do finish first.
Many career highlights followed. A dream match with fellow ECW alumni Sabu at One Night Stand in 2006; a constantly shifting friend/foe relationship with Batista (his 2009 SmackDown paring with whom, to be the number one contender for the WHC, is a notable match you’ll want to recreate); a number of incredible ‘I Quit’ matches with Eddie’s cousin Chavo (including perhaps the greatest SmackDown-aired match of all time); and a feud with CM Punk that resulted in the Straight Edge Superstar having his hair shaved to the bone.
But few of Rey’s victories warmed the hearts of wrestling fans quite like his retirement of the villainous JBL at WrestleMania 25 in 2009. Here, Rey defeated the Texan in 21 seconds, taking the Intercontinental Championship off him in the process. As JBL left the arena to the boos of the taunting crowd – “na na na na, goodbye!” – if Rey’s status as a hero wasn’t already assured, it was now.
After some time away, Rey returned home to the WWE in the 2017 Royal Rumble, putting up a spirited performance despite not replicating his victory of 2006. And here he’s stayed, pulling out the 619 week after week, still toppling giants (do revisit the highfliers scrap with Samoa Joe from an episode of Raw in 2019), and still defying odds. He’s a veteran with no sell by date, an innovator with blank pages still to write. He’s everything we love about the WWE and the sport of wrestling itself. There is nobody better, nobody who embodies everything thrilling about the WWE 2K series, than the little man from Chula Vista.
And more than ever before, WWE 2K22 hits differently when it comes to its incredibly popular cover star. In the game’s special 2K Showcase mode, players can recreate Rey’s astonishing wrestling career in fully interactive style, taking part in the matches that made him the superstar he is today. A seamless blend of gameplay and live WWE footage, this experience has to be played to be believed, and felt to really understand just how special Rey Mysterio is to WWE and its millions of fans.