Exclusive: Rey Mysterio Discusses Working With The Late Eddie Guerrero At WrestleMania

They were great tag team partners. They were even better opponents. They are two of the greatest of all time. Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero would create magic whenever they stepped in the ring together, whether on the same or opposite sides of the squared circle.

Between 1996 and 2005, the two WWE Hall of Famers were involved in 127 encounters together (according to cagematch.net), in some shape or form. They traded the Cruiserweight Title in five star fashion in WCW, inspiring future generations in the process. Then they took in a collector’s item with a young CM Punk in IWA Mid-South in 2002. They formed a third of the SmackDown Six in 2002 and fought over the biggest prize in the game while Eddie was WWE Champion 2004. In 2005 the Lucha Libre legends became tag team champions, bitter enemies and even parental rivals, shortly before Guerrero’s tragically premature death in November of that year.

Changing the Game

In the history of the game, there has seldom been a more perfect pairing than the master of the 619 and Latino Heat. Two former world champions who soared from the cruiserweight division into the land of the giants. Who showed all who worked with them and who came after them what could be possible. WWE Champions could measure in at under six feet tall and weigh less than 200 pounds. The main event scene didn’t need to be powerhouses and super heavyweights. Luchadores could thrive outside of the mid-card in the US. And custody of a small child could be contested in a ladder match.

Doubt Rey would have gone through with all this if he knew how Dominik was going to turn out. Image: WWE

While Rey and Eddie would work countless classics against each other – from the breathless brilliance of their Halloween Havoc ’97 encounter to their string of hate fuelled fights across the summer of 2005 – none of their bouts took place on a grander stage than their opener at WrestleMania 21. And in Rey’s home state of California, no less, in the very same arena he would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 18 years later.

At the time, Mysterio and Guerrero were WWE Tag Team champions over on SmackDown. But instead of defending their straps, the pair were pitted against each other. Far from the wars they would embark on in the following months, once Guerrero turned heel on his fellow former Filthy Animal, the match was instead one of friendly competition. With Mysterio emerging victorious at the end.

Shining in Tinseltown

It may not be a bout that ranks as highly as Halloween Havoc ’97 or their near half hour sensation on SmackDown a few months later, but with the lights of Hollywood shining on them in early April of 2005, Mysterio and Guerrero still shone just as bright as anyone that night.

Setting the tone. Image: WWE

During WrestleMania week last month in Philadelphia, SPORF caught up with Mysterio to ask him about the match and what he learned from his years of working alongside and opposite Eddie.

“Eddie’s patience in the ring and how he controlled every moment was incredible. I think that’s what I learned most from him. The fact that, if the fans weren’t in co-ordination with what we were doing, he would wait until they were focused and then we would kick it up a notch. Or if we had to change things on the fly, we would change them.

“Being able to open up WrestleMania 21. The very first ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood’, was awesome. They always say that the first match of the night is what kicks the rhythm of the whole show. And we were the first match of the night and I was very pleased with that match”

Good Friends, Better Enemies

Mysterio and Guerrero would drop the titles to Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury a couple of weeks after WrestleMania 21, before Guerrero turned on Mysterio, kicking off a five month feud that saw the two Hall of Famers do battle at three seperate PPV’s and multiple episodes of SmackDown as well as a whole host of house shows in straight up singles, 2/3 falls bouts, street fights, THAT ladder match, a 20+ minute match refereed by Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat in Japan and finally, their last one-on-one bout on television, inside a steel cage on 6th September, 2005.

Eddie would emerge victorious that night, but the fans had been the real victors, immersing themselves in months of ludicrously great Lucha Libre at its finest.

Featured Image Credit: WWE

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