Notes from watching the first DVD of the Rey Mysterio: The Biggest Little Man three-DVD set, purchased for $5 at a K-Mart in Charlottesville, VA:
This isn't going to have anything to do with the wrestling, which is uniformly excellent. It's going to have everything to do with the fact that I just rode a train from Charlottesville to New York with nothing to do except watch this. And it's also got everything to do with the way Mysterio's career, which has been an all-time great one in the professional wrestling universe, gives the chance for some time-capsule moments of utter dumb absurdity.
Rey's match introductions, taped on a pier in San Diego, are just unbelievably stiff, like he's reading cue-cards that he's never seen before, and they're written in chicken-scratch handwriting, and he's hungover and also just starting to learn how to read, and also he's never had an actual emotion in his life.
In the first match, a six-man lucha libra tag battle from the legendary When Worlds Collide show, English commentator Mike Tenay notes that fellow wrestler Latin Lover used to work as a male stripper. His colleague, Chris Cruise, is like, "How did you know that?," all snarky. And Tenay just says that he has sources all over, doesn't respond to the gay-bait, possibly doesn't realize it happened. I cringe so hard for everyone.
ECW cinematography was so murky and great.
It's a really good thing that Rey stopped wearing a pink mask and tights pretty early.
In Mysterio's early WCW matches, both Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan refer to Mysterio as "Rey Mysterious." Also, Dusty keeps calling him "Junior."
Incredibly strange WCW show location #1: A Nitro taped at an outdoor ring at Disney MGM Studios, with a couple of rows of bleachers around it, which only allow a few hundred people to watch. The ringside seats appear to be occupied exclusively by disabled retirees, one of whom leaps up to pat Mysterio on the back after he beats Dean Malenko for the Cruiserweight title. Also spotted: Someone in a The Tick baseball cap, and someone else, I think, in a UGK shirt.
Incredibly strange WCW show location #2: An outdoor biker ralley in Stuges, South Dakota, where the company had its Road Wild show every year. The assembled crowd of bikers has no idea what to make of Mysterio or his opponent, Ultimo Dragon, so they just randomly chant "USA!" at various points during the match. Dragon's manager Sonny Ohno, who Dusty calls "a snake in the rice patty," wears a thoroughly unconvincing biker costume for the occasion.
WCW's referees kept their mullet-and-mustache combinations proudly in effect well into the mid-to-late
Luchador Super Calo includes the following things in his ring gear: Sunglasses, a backwards leather newsboy cap, baggy shorts, the word "Calo" written in gigantic font across the back of both his jacket and his baggy shorts. There's also a hole in his mask for his goatee. On commentary, Tenay notes that his name is inspired by a Mexican rap group named Calo, who gave him his name in a special onstage ceremony at one of their shows. If I was at that show, I would've been like, "Wait, what's going on?"
Tenay: "Mysterio with the dragon screw leg whip!" Dusty: "What was that? The dragon screw leg whip? I gotta remember that for later on tonight! 'What was that?' 'Honey, that was the dragon screw leg whip!'"