After a disastrous run on RAW that began nice enough but rapidly fell apart thanks to his son’s decision to abandon his family legacy for a run with Rhea Ripley and the rest of Judgement Day, Rey Mysterio is able to have a fresh start – at the tender age of 47 – back on WWE SmackDown.
Initially intending to retire from the game once and for all out of a concerted desire to avoid getting physical with his son, a brilliant idea by Paul “Triple H” Levesque saved one of the most storied careers in WWE, Lucha Libre, and wrestling in general for a little bit longer, and gave Mysterio a new from which to do what he does best – win wrestling matches.
And though the sample size may be small, win matches Mysterio has.
Introduced as the mystery fourth participant in a Fatal Fourway for the Intercontinental Championship’s number-one contendership, Mysterio bested the likes of Sheamus, Solo Sikoa, and Ricochet to earn the honor and rapidly re-established as a player in the SmackDown corner of the WWE Universe. This, understandably, rubbed Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci, Imperium’s resident tag team, the wrong way, as after running into the diminutive luchador in the backstage area, the duo effectively found themselves with an open challenge to take on Mysterio one-on-one.
Kaiser accepted the challenge, and by the end of the night, he probably wished he didn’t.
Walking to the ring with his factionmates, GUNTHER and Vinci, Kaiser gave it his all in the ring against the future Hall of Famer, but when it became apparent early on that his game just wasn’t up to snuff, the second-generation pro began to cheat via some outside-the-ring help from his in-ring friends. Despite the best efforts of GUNTHER and company to not only secure Kaiser the win but ensure that his future opponent will still be beaten up when they wrestle in two weeks time, Mysterio pulled through and won the match.
Unfortunately for Imperium, Mysterio has taken down bigger, badder dudes than GUNTHER in the past – The Undertaker, anyone? – and regardless of what was thrown his way, he overcame the odds and secured the win once and for all.
Is Mysterio worried that, to win the IC Title, he will not only have to beat GUNTHER, but the rest of Imperium too? Eh, maybe a little bit, but he certainly didn’t show it during his post-SmackDown interview on the SmackDown LowDown.
An Imperium army can’t stop Rey Mysterio’s pursuit of WWE gold.
When asked how he feels after taking care of Ludwig Kaiser in his first solo SmackDown match since 2021 by Meghan Morant on the SmackDown LowDown, Mysterio declared his admiration for the blue brand and excitement to face off against Gunther, even if he has to do it three-on-one.
“I felt incredible; I felt like I never left,” Mysterio told Morant. “SmackDown has always been my home since 2002 when I debuted, so I’m still here.
When asked about the prospects of wrestling GUNTHER, and, by extension, Imperium, for the Intercontinental Championship, Mysterio showed little feat about facing off against yet another faction with his destruction in mind. Would he need any backup?
“As of right, I’m good,” Mysterio declared. “I took care of business tonight against Ludwig, and in two weeks, GUNTHER’s gonna step up, and I do plan on becoming Intercontinental Champion.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against Mysterio in a match against anyone, as the 33-year vet has held 20 different titles over his storied career – for 49 total reigns – and may bring that number to an even 50 or beyond before his in-ring days are done. With a match against GUNTHER on the books and an (almost) guarantee that Judgement Day won’t show up on SmackDown to interfere with the match before it can really get underway, Mysterio has a golden opportunity to continue his success in SmackDown and prove that sometimes, blue isn’t bad, as he detailed to Graham “GSM” Matthews of Bleacher Report in an interview following his brand transfer.
“I’ve always been a blue-color man,” Mysterio said. “SmackDown has always been the brand for me. For some reason, it’s worked better for me and I’ve gotten used to the SmackDown brand. But I always like change and I like to adapt, especially now with my son kicking off his career. It’s going to be exciting. There’s a lot of talent on Raw right now, and we’re looking forward to working with many of those.”
Good luck with Imperium, Rey, if anyone can take down a performer of GUNTHER’s caliber, it’s Mr. 619.