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WWE Rey Mysterio: Life of a Masked Man – A Cynical DVD Review

WWE: Rey Mysterio - The Life of a Masked ManOVERVIEW
WWE can’t seem to get enough of Rey Mysterio DVDs. “Life of a Masked Man” marks the third Mysterio anthology to be released during his WWE career (“619” in 2003, “Rey Mysterio: Biggest Little Man” in 2007), and it’s great from a marketing standpoint. Children love Mysterio for his daring aerodynamics and comic book presence and, for long time fans, there’s no shortage of great Mysterio memories to unearth for these archives.

Making “Life of a Masked Man” unique is the lack of a true “documentary” portion, instead inserting tidbits and revelations from Mysterio himself after every few matches or so. The WWE DVD has twenty eight matches, covering the last sixteen years of his twenty two year career (yes, he’s really been around that long). Of course, with reason, there’s simply no footage of Mysterio from 1999 through 2001 in WCW, since WWE would rather the “little Jimmys” not know that Mysterio was once unmasked (and looked like Jessica Alba with a fade). Of course, thanks to this little thing called the “internet”, most fans have already seen Rey’s bare kisser.

Even with the missing stretch (plus no Chris Benoit matches), the lineup looked promising on paper, which is not a surprise.

MATCHES
As you’d expect, WWE makes full use of its impressive archive of wrestling history. However, this time, WCW is belittled rather neglectively. Rey’s six month foray in ECW is represented with two matches, one from the infamous “flaming towel” show, in which he and Konnan faced off against Psicosis and La Parka, and the other from previous releases, in which he and Juventud Guerrera dueled in a two out of three falls war; part of which took place in the parking lot at the ECW Arena.

The WCW matches, however, are all from TV programs, as opposed to PPVs. Grant you, these matches are likely far more rare, and for true wrestling completists, but the choices are a bit bizarre. There’s a pair of barely three-minute matches with Juventud Guerrera and Chavo Guerrero from the weekend programs in late 1996/early 1997, which didn’t necessarily have to be included. Singles matches with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho on Nitro from 1997 are a pleasure to have, as is a tremendous tag team match between four future Filthy Animals: Rey and Billy Kidman vs. Eddie and Juvi from the end of 1998, back when Nitro still had long matches that weren’t ruined by run-ins. The tag match is a gem.

Of course, the meat of the DVD is his nine year WWE run, and that features a lot of rare Smackdown matches and forgotten PPV encounters. Among the selections is the truly awesome WWE Tag Team Title match from Vengeance 2003 (in and of itself, a forgotten awesome show) where Rey and Kidman faced champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team. Whoever gave them fifteen minutes to rock the joint deserves a medal.

Among the TV rarities from the mid 2000s are a singles match with Kurt Angle (predictably great), a tag team match with he and Guerrero facing Rob Van Dam and Booker T (lots of fun), and the match where Rey and Batista beat MNM to become WWE Tag Team Champions (had forgotten about that). Some of Rey’s bigger PPV encounters are also covered, including his match with Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania 21, as well as his #1 contender’s match with Randy Orton from No Way Out the following year.

But the entire third disc is dedicated to the past year and a half, which is actually smart, because you’re making the customer absorb some of the highlights of many of the current talents, and that, in turn, can sell them on the current product. Matches with Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, not to mention Rey’s excellent match from Over the Limit with CM Punk, round out this set, not to mention a rare TV match with Shawn Michaels, and Mysterio’s vastly underrated match against Cody Rhodes from WrestleMania 27.

Of course, disc three also has Rey’s second World Title win over Jack Swagger, Kane, and CM Punk at last year’s Fatal Four Way, which was rushed, but was at least a nice moment.

For those with demanding palettes, there aren’t many “four star” matches outside of the Vengeance 2003 Tag Title match, and maybe a couple others depending on your tastes, but the DVD is more of a supplement piece to Rey’s career, rather than a definitive look. If there was a way to meld all three of his DVD sets together so that the matches played in chronological order, you’re talking a dream seven disc set of one hell of a career.

As this stands, however, it’s merely a nice companion set for ardent collectors, as well as a good waste of a few hours for Rey’s biggest fans.

DOCUMENTARY
As I mentioned earlier, instead of doing a fluff piece about Rey’s career, followed by the matches (which has been done on the previous sets), little testimonials are interspersed after every few matches or so.

Among Rey’s offerings are his take on…..

-His ECW run (he enjoyed the freedom that Paul Heyman gave him)

-The guidance of Eddie (every match was something to learn from)

-The story of the mask (including Jericho mistaking an unmasked Rey for a small child, hilarious)

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-His entrance (Dean Malenko and Kevin Dunn’s idea)

-Winning the 2006 Royal Rumble (felt like he did it to honor Eddie, which I’m kinda tired of hearing about)

-Going into the AAA Hall of Fame (inducted by Antonio Pena, which Rey considers an honor)

-Putting the mask on the line (glossing over the WCW period again)

-His tattoos (he tattooed a rosary on his body, in case he leaves home without his. Okaaaaaay)

-His injuries (the frequently bad ACL is the focus)

-Favorite matches (the custody ladder match with Eddie is named. REALLY?!?!?)

-Connection to the kids (Rey discusses the value of being a role model)

-Opportunities for smaller wrestlers (Shawn Michaels breaking down the door is mentioned, and Rey hopes to continue to build opportunities for other smaller athletes)

-Dream matches (Would love to face Dynamite Kid or Tiger Mask, as well as Triple H and Austin. If Rey/Dynamite ever happened, I’d soil myself)

CYNIC SAYS
What you see is what you get. With twenty eight matches, and very few of them true “match of the year candidates”, you might chalk up this anthology set as a disappointment. However, the bigger picture here is WWE knowing that they can make easy money off of a set that kids and other Rey fans will eat up with a smile. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Mysterio very rarely disappoints in the ring, and even his average matches can hold one’s attention. To a kid that aspires to fly as high as Rey, what we call a **3/4 match, they call “ZOMG, REY’S OFF THE HOOK!

The documentary portion was a bit soft, but you expect that from WWE these days. Mysterio’s had issues with growth hormones (which is obviously not covered here), and his pandering to Eddie’s memory can be a bit uncomfortable (and thankfully kept to a minimum), so Rey was lobbed softballs by interviewer Matt Striker to further cement his squeaky clean image (at least, to his largest fanbase: children).

Overall, I enjoyed this set, mostly because I like rare matches. I could watch a DVD of random squash matches from 1985-1996 and be satisfied. Of course, I’m not everyone else, and this DVD may not be of your interest. But if you got some time to waste and wouldn’t mind seeing some exciting matches, many of which you may have forgotten, give “Rey Mysterio: Life of a Masked Man” a chance.

RATING: 7/10

Disc One

Rey Misterio Jr. & Konnan vs. La Parka & Psicosis
ECW Hardcore TV 28th October, 1995

2 out of 3 Falls Match
Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
ECW Extreme Bash 9th March, 1996

Experiencing ECW

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
WCW Pro Wrestling 3rd November, 1996

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
WCW Saturday Night 11th January, 1997

Eddie’s Guidance

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero
Nitro 8th September, 1997

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chris Jericho
Nitro 17th November, 1997

The Creation of the Mask

Rey Mysterio Jr., Super Calo & Hector Garza vs. Psychosis, La Parka & Silver King
WCW Saturday Night 17th January, 1998

Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman vs. Eddie Guerrero & Juventud Guerrera
Nitro 28th December, 1998

Who’s That Jumpin’ Out the Sky?

#1 Contenders Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Rey Mysterio & Edge vs. Eddie & Chavo Guerrero
SmackDown 24th October, 2002

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team
Vengeance 27th July, 2003

6-1-9

Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle
SmackDown 28th October, 2004

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Eddie Guerrero & Booker T. vs. Rey Mysterio & Rob Van Dam
SmackDown 30th December, 2004

Disc Two

Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero
WrestleMania 21 3rd April, 2005

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Rey Mysterio & Batista vs. MNM
SmackDown 16th December, 2005

On Top of the World

Mysterio’s Opportunity for a World Heavyweight Championship Match at WrestleMania 22 is on the Line
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton
No Way Out 19th February, 2006

Viva México!

Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero
SummerSlam 26th August, 2007

Stretcher Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Finlay
Cyber Sunday 27th October, 2007

Putting the Mask on the Line

If Rey Mysterio Loses, He Must Unmask
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
No Mercy 5th October, 2008

Intercontinental Championship Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho
Judgment Day 17th May, 2009

The Art of Mysterio

Intercontinental Championship Match
Rey Mysterio vs. John Morrison
SmackDown 4th September, 2009

Disc Three

#1 Contenders Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Batista
SmackDown 18th December, 2009

Rey Mysterio vs. Shawn Michaels
SmackDown 29th January, 2010

Coping with Injuries

World Heavyweight Championship Match
The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio
Royal Rumble 31st January, 2010

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
SmackDown 5th February, 2010

Alone Time

Rey Mysterio Joins the SES vs. CM Punk’s Hair
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Over the Limit 23rd May, 2010

“I Can’t Do It Solo.”

Fatal 4-Way World Heavyweight Championship Match
Jack Swagger vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. The Big Show
WWE Fatal 4-Way 20th June, 2010

Opportunity Knocks

Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
SmackDown 18th October, 2010

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
WrestleMania XXVII 3rd April, 2011

Fantasy Warfare

Special Features

Going Home

Standing Ovation

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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