Who Was Better: Rey Mysterio Or Booker T?
Posted by Justin Watry on 06.17.2014
411's Justin Watry examines the evidence to see who was better: Rey Mysterio Or Booker T?
Before starting today's column, I want to mention how surprised I was with the poll results last week. For those who did not catch it, the debate was Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk - who was better? Well, being this is the internet and logic is rarely found, my gut instinct told me the Straight Edge Savior would grab a ton of votes. Maybe not win outright. It IS against Y2J (another indy darling), but I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that not many voted for Punk. In the poll and in the comments. Well done folks. Well done.
As for this week, I once again took to Twitter (follow @JustinWatry to participate) for some ideas. My email was also fired up on this subject. Remember emails? Yeah, those still exist. Sting and The Rock? Test and Eddie Guerrero maybe? Bastion Booger and TL Hopper was also mentioned. John Cena and Triple H even got thrown my way. Tons of great options were sent to me...but I think I found two names that should make for a fair fight. Two former World Champions. Two men who spent time in WCW. Two men who thrived on Smackdown over Raw when in WWE. Without any more crying over the Miami Heat losing in the NBA Finals AND not being selected for CBS' Big Brother this summer, let the debate begin!
Who Was Better: Rey Mysterio Or Booker T?
WCW Career: Rey Mysterio - Off the top of your head, name me a couple WCW stars. Do not think about. Just do it! My guess is Rey Mysterio will immediately come to mind. A few months ago, a reader asked me who would go on my WCW Mount Rushmore. When I wrote the column (on another website), Mysterio did not make my final four. However, you know what? Maybe he just might deserve a spot. With all the Eddie Guerrero stuff, Dean Malenko matches, tag team bouts, and his (rightfully never, ever discussed) unmasking. All took place in WCW.
WCW Career: Booker T - As great as Rey Rey was, Booker T achieved a ton more in WCW. Not only as a solo act but in the tag team scene too. We will get to that, but Booker won his first World Title in WCW. Long before he was given a chance to shine in WWE, somebody backstage in WCW believe in him as a main event talent. Yes, it was in the 'dying days' on the promotion, but the point stands. Quick story: I attended the WCW Mayhem pay-per-view in late 2000 (one of their last), and the main event was none other than BOOKER T vs. Scott Steiner for their top prize. Those two always did have great chemistry in the squared circle...
Match Quality: Rey Mysterio And Booker T - Toss up here. In terms of high flying action and something that revolutionized the business, look no further than Mysterio. In terms of that style though, there is a portion of wrestling fans that were never too enamored with it. With Booker, you get nearly the complete opposite. Just solid in-ring action and telling a story the old fashioned way inside the ring. Personally, I could probably list more matches to re-watch containing Mysterio. However, that is not a knock on Booker at all - much deserved WWE Hall of Fame inductee last year. Just really depends on preference of wrestling styles.
Best Feuds: Rey Mysterio - Well, we got a lot to get through here. There was the already mentioned Eddie, Dean, and entire WCW. Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, Big Show, Chavo Guerrero, Booker T, Edge, Eddie (again), Randy Orton, Batista, Great Khali, JBL, Kane, and many others have all had battles with Rey Mysterio over the past 12 years. He even wrestled The Undertaker for the World Title on the second(third?) biggest pay-per-view of the year in 2010. No doubt, the man has feuded with tons of legends.
Best Feuds: Booker T - Oh boy, his WCW time speaks for itself, standing out in my mind are his clashes versus Scott Steiner. In WWE, Booker has battled The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Edge, Stone Cold (in a grocery store!), Big Show, Kane, Rey Mysterio, Batista, John Cena, JBL, Cody Rhodes, and many more. Hey, the man even joined the nWo in 2002! Do not forget that. Needless to say, the five-time WCW Champion had more than his fair share of memorable feuds in WWE.
Cruiserweight Icon: Rey Mysterio - I am not even going to waste time comparing tag team careers; Booker T wins that hands down, even though Mr. 619 has held the gold before a few times. No, what I will discuss quickly is how important Mysterio meant to the entire genre of cruiserweights. Whether you want to include his ECW time or WCW introduction (or title reigns in WWE), the man is what I think of when the term "cruiserweight" is brought up. Say that word, a picture of Mysterio should appear immediately. It is a HUGE feat for a massive following to reckon back to ONE single person. With Mysterio, that is possible with the cruiserweight division.
Tag Team Icon: Booker T - A few months ago, I compiled a list of the best tag team specialists of all-time. Ever! While Booker did not make my top five, he should have. That is why I do not like doing lists and openly admit to never having a clue as to what I am doing with them (insert punchline here). It goes without saying that what Booker did with the tag team scene throughout his career is right there with what Mysterio did for the cruiserweights. In the scheme of this debate, it is not about comparing the two directly but more so of how much they meant to wrestling in that specific role.
WWE Arrival: Rey Mysterio - Tons of hype. Tons of anticipation. Tons of vignettes. Tons of excitement over him debuting in WWE. He may not have been brought in right away WCW folded, but the year plus long wait was well worth it. Immediately won his Smackdown debut match AND make a huge impact during the night's main event segment. No doubt was presented as a big deal right off the bat. First pay-per-view match? Oh, just a great battle with Kurt Angle! Say what you will about others, but this laughable never say die myth of "WWE hates WCW guys" does not apply here or with Booker T, which brings me to...
WWE Arrival: Booker T - Let me see here. Attacked Stone Cold Steve Austin at King of the Ring 2001. Scored the pin fall of the Invasion 2001 main event (one of the most purchased non-WrestleMania PPVs ever). Fought The Rock for the WCW Title at Summerslam. Team with Shane McMahon to face The Rock at Unforgiven. Then wrestled The Undertaker at No Mercy, and was in the huge Survivor Series main event. Oh and followed that up with another mini-feud with Stone Cold. Recap: The Rock, Steve Austin, and The Undertaker?!?! Um yeah, ask any wrestler on the planet about that introduction to WWE. They will happily take it. Just more internet babble abut treatment of wrestlers. Rey and Booker got off to top notch WWE careers.
World Title In 2006: Rey Mysterio - The long standing thought is that Rey Mysterio only won the World Title because of Eddie Guerrero's death. I disagree with that notion. Two main reasons why: First, he won the World Title in 2010 and WWE Title in 2011. Were those because of Eddie too? of course not. Thus, (years later) you could see that Rey made it to the top without any kind of help. Now back to the initial Royal Rumble win and WrestleMania 22 celebration in 2006, it really was a year in the making. If you had been watching WWE in 2005, it was pretty clear they had high hopes for Rey Mysterio going forward. He spent most of the year defeating Eddie Guerrero, before getting involved with JBL, Big Show, Kane, and teaming with Batista. Again, Eddie's death or not, he was getting a slow build to the top. Did Eddie dying maybe help tell the story and push it over the top? Yeah, probably. I am not going to deny that. However, as we saw in 2010 and 2011 - Mysterio was going to be a top tier player on his own regardless.
World Title In 2006: Booker T - Kurt Angle was headed off to ECW. Randy Orton was suspended. The Undertaker was part-time. The Great Khali had just showed up (very credible at the time, believe it or not). Batista was just returning. Mark Henry was injured. Rey Mysterio as World Champion was...well, yeah. Smackdown needed a veteran presence and somebody who could perform at a high level. When the King of the Ring was announced to be coming back, very few options made sense. Booker T took that role and ran with it! It led to him beating Rey Mysterio for the strap in July 2006 at The Great American Bash. In the video below, it truly was a special moment made better by JBL calling the final pin fall, as well as the long wait Booker had to endure. He spoke about this in interviews, but the fact he did NOT win the belt in 2003 made this moment even more memorable and definitely delivered. All Hail King BOOKER! All Hail King BOOKER! All Hail King BOOKER!
Bottom line: Booker T is a WWE Hall of Famer, whereas Mysterio will absolutely be inducted someday. Both have done tons with their career, in WWE and out. All the while, they remain on the roster in 2014 and are not finished just yet! The only question left is...
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