Sunday night, Rey Mysterio made an appearance at the WWE house show in Hidalgo, Texas, to announce his return to the ring after an eight-month layoff after his latest knee injury (h/t ProWrestling.net).
His first match back will be on Oct. 16 at Plaza de Toros Santa Maria in Querétaro, Mexico, which kicks off a four-night tour in the country. He's easily WWE's biggest star in Mexico and among Hispanic fans in general, so it's absolutely the best timing possible if he's ready.
Thank you Hidalgo, McAllen, and Reynosa for last nights show! Gracias Raza, Braught back some Eddie memories★619— Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) September 23, 2013
However, with his return just three weeks out, he's still using a crutch to get around, which you can see in the video WWE tweeted of his entrance:
Mysterio was shelved in February, after he had already been announced for the titular match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. A couple weeks after he was written off via an attack by Mark Henry, he tweeted these updates right before and after he saw world-renowned sports medicine specialist Dr. James Andrews:
Good morning!About to C the man, Doc. James Andrews... Things haven't been good since I stepped back in the ring, possibly Acl tear again!— Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) March 4, 2013
Have to wear a DYNASPLINT brace to prevent getting surgery! NO SURGERY 4 now! pic.twitter.com/oADBkcdiqR— Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) March 6, 2013
While it turned out not to be an ACL tear, there was a lot of concern. Not only was it his "good" knee, but he was less than seven months into a run that followed a yearlong layoff.
It got to the point that it was reported that WWE officials were bringing up the possibility of retirement. That concern was warranted, because Andrews had to do a "minor procedure" on Mysterio's knee in June:
Procedure was done by 10am & Already doing therapy @# Andrews Institute http://t.co/STfwizl0Cf— Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) June 20, 2013
There are also a lot of question marks about how well his injuries were cared for in the past.
For years, Mysterio had sometimes eschewed going to Andrews for surgeries, instead going to Dr. David Chao, the former San Diego Chargers team doctor. The key word there is "former," as Chao resigned in June after years of malpractice lawsuits and other allegations of misconduct.
After Chao's resignation, Dave Meltzer noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (F4WOnline subscribers-only link) that "WWE had been upset at Mysterio for using Chao instead of Andrews as his doctor the past few years."
It should be interesting to see how Mysterio looks in the ring in three weeks, especially since he's still on crutches so close to his projected return.
After more than two decades of being one of the most spectacular high flyers in the history of pro wrestling, he has done a lot of damage to his knees, and his last run was the first time that he looked sluggish in the ring. Sure, he had adjusted his style years earlier, but until last year he still wrestled like he was Rey Mysterio.
If he's saved his money, I hope he can avoid doing much more damage and call it a career before it's too late.