Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko (10/27/97)
The Rey Misterio Jr./Dean Malenko series of matches in is a somewhat controversial. John Williams, writing in 2000 for the Death Valley Driver Video Review Top 20 Matches of the 1990’s Pimping Post, was not a fan.
“Dean and Rey didn’t really work all that greatly together. As I said above, Dean often liked to control the match for 11:00, then give Rey 2:00 of high spots before hitting the finish. Perhaps people liked this. I liked Rey working back and forth matches with Psic [Psicosis] and Juve [Juventud Guerrera] in TJ [Tijuana] and Mexico quite a bit better.”
Scott Keith, regardless of what you think about him, had and still maintains a pretty influential presence on the internet with regard to wrestling match ratings. He had much more praise for their Great American Bash match.
”Those last few minutes were CRAZY. **** Meltzer kind of buried the match, despite giving it the same rating, noting that Rey’s cred was pretty much shot now because he lost his debut to a mid-card guy.”
Dave Meltzer thought the Nitro match was good.
“Rey Misterio Jr. pinned Dean Malenko to retain the cruiser title in 4:35 by turning the Texas cloverleaf into a cradle. Misterio Jr. got a huge reaction coming out since he is actually from San Diego, which is something not mentioned in the commentary. Very good match.”
I’m not a fan of their longer Pay-Per-View matches but found this to be a quick and dirty and ultimately more satisfying version of their match formula. Almost like a digest version. I imagine I could find 4-5 spots in a modern day Dragon Gate match and put it to music and the match could come out looking great. This is the real equivalent of that.
They start out with mat work, which is brief but well executed. The first big spot comes when Malenko tries to snap mare Rey over, who instead flips and lands on his feet, leading to a lucha elbow bump, followed by a terrific rotation arm drag out of a fire man’s carry hold. Malenko gets to hit his top rope gut buster over the knee, which gets a big reaction from the crowd as possibly being the finish. Rey and Dean do a spot that current AAA wrestler Aerostar would expand upon in 2015 (GIF coming soon) and then they go to the finish. Rey had been winning most of his matches over the past couple of months with a springboard into the ring with a rana to get the pin. Rey goes for that again, but Malenko catches him and power bombs, which gets a nice reaction from the crowd. While trying to put on the Texas cloverleaf, Rey cradles Dean and gets the “upset” win. Excellent finish.
I would have liked to have seen what 2004 Rey Misterio Jr. would have done with 2004 Dean Malenko.