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Before They Were Stars: Rey Misterio, Jr. (2008)

DVD Cover (Big Vision Entertainment)
Starring:
Jose Isias Cancio Allon Jose Isias Cancio Allon
Charles Ashenoff Charles Ashenoff
Negro Aztecas Negro Aztecas
Todd Bradford Todd Bradford
Leonardo Carrera Leonardo Carrera

5.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Sports, Wrestling
Rey Misterio, Jr. broke nearly every barrier in pro wrestling when the young Hispanic superstar became wrestling champion of the world! But, long before he would headline for ECW, WCW or WWE, Rey was honing his craft and sharpening his skills on wrestling shows in the bull rings and small arenas in Mexico. Now, these once lost tapes have been found! Featuring encounters with Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, La Parka, Octagon, Pentagon, Halloween, Damien and more! --HighSpots
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Review by Chad
Added: August 21, 2008
Although I never got into it enough to be any type of authority on the subject, I've always had a soft spot for lucha libre. For the woefully uninformed, lucha libre is a style of wrestling that originated down in Mexico, which is basically like the wrestling that we have up here in the States, but with a few twists. You start with the basic elements of wrestling: rudos (bad guys) versus técnicos (good guys) in a battle that will be determined by a three-count in the middle of the ring (though most bouts are two out of three falls instead of the single fall most commonly associated with the sport). That's about where the similarities end though, as instead of focusing on jacked-up muscleheads, lucha libre instead emphasizes the cruiserweights - the small guys who wouldn't turn too many heads at the beach, but who can put those fourteen-year-old Chinese gymnasts to shame with their acrobatics in the ring. Before They Were Stars: Rey Misterio, Jr. technically spotlights the performer in question, but it's actually more of an introduction to the sport and the performers as a whole instead of being solely focused on the one guy.

Matches:
Rey Misterio, Jr. and Torrero vs. Jerry Estrada and Negro Aztecas
Rey Misterio, Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
Rey Misterio, Jr. and Octagon vs. KGB and Pentagon
Rey Misterio, Jr., Super Calo, and Leon Negro vs. Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, and Halloween
Rey Misterio, Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera
Rey Misterio, Jr., Super Calo, and Leon Negro vs. Los Hombres De Ex (Wolverine, Cyclops, and Gambit - yes, that's Spanish for "The X-Men")

Bonus Matches:
Halloween and Damien 666 vs. Leon Negro and Ninja Shiraku
Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, and Halloween vs. Los Chocales
Konnan, Octagon, and La Parka vs. Cibernetico, Jerry Estrada, and Perro Russo (steel cage match)
Ultraman 2000 vs. Psicosis (mask versus mask match)

The original audio has been tuned down almost to the point of being removed completely, and while you can faintly hear the crowd in the background, you're going to be listening to the commentators and nothing else for the vast majority of the disc. You've got two choices here: English speaking fans can listen to Kriss Kloss (of XPW and WSX fame) and Manny Peebles call the action, while the Spanish speakers can listen to Larry Rivera (XPW) and Konnan (WCW, ECW, TNA) do the commentary.

While the title of the disc does indeed play up Rey Misterio, Jr. as being the star of the show, keep in mind that these matches are from back before his WWE, WCW, and even ECW days. He had yet to be exposed to an American audience, and even though he wasn't exactly a jobber, he was far from the superstar that he is today. Even though he is featured in all of the matches found in the main segment of the disc, he does come up on the losing side of things more than once and - especially in the tag matches - he's usually far from the biggest name in the ring.

With that said, most of the matches are surprisingly good given their inclusion in a bargain bin release. The fact that Misterio doesn't win all of his matches keeps things interesting (unlike some of WWE's releases), and the humorous remarks and tirades by the English commentators keep the matches entertaining even when the actual action has slowed down. There's only two negatives in regard to the matches: one being that they weren't exactly shot by a professional camera crew (most seemed to have been shot by a fan in the audience), and the other being that the rules of Mexican wrestling seemed a little unclear at times.

As an example of that rules thing: the first match on the disc features Jerry Estrada and Negro Aztecas doing a double-team on Misterio for the first round, complete with weapons and interference in plain sight of the referee. A pinfall is made, we're in the second round, and the rudos continue their assault for another fifteen minutes, again with chairs and interference. Then, out of nowhere, the referee disqualifies them. Why? This sort of thing happens more than once on the disc with an exceptionally horrible decision being made in the Ultraman 2000 versus Psicosis match, where a pinfall is made with the two men on opposite sides of the ring (and the ref didn't even count to three). Even the commentators seemed baffled by this, and while it may just be my lack of exposure to the Mexican style of doing things, I will say that it completely ruined some of these matches for me. I know it's all scripted, obviously, but it's the same thing that I gripe about with movies: a bullshit ending ruins the entire product.

Still, this is a solid release regardless of its price - as a normal release, I'd recommend it to wrestling fans, but as a $5 bargain bin entry, it's really a no-brainer. Those of you who followed WCW's cruiserweight division will recognize a large portion of the wrestlers found here, the action is solid, and aside from the aforementioned bullshit finishes that pop up here and there, the matches themselves are pretty damned good. 7/10.
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