Hi folks! Today, I bring to you a playlist of videos, along with some backstory for each of them. If you like this content, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll consider extra editions for another day. The playlist includes four matches of the four most experienced and active superstars in WWE, including: Edge, R-Truth, AJ Styles, and Rey Mysterio.
#1. Edge (Damon Striker) in 1996
From 1992, Adam Copeland worked the independent scene of Ontario and the Great Lakes region of the United States under the ring name Sexton Hardcastle. He also formed a tag team with Joe E. Legend. In 1997, he and Legend joined a stable called Thug Life, which also included a young Christian Cage and Rhino. It was at this time that Edge & Christian first paired up as a team, going by several names depending on where they were working: Hard Impact, The Suicide Brothers, and The Canadian Rockers.
However, before his time in Thug Life, WCW hired him as a jobber called Damon Striker. The earliest matches I can find are from January and February 1996. They involve Copeland taking on Kevin Sullivan AKA The Taskmaster (w/ The Giant, Paul Wight, at ringside) and Meng AKA Haku in singles matches. He was noticed by WWE and began working for them in May, and he got signed to a developmental contract in 1997. The rest is history!
#2 & 3. R-Truth (K-Krush) & AJ Styles in 1999
By September 1999, the NWA merged NCW with their NWA Georgia territory to form “NWA Wildside”. Many known talents came through here because the NWA recognized it as WCW’s developmental territory. Along with R-Truth and AJ Styles, the shows featured wrestlers like Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak, Abyss, Hernandez, and Matt Sydal.
The match we see below is of a heel K-Krush (with his manager Jeff G.Bailey) taking on the exciting young prospect AJ Styles for the Television Championship. They remade this title into the NWA Wildside TV Championship the following month. While Styles remained with WCW, Truth got signed to the WWF and debuted as K-Kwik in 1999. The following year, he served as a member of a revived D-Generation X with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and introduced a new song called “Gettin’ Rowdy”. However, by 2001, after Road Dogg’s release, he struggled to get airtime and was released in 2002.
He signed with NWA-TNA, and soon cut an angry promo about how he had been held back because of his race. Now, going by Ron “The Truth” Killings, he defeated Ken Shamrock to become the first African-American NWA World Heavyweight Champion. AJ Styles had been with the company since its first show, so both he & Killings were pivotal in building NWA-TNA during its early days. It’s a shame we haven’t seen them have a competitive match on WWE programming, but I reckon they both look back on this one with fond memories.
#4. Rey Mysterio (Colibri) in 1989
Rey Mysterio has crazy longevity, and it’s amazing how he’s still able to perform at a high level in WWE. A young Óscar Gutiérrez made his wrestling debut at the tender age of 14, wrestling under the name Colibri, which is what you call a “Humming Bird” if you speak German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, and others. Luckily for us, I found a video of a 14-year-old Mysterio wrestling against Shamu in 1989. The description says it was for the WWO, but it is actually for Tijuana’s World Wrestling Association, which is a promotion that launched the careers of Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and La Parka.
The experience Rey Mysterio gained as a teenager landed him a job with AAA by 1992, where he began feuding with Juventud Guerrera, along with performing in many six-man tags. His hard work got him noticed by Paul Heyman. In 1995, he introduced the Lucha Libre style to an American audience by signing Mysterio and Psicosis to Extreme Championship Wrestling. And boy… did they ever! But that’s a story for another day.
Before watching the video, don’t worry, your speakers/headphones are working. The video does not have any audio, so it’s not on your end. Still, I believe it’s pretty cool to see how talented Rey Mysterio already was at 14-year-old. What a star he turned out to be! And with that said, I thank you very much for reading and watching this playlist of the most experienced WWE Superstars in their youth. Happy Holidays everyone.
Also Read: 12 Most Buried WWE Superstars Of 2022
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