Although it was initially Santos Escobar who was scheduled to face Austin Theory tonight for the United States Championship, Rey Mysterio stepped up on WWE SmackDown when Escobar was attacked by Theory before the match. After a short bout, Mysterio was able to put Theory away with a pair of 619s, bringing an end to a 259-day title reign. This is the third time Mysterio has held the WWE United States Championship, with both previous reigns taking place in 2019.
Mysterio was initially part of a recent tournament meant to decide the number one contender for Theory’s championship, but Mysterio’s finals match against Escobar had to be brought to an early end due to an injury on Mysterio’s part. Last week, Michael Cole stated that Mysterio was dealing with “severe whiplash,” but the 48-year-old WWE Hall of Famer was able to get cleared to wrestle by tonight.
Earlier this year, Mysterio was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, becoming one of the select few to receive the honor as an active performer. Mysterio’s son, Dominik, is currently one of the hottest acts in professional wrestling, and the feud between father and son was a captivating element of this year’s WWE WrestleMania. Having moved on for the time being, Mysterio now continues to cement his legacy as one of the best to ever step foot in a wrestling ring.
As for Theory, his United States Championship reign was the third-longest of the current iteration of the belt. His reign began on the November 7, 2022, episode of WWE Raw, when Theory cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Seth Rollins to capture the title – the first time the briefcase has been used for a shot at a non-world title.