Skip to main content

#FinisherFriday: The 619

Well, this one was a bit of a gimme, wasn't it? It's June 19, which makes it 6/19, so Happy 619 Day, everyone!

It's fitting that we're talking about the 619 since Rey Mysterio is one of the subjects of today's Grapevine. The 619 has long been associated with Mysterio, such that WWE commentators used to refer to him as "the Master of the 619". But what is the 619, really?

The 619's generic name is the tiger feint kick, which is a move wherein a wrestler has to jump through the top and second rope while holding on to the ropes and using his momentum to swing back into the ring, while kicking his opponent's head with both feet in the process. It should be mentioned that for the move to be performed, the opponent has to be draped over the middle rope.

Mysterio himself credits Tiger Mask's dive fakeout spot as the precursor to his version of the tiger feint kick. That spot was used to make both opponents and fans think that Tiger Mask was about to perform a suicide dive, but the move was later modified to just become a kick to the head on the draped opponent. Given the agility required to perform the move, mostly smaller wrestlers have used it, most especially in places like Japan and Mexico. 

Internationally, we all associate it with Rey Mysterio because he's the most famous wrestler who has used the move. Mysterio's pretty much made the move his own, naming it after the area code of his hometown of San Diego, CA. 

Mysterio himself has added to the move, mostly because it seemed unrealistic that a two-foot kick to the head of a draped opponent would make that opponent lie on his back immediately. The momentum from the kick might not be enough to make an opponent vulnerable for a three-count, which is why Mysterio added the following moves to punctuate the 619:
  • Diving splash (which he sometimes did while springboarding off the top rope);
  • Droppin' Da Dime (a springboard leg drop, either to the chest or to the back of the opponent's head);
  • Frankensteiner (which he used mostly in WCW);
  • Flip piledriver (which he did—and mostly does—in AAA);
  • Frog splash (as a tribute to the late Eddie Guerrero);
  • Springboard headbutt (which he did in ECW and WCW, but not as often in WWE);
  • Springboard seated senton (which you may remember as a follow-up to the 619 in WWE video games because it was one of his signatures); and the
  • West Coast Pop (a springboard hurricanrana, which he used in ECW, WCW, and WWE).

The 619 gets a lot of crap for being unrealistic since it's hard to believe that a wrestler won't expect a 619 from Mysterio as soon as he's draped over the middle rope. At the same time, the 619 isn't one of those moves like the RKO, which you can hit from literally out of nowhere. The move requires a certain setup, but when that setup is done beautifully, it could lead to something beautiful.

The best example of this came at Extreme Rules 2009 when Chris Jericho challenged Rey Mysterio for the latter's Intercontinental Championship. Their No Holds Barred match was the first in a long feud, in which both men traded title wins. The match at Extreme Rules 2009 ended after Jericho successfully unmasked Mysterio while Rey was swinging in between the ropes to perform the 619. This caught Mysterio off-guard and allowed Jericho to roll him up for the 1-2-3 to win the Intercontinental Championship.

This brilliant finish almost never took place, and Jericho explained how he and Rey came up with what was one of the most interesting finishes to a match involving the 619. In his third book, The Best in the World At What I Have No Idea, Jericho explained:
Vince agreed but only if we could think of an interesting finish, something where I would go over for the title but protect Rey so we could have a rematch. I needed to figure out a way to unmask and pin him quickly to take advantage of the distraction. I wondered if it was possible to rip off his mask as he was executing his famous 619 finishing move. As I always do when I need to figure out if an idea can work, I went into a dark corner of the arena by myself and closed my eyes to try and visualize it in my mind. I envisioned lying prone on the second rope as Oscar swung through the ropes and aimed his knees at my head for the 619. I knew if his mask was loose enough and we timed it perfectly, I could pluck it off of his head like a fly's wing just as he rotated.
When I asked him about it, he totally thought we could pull it off (pun intended) and had the perfect prop for the job. He showed me an open-backed mask he had in his bag with crisscrossing straps that would be ideal for me to hook my fingers into. The day of the PPV, we got in the ring to try it out and I draped myself over the second rope as Oscar bounced off the ropes behind me to go for the 619. Just as he swung his legs around, I hooked my fingers in the open area at the back of his mask and pulled it off with perfect timing, moving out of the way of his rotation at the same time. He landed in front of me unmasked and we laughed at how easy it was. We had our finish. Now, as always we just had to get Vince to approve it.
For a relatively safe move like the 619, it is not without its own controversy. On March 20, 2015, Rey Mysterio teamed up with Xtreme Tiger to take on Manik and Perro Aguayo, Jr. in Tijuana, Mexico. This has become infamously known as the match in which Perro Aguayo, Jr. died in the ring. While his death was not caused by the 619, the fact that he died while being set up for the move may bring about the assumptions. Aguayo's cause of death was formally announced as cardiac arrest, due to a cervical stroke caused by his C1, C2, and C3 vertebrae being broken. According to the coroner's report, the fractures took place at two different moments of impact, killing Aguayo instantly.

As Mysterio moves on to the next chapter of his career—whether that's in AAA/Lucha Underground or TNA—we hope that his body continues to hold up so that younger generations of wrestling fans can continue to appreciate the beauty that is the 619.

What was your favorite 619 moment? Do you agree that on its own, the move is unrealistic and hard to believe? Sound off in the comments section!


Post a Comment

Trending This Week

MWF 9: Oras ng Liwanag (The Official Smark Henry Review)

#FinisherFriday (6/21/19): End of Days

The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Poch

T-Hawk: Strong Heart, Stronger Chop

Smark Hen-XT (6/19/19): The Start of A New ERA In NXT