Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio On Dominik’s Heel Run, Eddie Guerrero, Plans To Retire, WWE Champion, His Legacy

Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) is a legendary professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet in Las Vegas to talk about his incredible career and the fact that he is still wrestling in WWE, being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame as an active wrestler, his son Dominik developing his heel persona, never wrestling Triple H in WWE, his thoughts on retirement, how he developed the 619 as a wrestling move, being swung on a stretcher by Big Show, his favorite mask, getting thrown like a lawn dart by Kevin Nash, the rumor that he was a stunt double in the horror movie Freddy vs. Jason, his iconic match against Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc in 1997, winning the Royal Rumble from the #2 spot, never turning heel in WWE and much more!

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On being recognised without the mask:

“Now, more than ever. Back in the day before I lost the mask in WCW I had a big amount of time that was my private time and nobody knew who I was. Obviously, my size would give it away most of the times, especially travelling with with the rest of the boys, they kind of figure it out, that’s gotta be Rey Mysterio. But when I did lose the mask against Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, rest in peace, that time period with The Filthy Animals and then that whole Rey Mysterio unmask kind of opened the eyes of a lot of fans who didn’t know who I was, now my face was out there so I was recognisable.” 

On how many masks he owns:

“I’ve lost track over time. But I can probably say between the ones that I have in my closet and in my office and then now the rooms of the house, a little bit over 500.”

On retiring masks:

“Yes, I do. The crazy thing is, I have so many outfits that I’ve used throughout my career that I won’t remember sometimes when I use a particular outfit. There’s a good friend of mine, he comes over to the house every now and then, he likes to see my collection, and I’ll show him something. He goes, Oh, that’s the one you use against The Big Show? How do you remember that? I didn’t remember that. So particular ones really stand out like my first match with WWE on SmackDown, which was against Chavo, that red outfit. That one was special so those kinds of outfits do stand out.”

On unmasking in WCW:

“My god, that was one of the conversations that we battled for it not to happen. And not just me, Konan was probably the first one that said no you don’t understand there’s a history here. Not just the history, but the fact that Rey is marketable with the mask, like the kids. I just started watching Who Killed WCW? actually was following up with Episode Two last night, and I had to turn it off because I was tired. But it took me back to that era. And I wish that WCW would have known how to market the character of Rey Mysterio. It’s something that maybe at the time, because there was so much going on and so many big names, I was nobody back then, I was just given an opportunity. But I truly believe that at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and it didn’t happen in WCW because it wasn’t meant to be. As soon as I came to WWE everything just started happening. Funny thing is that when I got signed by WWE, I remember going to OVW training a week prior to my debut. Somebody came up and asked me Rey, they’re asking what outfit Are you planning to use on your debut? I said while I was thinking of using this right here, and they were like, What about the mask? I said I’m not wearing a mask, I don’t wear a mask anymore. They go no no, no. Vince wants you to come back with the mask. So my idea was already taken Okay, I’m gonna come back with the baggy pants, the horns that I was wearing at the time. And they’re like No, no, no, we want the old Rey Mysterio so right then and there I thought okay, this is now the time to just kick it back in gear and then start moving forward. I guess they probably subconsciously thought well, he’s gonna come back with the mask. But at the time I was wrestling without it. So I kind of started getting used to not using the mask for a while.”

On being undersized: 

“I truly believe and I’m a faithful believer that my work got me where I’m at now. But my work wouldn’t have been accomplished without the opponents that I’ve had over the years. You know, it takes two to tango, and starting off with Psychosis, and just the chemistry we had. They would see Rey Mysterio and be like, wow, this is unbelievable. Like, we’ve never seen anything like this. And that has a lot to do with the person that would be across from me in the ring, making me look good, extra good. And me, as far as my work goes, it was the fans believe that this heel that’s in front of me is a badass heel and can eventually take me down at any point. And over the years. That’s pretty much would happen. Dean Malenko my first match in WCW, ECW with Psychosis, and we had already had a history from just training together in the ring back in the early 90s. So yeah, I lost track of the question. But yeah, that connection that I’ve had over the years with rivals has definitely secured my position where I’m at today.”

On not being brought to WWE immediately after WCW closed:

“I think at the time, I was probably making a little too much in WCW money-wise, and the contract was still running when the company was bought out. The conversation at the time was sit back, enjoy your pay for the rest of the year. That’s in your contract. And once it’s expired, we’ll sit down and we’ll negotiate. And at the time, I thought it was a way for them to say we’re not really interested. That’s what I thought because I had always heard that. Too small. Definitely too small for WWE, and that it wasn’t going to happen. So remember when Eddie and Saturn, Jericho was the first one to leave. But when Dean and The Radicals, when they left, I kind of had a bit of hope. Like, okay, if they’re there, probably one day I’ll be able to make it. But sure enough, when they bought out the company and told me to wait, I thought it was them saying in a good way, we’re interested but not right now. But no, I mean, JR kept his word. Once my contract expired, we sat down, we negotiated and I kicked off the first year.”

On developing the 619:

“So that move. The first time I ever saw it was from a wrestler that I grew up watching in Tijuana, he used to be one of my uncle’s partners. He was probably about 5’1” or 5’2”. Very stocky, had like a Mighty Mouse look to him. And he would haul ass and just swing through the ropes. Nobody being there, he would just swing and kind of fake dive to the floor and the opponent kind of like just move out of the way. But when I saw it the first time I’m like oh, this is so cool. And then surely enough later, when I started getting into Japanese wrestling, I saw Tiger Mask and I believe he was probably the first one to start doing it, if I’m not mistaken. And then one of my good friends, Damian 666, said to me one day, why don’t you do that move, but put your opponent against the ropes and swing your legs around and hit him connect, like, oh, that sounds cool. Sure enough, I started doing it, it started to get a reaction. And the name at the time behind that move. I kind of picked up off of Stone Cold 3:16 so let’s put a 619 here. So that’s how it all came about.”

On being inducted into the Hall of Fame while still being active:

“So when that was brought up to me, Rey, we want to induct you into the Hall of Fame and it was Hunter that mentioned that to me. We were thinking of doing it in LA, it’s so close here to your hometown. And my first response was, but I’m not ready to retire Like, no, no, you don’t have to retire. We just think that it’s the perfect spot to induct you to the Hall of Fame. I was like, wow, I really felt it was just just such a cool moment. That was one of my goals and it was on my bucket list. But for it to happen then it was a special moment for me, overall. Being able to do a storyline with my son being able to work against him for the first time. It was just so many moving parts that at the end of the day lined up perfectly, and I feel truly blessed man for the opportunity and very thankful to WWE for the run they’ve given me for over 20 years.” 

On Dominik Mysterio:

“Incredible. I remember speaking to Dom before him breaking into WWE when he was training. We would bullsh*t Hey, imagine if you were to make it before I retire and we can do a run together as Tag Team Champions. We were not thinking heel terms, it was completely babyface being together. At one point, I remember designing one of his outfits. And you know Rey meaning King so maybe you can be Prince Mysterio.”

On the 2005 Custody of Dominik ladder match:

“I want to say that that came from Bruce [Prichard] and Eddie [Guerrero] I don’t know if somebody else had some input in it. But when that idea was brought up to me, I said, Sure, that sounds cool. Let me speak to Dom about it. Dom from his understanding had always been a little bit shy, timid especially back then, younger. But when he knew that money was involved, he said, Yeah, I’m down. I’ll do it. But Eddie spoke to him, I know Bruce spoke to him as well, which is crazy, just to even, like, see, so many years past and now Bruce being there and talking to Dom and Bruce kind of telling them okay, this is what we’re gonna have going on for the next storyline. You know, I can’t imagine what Bruce feels when he speaks to Dom when he spoke to him when he was only seven years old. And it’s got to be such a cool feeling.” 

On talking to Dom about the match:

“Being a kid sometimes you don’t take into consideration how important or how this is really going to work out, it was just minor details. And I know Eddie had a lot of saying to making him feel comfortable. I know he would feed him Twizzlers, every now and then when we did some of the shoots, like on the swings. But overall, the surroundings that he was in, he felt like he was at home. And I think that had a big part to do with him saying his lines and doing what he had to do at the right time. And you ask yourself now, why is he becoming so good, so fast? Well, he’s been around for so long, and it’s just insane.”

On there possibly being another Custody of Dominik ladder match with Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan:

“I always ask myself this question. And I like to every now and then kind of just let my brain wander off. If Eddie would still be here in this scenario, with Dom being who he is now, I can’t even imagine the kind of pleasure we would bring to the ring, to the audience of being able to see Dom, Eddie and myself. You know, it’d be such a cool moment, man. And I do think about that a lot.”

On Dom being a future World Champion:

“Yeah, most definitely. Dom is getting really good at what he’s doing and he’s understanding the craft. The fact that he’s where he’s at with such little time, I wish I could be there, or I could have been there with four years of being in the business. I didn’t know sh*t at 4 years. [Look who he’s learned from] Not only me, I mean that, yes, I am his father. But the fact that he’s been able to be in there with the best Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, John Cena. All these moments are moments that give you the ability to learn. So I think he’s taken very well advantage of those moments and has added him to his career.”

On thinking about how much longer he wants to wrestle:

“I don’t until it’s being brought up and when my wife brings that up, that’s when I pause. I don’t know if I want to do it another two years, three years. I kind of listen to my body and my mindset, because my body’s been feeling great. And with all the benefits that I get from doing like the cold plunge and the sauna. Overall, my mind has to be in the right place, so that’s probably the hardest thing for me. Because sometimes the age factor comes into mind and not in the moment, but thinking ahead like I want to be able to still move around and walk at 55 or 56. Is my body going to feel the same?”

On possibly turning heel in WWE:

“I remember bringing it up one time when Dom and I were working together, I brought it up to Vince and it was brief. Like maybe I turn on Dom and we continue with something along the ways. But getting feedback from some of my colleagues, like no, you’re the babyface that could never be a heel. Like you’re Ricky Steamboat, nobody can ever see you as a heel, I don’t think they would buy into it. And I’m kind of glad that I listened and that they didn’t listen to me. Because the best thing that could happen is for Dom to become the heel and be the evil one.” 

On being swung on a stretcher by The Big Show:

“We were just talking about that on Monday. I think Dominik was making fun of it. But anyway, I remember going over that and Big Show and the production team were like is that possible? Yeah, definitely it’s possible. We just never thought of what would happen after he swung. There was no way that he would be able to swing and hold on like if there was a bat. No the weight as soon as that hit. It went down and with my arms strapped to my side, headfirst. Crazy moment.”

What is Rey Mysterio grateful for?

“God, my life and the life I have been given.”

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