Jim Ross has detailed the conversation he had with Rey Mysterio prior to the luchador joining WWE after the demise of WCW.
In March 2001, Vince McMahon announced that he had bought his competition by purchasing WCW. The much-maligned invasion storyline soon began with stars from WCW then ECW joining forces in their war with WWE.
One former WCW star that wasn’t part of the invasion was Rey Mysterio. Mysterio took part in the last episode of WCW Monday Nitro. He and Billy Kidman defeated Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo to win the now-defunct WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles. While Kidman joined WWE not long after the end of WCW, Mysterio waited until the summer of 2002 to join the company.
Jim Ross, the former head of talent relations in WWE has detailed the conversation he had with Mysterio prior to signing him to a contract. Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, Ross revealed that it was him that advised Mysterio to wait before coming to WWE.
Ross explained, referencing his conversation with Mysterio:
“Here’s my advice: I will hire you, you’re a great talent and you can become more famous than you are by being on this television. But the smart money right now for you is to stay home, train. He’d been wrestling since he was 14, why don’t you just enjoy the money you were making, get your body to the way you exactly want it, and then we’ll bring you in in January. The guys around me knew and I knew that working with Rey, the Jericho’s of the world, couldn’t say enough nice things about Rey.”
“I remember talking to Vince. I said he’s coming in January, ‘Vince he’s getting big money, more than we’re going to guarantee, and let’s let the guy get healthy.’ Heal, get better and save your damn money. Vince understood that logic. We know you’re going to get over, let’s take this approach and see if it works for us. I don’t think that’s the answer Rey was expecting.”
Rey Mysterio’s career took off soon after his WWE debut. Mysterio and Edge claimed the WWE Tag Team Championships in November 2002 from Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. This was the first of numerous titles for Mysterio in the company.
Jim Ross shared his thoughts on John Laurinaitis’ return to WWE as the man in charge of talent relations.