Rey Mysterio has named the “peak” moment of his high-flying career, describing it as the point he knew he had changed the sport of pro wrestling.
Speaking in a new interview, Rey Mysterio reflected on his career which began back in 1989 when he was just 14 years old. After a short stint in ECW, the cruiserweight legend debuted in WCW in the summer of 1996 establishing himself as one of the most innovative and highly rated wrestlers on the planet.
The star who had spent all of his career wrestling under a mask, later found himself in a ‘Mask vs. Match’ in 1999 alongside Konnan with the pair taking on Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. After losing the bout, Mysterio was forced to unmask.
After the closure of WCW, Mysterio eventually found his way to WWE debuting on SmackDown in July 2002. Interestingly, Mysterio was once again wearing a mask.
“I remember going to OVW and kind of get familiarized with the ring,” Mysterio said. “It’s much bigger than the WCW ring, and I remember training and then all of a sudden they wanted to know what I was going to wear just out of nowhere. I showed them what I was using at the time, that Excalibur shield and a vest and said, ‘This what I’m going to wear,’ and they said, ‘What about the mask?’ I said, ‘I’m not using the mask anymore,’ and they said, ‘No, no, no, they want you to use the mask.’ I was like ‘Oh, nobody told me anything.’
“I quickly had to change and recreate my design to start wearing something different than WCW and new to WWE, but there was a big confusion there. I thought I was going to be a part of the company and wrestle without the mask, but no, that’s where the marketing really came into place. I had already been wrestling for almost 2 years without the mask, so I was getting comfortable, but of course WWE knows how to market everything, and the mask was something that WCW never took advantage of. WWE jumped on it right away.”
Throughout his career, Mysterio has also become known for his flamboyant and creative ring gear. Discussing his ring attire, Mysterio explained that he has designed all the outfits he’s ever worn in the ring.
“I’ve been the sole creator of all my designs,” Mysterio said. “I come up with all the ideas, the concept colors, designs, everything. I’ve done that for years. This is something that my uncle taught me to do at a very young age. He would always change his designs on the mask or tights, he would only keep the symbols that represented the name. Rey, the crown and mystery, the question mark, so people identify Rey Mysterio with those two symbols. With me, I kept the one design that I thought that was more comparable to my style, which was the falcons. The crown, eventually I changed it to a cross for my religious beliefs.”
Following the death of his close friend Eddie Guerrero in 2005, Rey Mysterio found himself launched to the top of the card. After winning the 2006 Royal Rumble from number two he went on to emotionally claim the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 22. Looking back on his famous win, Mysterio said that it was the peak of his career.
“Incredible, that was the peak moment of my career,” Mysterio mentioned. “That’s when, okay, you have changed the sport. You have opened up the doors, and that was all thanks to the opportunities that I go to work to be able to prove to Vince and to the people in charge with the pen and paper that I am able to attract a different crowd. I can have fans back me up and believe in me, same with Eddie and Chris. For so long, they were waiting for them to become champions, and that moment came and it changed the industry forever. Same thing happened with me, and I’m really, truly blessed to have been given that opportunity. Not only that, but to have been able to share that moment with [Kurt Angle] and Randy [Orton], who are two of my favorites.”
Rey currently performs on SmackDown alongside the next generation of the Mysterio family, his son Dominik. The pair won the SmackDown Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania Backlash becoming the first father and son team to accomplish the feat.
Speaking in a recent interview, Dominik expressed his desire to carry on the Rey Mysterio Jr name along with his fathers legendary mask.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.