Rey Mysterio went from wrestling in front of 100 people outside a church in Tijuana to the grand stage of WrestleMania. The legendary luchador’s underdog ascension to the top of the WWE mountain is chronicled in his Biography WWE: Legends episode premiering August 28.
Mysterio, real name Óscar Gutiérrez, helped break the mold of your prototypical top star in the business. Passed on the mask and name from his uncle, the diminutive dynamo reached new heights in 2006 by winning the Royal Rumble and standing tall as world heavyweight champion at WrestleMania.
Success took sacrifice and unwavering perseverance, and winning over audiences using high-flying innovation through the rings of Mexico, ECW, WCW, and WWE. The respected veteran continues to compete at a high-level today, helping to guide Dominik Mysterio: The two made history as the first father-son WWE tag team champions.
Ahead of the A&E documentary’s premiere, the international sensation reflects on his journey and how he proves size doesn’t always matter.
What stands out to you about this doc?
Rey Mysterio: For the fans that have known Rey Mysterio from only my WWE career up until now over 20 years, they get a chance to see the work that has been put in the past 32 years. I think it’s very detailed. I know there is a lot of footage I haven’t seen and didn’t know existed. I’m talking about my very first match back in 1989, when I was 14. It will give fans a different perspective of who Rey Mysterio really is.
A lot of your family contributes to this project, including your uncle and parents. How was it having them involved?
It’s special without a doubt. It’s heartfelt to have my parents and my uncle, who is the reason why I wanted to become who I am now. It’s very emotional to tap into these factors that created who I am.
Not to mention your wife Angie. She talks about how she would send any money she could put together while you were in Mexico. There is an incredible love story that branches out from this wrestling story.
She dropped out of medical school to help me pursue my dream. The sacrifices we all made to be where we are right now. She was there for my first match. We celebrated together. We’ve been through hard times together. We’re living an incredible life together due to all the obstacles we overcame.
You talk in the Biography about what Eddie Guerrero meant to you and how hard his passing hit. How was it for you to revisit those dark times?
Any time I have to talk about Eddie it’s very emotional. It tears me up, the fact he is no longer here. I always put into consideration what if he was here. I’m very thankful for having the opportunity to have known him on a personal level, and professional level, and for the friendship and brotherhood that we created. I always like to go back to the day we were in San Diego. He came over and slept at the house. My wife went to bed. Me and him were in the backyard. I heated up the jacuzzi, and we were just talking about life. It was a very special moment for me. It made me appreciate having him as a friend and brother.
Konnan was instrumental in your career and so many others. How is it for you to see him get the credit he seemingly deserves?
Konnan’s role was very crucial, not only in my life but for all the luchadores that came into WCW in the mid-1990s. He was the instrument that brought all of us over and gave us an opportunity to perform on a bigger stage. He saw that the times were changing in wrestling and that fans were ready to see something different. It was perfect timing. If this would have been done right now, things would have panned out differently.
Eric Bischoff, WCW president, pushed to have you lose the mask. It happened in Superbrawl 1999. You ended up thriving, but how do you reflect on that transition today in 2022?
At the time, it was very hard to swallow. It was something I wasn’t ready to do and thought I never had to do. Now with the years that have passed and the growth within myself, I look at that moment differently. I truly think if that didn’t happen back then, Rey Mysterio wouldn’t have had the opportunity to wrestle bigger guys. That’s where the giant killer was born. The next night Kevin Nash put me over, and we made it believable. It was like a new beginning for Rey Mysterio as an unmasked luchador. For me, it was a new beginning. I made the best out of the situation. I believe it put me on another level.
Then you came to WWE wearing the mask.
Like Paul Heyman said, it would have been stupid for Rey not to come in with the mask. I think that was a special moment. The vision of the little guy fighting a big guy was still made believable. I would face Great Khali, Big Show, Kane, and Undertaker. Matches that possibly would have never happened if WCW hadn’t given me the opportunity to wrestle bigger guys.
Today you’re still honoring the mask by not really taking photos without it on in public.
When you lose a mask, a lot of wrestlers tend to shy away and eventually come back to the ring under a different name or mask in Lucha. Some lose the mask and continue their career without the mask under the same name. I feel like I started a new trend. Even though fans knew who I was, they respected the fact I had come back with the mask. I think a lot of fans like myself were in denial I lost the mask and wanted to see me with it on again. That started a new vision for masked wrestlers.
You became such a worldwide phenomenon in the 1990s. So much so, there was the 1997 story in the National Enquirer linking you and Jennifer Aniston. Did Angie get a kick out of that?
That was hilarious. I don’t know how that story came about. My wife did get a kick out of it. “Yeah, right. Jennifer Anniston be looking at you,” she said. I said, “Hey, you never know. We may have had a little get-together, and you never found out.” For me, it was good promotion. The fact I was connected with a superstar like Jennifer Aniston, who broke out from Friends and does incredible movies and dates some of the top Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt. Not bad.
In the doc, you speak about going through stem-cell therapy. What kind of difference did this treatment have on extending your career and quality of life?
I followed into it and got a bigger treatment back in 2019 in Colombia. That is when I saw an incredible difference. I feel like it truly gave me longevity. I wasn’t waking up with aches. I was waking up pain-free from my knee. I truly feel this has rejuvenated me and added years to my career. During the last treatment I did in April of this year, I felt an incredible difference. This and everything I do to maintain my health has helped me perform the way I’ve been able to perform.
This documentary sums up your career, but you’re still competing regularly and able to pass on your knowledge to Dominik as a tag team. What’s the ideal way you see yourself riding off into the sunset?
I would love to pass on the mask to my son like it was passed on to me by my uncle. I would love to see one day when it’s time to hang up the mask to pass on the Mysterio legacy to my son and have it continue.
Biography WWE: Legends: Rey Mysterio, Premieres August 28, 8/7c, A&E