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Exclusive: Rey Mysterio on winning the Royal Rumble, retirement, watching his son wrestle

7 min read
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When you look at Rey Mysterio, the last thing you would think he'd be is a pro wrestler. 

Professional wrestling in the United States used to be known as the "land of the giants". Mysterio broke the mold when he came from Mexico to America to wrestle in ECW in 1995. The 5 ft. 6 in. 150-pound Mysterio dazzled fans with aerial ability that he had never been seen before, along with being believable at the same time. 

Mysterio went to WCW in 1996, where he became the cruiserweight champion on multiple occasions. After WWE bought WCW, Mysterio entered the company in the summer of 2002 and within a year, he had won the cruiserweight and tag team titles (with Edge). 

The year of 2006 changed Mysterio's life forever. He came into the Royal Rumble and entered in at two. Facing insurmountable odds, Mysterio went the distance to win the 30-man event. A little over two months later, at Wrestlemania 22, Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle and Randy Orton to become the World Heavyweight champion.

Heading into Sunday's Royal Rumble, Mysterio has been alongside his son, Dominick, who started in the company in 2020. 

Days before the Royal Rumble, Mysterio talked with DAZN News to discuss the Royal Rumble, winning the 2006 match, and being with his son.

(Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

DAZN News: I've seen a lot of Rey Mysterio masks. I've been watching you since 1994. You got the Victoria mask on. You got the logo here and here. I've never seen this type of mask with you. What was the mind process of going with Victoria to do the mask, which we'll see coming up this Sunday at the Royal Rumble?

Rey Mysterio: When we talked about doing a partnership between Victoria and WWE, we just wanted to do something special. It's something that has never been seen before. So today, we unmask that partnership. I represent, WWE represents Victoria with one custom mask with the Victoria logo on the front. My guy that makes my outfits is just incredible. He's just unbelievable. I give him the idea and design it, and he puts the colors together, puts the artwork in, and then makes this masterpiece. But overall, I thought it would be very significant to represent an iconic beer that was such a cool representational mask with the logo colors, etc. Tapping into our heritage, Hispanic heritage, Mexican beer, Mexican wrestler, and this is only the beginning.

DN: Last night, I turned on the WWE Network because I knew we would be talking, so I wanted to refresh my memory a little bit and watch the 2006 Royal Rumble as I hadn't seen it in awhile. I noticed the date and realized today is the 15th anniversary of you winning the Royal Rumble. I know it was a long time ago, and you've had a lot of great moments since then. Is there anything in that match that really stood out to you because, to me, it was just the fact you started at the beginning and went the distance?

RM: I think overall, that night was very special. There was an aura in the atmosphere, a vibe, a presence that just made that night an unforgettable night. For me, as much for the fans that have followed my career since I began, or that started following my career that day because of the accomplishment that went down that night. To have pulled out a record time for the long-lasting superstar with the max time inside of a Royal Rumble match, to come out number two, and to know that just two months ahead to gain an opportunity for a world title (at Wrestlemania 22).

There was no doubt that I was the smallest guy in the company and was the lightest guy in the company, and a Hispanic with a mask. You would have never seen all these features on a superstar that potentially was going to become world champion. I think the most important thing of all, and when I mentioned a presence and this vibe that was felt in the air, Eddie's (Guerrero) presence have made that night special. I think he was the icing on the cake that made everything come out the way it came out.

DN: I remember talking to different people about this in the past, and I want to ask you because, like you said, you are the littlest guy. The one thing I always wanted to know was, especially when you came to the United States from Mexico and you went to ECW, then WCW and then to WWE, what was it like always having to be the smallest guy in the room and being the smallest guy in the company because wrestling's always been the land of giants? How did you stay positive through all those years because not many people will be able to do what you've done, and they'd been would have gotten so down and so negative on themselves, they wouldn't have been able to overcome all the obstacles they would have had to overcome to get to the point you are at?

RM: I don't know if mentally, you prep up at a very young age, or it just becomes a phase to you. But my whole life, I've always been the smallest guy. I don't know if that prepped me up for my future.

But even training, wrestling at a very young age, I was the smartest guy and the youngest kid in the class. I was eight-years-old, compared to the oldest kid in the class, maybe late 20s. The kid after me was probably in 16, 17. So it was a good eight years difference. My uncle has always been very rough on me (with) me thinking that because it was my uncle and he was head of the class, (that) he was going to take it easy. No, he was always the hardest on me. His chops would destroy me leave me a handprint across my chest, a 10-year-old kid that's in a ring. (He) always made an example out of me.

At the time, I wasn't understanding why he was such an ass (laughs). I would literally walk out of the rain crying. I was just a kid. I didn't know any better. I would go cry in a corner. When I saw that my uncle wouldn't come over and try to talk to me or tell me, 'Hey, come on, it's okay, come back in the ring', I would eventually stop crying and make my way slowly back into the ring and get in line to do our next exercise.

That kind of maturity and roughing me up and not give a s--t being the smallest guy. With that mentality, I walked into every locker room that way, every company with that mentality. So (at) the end of the day, nothing was going to faze me, not even being the smallest in the company or in a locker room. I was prepped for that.

DN: Based on that answer, is this something you've prepared Dominic (Rey's son) for just all that adversity you went through? Is it something you've instilled into Dominic as he started his wrestling journey?

RM: I tried to push him in the right direction. Obviously, as parents, we make mistakes. We don't have our kids, and they come with instruction manuals. So you try to make the best. We tried to do our best as parents. We fail sometimes, but we have to learn from our mistakes. I do like to get second, sometimes even third opinions, when I might have a doubt. That's why the godfathers come in, or the uncles come in and say, 'Okay, no, you're doing this wrong way. Please do it this way'.

That always helps out a lot. But overall, I think my kid has his head on straight shoulders. He's thinking in the right direction knows what he's doing, which, at the end of the day, pleases me. I'm good with that. He's good at taking advice.

DN: The Royal Rumble is this Sunday on the WWE Network. I know you get this quite often, but how many more do you think you have? You just signed a new contract recently, and you're going to be with the company for a little bit longer. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel, or are you in that mindset of taking it year by year and just see how the body's feeling?

RM: I've learned how to enjoy the moments. With the contract being signed recently, I'm enjoying this moment right now and getting to share the ring with my son, getting to mentor him, and getting to see his growth. So that way, when I do decide to leave, I can leave comfortably, joyful (in) that I was able to share moments with my son in the ring. With that being said, I just take it like you said, day by day, year by year. Eventually, father time will let me know when my time is right. When that time comes, we'll make sure that I'm not going to fight it.

I've seen The Undertaker. I've seen other sports athletes want to keep going. I just saw the Tiger Woods documentary. You think about it. Those are moments that really make you think like, 'I don't want to fall in that category'. I just want to make sure that when I do leave,  I can leave walking and still enjoy my life with my wife and my grandsons when they do come.

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