Rey Mysterio wrestled in the three biggest U.S. wrestling promotions in the 90's. In addition to competing for WWE and WCW, he also had a stint in ECW. He talked about his experiences with ECW in a recent interview on The Apter Chat with Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff, which was conducted before Mysterio signed a new two-year deal with WWE.
"It was such an awesome experience because ECW was like the gateway for you to eventually get picked up by WWE or WCW. That was in a way a smaller platform, without disrespecting the company, to eventually get picked up by bigger companies," said Mysterio. "It was such a cool experience. Keep in mind too that these were all new phases in my career that I was enjoying very much. I never had a plan to make it to WWE. I never had a plan to make it to WCW. These were all just experiences that I was just going through and living the moment. I was just enjoying my wrestling."
"Back in WCW, the stuff we were doing was an eye opener and it was new for the majority of the wrestling fans around the globe, not just in the states. It was definitely something that was being viewed for the very first time. We were given the opportunity to perform on a big stage and at the time, not knowing what we were doing, we were changing the game. We were the pioneers of the lucha libre style. What we saw at All In is based on the stuff that we were doing back in '95 and '96 in WCW. There was no story. What was our story? Have a good match."
One of the most memorable moments in WCW involved a painful bump for Mysterio. On an episode of Monday Nitro, Kevin Nash picked up Mysterio and darted him headfirst into the side of a production truck. Apter asked if he had any regret doing that angle.
"Not at all. I'll tell you, that moment was one of those moments that will be talked about for a very long time," Mysterio said. "Still to this day, after 20 years, it's something that you take with you. How impactful it was because of Nash, how big he was, and how small I was at the time. Just the comparison in size and him just catching me and throwing me. It's just moments that you cherish. Those are game changers. Those are life changers in this business."
During his time with WCW, Mysterio was asked to drop his mask. As a luchador that was tough for him to do, but he explains how it happened and why he gave in.
"It all started as a rumor for me to wrestle without the mask and, if I'm not mistaken, Scott Hall was the one that kept on saying 'you gotta baby face', 'you're a pretty mf'. He goes 'you don't need the mask, look at that face sells', so that began to get bigger and bigger and escalated up until Halloween Havoc in 1997 where Eric [Bischoff] had me thinking that I was going to lose the mask that night."
"I was paranoid because the mask is everything to me. It's my legacy. It's my heritage. It's something that I wear with honor and respect for my uncle. It's what wanted me to become a luchador. Being able to grow up as a fan and see my uncle wrestle in Tijuana. Witnessing him losing his mask at one point in his career. He broke down crying thinking that it's not going to be the same. For this rumor to become reality. Then later the night came of the orders of me having to lose the mask on that pay-per-view against Scott and Kevin [Nash]. At the time I said there's nothing I can do at this point. I fought and I tried and there's just no sense of pursuing something that's not going to happen. So I gave in. I had a contract. I had the obligations. So I gave into it and made the best out of it."
For the full interview with Mysterio, you can listen to the latest episode of The Apter Chat below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Apter Chat with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.