Joining the WWE in 2002, Mysterio left WCW as one of the faces of the Cruiserweight division during WCW’s 83 week dominance over WWE during the Attitude Era, having incredible matches with Eddie Guerrero and others. Mysterio’s mask was removed in 1999 as a part of an angle with the nWo where he and his partner Konnan wrestled Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in a “Mask vs. Hair” match, which they lost, making Mysterio mask-less from that point on.
As a guest on the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Show, Rey Mysterio spoke about making the transition from WCW to WWE, and the questions he received about his ring attire. Mysterio talked about how he showed up mask-less and that it was WWE’s idea to have him wrestle with the mask again.
“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.”
Speaking on the WWE After the Bell Podcast, Mysterio revealed that his son Dominik will have to earn the mask and Mysterio name instead of being just handed it. Dominik reiterated that point in a recent interview with Ryan Satin, where the 24-year-old revealed plans to one day become Rey Mysterio Jr.
Over the years, Mysterio has had numerous creative designs for his attire including The Joker, Captain America, and other themes. Mysterio talked about the ideas he came up with and how he originally decided on the logos he’s worn for years.
“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.”
After Eddie Guerrero passed away in November of 2005, Mysterio was propelled into one of the most memorable and inspiring storylines of all time where the undersized wrestler won the 2006 Royal Rumble as the 2nd entrant. Per the stipulation, Rey earned a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania. Fighting in honor of his friend Guerrero, Rey won the World Championship against Kurt Angle and Randy in a moment that will live on forever. Mysterio spoke about that moment and what it meant for him and his career as a whole.
“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.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.