Rey Mysterio Talks His Career And The Future Of Teaming With Dominik

Rey Mysterio has accomplished more than he could have ever imagined when he was growing up in Tijuana. One of the most illustrious professional wrestling careers of all time — 20 years in WWE, the first father to win WWE’s tag team titles with his son, etc. — Mysterio has done just about everything there is to do.

The latest subject in A&E Network’s “Biography: WWE Legends” series, which debuts on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Mysterio’s career takes center stage from humble beginnings to wrestling’s biggest stage.

From a young age, Mysterio was drawn to the world of professional wrestling, where he began training with his uncle, Rey Mistero Sr., and an up-and-coming wrestler by the name of Konnan.

“My wife and I always say, ‘God first, then Konnan,’ for the illustrious career that I’ve had because I could have been a local wrestler, hometown hero if it weren’t for Konnan,” Mysterio told Uproxx Sports. “Konnan opened up many doors. Of course I did the work and proved myself, but if you don’t have that connection you’re never going to make it. He not only did it in Mexico, but the fact that he kept opening doors for me everywhere he went — at ECW and then he went to WCW and did the same thing there.”

It was Konnan who, after being impressed with Mysterio’s rapid rise, helped introduce him to the ECW audience and later to management at WCW for a tryout match.

“At the time, I just wanted to travel and have the opportunity to wrestle in different parts of the world. Konnan had always been my mentor, so him going to WCW for the first time, I remember him coming back to Mexico and we were on a tour for AAA and he said, ‘I think it’s gonna be pretty close that I’ll be able to get you in there,’” Mysterio said. “He was able to get me a tryout and told me I was gonna be wrestling Dean Malenko. I’m thinking a tryout, non-televised, maybe a dark match. And sure enough, my tryout match was the opening match for the Great American Bash.”

Mysterio would be welcomed with a standing ovation from the boys in the back after his debut. That was only the beginning of his success in the promotion, as his career would grow with and without his famous mask.

“I don’t believe I was ready to lose the mask,” Mysterio said of his unmasking in 1999. “But of course it happened, it was a decision that was made and we were all on board. Going back and thinking about that moment, I truly believe the ‘giant killer’ character wouldn’t have been (without losing the mask). The following night (after losing the mask) I had a one-on-one against [Kevin] Nash and that’s the night that Nash put me over. It was like a new beginning for Rey Mysterio and I don’t know if this had anything to do with WWE’s vision to eventually put me against bigger guys. But I want to say that possibly gave them the idea to say ‘ok, let’s try him in there with the Big Show, the Undertaker.’ I’ve had an incredible career in WWE because of that little man-big man story and I truly believe that’s because of me facing the bigger guys in WCW.”

Mysterio would go on to join WWE in 2002, years after the company’s acquisition of WCW. And it’s where he’s thrived for the last two decades, building a resume that includes numerous runs as the heavyweight champion and the ability to wrestle alongside his real-life son, Dominik.

While Mysterio was passed down the mask and Mysterio monicker from his uncle, Rey Misterio Sr., he says that he’s unlikely to do the same for his son.

“Dominik, at some point, he definitely wants to separate and create his own road and he wants the fans to know him for who he is not because he’s my son. And I think we’re getting ready to part ways and have him create his own path,” Mysterio said. “We’ve both taken advantage of the fact that he’s been wrestling by my side for the past two years. And now it’s time to cut the strings and have him go his way and have myself go my way, in different directions.

“Obviously I’m very proud of him. I’m very excited to have shared these last two years with him and have been able to see his growth and teach him the way,” Mysterio continued. “I want to say that I created only friendships throughout my 20 years of being with WWE and haven’t had any negative feedback whatsoever from any of my peers. And I think that puts my son in a good position as well. He’s a very respectful young man who knows and understands the respect that comes with this business. And I think that is gonna take him a long way. Now all he has to do is put in the work and grind it out every single day, so he can carve his own destiny.”

As for what he has left to accomplish, Mysterio isn’t setting a time frame on when it’s time to hang up his boots. While he continues to recover from years of damage to his body with stem cell treatment, he seems happy to stay active as long as he can.

“The fact that I was given an opportunity to be part of the WWE roster was special within itself,” Mysterio said. “I was able to cross all these obstacles that were presented my way from Day 1 at the age of 14. I’ve had a very Illustrious and very special career. I think that I was blessed enough to open up doors, not only for myself but for the future superstars that maybe one day thought that it wasn’t possible. I’m very thankful for all of that.

“And now the fact that I’ve been able to share the ring with my son, the fact that we’re in the WWE history books of becoming the first father and son tag team champions. I don’t think I could ask for anything else as long as God gives me a good farewell, and I’m able to retire healthy and that I’m able to continue watching my son put into work for his old man after I’m done.”