Son of a Legend: How Dominik Mysterio Forged His Own Path

“I’m carrying lineage, my family, and history on my shoulders”

Dominik Mysterio wrestled the most memorable match of his career at WrestleMania 39. He lost to his father, the legendary Rey Mysterio, but held his own on the biggest stage.

Shortly after the match, Mysterio was quietly invited to dinner with his family. There would be no cameras, no social media posts, and very little fanfare surrounding their celebratory meal.

But Mysterio turned down the request.

“I just beat the f--- out of him,” said Mysterio. “I wasn’t going to dinner with him. So I had a street hot dog and spent the night in my hotel.”

Dom wrestled his father Rey at WrestleMania 39
Dom wrestled his father Rey at WrestleMania 39 / WWE

As a child, Mysterio relished watching his father and collecting as many wrestling action figures as humanly possible. Now, as an adult, he is embracing the chance to protect it.

“I was raised on that old-school love of the business,” said Mysterio. “That’s a big part of our family dynamic. We have a lot of respect for the Mysterio name and this sport.

“I’m carrying lineage, my family, and history on my shoulders. My six godfathers, who are all legends, I’m not going to let them down.”

The Mysterio family
The Mysterio family / WWE

Only five years into his career, Mysterio has traveled a path quite unlike the majority of his peers. Not only is he the son of a wrestling icon, but he was also thrust into a WWE storyline when he was only eight. He was the center of attention between his father and Eddie Guerrero, who famously fought for custody over Dominik.

Mysterio is especially grateful for the time he spent with Guerrero, who passed away in 2005.

“Not everyone can say they worked with Eddie,” said Guerrero. “I hear people say, ‘My dream match would be Eddie Guerrero.’ Shit, mine too. Looking back, just sharing the ring with him, it’s an honor.”

Eddie Guerrero and a young Dom Mysterio
Eddie Guerrero and a young Dom Mysterio / WWE

Guerrero is the subject of this Sunday’s Biography: WWE Legends on A&E, flooding Mysterio with memories.

“Eddie helped plant the seed in 2005 that this was what I was going to do,” said Mysterio, 27. “I’m very blessed to have known him, and I am always grateful to keep his memory alive.”

Like Guerrero, Mysterio is at his best as the antagonist. He has found a whole new gear since turning on his father two years ago. Mysterio has flourished as a villain, becoming the definition in WWE of someone people love to hate.

Brock Lesnar manhandling Dom Mysterio
Brock Lesnar manhandling Dom Mysterio / WWE

Rey Mysterio wanted his son to succeed so badly that he encouraged him to turn heel–and followed that up by repeatedly asking his son to torment him on-screen. That is a wrestling love story, one intimately familiar to those who embrace the distinct nature of professional wrestling,

“My journey is so different from everyone else’s,” said Mysterio. “Getting compared to my dad, that’s a losing battle. People wanted me to move like him, be like him, and even wear the mask.

“But I had a lot of support behind me. Plus, I was so busy with my head down working. I didn’t have time to focus on the outside noise. But if it weren’t for going my own way and sh----- on my Edge and my dad, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

CM Punk and the Mysterio family
CM Punk and the Mysterio family / WWE

One of the unsung heroes in Mysterio’s rise is wrestling great Konnan, who is his godfather. After a career where he redefined superstardom in and out of America, Konnan has provided the type of advice that few others were willing–or had the legitimacy and authenticity–to offer.

Mysterio has worked to perfect his craft
Mysterio has worked to perfect his craft / WWE

“Konnan, man, he’s the tough love I always needed,” said Mysterio. “Especially if you know him, you know he calls it how it is. He doesn’t sugarcoat. Personally, that’s something I needed. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and get in trouble here, but starting off in the business, as the son of Rey Mysterio, you don’t know what’s what. I could have a sh---- match and people would say, ‘That was really good’ just to be on my good side. You don’t know what’s it’s real or not. But then I’d get a call from Konnan. He’d say, ‘Your punches looked like shit,’ ‘You need to work on this,’ or ‘Stop doing the 619 if you’re not going to do it properly.’

“Konnan gave me tough love, right from when I started training with him and my dad. He still keeps an eye out on my matches, and I’m a student of the game–so I’m always willing to learn from someone who revolutionized the sport.”

Dom, Rey, and Finn Balor
Dom, Rey, and Finn Balor / WWE

Mysterio has also benefited greatly from his teammates. A key part of his journey occurred when he joined Judgment Day.

Finn Balor and Damian Priest have constantly put Mysterio in a position where he could shine. Of course, Rhea Ripley has guided Mysterio to a whole new dimension of notoriety.

“Judgement Day, they really helped me out,” said Mysterio. “My confidence, my in-ring presence, they put me in a position to do my best. Finn and Damian are incredible in matches, the way they put together matches. Finn is amazing at that. It comes so naturally to him. Damian gives me advice, too, the type where he says to do something in a match and it turns out incredibly. I’d get all the credit, but it was all his idea.

“And when you think of Judgment Day, Rhea is the most special of all. There is no one like her. That core of us, I think we’ll be special forever.”

Rhea Ripley and Dom Mysterio
Rhea Ripley and Dom Mysterio / WWE

Currently on the injured list recovering from a slight tear in his Tommy John, Mysterio hopes to be back in the next few weeks. He is not part of the King and Queen of the Ring card on Saturday, but was quick to point out that Judgment Day’s next best move is one no one sees coming.

“We’re not in the equation right now, but you never know,” said Mysterio. “It’s only a matter of time before we make an impact.”

The Judgment Day
The Judgment Day / WWE

Mysterio is full of dreams and grand aspirations. There is no limit for what he can accomplish, a frightening thought when considering he is still in the early stages of his career.

“I haven’t even been doing this very long,” said Mysterio. “But I know who did this before me. I owe it to all of them to be the best I can, so I’m going to do the best to the best of my abilities.

“Living up to the name, that’s a lot. I want more than that. I am going to keep working until I am the greatest of all the Mysterios.”

Justin Barrasso


Justin Barrasso has been writing for Sports Illustrated since 2014. While his primary focus is pro wrestling and MMA, he has also covered MLB, NBA, and the NFL. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.