The most universally beloved luchador in the storied history of pro wrestling, Rey Mysterio has attained a rare level of prestige and success. Just as Michael Jordan defined basketball or Derek Jeter immediately made people think of baseball, Mysterio has defined the mask, lucha libre and brilliance in the wrestling ring.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to play my part in the wrestling world and become a universal name,” Mysterio says. “When people hear the name Rey Mysterio, it is associated with lucha libre, my culture. That is what I wanted to do my entire life. Whether it’s at a wrestling event, the World Cup or the World Series, if you see a mask, it makes people think of me. That represents my whole life journey.”
Mysterio’s effervescence in the ring has brought a passion and joy to wrestling. He redefined the meaning of the mask in the United States, proudly representing legendary luchadores from past eras, ones that came before him like El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras and El Hijo del Santo.
“My wrestling style helped revolutionize the sport, and that’s why I wrestle the way I wrestle—it’s my way of thanking them all,” Mysterio says. “Without them paving the way, there is no Rey Mysterio. Not only myself, but others like Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis. Eddie Guerrero and Konnan. We were given a chance to change this industry.
“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to make a mark, and I took advantage of that. I did that not just for me, but those who came before me and those you’ll see in the future.”
Mysterio’s reach is stronger than ever. In addition to his work on SmackDown alongside his son, Dominik, he is also a spokesman for Victoria beer, the official beer of SummerSlam. Victoria teamed with artist Dan Life to create a new Mysterio-inspired crystal-jeweled mask.
Two of the intricately designed, handmade masks are available to win online.
“The mask is perfect, a work of art,” Mysterio says. “It’s got so much swag. To know there are only two out there, it makes it even more amazing. I need to talk with Dan Life about making another one, because that’s something I want to rock.”
Attending a lucha libre show in Mexico City two years ago helped serve as inspiration for the design, and Life brought the mask to life with its distinct colors and detail.
“I wanted to make the mask pop,” Life says. “The jewelry piece is really cool. The stones were handset, and all the different colors add a lot. It’s other-worldly, almost like a crystal ball when you look at it.
“It was such a cool project, something I’d never done before. And I’ve been itching this whole time to put it on.”
Mysterio is thrilled to team with Victoria, especially in a venture highlighting the mask.
“The mask defines me,” Mysterio says. That’s something my uncle [Rey Misterio] taught me. It teaches you how to stand out. I’m happy that people can share in that joy and history and meaning. Now the mask is my trademark, universally related to Rey Mysterio. I can’t wait for the day that I can pass it on to my son.”
Rey and Dominik became WWE’s first father-son duo to win the tag team titles, accomplishing the feat this past May at Backlash.
“Dominik didn’t decide to start training until the age of 19 [five years ago], but it’s been an incredible journey ever since he started,” Mysterio says. “I’m so proud of him.
“I’m his parent and I want the best for him. Watching him wrestle, sometimes it feels like I’m going to high school sports games, wanting him to stand out. I want him to do things the right way. He’s been in the ring for such little time, but he’s stepping in the ring with some of the top stars in the company. I just want to make sure there are no mistakes and no flaws. That’s the way you need to be when you’re in the ring with stars like Roman Reigns and The Usos.”
The Mysterios dropped the titles earlier this month to The Usos at Money in the Bank, a team Mysterio holds in extremely high regard.
“I’ve known them since Day One, and they’ve definitely earned my respect,” Mysterio says. “I remember them when their uncle Umaga, God rest his soul, was still alive and they were traveling with him. Now they’re grown men, stepping in the ring, and there is a real connection between us. We’re both from a generational family of wrestlers. That’s something you can’t deny. And they’re just so great in the ring.”
Mysterio has been excellent in his return to WWE, and he has relished the chance to collaborate in this recent stretch with Reigns, Paul Heyman and The Usos. He has a lifetime full of memories in wrestling, starring wherever he has appeared, but this current run is different. Mysterio is now experiencing life in WWE alongside his son, writing a new chapter in his legendary career.
“My whole life, all I’ve wanted was to be a wrestler,” Mysterio says. “I never imagined this sport would come with so many luxuries and accolades. Whether it’s sponsorships or my goals in the ring, or companies where I’ve worked, or being such a part of WWE, I am truly blessed and thankful, especially to be doing this with Dominik and bringing even more meaning to the mask.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.