WWE legend Rey Mysterio says he was probably the first to perform when the pandemic hit, and it was “awkward” to not have fans around.
WWE legend Rey Mysterio says he was probably the first to perform when the pandemic hit, and it was “awkward” to not have fans around.

Exclusive: WWE star Rey Mysterio says he’s waiting to perform for fans!

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) legend, who is the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with his son Dominik, talks about his masks, performing in the pandemic, and his hopes to visit India to meet his fans.
By Mallika Bhagat, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 07, 2021 02:03 PM IST

If you think size is the only thing that matters in the ring, Óscar Gutiérrez’s 5ft 6 inch frame and high-flying moves will make you think again! The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) legend, who is the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with his son Dominik, is lethal in the ring as Rey Mysterio, but when he takes off the mask, he is an unbelievably reserved and calm being.

“Oscar is more of a private person; I like to spend time with my kids and my wife and I’m not that outgoing. Rey Mysterio is more of the character that is childish. When I put on the mask, I become this completely other person, who, when the lights go out, is just surrounded by his family,” says the American wrestler, who entered the sport as an 8-year-old after being influenced by his uncle, wrestler Rey Misterio Sr who enabled Mysterio’s high flying lucha libre style of wrestling. “I would help him pack his bags, play with his masks, and the experience stayed with me until one day I decided I’d like to follow in his footsteps,” he adds.

Rey Mysterio is currently the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with his son Dominik. (Photo: Instagram/619iamlucha)
Rey Mysterio is currently the Smackdown Tag Team Champions with his son Dominik. (Photo: Instagram/619iamlucha)

Mysterio, who was with WWE RAW when the pandemic hit, says he can’t wait to start travelling again for performances. “I was probably one of the first to perform when the pandemic hit, with Edge. There were no fans, not even virtual ones. It is very awkward. We tend to adapt quickly, but now we are at a point where we want our fans. Whatever we do, we do it for them,” says the three times world champion, who holds his Indian fans close to heart. In January, Mysterio enthralled the Indian audience in the first WWE Superstar Spectacle, along with wrestlers Dilsher Shanky and Giant Zanjeer, on Sony Sports, which states that WWE in India is watched by an average of around 50 million people on a monthly basis on its channels.

His adoration for his Indian counterparts is in the same measure as are his fond memories of the bout with Khali. “To be able to step in the ring with the Great Khali was an experience like no other. I had never stepped in the ring with a man of his stature. To see his size and his strength and power, with everything that he did it’s unbelievable; It’s been years but I remember it like it was yesterday,” exclaims Mysterio, adding, “I was in India years ago for an appearance, and the reaction I received was beautiful, and that was just me saying hi, signing pictures! I truly hope, one day, not too far from now, that I can come here and perform live for my fans.”

Mysterio says that wearing a mask symbolises what he represents – his people, his sport. (Photo: Instagram/619iamlucha)
Mysterio says that wearing a mask symbolises what he represents – his people, his sport. (Photo: Instagram/619iamlucha)

While the pandemic brought masks to the forefront, Mysterio has been synonymous with masks of a different kind in the profession, ones that have been the target of countless wrestlers. “My uncle was a mask wrestler, and that is what makes this so special for us. Even as a child, when you put on a mask, whether it’s Batman or Robin, you feel like you become that person. To be able to step in the ring, and have the fans not know me but the character, it has been a part of my legacy. And now, wearing a mask symbolises what I represent – my people, my sport, and not just in America, but worldwide,” says the legend, who adds that it will be a few years before he passes on his mask and mantle, to his son, for good. “I am enjoying the opportunity to share the ring with my son, and learn from him as well. Lot of parents don’t get a chance to do that because they have separate jobs. To see the happiness within my family because of the success we have, is a big motivation for me to continue,” adds Mysterio.

His son Dominik, is now carrying the Mysterio name forward, as the duo became the first father and son team to hold tag team titles in the WWE together. “It has been an unbelievable experience, a blessing. To be able to pass the knowledge and know it’s been passed onto not just anyone but my blood, my son. The Mysterio legacy could not be in better hands and his focus inspires me,” says the wrestler, who adds that the game has evolved in the last few years. “You see a completely different product now. I am looking forward to what the new generation brings to the ring, and my son is growing up in this generation and they’ll be game changers, just like we were when we started out,” he signs off.

Author tweets @bhagat_mallika

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