Rey Mysterio means “king mystery” in Spanish – an apt name to describe Óscar Gutiérrez, a man who’s spent most of his wrestling days shrouded in an air of mystery, his face hidden behind that iconic mask.
Throughout his time fighting with various wrestling promotions around the world, fans and the wrestling fraternity have come to know Rey Mysterio for his Lucha Libre, high-flying style of wrestling, something different from the usual mass monsters the wrestling universe has grown accustomed to seeing.
Mysterio’s fan base has grown exponentially over the years and he’s proven that he’s more than capable of handling himself against the world’s best. He’s fast, strong and incredibly athletic and flexible – the whole package, which, when combined with that famous mask, makes him a treat to watch in the ring and endears him to wrestling fans worldwide.
He’s been in the sport for almost three decades now and has been an incredibly consistent performer, winning numerous titles and championships along the way. You just don’t last or get to that level without having something about you – Mysterio certainly has that X factor.
There’s more to Mysterio than meets the eye, a lot more about “king mystery” that you might not know, things that have made possibly the greatest ever masked man into the wrestler we all love today. Below are 15 things you need to know about Rey Mysterio.
15 He Refused To Relinquish His 2009 Intercontinental Title
In 2009, Rey Mysterio was two decades into a flourishing career. He had overcome a spate of injuries in 2008 and had silenced his many doubters by stepping back into the ring in the first place, let alone becoming a runner-up in an epic Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out.
Things were on an upwards curve for Mysterio as he then went on to defeat JBL to clinch the Intercontinental Championship in an astonishing 25 seconds in front of a packed crowd at WrestleMania XXV. After this, it was his feud with Chris Jericho and then Dolph Ziggler that really got his blood boiling. Mysterio was scripted to lose his title to Dolph Ziggler – an unknown entity at the time – at the Night of Champions event, but downright refused and went on to defeat Ziggler after executing his 619.
His reason for disobeying the bosses was that he had only just won the title earlier that year and was apparently promised a longer reign as Intercontinental Champion. He then defeated Ziggler again a month later at SummerSlam – a notable time in Mysterio’s career as it was the first time he actually stuck two fingers up at the management.
14 He Was A Stunt Double
Wrestlers have a habit of venturing into movies and Rey Mysterio is no exception. He’s appeared in several wrestling DVDs, but what many people don’t know is that he’s also appeared in a mainstream movie. Sure, he wasn’t the lead and only appeared for a few seconds, but it still counts as a movie appearance right? Mysterio will surely put it on his résumé.
Mysterio got the call to lend his expertise and play a role – a very small role – in the 2003 American slasher film directed by Ronny Yu, Freddy vs. Jason. To say the film was a smashing success at the box office would be an overstatement, not that Mysterio would care; he had a role in a movie and that’s something nobody can take away from him.
The role itself was that of a stunt double. In one particular scene, Freddy leaps off some metal pipes; well, everyone thought it was Freddy, but it was actually Rey Mysterio. His athletic feats in the ring had got him noticed and earned him his few seconds of fame on the big screen.
13 The 619 Is A Variation Of The "Tiger Feint"
Every wrestling fan worth their weight in lead loves to see the 619, that famous, iconic move of Mysterio’s that sends the crowds into raptures.
Mysterio was one of the first to bring that Lucha Libre, high-flying style of wrestling onto the main scene, a style that was like a breath of fresh air in WCW at the time. However, it was specifically– and always has been- that 619 that he performs with such grace and precision that has contributed to his huge fan following.
Many people thought that 619 was Mysterio’s own move and that he had brought some form of originality to WCW. He had, in some sense, but the 619 is actually a take on Satoru Sayama’s “tiger feint.” Sayama was actually the first to be seen executing the 619 – or something incredibly similar anyway. It was essentially exactly the same move, the only difference being that Sayama’s opponents weren’t laid out on the ropes. But regardless of where Mysterio got his inspiration from, no one – not Sayama nor anyone who’s attempted anything similar – performs the 619 quite like Mysterio; seeing Mysterio flying through the air like a bird is certainly a sight to behold.
12 Mysterio And Music
Mysterio added another string to his bow in 2005 when he released and performed the song "Booyaka 619" during various ring entrances along with rapper Madd One. This song became a super hit – among wrestling fans anyway – and has been viewed millions of times on social media sites.
His next foray into the music world would be when he released and rapped in the song “Crossing Borders,” which was released with WWE’s soundtrack album, “WWE Originals” - an album featuring songs from a host of other superstars, helping it achieve commercial success in the US charts.
His music reflects his style and culture – catchy tunes with an energetic beat, a perfect backing track for this luchador bouncing about the ring.
Mysterio’s certainly proven that he’s a multi-talented man. He can rap, write, act and of course, wrestle. Who knows what he’ll be seen doing next? Perhaps he’ll be on the big screen near you in the not so distant future?
11 He’s A Very Religious Man
Many wrestlers get the strength to endure the grueling sport of wrestling through various means. As a pro, you’re on the road for the majority of the year, have to do without having your family by your side while travelling, have to come to terms with the sometimes fatal consequences of your in-ring actions (that’s another point), all in the name of entertaining millions around the worls. It’s not always the five-star lifestyle that many people perceive wrestlers to be living. There’s grueling schedules for very little pay – in those early days – and it can be soul-destroying. Many wrestlers, even prominent names, have self-destructed and have become hooked on drink and drugs as a coping mechanism. But Mysterio has always stayed on the straight and narrow path and uses his religious beliefs to cope with the demanding business that is wrestling.
Religion plays a big part in Mysterio’s life. He’s a devout Roman Catholic and is not afraid to show it. He has religious symbols plastered all over his body, tattoos of a cross across his chest and rosary beads as a way of expressing his reverence to God and his religion.
10 Family Life
It can be tough to balance a wrestling career with family life, juggling a life on the road with being a devout father and doting husband. But Mysterio has managed it, and despite being a figure at the forefront of the business, has kept his feet firmly on the ground and hasn’t been swayed, like many wrestlers have, by the riches and women – kind of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that comes with the fame and glory. There’s never really been any rumors or allegations of affairs or sexual promiscuity related to Mysterio. As far as the public is aware, his marriage has been solid since the time he tied the knot with Angie in 1996. Since that time, even as the Mysterio persona has grown in stature, they’ve remained strong, endured the ups and down, and have raised two kids; their son Dominic was born in 1997 and their daughter Aalyah was born in 2001.
9 That Weird Jennifer Aniston Rumor
While Rey Mysterio has remained faithful to his wife by all accounts, there was once a rumor of him having hooked up with Jennifer Aniston, who was starring on Friends at the time. Back in 1997, the National Enquirer published the story and Mysterio was baffled when he read it. It turned out to be a complete fabrication and Mysterio even found some humor in it.
"I have no idea what that was about or what it came from. Maybe somebody wanted to get my name out there and started the rumor. Anyway, I thought it was funny. I even showed it to my wife - best coming from me, no?"
Mysterio was ribbed quite a bit from the boys in the locker room, but he took it all in good stride. He even bought a copy of the magazine and keeps it stored in his house.
8 He Has Meaning Behind His Tattoos
Where do we start with Mysterio’s tattoos? He has a plethora of them etched across different part of his body, some which have deep meaning and are visible during his in-ring excursions, others which are just body art and are hidden from the public.
Seeing a wrestler covered in tattoos is pretty much generic in this day and age. But having said that, it’s difficult to imagine Mysterio without those rosary beads inked around his neck or that “Mexican” tattoo spread across his stomach.
Let’s start with that “Mexican” tattoo. Mysterio is of Mexican heritage and so this tattoo was a symbol of his pride and culture – he wants everybody to know his roots.
Then there are the tattoos he’s had for family members. He’s got symbols and the names of his kids tattooed on his biceps, and the phrase, “Love Till Death” inked on his calf – representing the bond between him and his wife.
Then, there are some tribal tattoos, of course the 619, and the initials of his late dear friend, Eddie Guerrero.
7 He Is Fascinated With Skulls
For some reason or other, it seems as if Mysterio has a fascination with the whole death thing; he loves skeletons and skulls and has two skeleton tattoos on his left calf. Some people may think this is a bit morbid, but that’s Mysterio for you!
Who can forget Mysterio entering the ring donning that purple white skull mask when he wrestled with WWE? It must have sent sales of skulls and skeletons through the roof – both the wrestling and Halloween industries must have been delighted!
But why does Mysterio have this fascination with skulls? It’s simply to remind him of human mortality and eternal rewards and blessings – how important life is and that every moment must be cherished. Don’t get it and interpret it another way? Well, as Mysterio states in his autobiography, "it’s a Mexican thing. In Mexico, All Hallows and All Souls’ Day – also known as the Day of the Dead – are celebrated, a period during which children who have died are celebrated. It’s a big deal in Mexico."
So despite what you might think, Mysterio isn’t into the dark arts and he’s not a goth or anything like that.
6 He Was Originally Supposed To Lose His Mask In 1997
Rey Mysterio was as hot as ever in 1997, as he had established himself as a fan favorite in WCW due to his high-flying style and the incredible intrigue that came with his mask. In typical WCW fashion, they decided that Mysterio would lose his mask in a match against Eddie Guerrero. He has admitted that he initially wasn't going to show up to the Halloween Havoc event but Eric Bischoff threatened that there'd be repercussions if he didn't show up.
Luckily, Rey's opponent that night, and close friend, went to bat for Rey and complained to WCW management as well. Eventually, the two just decided they'd throw it in their faces by having the best match of the night.
Ten minutes before the match, Bischoff approached Rey and said he'd be going over in the match, meaning Mysterio could keep his mask. Eddie and Rey proceeded to put on a classic and Mysterio's mask remained on his head, where it belonged.
5 Mysterio Is Extremely Wealthy
As one of the first names to be penciled into the roster, Mysterio has pretty much been a permanent fixture in the world of wrestling over the past three decades, despite a few misdemeanors and injuries here and there which have kept him sidelined. During this time, Mysterio has risen through the ranks and has become one of the most popular pros in the business. It’s therefore no surprise that Mysterio has acquired a great amount of wealth during the course of his wrestling career – a small fortune, but it may surprise some of you just how much.
He’s accumulated a net worth in the region of $8.5 million – a figure that’s not even in the ballpark of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's earnings through wrestling, and doesn’t come close to the pay packet of other veterans of the sport such as John Cena and Triple H, but it’s certainly not a bad salary for one of the “little” guys.
I’m sure many of you would agree that this is one high-flying luchador that’s certainly earned his corn.
4 He’s Been Suspended For Violating The WWE Wellness Program
For a guy who generally stays on the straight and narrow path and hasn’t really had any notable run-ins with bosses or management, it might surprise some of you to know that Mysterio has actually been suspended from the WWE twice.
It all began in 2007 when Sports Illustrated magazine revealed Mysterio’s name – among many others - in a sting operation regarding anabolic steroid use. It was alleged that Mysterio had obtained the illegal drugs nandrolone, stanozolol and human growth hormone, and he was subsequently suspended for 30 days in 2009 for violating WWE’s wellness program. Mysterio was quick to refute these allegations and publicly revealed that he had obtained the drugs on prescription for his injuries, and that he didn’t have time to provide proof because he was on tour in Europe.
Mysterio was suspended again in 2012, this time for 60 days, for violating the company’s wellness policy and the Talent Wellness Program, after allegedly failing a drug test and testing positive for amphetamines.
3 Mysterio Tried To Escape WCW in 2000
In the year 2000, many notable wrestlers decided to jump ship and defect to WWE from WCW. Names such as Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero made the move after demanding to be released from their contracts, a switch brought about by Kevin Francis Sullivan’s promotion to head booker at WCW.
WCW was in utter chaos at the time, and Sullivan’s appointment only served to exacerbate matters. Talent at the company was being misused and prominent wrestlers weren’t getting the opportunities they wanted and deserved. This inevitably infuriated many of the wrestlers on the roster, who left to join what was fast becoming the biggest wrestling promotion on the planet – WWE. Many wrestlers contracted with WCW, including Mysterio, felt the same and wanted to follow in Guerrero’s and Benoit’s footsteps.
Mysterio actually started the process of negotiating a release from his contract, but it coincided with a time during which half the roster was trying to do the same thing. This caused WCW to get their lawyers involved, and things began to get technical and tangled in a load of red tape. Consequently, the move never took place in 2000, but it all worked out for Mysterio in the end.
2 He Was Taken Under His Uncle's Wing
Rey Mysterio can thank his uncle, Miguel Ángel López Díaz, aka Rey Misterio Sr., for getting him involved in wrestling. Misterio Sr. lived with Jr. and his family in Tijuana, working as a construction worker by day, but when night fell, he transformed into the “king of mystery” in the ring.
Sr. was a heavyweight luchador in Mexico, who later turned to training other fighters. His most famous student would be his nephew, whom he took under his wing at a young age, training him up for his first bout in the ring in 1989 at the tender age of 14.
Mysterio was initially named “The Green Lizard,” but soon took his uncle’s name when they teamed up as a tag team and fought with Asistencia Asesoría y Administración LLC (AAA).
So the world has Misterio Sr. to thank for molding Rey Mysterio into the star he is today and for imparting his wisdom on his nephew. As such, Misterior Sr. is one of the reasons that the Lucha Libre high-flying style of wrestling is so popular on our screens today.
1 He Hates Being Unmasked
Mysterio is very reluctant to remove his mask while doing what he does best in the ring, preferring to remain mysterious – he is after all, king mystery.
Despite this, he’s been forced to remove that customary mask on several occasions, the first instance being with WCW in 1999 when he was essentially blackmailed into doing it by Eric Bischoff – lose the mask or lose his job. Mysterio was very public in voicing his disappointment about being unmasked. Back in a 2005 interview with the UK Sun, Mysterio stated: “I was strongly against it! I don't think WCW understood what the mask meant to me, to my fans and to my family. It was a very bad move on their behalf. The fans wanted Rey Mysterio with the mask and losing it hurt me a lot."
Anyway, now that he’s wrestling with Lucha Underground, it looks as if the mask is here to stay.