Ever since Rey Mysterio was a teen, pro wrestling has been his life. Now the lucha legend is passing more than 30 years of experience to his son Dominik. The 24-year-old, who decided to get in the family business after watching his dad growing up, has thrived ever since becoming a pro himself in recent years.
And he’s already making history: At WrestleMania Backlash, the duo became WWE’s first-ever father-son tag champions for SmackDown. Now with the team drafted to Monday nights, they have an opportunity to win the gold on Raw as well. Here, the elder Mysterio talks about life on the road with Dominick ahead of their move to the red brand, starting with the October 25 season premiere.
Fans just celebrated another anniversary of your Halloween Havoc 1997 classic with Eddie Guerrero. I feel with every passing year the legend of this match grows.
Rey Mysterio: I love going back and watching that one. It was the match that put me on the map. We did so many moves that night in the moment. It helped cement fans including ones I get to share the ring with, like Sami Zayn. A couple of weeks ago I did the same top rope move with the flip leading to the hurricanrana to the floor. After so many years fans still talk about it. The match has a special place in my heart.
What do you attribute to being able to maintain that high-flying style we know you for?
It’s the passion I have for this sport. Seeing my son grow in this industry is almost like a rebirth of myself. Being able to see him on a weekly basis and share the ring with him. Mentor him. I see myself starting all over again through him. That has been special and a boost of motivation to me. There is no limit to the love I get from the fans. It helps boost my morale a lot.
How has it been working with Dominik regularly, now that fans back and you have a little more traditional travel work schedule?
He says it best: he was a pandemic kid. His first match was during the pandemic with no fans. He had no idea what it felt like to perform with a live audience. He got to feel that when we kicked off that first show for SmackDown with Edge versus Roman Reigns and the Usos in Houston. That was a completely new experience for him. He was overwhelmed, excited. As a father, you can imagine how I felt. I was full of joy and enjoyed every single moment. I know one day it will be time to hang up the mask, and he will be the person to continue the legacy of the Mysterios. For that, I’m very proud.
Do you try to separate being a dad and colleague?
I catch myself many times where I feel like I want to butt in and be part of the conversation. Then I have to tell myself, “Hey, hold back. Let him grow.” He is not a little kid anymore. I’ve had to hold my temptation of speaking out. That’s the fatherly instinct of wanting to protect your son, guide him or give him direction. When it’s the right time, that is when you give advice. No matter what happens I get mixed emotions. That fatherly instinct.
Your daughter Aalyah was gaining a lot of traction as an on-screen character. Have we seen the last of her in WWE?
Not too long ago she asked, “Dad, what would you say if I wanted to step in the ring?” I said, “As long as you don’t leave your career behind.” She wants to join the medical field. As long as she does that and tries wrestling as a second option, I don’t mind. She always had the curiosity to take a bump, hit the ropes. I said whenever you want to try it, let me know. I think it’s in the back of her mind. She is very dedicated to her school and education. I’m proud of that right now.
You and Dominik were drafted to Monday Night Raw. Any new opponents you’re looking forward to working against?
I know we’re shooting right to the top with this one, but I haven’t worked with Matt Riddle before. I know Dominik has been hoping to step foot in the ring with Randy Orton. Whatever we have to do to earn a title shot to eventually face Randy and Riddle, that would be very acceptable to both of us. And what better thing than for us to become father-son tag team champions again.
Is there anything, in particular, you’re working on with Dominik in the ring?
He has that gift of warning to create new moves every time he steps in the ring and gives the fans something new. It has been something I passed on to him with time. That you have to keep fans on their feet and surprised. One thing we have been working on with him is speed. He was a football player. He played soccer as well. The speed is there, so I want him to take his speed up a notch.
Do you think we’ll see you two on opposite sides down the line?
Once I saw his career take off and see his growth and became so attached to him. It made me want to wrestle him less. It’s something as a father I couldn’t see myself doing. It’s very different when we step in the ring during training where we are wrestling each other. We go hard. I think in front of a crowd. I think I would be very weak when it comes to trying to hurt my son. It’s something I never see doing. I hope it never happens.
There has been some debate on social media when it comes to brand extension. Do you think there should still be separate rosters for Raw and SmackDown?
I think at the end of the day we’re from the same family, but there is a feeling of competition. Whatever brand you are in, you’re trying to rep it to the fullest. That really shows next month at Survivor Series when we cross paths with the opposite teams. Overall we always try to create the best brand.
You’ve done pretty much everything in WWE. How close were you to retiring before Dominick came into the picture?
Before my son even stepped in the ring I thought maybe it was time to hang up the mask. Having my son kick off his career gave me a moment of renewal. It was a rebirth. I see my son wrestle now and see myself from the early days. It definitely inspired me to stay in this industry because I have so much passion for this. I thought I was losing my passion in 2019 and that my career was coming to an end. My son was able to boost my energy and help me keep going.
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