WWE star Rey Mysterio on facing his son in the ring: The story is ‘relatable with real life’
Rey Mysterio will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 39 weekend after more than 30 years in the business.
But he's not taking off the mask just yet.
"I've crossed out so many accolades in my life — from becoming an individual superstar to sharing the ring with some of the best, top superstars in WWE history," Mysterio, legally named Oscar Gutierrez Rubio, tells TODAY.com.
"Now, it's come to an end, but in a good way — I'm not doing this as me leaving," he adds. "It's the last thing on my bucket list to accomplish, and it's happening while I'm still in full effect."
When Mysterio discusses his three-decade-long career, his tone is reverent — the weight of his legacy as a Latino wrestler, a luchador, is not a burden but a point of immense pride. His likeness is on T-shirts; he's an action figure; his face is on the box of Cinnamoji Toast Crunch, all representing the history of lucha libre.
"It's a huge honor to represent our culture," Mysterio says. "The doors that have been opened for me, and for the talent that is coming up behind me ... I don't even have the correct words to describe it."
The 48-year-old credits Puerto Rican wrestler Pedro Morales, Carlos Colón and the late Eddie Guerrero, who died less than five months before Mysterio won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22, for the opportunities that have made his career possible.
Now, he says, he's excited to do the same for the younger generation of Latino wrestlers.
"I feel truly honored to be able to open that pathway for the future that's behind us," Mysterio says. "I can only tell you that I can't wait for it to grow even more as we move forward."
That future includes Mysterio's 25-year-old son, Dominik, who made his WWE in-ring debut in 2020.
The proud dad admits that when Dominik decided he wanted to follow in his father’s professional wrestling footsteps, he was “nervous, very emotional” and had “a lot of anxiety” — not only because the sport is physically demanding and can be dangerous, but because he knew his son would feel the weight of his father’s legacy.
“I understood how much pressure was on his back because he was Rey Mysterio’s son,” Mysterio says. “The fact that he’s been bold with opportunities — he’s taking them, he’s ran with them and he’s crushed it — every single time, as a father, that makes me very proud.”
Together, Mysterio and Dominik became the first-ever father-son tag team champions in 2021.
Now, the pair will face off inside the ring at WrestleMania 39 this weekend after Dominik turned heel — a full-circle moment for the veteran wrestler, who grew up play-wrestling and doing "backflips off the shoulders" of his uncle, Rey Mysterio Sr., who would later go on to train him.
"I had the opportunity to wrestle with my uncle and then against my uncle," Mysterio says. "My uncle was like my second father, so it was really cool. He kicked my ass, but it was cool because he was the bad guy."
The current rivalry with Dominik is "almost like revisiting those moments," Mysterio adds.
In 2005, in what is arguably one of the most controversial WWE storylines to date, Mysterio wrestled his longtime friend Guerrero in a ladder match for custody of then 8-year-old Dominik.
On Monday, March 27, Dominik harkened back to that moment.
“Dad, I’ve never said this out loud, but I wish Eddie was my real father and you never existed,” Dominik said on "Raw." “Because my entire family is a disgrace to the Mysterio name, and the Mysterio name will be mine at WrestleMania.”
Mysterio says his in-the-ring relationship with his son just "shows that (wrestling) is relatable with real life."
"How many parents out there fight with their kids?" he points out. "How many kids fight with their parents, and feel maybe the anger that Dom’s feeling toward me?”
Showing the good and the bad of family relationships is also by design — Mysterio says family is at the center of the culture he's spent his entire career representing.
"The love that Hispanics show within their families — whether it's your grandmother, grandfather, brothers, sisters, parents — that is just part of who we are," he says. "We're not afraid to show our love. In my case, with my son, I have always been affectionate with him and tell him how much I love him. The same with my daughter."
As proud as Mysterio is to watch Dominik "carry his own torch," he wishes he had more chances to wrestle alongside his son as partners.
"Being together and sharing the ring together and accomplishing so many things in a short amount of time with my son was incredible and enjoyable," he says. "I wish I had more time to enjoy more of those moments, because it happens so fast — in the blink of an eye.
"I have put in my work and my love for this business," the WWE superstar adds. "Maybe it's time for me to enjoy this business from another perspective — just sit back and enjoy watching my son and the next generation coming up."
WrestleMania 39 will stream live on Peacock beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on April 1 and April 2. (Peacock is owned by TODAY.com's parent company, NBCUniversal.)
This article was originally published on TODAY.com