Rey Mysterio with Jeremy Roberts
Synopsis: The autobiography of former World Champion and lucha legend Rey Mysterio.
The moment had come for me to unmask.
I'd been working all my life for a moment like this, losing the mask. But it had come way too early. I knew I hadn't gotten the kind of juice that could have com from a better building. And now, without the mask, I was afraid I was going to be just another wrestler. What would set me apart?
That wasn't a plus.
I remember Konnan trying to undo the mask. He got a couple of laces off in the back - I used to tie it from behind. I grabbed it from the top and slid it straight down my face.
It was an intense moment, one of the most intense I've ever had in the ring. Probably the second most, actually: the first would have been my uncle naming me Rey Misterio Jr.
I remember taking the mask off. The fans were stunned. Nash and Scott Hall were saying. "Hey, he's a kid. He's a kid - put it back on."
Rey Mysterio is probably one of the least controversial wrestlers out there, at least among those to reach the legendary levels he did in his career. Let's face it, other than a drug suspension for buying growth hormones from a banned supplier, he's managed to keep his nose fairly clean and became a hero to hundreds of thousands of kids.
His autobiography Behind The Mask reads that way as well. He comes across as a genuinely nice, agreeable person who gets what's required to be a main eventer in the wrestling industry. He paid his dues, debuting at the age of 14, and working his way to the top.
Despite his obvious wrestling skills and penchant for developing unique high flying moves, Mysterio was often discounted because of his size, particularly when starting out (as the masked Colibri) because promoters didn't know what to make of him. His uncle Rey Misterio Sr. tried to vouch for his protege, but it was only once people saw his in-ring work that he was validated.
Thanks to meeting and befriending Konnan (the two still remain tight to this day), Mysterio was booked on top shows throughout Mexico, gaining international exposure until ECW came calling. A memorable run in the Philadelphia-based promotion led to a contract offer from WCW in 1996.
Once in WCW, Mysterio led his fellow luchadores in a resurgence of the company's cruiserweight division, routinely putting on four and five star matches in an era where many of the older WCW "main eventers" couldn't.
Despite having to lose his signature mask due to a directive from Eric Bischoff (see above excerpt), Mysterio remained a regular part of the WCW roster, even turning heel at one point as part of the Filthy Animals faction. But it seems clear from Mysterio's remarks that he had mentally checked out WCW for some time.
Mysterio's jump to WWE (and subsequent re-masking) in 2002 gave him a new lease on life, and an opportunity to be much more than a small fish in a big pond. Within his first years, Mysterio faced opponents such as Kurt Angle, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit and even The Undertaker. Plus his merchandise cheques went through the roof after WWE realized that selling replica masks to children would be a gold mine.
Having said that, his post-WCW life was far from perfect. Mysterio goes into detail about working with his good friend Eddie Guerrero (and his own son Dominick, who was playing the role of Eddie's estranged son) in 2005 and how it was one of his most satisfying angles to date. However, shortly after that storyline ran its course, both men moved on to different rivalries and of course, Eddie passed away later that year.
While everyone in the WWE Universe has provided touching stories of Eddie Guerrero's impact on their own lives, Mysterio's is perhaps one of the saddest. Upon learning he had passed away, Rey insisted he be taken to Guerrero's hotel room to see him one last time. He even slipped a cross into Guerrero's coffin during the funeral, because the cross was given to Rey by his mother for a "good death".
While it's arguable whether Mysterio ever truly got over Guerrero's death, he was soon put in a program with Randy Orton and Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XXII where Orton callously suggested that Eddie was in hell. Reportedly, everyone who participated in the angle were furious with having to do that, but you don't hear anything negative from Rey here.
By the way, you never hear anything negative from Rey about his subsequent run with the World Championship. Sure, it's great to be champion, but Mysterio's run was considered poorly booked by anyone's standards. It would have been nice to see Mysterio project some rage onto the powers that be, although I do understand this was a WWE-produced book.
Overall Rating: Transitional Champion. This certainly wasn't a bad wrestling book, but there was very little in here that I hadn't read before (a few amusing anecdotes aside). It would be interesting to see what Mysterio might add during the last decade or so of his career.