By Kevin Eck
- Baltimore Sun reporter
Originally published February 16, 2006
For Rey Mysterio, size really doesn't matter. Listed at 5-foot-4 (and that's generous) and 165 pounds, Mysterio is by far the smallest performer in World Wrestling Entertainment, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming one of the company's biggest stars. In an industry filled with behemoths, Mysterio, who is known for his colorful masks, has won over fans with his innovative and acrobatic moves. The 31-year-old Mysterio, who began his wrestling career in Mexico at 14, was in town earlier this week to promote WWE's No Way Out pay-per-view event, which takes place Sunday at 1st Mariner Arena.
When you broke into professional wrestling, your size was a hindrance. How have you been able to make your stature work to your advantage?
I don't bring to the table what an ordinary wrestler brings. My style is unique. You don't get a wrestler that's 5-foot-4, 165 pounds on a daily basis that can do the stuff that I do. That in itself put me in the spot, and the fans were like, "Wow, look at this kid. He can go." It opened up the eyes of not only the fans, but of [wrestling promoters].
You made your name with an acrobatic, high-risk style in the ring. As you've gotten older and suffered some serious injuries, have you made an effort to tone it down a bit?
All of my injuries have been to my left knee. I've had six surgeries -- three [anterior cruciate ligaments], three meniscus and cartilage surgeries. ... Being young and naive, I didn't know the risks I was taking, and I was determined that no one was going to stop me. Now that I've been in the game for over 16 years, yeah, I've toned my speed down. I try to maintain my style of wrestling, but just slowing it down.
Your 9-year-old son, Dominik, became a central figure last year in a WWE story line in which it was revealed that your nemesis at the time, Eddie Guerrero, was his biological father and wanted custody of him. Did you have any concerns about Dominik participating in that fictional angle?
It did concern me a little bit as to how he was going to react because it was a strong story line. But I think he handled it very well. He liked the acting, he liked the drama, and he liked the business. It showed me that maybe one day he will be in the ring. Dominik did a good job and [WWE chairman Vince McMahon] was very happy with his work. Working with Eddie made it easier. He had a lot of words with Dominik and made him feel very comfortable with what he was doing.
In real life, you and Eddie Guerrero (who died in November of heart failure at 38) were very close. What are your thoughts on his name being a central component of your current story line with Randy Orton, specifically Orton saying recently on Friday Night Smackdown that "Eddie is in hell"?
It's hard to hear what has to be said from Randy. Eddie Guerrero had such an impact on the fans, on the company, on the [wrestlers]. He was loved by everybody. But I think the most important thing is that his wife has a lot of say in this. If she's comfortable with all of this being done ... she knew Eddie very well, and I think Eddie would want this to continue as long as it could. I think he's up in heaven, and he's enjoying every single moment.