The WWE is looking to bolster its roster with the impending brand extension on the horizon. It’s nearing a massive raid of the NXT locker room, and it was reported on Tuesday that officials are searching out former WWE superstars about the idea of returning to the company. Rey Mysterio would qualify as a candidate from the latter category who still has the chops in the ring to be able to perform, assuming his health allowed.
However, it still appears that Mysterio’s return to the company he spent nearly 13 years with would be a long shot. The two did not part on the best of terms when he was eventually released in 2015. Mysterio had hoped he could have been let out of his contract earlier, as his last appearance in WWE came in April of 2014. WWE extended his deal without his permission due to the injury time he had accumulated, preventing him from signing with any other promotion until it officially expired.
Whether he had worn out his welcome or simply didn’t have enough left in the tank to continue as a full-time performer, Rey Mysterio built himself up from the ultimate underdog to a future WWE Hall-of-Famer. The tenuousness of his departure might not get him there in the near-term, but time should heal all wounds in this case.
And even though Mysterio toured the world with WWE for over a decade, it wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that he’d work for Vince McMahon, despite WWE buying out WCW in 2001. Mysterio recently appeared on the Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast to reveal what transpired between WCW going out of business and Mysterio finally debuting in WWE in 2002 (Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“In all honesty, I was doubting myself because so many guys had told me, ‘man, Vince [McMahon] ain’t about the smaller weight classes. He likes bigger guys in his company.’ So when they bought out WCW, they said, ‘sit back with your WCW contract and get paid. You’re not going to have to work. Just get paid and when your contract runs out,’ which was the following year of 2001, April, ‘then, we can sit down and negotiate.’ [Do] you know what? They kept their word. I remember January of 2001, I did a little bit of shows in Puerto Rico because I had never been there. I was able to work in Arena México for the first time, so a lot of things happened that I wanted to accomplish on my own. And then, sure enough, the call came. [Jim Ross] hit me up and he said, ‘hey, are you ready to sit down and negotiate?’ We sat down [and] negotiated. I was like, ‘all I want is an opportunity’. You know, that’s all I wanted and that’s what I got.”
From there, the rest is history. Mysterio went on to become a three-time World Champion in WWE, a four-time Tag Team Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion and a Royal Rumble winner. He lost his mask in a match in WCW, but was relieved to hear that Vince and WWE wanted him to use it again when he signed. Interestingly enough, however, WWE officials had to reel Mysterio in when it came to his ring attire or face legal ramifications, believe it or not. That, of course, was a big part of the Rey Mysterio gimmick.
“I always try to take care of my image inside the ring with my outfits, attire. Nice and clean. And I think that had a lot to do with my presence inside the ring. Once I made it to WWE, I was like, ‘my s–t has to be nice and clean and I’ve got to make sure I do something different every time. Pay-per-view? Superheroes! Lets blend that in. Believe it or not, I didn’t do it, in all honesty, with the intentions of making a profit out of it. That’s just how my mind flows, with outfits, with my gear, and with my wrestling moves. Actually, at one point, they told me, ‘you’ve got to stop doing this because we’re going to get sued.’ So I’ve always tried to keep it fun and mysterious for the fans because it was always like, ‘man, what are you going to bust out now, Rey?’ and they would give me ideas.”
[Image via WWE]