Dominik Mysterio was being prepped for WWE by late Eddie Guerrero as an eight-year old
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Rey Mysterio beat Eddie Guerrero in the ladder match for the custody of his real-life son Dominik at Summerslam in 2005 but you wouldn't know it going off the 25-year-old's recent behaviour.
The WWE superstar turned on his legendary father Rey Mysterio and 'Uncle' Edge at the Clash of the Castle pay-per-view in front of 62,000 fans at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales back in September.
With his mullet and cocky demeanor, Mysterio Jr, now a WWE superstar, has given off some serious early noughties Guerrero vibes since transitioning into his bad guy character.
His pairing with the powerhouse that is Rhea Ripley, who he refers to as his 'Mami' in the Judgement Day faction, has remarkable similarities to the popular Guerrero and Chyna duo in the Attitude Era.
Since his shift, Mysterio has generated some serious heat from the fans he has performed in front of.
As well as being disgusted at how he is treating his father, they take great offence to him performing Guerrero's signature moves on a weekly basis.
But for Mysterio, his whole schtick is simple a tribute to the late, great WWE Hall of Famer, a man who gave Twizzlers in between takes during their infamous 2005 angle, where classmates would ask who his dad really was.
He describes the former WWE champion as "the biggest inspiration" for him.
"Whether I knew it or not, back in the day, he was prepping me for this business, as an eight-year-old," he told SPORTbible in an exclusive interview.
“And I think he was the one that got my feet wet and just him and my dad kind of slowly pushed me into it without me even knowing.
“And everything that I'm doing now is just paying homage to him and almost like a tribute. And saying, like, ‘Thank you’, because I never got to.
“Now, as a performer and as an adult, I understand how important he was and just how much he meant to this business. And I truly appreciate him for that. I won't get a chance to thank him until I'm with him again.
“But he's just done so much for me, and I try to reciprocate that any way that I can, whether it's with the mullet, the shimmy, the Frog Splash - everything that I do is to honour him and what he's done for me.
“And the people don't like it. So, if the people don't like it, I'm gonna keep doing it.”
Being a third generation wrestler, Dominik was always destined to become a WWE superstar and after a number of appearances on TV, he had his first match at Summerslam 2020 - 15 years after he sat in the front row and watched his father and Guerrero beat each other up and try to win his custody.
His first dance partner was Seth Rollins, one of the absolute best in the modern era of WWE and Dominik believes he was the perfect opponent to mix it up with.
He explained: “I don't know if other than Eddie Guerrero, I don't know who else I would have wanted for my first match.
“Seth is one of the best to ever do it in this business, if not the best. He's just on another level of performing right now. He's reached a certain point where it's just like, ‘That's him. that's Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins’, and you're not going to get to his level. It’s untouchable.
“And I'm just very honoured to be able to say the fact that I debuted against him and he gave me that green light. So it's pretty cool. I definitely would love to run it back with him. Now that we're a couple years on, I'm a couple years in, and I have a different experience. I don’t know if I'll get close to beating him. but I’d definitely like to test my chances.”
Having been thrown it at the deep-end, Dominik is now approaching three years on the WWE roster and has made such a quick adaptation to a difficult and demanding industry.
He's still a baby in that sense and feels like he might just need to slow down and appreciate the level he's got to in such a short space of time.
"Sometimes I feel like when I'm out there, I put all this pressure on me to do certain things and to execute and to perform.
“And then I realised that like, everyone here, or everyone that I'm working with, my coworkers, everyone in the back has been there for 10 years, five years, has been wrestling for over 10 years.
“Everyone's got years of experience on me. And I'm barely in my third year of wrestling. I genuinely had my first match in August of 2020. This is all still fairly new to me. And even in-ring stuff, there's a lot of stuff that like, I've never done, and I just go out there and I'm like, ‘Yeah, I'm gonna do it’.
“It's honestly pretty crazy. And sometimes I feel like I have to slow down and look back and enjoy what I'm doing, in the times that I'm in. I’ve definitely surprised myself and I have to realise that I’ve gotta calm down sometimes.”
Rollins was giving him hell at Summerslam a few years back but he regularly gives Mysterio advice after live events, while United States champion Austin Theory lends his time and expertise.
Dominik says his more experienced fellow judgement day members Ripley, Damian Priest and Finn Balor are also "super helpful" with their words of wisdom behind the scenes.
On-screen the chemistry, particularly with Royal Rumble winner Ripley, is clear to see.
“I started off my career with a match against Seth Rollins with my dad and my corner and just kind of being this big babyface.
“All of a sudden getting this switch to having Rhea with me Finn and Damian Priest and just becoming the Judgement Day and slowly taking over Monday Night Raw.
“And I'm very fortunate to be a part of it. I get more freedom to have fun with what I do as far as being mean.
"When the fans don't like you, you get to keep poking the bear. It's a lot of fun, especially with my crew there, they really know how to get under people's skin. So teaching me that and going out there and doing it has been a lot of fun.
“It kind of just organically happened. I think it also helped that we're the same age - she's a year older than me. So that same age group really helped our chemistry in just being able to get along and work together. But yeah she's been awesome.”
Together Dominik and Rhea have been causing utter chaos on Raw, namely getting up to no good whenever a special occasion occurs.
They've sabotaged Dominik's estranged family in their own home and crashed Rey's Valentine's Day dinner with his wife to name just a couple.
And you just know that there's more to come from these two.
“I think it was a team effort," Dominick said on the ideas behind the segments.
"After the Thanksgiving one, where we kind of went in and invaded the family home and beat up my dad, the people seem to have enjoyed them.
“So, we’re like, ‘Hey, let's just keep this tradition rolling’. You know, whether it's going over and beating up my dad or disturbing the peace, or it's just us trying to have a nice Valentine's Day dinner together.
“What’s next, St. Patrick’s Day, and then Easter? We'll see if ‘Mami’ wants to do anything at the time.”
With all the drama that's been going on with the Mysterios week-by-week, the rumours are swirling about the possibility of a first ever father and son bout at WrestleMania 39.
In the past when SPORTbible has asked Rey about it being a possibility, he shot down any talk of wanting it to happen.
But his only son has changed his tune and wants to face off against his old man on the big stage at the SoFi Stadium in April.
"My dad said that he never really saw a 'Father vs 'Son' match in the future and honestly, neither did I until I realised the potential that I had to be able to overstep a shadow and I feel like that it’s something I’ve got to do.
“It’s something I would want. I know, in the past I had said that I would never want to wrestle my dad just because of what he's done for me and whatnot.
“But looking back at it now, what has he done, other than not be there? And I think I've proved the point to where I'm more than willing to fight. I mean, I've provoked him, I've 619’d him. I've hit him multiple times, I've thrown him against the post, I've tortured him. I've had Rhea do things to him.
“I don't know, at this point, what else I can do to provoke him to get him to hit me. But I just don't see it happening. I don't see him putting hands on me. So I don't know if a match is going to happen anytime soon between us. But I would like to see something happen.”
He's already much bigger than his dad in stature but you have to wonder whether Mysterio feels as though he can surpass him in other ways after just three years as a rookie.
For now, he's just enjoying the ride and beating up his father on TV without reply.
“I still am focused on just my career, on what I have to do in-ring wise and, and what to do as a performer.
“But I think when it comes down to, you know, being bigger than him, or trying to fill his shoes, I think it'll just come naturally.
“I'm three years in, I still don't know what I'm doing half the time. And I'm out there just killing it.”
Featured Image Credit: WWE
Topics: Rey Mysterio, WWE