Rey Mysterio Talks Universal Championship Match Against Seth Rollins, Dominick and His Legacy

On the season premiere of WWE's Monday Night RAW, Universal Champion Seth Rollins will put his title on the line against the legendary Rey Mysterio.

Mysterio's return to the WWE since the 2018 Royal Rumble has been a series of starts and stops for the world-renowned luchador. After challenging for the US Championship heading into WrestleMania, Mysterio would suffer two separate injuries that would push the future WWE Hall of Famer into his current storyline where he contemplated retirement.

Thanks to his son Dominick's intervention, Mysterio has steeled himself to continue to get into the ring and is now on the precipice of adding another title to his illustrious career.

Newsweek caught up with Rey Mysterio to talk about his upcoming Universal Championship match on Monday, his current storyline, his son's training and how he views his legacy.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

wwe rey mysterio wins fatal fiveway raw
WWE

You are going against Seth Rollins this Monday. How are you feeling and preparing for tonight?

I've been really getting at least my eight hours of sleep this whole week. Training in the morning and in the late afternoon. Yesterday I had a chance to step in the ring and train with my son, here in San Diego. We were going over mat wrestling, that's how I tend to keep my pace steady, but I'm looking forward to this Monday.

Anything about Seth Rollins' game that you have to prepare for?

No, the one thing I can say is that I'm looking to face a great Seth Rollins. He doesn't have to worry about me being a Brock Lesnar type or Braun Strowman. This is going to be a pretty straight-up called right down the line match. This is going to be a highly competitive match with some high flying. There's no worries on my end for him trying to do something shady and he's probably feeling the same vibe off of me.

What would capturing the Universal Championship mean to your career?

It's a game-changer. To add another title — and not just another title, but this is this Universal title — to add it to my stats is unbelievable. The fact that I had every desire to be the number one guy this past Monday during the Fatal Five-Way but then when it all happened everything just started coming into play and you start to set into realization that happened. It took me a couple of days after winning to absorb that "man in just a couple of days I have a Universal title shot." A couple of weeks ago I was looking at retirement and now everything has done a 360.

Why is this the right time for a retirement storyline?

The fact that I recall seeing my son with Eddie Guerrero in 2004 when my son was seven years old. This was almost 15 years ago. To be able to share the ring with him back then and going through a storyline that had never been seen before and was big for its time. Fast-forward 15 years later and I had no idea my son wanted to be a part of this business. So when he tells me at the age of 19 that he wants to train to see if he can make it in this business without me forcing or pushing him into it, it all came out organically. And to have him convince me to not retire because I gave him my word that one day we were going to step into the ring together is the perfect story for me. I don't think it gets any better than that. I don't know how many parents get to share an opportunity like this in their life where they can enjoy something they really love and be loved by millions of fans around the world.

How is Dominick training going? Is he a natural? Is it hard to assess your own son?

I'll tell you this. I'd be the first one to tell him directly, "Hey, you suck. You have to step it up a notch." That's how I've been with him and my daughter. Overall, I've seen him train from day one up until now and it's definitely in his genes. It's in his bloodline. There's no doubt in my mind that this was the right choice for him and I'm glad that I didn't push him into this and it came organically from him. He' doing incredible and he's learning day by day. This is only the beginning for him and I can't wait to see what the future is.

What's one piece of advice that you gave him as he's starting to train that was important to tell him?

The number one advice I give him, and I'll remind him to this day if I have to, you cannot live in my shadow. You can't. You're a much bigger person. He's 6'1" and about 200 pounds so you cannot even compare my in-ring ability to his. You have to be yourself. You have to create your own legacy. You can't follow in my footsteps. Yes, you are my son, but you have to do your own thing. Don't ever go back and try to be me. I think he picked that up on day one. He definitely created his own legacy and creating his own mold. I think the hardest thing for the fans trying to compare him to what I did in my career. There's not going to be another Rey Mysterio. There never will be — just like there will never be another Shawn Michaels or Eddie Guerrero or Undertaker — there's only one. For my son, that's gotta be him he's gotta create his own style and his own legacy.

Your recent return to the WWE after the Royal Rumble and the start and stop nature of it. Does it or does not affect you?

I think when I came back I was pumped, positive and motivated 100 percent. To this day I am. The fact that I was out for one minor injury, I kinda just brushed it off and that was right before WrestleMania, that was my ankle a week before. And I said I had to make sure this was good by next week and sure enough it was good to go. A month later when I faced Samoa Joe for the US title, that's when it really broke me down because I hadn't felt an injury like that one on my shoulder in a long time. That kind of set me back mentally. I just didn't think it was going to set me back and not be able to perform in the ring. Shortly after, about a month, everything started to fall in place again but I wasn't really connecting mentally with my body. And that's when the decision of me wanting to retire came about.

Since you decided to not retire, you've been putting on a clinic recently with the likes of Cesaro, Andrade, Gran Metalik. What is it about this roster that makes you want to get back in the ring?

You know it's actually a really positive thing the fact that I still want to go out there and prove that I can still go. Like you said, you have a roster that's stacked and this is the new breed and style of wrestling that's been going on strong. And sometimes I challenge myself mentally if it's still something I want to do, but at the end of the day when I step in the ring with the likes of Gran Metalik, Cesaro with Andrade I remind myself again that this is exactly what I love to do. Take it another step. So I'm challenging myself to see how far I can go without, of course, overdoing it

Does stepping in the ring with younger superstars help you mentally get in that ring after so many years?

Of course. I definitely believe that your mental thoughts is where you want to be. "I'm in my mid-40s and my body hurts and when I wake up its aching," you're going to feel like that every single time. But if you tell yourself "I feel good" mentally you prepare yourself for your next challenge. Whether it's taking a lap in the pool or taking on Seth Rollins.

You're a legend in the business, but is there a balance you have to find to keep yourself strong and giving other wrestlers the "rub"?

That's just something that comes organically whatever the moment might be. I feel this generation is coming in and I don't see that as being such a big issue like when I first broke in. I feel like it's more natural if you're going against Ricochet and he's the guy then ok let's make sure Ricochet looks the best he can be. And we don't have to do much because the kid can go. I just think that this generation is more flexible on going in the direction that needs to be done.

wwe rey mysterio frog splash
Rey Mysterio hits Robert Roode with a Frog Splash to win the Fatal-Fiveway on Monday Night RAW. WWE

How do you see your legacy when it's all said and done? Do you even think about it?

I do when I get complimented on it. When I see other wrestlers that I happen to run into or at certain shows they say, "Rey, you're the guy that made me say I can do it." That really changes your train of thoughts and really makes you feel incredible, you know? It's a blessing to be able to inspire so many young athletes out there. And its not just wrestling, it could be other sports. The fact that they saw a smaller athlete doing what they love and I inspire them in some way or form is a blessing.

At the end of the day when you talk about the legacy and the accomplishments and everything I went through, I just want the fans to remember that whenever they saw Rey Mysterio they were excited and pumped to watch me go and never disappointed them.

Does your legacy transcend race or is it a big part of it?

I definitely think it transcends cultures. The fact that I was one of the pioneers to make it into an organization in the United States that displayed their talent worldwide. The fans around the world for once was able to see a lucha libre style, which from my background, my Hispanic heritage, that's a blessing on top of a blessing that I already had.

To be able to display my lucha libre style not just in the U.S. or Mexico but around the world. I don't know how many fans in Egypt or Korea or Japan that just love watching Rey Mysterio. I'll never get to know how many are out there, but it feels good that you transcend cultures with this sport.

After tonight's match, is there anyone you want to work with? What your next step?

Dream match right now, there's nothing on my mind right now. The only thing on my mind is the fact that I'm going into this Monday night special premiere on RAW and come out victorious. Have my hand risen up high with the title and once that happens I'm sure, like Kofi Kingston says, you'll have a big target on your back and I'm here to take on all newcomers. I've always been the type to never back down from a challenge and I think after Monday we'll see what happens and hopefully, I'll be the one who is getting his hand raised up high.

Rey Mysterio will take on Universal Champion Seth Rollins on the season premiere of Monday Night RAW at 8 p.m. EDT on the USA Network as part of Premiere Week.