|World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Rey Mysterio. Photo courtesy of Mike Bagtas for abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – There is a religious and gentle family man behind the tough exterior (and cool mask) of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Rey Mysterio.
Instead of partying or engaging in a new sport or hobby, Mysterio opts to stay at home to bond with his wife and children during his free time.
And unlike the typical macho man, he does not feel uncomfortable about expressing his feelings to the people who matter to him.
“I tell my kids every day that I love them, and to work hard in school,” said the Mexican wrestler, who is known for his high-flying style in the WWE.
“I love to be a family man. I love to be around my wife and my kids, and give them all the time and attention when I’m not in the ring,” he added.
Mysterio, a devout Catholic, said he has God and his family to thank for all of the success he has achieved as a wrestler.
And these, he said, keep him going amid trying times, such as when he underwent knee surgery last year.
“This past year that I’ve been recovering from my surgery, I really thought about it (quitting wrestling)… And my family has been supportive from day one, especially my wife. She tells me, ‘God is giving you the blessing to go out there and do it again.’ All over [again].
“My knee is good after the surgery and, you know, I’m just going to take this ride as long as it goes, until God says, you know, it’s time to tap out now. Say [that] I quit. But that’s not the time yet.”
Love for youth
Mysterio has a particularly soft spot for the youth, which make up most of his fans.
He said he treats his young fans like his own children. “Besides the fact that it’s really cool to have that following of the youth, it’s also a big responsibility. You want to make sure that there is an image, a person they see on TV, that when they happen to run into you on the street, you have the time to say hi, give a picture, give an autograph and even if it’s brief, give them a quick tip on something.
“I kind of look at my fans as all of my children. I like to give good advice, especially if they ask for it. I always try to stay positive,” he added.
The Mexican wrestler is currently using his popularity to promote a campaign against bullying in schools.
Should the day come that he would have to quit being a professional wrestler, Mysterio said he wants to build a school where he can teach the sport to children below 18 years old.
“I might stay busy helping kids how to wrestle… Because I don’t see schools like that. I see boxing schools, jiu-jitsu schools, taekwondo schools, karate schools. But I don’t see wrestling schools,” he shared.
Mysterio said this is his second time to visit the Philippines, with his first being three to four years ago.
He lamented that he never had the time to explore the country, which he described as “very beautiful.”
“My visits here are always very, very brief. I come here, I do what I have to do, then I leave. I never had time to really enjoy the country and go sightseeing,” he said.
“I wish I did have that time because I know it’s even more beautiful than what I just see on a quick visit. But the people are incredible here, they just let the love come out in every aspect."
The Mexican wrestler also had nothing but good words to say about Filipino fans. “Incredible. I’ve always heard that Filipino fans were very big wrestling fans, that they love Rey Mysterio very much. And you hear that to a certain extent but you wouldn’t really appreciate it unless you come her and now I believe every word they said because they just showed so much respect and love, and they just wanted me to come back. And here I am again.”
Aside from showing his family-man side, Mysterio also loosened up in the interview, admitting that he tends to get “lazy” at times.
“I’m very lazy. I like to sleep,” he said, laughing. “I’m a late person. I like to go to sleep sometimes one, two in the morning and if I have nothing to do the next day, I wake up at 11, 12 noon. So I’ll sleep a good ten hours non-stop.
“I guess my body sometimes catches up to all the nights I haven’t slept in the past,” he added.
Asked what he sees himself doing if he did not end up as a wrestler, Mysterio said: “I could be playing football. I’ve always been pretty fast, this was prior to my injuries on my knee. And my injuries came from wrestling throughout the years. But probably, God would’ve given me the gift of shocking the world in NFL with my size, probably like what I did in wrestling. So, I would’ve been one of the smaller guys who are first to be part of NFL.”
He also gave this message to those who seem to dislike wrestling for allegedly promoting violence. “I’m sure there are a couple of things that I wouldn’t let my kids watch on television that other parents might. But I do have to say that our sport is a sport-entertainment. So it’s more of a combination of both. It’s something that was created for not just one particular audience but a family-based audience so that includes mom, dad, children, grandparents, uncles and everybody else to get together and watch an event.
“I really do believe that there is physicality in what we do. We do apply a lot of physical contact. But then again, you know, if you’re really going to watch a sport that doesn’t contain physical contact, you would probably have to sit down and watch the Olympics. And even the Olympics has wrestling.
“So you got to take all of that into consideration and say ‘hey, let me try it and see what it’s like.’ And if you don’t like it, you can go ahead and push it aside.”