Rey Mysterio is arguably the most popular masked luchador in wrestling history — an undersized underdog who earned millions of fans with his dazzling aerial assaults.
But most fans don’t realize that, like Tiger Mask and Sin Cara, the “Rey Mysterio” gimmick has been portrayed by an ever-changing cast of performers, each of whom put his own spin on the iconic character.
According to some rumors, more than a dozen wrestlers have performed in the role, but here are five that have been indisputably confirmed by Kayfabe News’ impeccable team of wrestling historians and fact-checkers.
5. Óscar Gutiérrez
Although Gutiérrez is often credited as the sole person to have performed as Rey Mysterio, his tenure in the role was actually quite short. Gutiérrez (age: 43, weight: 112 lbs, height: three apples) only portrayed the Mysterio character from 1996 to 1999 in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he battled fellow luchadors including La Parka (portrayed by Tito Santana) and Ultimo Dragon (portrayed by Terry Taylor). It was during this time that Mysterio was “unmasked,” which nearly killed the gimmick, and led to widespread rioting in Mexico. Gutiérrez then quit WCW, moved to Japan, and reinvented himself as Kikutaro.
4. Rob Van Dam
With his long ponytail tucked under the luchador mask, Rob Van Dam (real name Robert Van Winkle) innovated much of the high-flying assault that would become a trademark of the Rey Mysterio character. RVD portrayed the character in the early 2000s, while also performing unmasked as himself. After Van Dam’s tenure in the role, later performers to don the mask would complain of an acrid smell “like a Phish fan’s jean jacket.”
3. Paul “Big Show” Wight
In a very-short-lived gimmick cooked up by Vince Russo in 1998, the 450-pound giant Paul Wight performed on a series of non-televised house shows as “Rey MEGAsterio.” According to Russo’s storyline, Rey Mysterio had consumed some magical garbanzo beans and was struck by lightning, causing him to grow to enormous proportions. The storyline was swiftly dropped after Wight, attempting a “619” maneuver, accidentally kicked and nearly decapitated several fans in the front row.
2. Scotty 2 Hotty
After the Paul Wight debacle, promoters vowed to keep the Rey Mysterio character small, and Scotty 2 Hotty (real name Scott Teuhaughty) was just the right size. Teuhaughty performed in the role at the apex of Mysterio’s WWE success, including Mysterio’s victory over Randy Orton at WrestleMania 22 to become World Heavyweight Champion. But fame and success were too much for Teuhaughty, who quit WWE for a more low-key life performing The Worm at children’s birthday parties.
By far the most prolific of the wrestlers to portray Mysterio, Hunico has donned the mask for more than a dozen different “runs” as the character, including the 1992 run with Juventud Guererra in AAA, the 1995 feud with Psicosis in ECW, the run with No Limit Soldiers in 1999, the distasteful storyline about the passing of Eddie Guerrero, all the Lucha Underground performances, and a recent match against Nikolai Volkoff in the parking lot of a Tallahassee IHOP.
According to backstage sources within WWE, the Rey Mysterio character will soon return with Finn Balor under the mask, since they already killed his momentum with the Rastafarian dragon gimmick.