The WWE on Friday announced the first member of its 2023 Hall of Fame class will be Rey Mysterio.
WWE made the announcement on “Friday Night SmackDown.” Mysterio came out to thank the crowd for their support as he received a huge ovation when it was revealed he was the first member of the class.
“A standing ovation for the greatest luchador of all time,” broadcaster Michael Cole when Mysterio came out.
Mysterio, whose real name is Óscar Gutiérrez, is known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time and has been credited for popularizing the lucha libre style of wrestling.
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Mysterio was about 8 years old when he started training with his uncle, known in Mexican professional wrestling as Rey Misterio, to become a professional wrestler and would make his debut when he was just 14. He explained to Fox News Digital last year that while living in Tijuana, he would have to cross the border to get to school by 7:45 a.m., then go to his part-time job and then cross the border again to go back home and get ready to train.
By 1995, Mysterio had made his way to Extreme Championship Wrestling and had some of the most creative and electric matches the promotion had ever seen at the time. He would feud with the likes of Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera.
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Mysterio would join World Championship Wrestling in 1996 and help develop the cruiserweight division. However, toward the end of his run with the company, Mysterio would be forced to remove his mask after losing a storyline match to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. In lucha libre, a wrestler being forced to remove their mask is the ultimate slight against the wrestler. While Mysterio was publicly against the storyline, he would ultimately remove his mask and start performing without it.
One of the biggest career arcs for him came in the late 1990s. He became known as the giant slayer after beating Nash and showing that a performer his size can stand toe-to-toe with performers who are 6-feet, 10-inches or of the same height.
He called it a “special time” that helped launch what would become an integral part of his WWE career – winning main event matches and eventually the World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio would have incredible feuds with some of the best in the business at the time, including John Bradshaw Layfield, Kane, Booker T and the late Eddie Guerrero.
He would quickly become one of the most popular wrestlers in the industry and would begin solidifying his legacy when his children joined the company.
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Currently, he is in the midst of a feud with his son Dominik.