Sunday, April 2, 2023

Rey Mysterio Jr. and the L.A. Lucha Libre Scene


Los Angeles Times - "Ahead of WrestleMania, here’s a brief history of lucha libre in Los Angeles"
Los Angeles Times - "A look beneath the mask of Rey Mysterio before his Hall of Fame induction"

"Mysterio began wrestling as La Lagartija Verde (the Green Lizard) and Colibri in Southern California in 1989 and was electric in the ring with his high-flying moves even though he was just 14. When the lucha libre AAA Worldwide promotion began in Mexico City in 1992, fellow pro wrestler Konnan suggested Mysterio be one of the first hires. Konnan will be introducing Mysterio at Friday’s Hall of Fame ceremony.

“And I remember telling him, ‘I can’t leave. I was in 11th grade at the time. I had a part time job at a pizza restaurant. And my girlfriend, who is now my wife, we were dating. I told him that I couldn’t go and he said, ‘Do you want to make pizzas for the rest of your life?’ And I did tell him about school and wrestling. He says, ‘So you end up graduating from high school then wrestling locally? Anyway, if your girlfriend loves you, she’ll wait for you. And you’ll get married.’ All of those things were right.”

In 1994, when AAA held a pay-per-view event “When Worlds Collide,” he was noticed by Paul Heyman, the promoter of the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman quickly signed him, where he was quickly stolen away by World Championship Wrestling. When that company went out of business, he made a brief return to Mexico and in 2002 came to WWE, where he has won 24 championships.

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