Rey Mysterio has had an image faithful to lucha libre tradition, while at the same time original and iconic in the wrestling world. Rey’s marketable look, as well as his in-ring abilities, have proven very profitable for himself and every company he has ever worked for.
Although he took his namesake from his uncle, the original Rey Misterio, his classic look can be credited to a costume designer Rey met in Japan back in the mid-90s.
Speaking with LuchaCentral.com, Mashiro Hayashi remembers how he and Rey Mysterio first met.
“I met Rey Mysterio for the first time in December of 1995 during his first trip to Japan for the second Super J Cup tournament. I did not know much about Rey until then. I knew his name but did not know much about him. But, I watched the match against Psicosis and I was very surprised. Very happy and surprised. So, I started to think that I would like to work with him. At that time, I had already had a career for 10 years making masks and outfits. So, the next time Rey came to Japan, in April of 1996, I brought my style of mask and costume to his hotel and gave them to him. It was a silver color outfit. He was very happy because I used a very special material and fabric and it was from there that our deal started, and it continues to today. Also, our ages are almost the same. I was born in 1973 and Rey in 1974, so we became good friends.”
Hayashi continues to be Rey’s costume designer for the vast majority of his outfits to this very day, with others helping along the way. More on that later.
During their time together, Rey Mysterio and Hayashi have come up with countless costumes. Despite these variations, a few motifs have kept their place in the designs, such as the extended eagle eye/wings on the side of the masks and the crucifix on the forehead (in the early days the mask would also incorporate question marks and a crown in place of the cross, as Rey Mysterio translates in Mexican to “Mystery King”).
Through the years, Rey has paid homage to other famous characters of pop-culture, especially at big pay-per-views. In fact, during the 2000s, alongside “America The Beautiful” or Taker’s streak, Rey’s WrestleMania dress-up attire could arguably be considered a WrestleMania tradition in itself.
Rey Mysterio on regularly changing up his wrestling attire: “[WWE] told me, ‘You’ve got to stop doing this because we’re going to get sued!'”
Sometimes these homages would be subtle, other times they would be so on the nose that WWE would actually be worried about copyright infringement. Guesting on the Sam Roberts podcast, Rey had this to say (h/t to GiveMeSport.com for the quote below):
“I always try to take care of my image inside the ring with my outfits and attire. Nice and clean. And I think that had a lot to do with my presence inside the ring.
Once I made it to WWE, I was like, ‘My shit has to be nice and clean and I’ve got to make sure I do something different every time. Pay-per-view? ‘Superheroes! Let’s blend that in!’ That’s just how my mind flows, with outfits, with my gear, and with my wrestling moves.
Actually, at one point, [WWE] told me, ‘You’ve got to stop doing this because we’re going to get sued!’ So I’ve always tried to keep it fun and mysterious for the fans because it was always like, ‘Man, what are you going to bust out now, Rey?’ and they would give me ideas.”
So let’s take look back at the various tributes of Rey Mysterio and Mashiro Hayashi, from WCW, WWE and beyond!
Rey Mysterio as Spider-Man
Despite the fact that Rey Mysterio shares his namesake with a Spider-Man villain, Mysterio is unintentional. Other similarities to the famous web-slinger are not.
Back in WCW during late 96/early 97, Mysterio would fight under a red hood and blue tights. Various spiders placed around the suit and a black webbing design on the boots and mask made it obvious that the color scheme was a conscious decision (although maybe not quite as conscious as Brad Armstrong’s 1991 WCW gimmick, ARACNAMAN!).
This would become one of Rey’s most famous looks during his WCW run, thanks largely in part for it being selectable in the smash hit wrestling games, “WCW vs. nWo: World Tour” and “WCW/nWo Revenge” on Nintendo 64.
Outside of WCW, Spider-Rey would make one last appearance at a non-televised WWE live event at Madison Square Garden in 2013 in a match against Alberto Del Rio.
Rey Mysterio as The Phantom
In 1997, The Phantom was probably a more well-known character than he is today, thanks to being one year removed from the god awful 1996 Billy Zane movie.
This was the attire that Rey chose, most famously during his 1997 Halloween Havoc match against Eddie Guerrero (a match some people consider to be Rey’s finest).
The bout itself was a perfect example of why WCW’s hottest commodity at the time, although no one really realized it until later, was its cruiserweight division. The title vs mask match in which Rey used his speed and agility in order to come out victorious against evil Eddie’s heelish tactics told a better superhero story in 15 minutes than most summer blockbusters do in two hours.
Rey Mysterio as Daredevil
Another example of Rey Mysterio taking inspiration from a terrible movie (2003 was the year of the Affleck film, still 15 years away from the incredible Netflix show) is Rey’s WrestleMania 19 interpretation of the man without fear, Daredevil.
Taking on Matt Hardy, this match marked Rey’s first WrestleMania outing. The outfit consisted of dark red bottoms and vest, with a black and white RM logo on the top left of his chest. His mask, whilst still maintaining the wings and crucifix, exposed more of the lower half of Mysterio’s face than usual and also incorporated two devilish horns protruding from Rey’s forehead.
Rey Mysterio as The Flash
As part of the WrestleMania cruiserweight open for Chavo Guerro’s Cruiserweight title, Rey Mysterio decided to take on the guise of DC Comics character, The Flash.
Similar to his outing as Daredevil, Rey wore red trousers and a vest, although the shade were slightly brighter and more in tune with that of the Scarlett Speedster.
His side “wings” were slightly raised and gold to match The Flash’s side “bolts”, and the design on his chest featured a golden wing emulating the lightning logo.
This particular costume comes close from leaving the area of tribute and becoming just straight up cosplay, and it may be one of the reasons WWE started showing concerns about copyright issues.
Rey Mysterio as Silver Surfer
After spending nearly a year away due to a serious knee injury, Rey Mysterio returned in a matchup against Chavo Guerrero in what could be considered his most genius (or most lazy, depending on your point of view) costume yet: The Silver Surfer.
Mysterio came out in a platinum mask and tights, spray painted from head to toe in silver body paint.
When Rey Mysterio came out as Silver Surfer, Vince McMahon was not happy. “This isn’t Rey!”
Someone who was not a fan of this look was Vince McMahon. Hiding beneath the ring for his entrance, then WWE resident Leprechaun, Hornswoggle could hear Vince chastise the matches booking agent Dean Malenko over the headset, demanding answers on Rey’s bizarre choice in look. Even after being explained that it was based on a superhero, Vince was still not happy, explaining that the image simply “was not Rey.”
Rey Mysterio as The Joker
WWE’s fear of legalities or Vince’s anger over the Silver Surfer incident may have played a part in Rey’s hiatus of playing dress-up At WrestleMania 22. Another possibility could be that because he was involved in the main event in a triple threat for the world championship against Randy Orton and Kurt Angle, Rey didn’t want his attire to take anything away from his moment of capturing the belt on the grandest stage of them all.
At WrestleMania 25, however, the tributes returned, and Rey Mysterio took his inspiration from the late, great Heath Ledger with his take on The Joker, who was quite possibly the most iconic fictional character in the world at the time thanks to the previous The Dark Knight being released the previous summer.
He wore purple trousers and entrance jacket, a green hairpiece and a white mask complete with and tactically place red wings and face make-up to accentuate the crown prince of crimes famous smile.
In-ring, Rey took off the wig and coat to reveal bright green suspenders and even died green hair slightly visible from the back.
That night Rey would defeat JBL and claim the Intercontinental title.
Rey Mysterio with a nod to the Na’vi species from James Cameron’s Avatar
At WrestleMania 26, Rey would once again take his inspiration from the biggest film of the previous year, Avatar.
The costume itself isn’t that much of a far departure from Mysterio’s traditional ring gear. Light blue tights and mask with added dark blue stripes, and vest for his entrance. The only major design addition was a long black ponytail attached to the back of the mask, which was the telltale sign that this WrestleMania look was a nod to the Na’vi, the indigenous species of the planet Pandora from James Cameron’s monster 3D hit.
An added splash of orange for war paint, as well, was on the eyes of the mask’s side wings which helped transform the “eagle” head to that of the Mountain Banshee (the dragon creature from the film that the Na’vi used to commute for their day to day business).
Rey Mysterio with a tribute to the band Kiss
Rey Mysterio must be a fan of glam rock icons Kiss as he has worn the face-painted band’s colors on quite a few occasions, most notably at WWE’s TLC 2010.
Quite subtle compared to his last outing, Rey’s black tights, gloves and gauntlets are studded with rhinestones and his white mask is accentuated with black markings of bassist Gene Simmons’ Demon makeup.
It isn’t just the Demon that got the lucha style makeover, but also The Cat! In this candid shot from Rey’sInstagramm, we can see a designed influenced by the make-up of drummer Peter Criss.
Rey Mysterio as Captain America
WrestleMania 27, another year, another superhero, and this time the honors went out go to Captain America.
Draped in caps red white and blue, complete with his trademark side wings and exposed ears (a bold superhero fashion choice if there ever was one) Rey’s WrestleMania 27 attire was a perfect choice for battling the villainous Cody Rhodes.
Other than the Aztec design on the star’s chest, this one is pretty much a straight-up tribute to the Marvel Comics legend. In place of Caps forehead “A”, where Rey’s crucifix can normally be found, is the letter “M.” Obvious thoughts are the M stands for Mysterio, or maybe it could represent Rey’s homeland of Mexico. Either way, this one stands out as a fan favorite.
Rey Mysterio as Batman
For his Intercontinental Championship match against The Miz at Summer Slam 2012, Rey donned all black, complete with pointed ears and cape, no doubt channelling the iconic silhouette of the Dark Knight himself, Batman, in a nice echo of his 2009 Joker get-up.
Rey Mysterio as Birdman
Complete with extendable bat wing, here is Rey’s impressive nod to the 2014 Michael Keaton film, Birdman.
So intricate was this design by Rey Mysterio, it took a few weeks of planning, preparing and creating, as can be seen in the following YouTube video:
As the above video shows, this costume was not made by long-time collaborator, Mashiro Hayashi. This might be the reason why it lacks Rey’s traditional crucifix and wing designs.
Rey Mysterio as The Terminator
2015 was the year the last (and worst) Terminator film was released, Terminator: Genisys (for some reason the second I in Genisis is replaced with a y, not unlike Rey’s original spelling of Misterio. Spooky).
Rey was not in WWE at the time of WrestleMania 31, so Triple H decided to play robot dress up during his own WM tradition.
Not to be outdone, Rey paid his respects to Arnie’s T-800 during a AAA event later that year.
The brilliant ensemble includes the classic Rey motifs, whilst incorporating an awesome robotic skeleton design, most noticeably in the half mask (the metallic area around the mouth is actually facepaint).
Rey Mysterio as Black Panther
A combination of costume and airbrushed body paint were the materials used for Rey’s portrayal of the King Of Wakanda, The Black Panther.
Rey donned the suit back in November 2017 in a four-way match against La Mascara, Rush and Penta Zero M. The suit included T’chilla’s silver iconic necklace and the masked wings curled up into feline ears.
Rey Mysterio as Wolverine
Finally, at last year’s indy show extravaganza, ALL IN, Rey debuted quite possibly his most spectacular and comic accurate suit to date.
Rey’s take on the mutant named Logan took inspiration from his classic comic look rather than the live action movie incarnations.
The forehead crucifix, the wing design on the masks sides and shoulder pads and the 619 on the top sides of the tights are the only things from preventing this from being a full-on Wolverine costume. There is no way Mysterio would be able to wear such a comic accurate design in WWE given past copyright worries, so Rey’s last indy appearance at ALL IN was probably his last chance to go ALL OUT in his geeky attire.
That said, at the time of writing, WrestleMania 35 is only a few months away, and with the current slew of movie blockbusters, who knows what (if any) classic characters Rey will give the nod to at the Showcase of the Immortals later this year. A metallic “Iron-Rey”? A green-body-painted “Lil-Hulk Rey?” Or maybe he will make an incredible umbrella flying entrance as “Rey Poppins”? Only time will tell…