Rey Mysterio left WWE in 2015 after a glistening WWE career that lasted 13 years. From his debut in 2002 he had won every championship in the company, becoming a two-time world champion and even winning the 2006 Royal Rumble, entering that match at number 2 and spending over an hour in the ring.
During his legendary career, he has innovated Lucha Libre in the United States and helped bring more eyes on the Mexican product than any other. His mask is iconic and makes him one of the most recognisable wrestlers in WWE history. Despite a brief time in WCW where he was forced to remove his mask, it has become a key part of his identity and has made him an icon of wrestling.
However, by 2015 it looked like Rey Mysterio’s time in wrestling was done. His career was winding down with knee injuries plaguing him so much that he was barely able to wrestle anymore. He was stuck in tag team matches with Sin Cara and wasn’t put into main event feuds in WWE, due to his unreliability due to injury.
He left the company in 2015 after both parties agreed to his release. But why did Rey Mysterio leave WWE in 2015? Keep reading to find out.
Why Did Rey Mysterio Leave WWE?
During an interview with The National, Rey Mysterio revealed that he left the WWE in 2015 because he was tired and wanted to spend time with his family. However, he was confident he would return and even retire in WWE. He was also struggling mentally and was simply burned out with wrestling for the WWE.
“I left because I was just tired physically, mentally and I just wanted to reconnect with my family. But I always knew that I wanted to come back and I wanted to retire in the WWE…My career was definitely going to end in WWE, no matter what. I never really had any desire to go anywhere else. It has always been the WWE.”
He also suffered with terrible knee injures in the WWE. Numerous surgeries and constant wrestling had limited his mobility and stopped him doing a number of moves he made famous in the ring. It also kept him on the side-lines a number of time, spending months at a time out of the company, sitting home to recover from his latest injury.
Rey Mysterio left WWE to work on his knee, which he managed to rejuvenate back to it was when he was younger. Rumours of the use of things like stem cells and horse placenta did the rounds, although it is unknown what he actually did to heal his long-term injuries.
After leaving the company, he competed all over the world showing why he is the greatest luchador of all time. He spent time in Mexico with AAA and Lucha Underground, Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling, in the UK with WCWP and with various independent promotions in the United States. Most famously, he appeared on the indie supercard show All In, promoted by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. He wrestled in the main event of the show, teaming with Bandido and Rey Fenix to face off with Kota Ibushi and The Young Bucks. This event was the precursor to AEW, although Mysterio never wrestled in All Elite Wrestling.
However it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. During a AAA show, a routine dropkick by Mysterio caused Perro Aguayo Jr.’s death. Aguayo died from a cervical spine trauma caused by whiplash from the dropkick, although it is a such a basic move that is performed multiple times per match that Rey Mysterio can’t be blamed for his death.
He returned to WWE in 2018, looking better than ever in his surprise appearance in the 2018 Royal Rumble. He would later re-sign full time with the company, most notably winning the tag team titles with his son Dominik, becoming the first ever father-son duo to hold the titles in the company. He continues to wrestle for the WWE, most recently having an incredible match with GUNTHER on Smackdown.