Current AEW announcer and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross divulged this week that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had a hard time getting past Rey Mysterio's size early in Mysterio's WWE tenure.
On the latest episode of the Grilling JR podcast (h/t Phillip Hendrix of Ringside News), Ross discussed Vince's feelings on the former world heavyweight champion:
"I think Vince's issue with Rey was one word: size. Nowhere had the top guy in WWE been of Rey's size, at least in my tenure there, which began in '93, as I mentioned. Rey would be the smallest world champion in the history of the company. I think that was Vince's unsettling decision.
"But was Rey over? Hell yeah, he was really over. His merch sales showed that. What you hear from the audience when he came out, you can tell that people loved him. They cheer for the underdog."
Mysterio has long been one of the smallest wrestlers in the business at 5'6", but he has also been one of the most exciting and popular performers in the history of the business.
The Master of the 619 made his long-awaited WWE debut in 2002 after a successful run in WCW. Mysterio was largely pigeonholed as a cruiserweight, though, and faced an uphill climb in WWE, which has been referred to as "the land of the giants" over the years.
Mysterio did compete for the Cruiserweight Championship and teamed with Eddie Guerrero in his first years in WWE, but he was eventually given the opportunity to main-event cards.
He won the 2006 Royal Rumble match from the No. 2 spot and went on to beat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22.
Mysterio would go on to hold the world heavyweight title one more time in his career, as well as the WWE Championship.
It is true that Mysterio has been more of an upper midcarder than a full-time main eventer for much of his WWE career, but he opened the door for smaller wrestlers to achieve greatness.
Even at the age of 46, Mysterio is still a huge part of WWE, as he recently had a long rivalry with Seth Rollins and is currently aiding in the development of his son, Dominik Mysterio.
McMahon may have been wary about pushing Mysterio to the top, but he saw the value in doing so and gave him an opportunity even if it wasn't the path he was used to taking.
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