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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: World Wrestling Entertainment (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439195846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439195840
  • ASIN: B00AK3Q1H8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,282,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeremy Roberts (cowriter) has written on a variety of subjects. His nonfiction work includes biographies of Mussolini and Joan of Arc for A&E Books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Beginnings

I come from a family of hard workers, Mexicans as far back as I know. Both of my parents were Mexican, but like a lot of others they have held jobs and lived on both sides of the border throughout their lives. My father, Roberto Gutierrez, grew up very poor. He never really went to school -- he went to work instead. When he was eight, his job was picking up waste to feed the pigs. He learned things on his own, getting his education in the streets. He found bigger and better jobs and finally got to the point where he ran a factory warehouse for a picture-frame manufacturer. It took years and a lot of effort on his part, getting up before dawn and coming home well after sunset, but he made it work. As kids, we were well cared for. Not rich, but never hungry.

My mother, Maria del Rosario, divided her time between work and raising us. I have three brothers: Rojelio, Roberto Jr., and Luis, all older. She cleaned houses and had other jobs, making money to help support the family.

I was born December 11, 1974, in Chula Vista, at Scripps Memorial Hospital. That happens to be the same hospital where my son and daughter were born. While it's changed a bit over the years, I still felt an attachment when my children were born there. I thought it was pretty fitting that they started life where I started.

Being born in the United States made me a citizen -- the first one inthe family. Then as now, America represented a better life for the next generation, with the promise of education and freedom.

My parents named me Oscar. That's an unusual name for a Mexican-American, but there's no elaborate history or romance attached to it. The name popped into my father's head one day. He liked it, and that's what he decided to call me.

To be honest, I never asked my mom where that name came from until I started working on this book. It's funny, I guess: No matter how curious you are about most things, there are always a few things that you take for granted.

Soon after I was born, my father's company offered him a job in Tijuana. It was a very good job, but he didn't want to relocate the family. My parents had bought a house in San Diego, and they wanted to make sure we all finished high school there. So my father started commuting every day. Distance wise, Tijuana and San Diego are very close. But the border can add a lot of time to the commute.

It wasn't too bad in the morning: He'd leave San Diego about 5:30, cross the border, and get to work by 6:00 A.M. Coming home was a different story. He'd leave work around 4:00 P.M., but with the traffic he wouldn't get home until 6:30 or so. If he stayed later, he'd be home even later, very often well into the night. He'd get home, and soon have to go to bed so he could get up first thing in the morning.

That was just one of the sacrifices my parents made for us. It's the story of all immigrants: to work hard for the next generation.

Rey Misterio

WRESTLING HAS ALWAYS been a big part of my life. My uncle Miguel -- Miguel Ángel López Díaz -- was a well-known luchador, or wrestler, over the border in Tijuana, wrestling as Rey Misterio. He is my mother's younger brother, and she'd often take me to see his shows. For a while, he worked for a construction company and lived with us in San Diego. He would work during the week, then head down to Tijuana Friday nights to wrestle. I'd tag along, excited by the show and happy to be with my uncle.

My uncle's ring name translates as Mystery King or the King of Mystery. It's a reference to an important ingredient of lucha libre, or Mexican-style wrestling. With so many wrestlers using masks, mystery about the sport is a constant.

Unlike me, my uncle is a little taller than the average height for a Mexican, and he wrestled as a heavyweight, his billed weight around 220 pounds. He's a powerful man, and by the early 1980s he was well known in Tijuana and Mexico. He was also developing a reputation as a gifted and exceptional teacher, training a large number of students who would go on to superstar careers in the ring.

All I knew was that he was my favorite uncle, and I loved being around him. He was practically as close to me as my father or mother. He and his wife at the time, Lilia Lopez, used to babysit me. He was still in his twenties, without any children of his own, and he cared for me as if I were his own son. He was living on a ranch, and we'd ride horses together or drive my three-wheeler. That was the kind of family we were -- very, very close.

I loved tagging along with him to TJ -- what we called Tijuana -- when he would teach his wrestling classes. The sessions were held in a gym next to the Tijuana Auditorium. It was there that I first had a chance to go into the ring. I was really little, no more than four or five, maybe even younger. I'd jump and play around, like any kid would do when he sees a ring. I'd imitate what I saw the wrestlers do. I'd hit the ropes, bounce off the second. I would climb the turnbuckle and jump off, land on my feet, and roll.

I remember my uncle standing on the outside of the ring as another wrestler pushed the ropes open. I'd run and dive between the first and second ropes, landing in my uncle's arms. I was sure he'd catch me, and he always did.

Going as a fan to wrestling shows with my mother and grandmother -- Leonor Dias -- brought me into the life at an early age. I would go into the locker room with my uncle and see all my favorite wrestlers. I'd watch them go over high spots, working different steps and moves, putting two and two together. Of course, at the time I had no clue how hard they were working. It all looked very easy. I'd imitate what they were doing later on and learn almost by chance.

Backstage, I was able to see a lot of my favorite wrestlers without masks, which was a real privilege. To meet someone without their mask is a huge honor, and a sign of respect.

Lucha Libre

IN MEXICO, PROFESSIONAL wrestling is known as lucha libre. The words literally mean "free wrestling," and the phrase is sometimes translated as "free-style wrestling." But the real definition of Mexican wrestling goes beyond what the words mean on their own. In fact, words themselves really can't describe it. To understand lucha libre, you have to experience it.

Wrestling in Mexico shares a history with wrestling in the United States, and much of what you see in the ring is similar on either side of the border. Even with that in mind, though, wrestling in Mexico tends to be higher flying, with more high spots and more acrobatic action than you see in the typical American ring.

Tag team wrestling, often with three wrestlers on each team, is more popular in Mexico than in the U.S. It's common for matches to be decided by Two-Out-of-Three-Falls rather than simply one as in the U.S. Until recently, there was less emphasis on continuing storylines and more use of comedy in Mexico compared to the U.S.

But the most obvious difference between American wrestling and lucha libre is the masks. They're a colorful part of the sport and, as I mentioned, they have almost a religious significance to fans and wrestlers.

A lot of popular stories about lucha libre connect the masks to the ancient Aztec or Mayan cultures, where masks had a religious significance. Wrestling historians point out that the masks' history in Mexican wrestling seems only to date to the 1930s or so. But the idea of the ancient connection is a strong one, and it may be one reason masks are so important.

Not everyone wears a mask. But for those who do, putting it on is like putting on a new identity. The mask is part of who you are in the ring, your real face as a wrestler. You're still you, of course -- but you're also different.

Masked wrestlers will go pretty far to avoid being identified and seen without their masks by fans. Mil Máscaras never took off his mask inside the locker room. He even wore it into the showers, choosing to shower in the end stall if he wanted to wash his hair. No one ever saw him unmasked, in the ring or backstage. El Hijo del Santo was the same way, and is to this day.

That's how intense it can be. It's very close to a religion.

I get asked all the time "Rey, do you ever take off your mask?"

Of course I do -- but not in the ring; not when I'm performing, doing a show, or meeting people. The mask is part of my respect for the profession and for the people I'm entertaining.

I also had it taken off for a period of time when I was wrestling -- but we'll get into that later on.

Good versus Evil

IN LUCHA LIBRE, a lot of the matches are seen as contests between good and evil, much more than they are in the United States. Wrestlers are divided into técnicos and rudos. The word técnico is said to come from an older term, científico, or "scientist," and it refers to wrestling that is more scientific or technical -- in other words, a style that follows the rules and laws of wrestling.

Rudo means "crude" or "rough." A rudo is expected to use any method he can to win, and he won't be above breaking the rules to get a pin.

In the U.S., wrestling fans use the terms babyface and heel to classify wrestlers, and it's usually said that babyfaces are on the side of good and heels are evil. But the distinctions aren't as strong here as they are in Mexico. Here a heel could be very popular and even a borderline babyface, without the sense of being evil. It's usually different in Mexico.

Mexico's greatest luchador, El Santo, provided a model for técnicos to follow. Born in 1917, Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata (Saint, the Masked Man of Silver), was to Mexican wrestling what Babe Ruth was to baseball -- if Babe Ruth had also been the leading actor of his time.

Santo wrestled for fifty years, never taking off his mask until only ten days before he died. He'd wrestled for years and starred in dozens of movies, but he... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

This book is a good read if you're a fan of pro wrestling and I recommend it.
David M. Goode
Rey didn't seem to go into too much detail on things other than his surgeries and his workout routine at the end of the book.
Andrew Quigley
This book is certainly becoming one of my favorite books, its an incredible story of Rey's life and career.
Ronin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Quigley on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was an okay book, but not great. Rey didn't seem to go into too much detail on things other than his surgeries and his workout routine at the end of the book. I thought that was a pretty boring way to end the book. There wasn't too much detail on any behind the scenes stuff though. What I found really weird was that Rey would acknowledge that wrestling was entertainment, but his description of some of his matches made them sound like real fights. That made it come off as very hokey and at times it just had me rolling my eyes. The strange part about it is that at times it seems like the book is written for younger Mysterio fans, but then it has a fair amount of cursing in it. It seems like it is trying to appeal to both kids and adults, but ultimately is too vulgar for kids and isn't in depth enough for adults. One of my biggest disappointments with the book was Rey's take on the Chris Benoit situation, or lack thereof. I don't know if it was a WWE mandate not to mention it or what, but Rey didn't even talk about the murder/suicide of Chris Benoit. In the acknowledgements section at the very end of the book Rey mentions fallen wrestlers who helped him by name and he calls Benoit "Wild Pegasus", which was the name Benoit went by in Japan. Most fans wouldn't even know that. I was also surprised that there were no pictures at all of Rey without his mask as an adult.

It was an okay read, but I have read alot better wrestling books such as Edge's, Jericho's, and Foley's. I thought the most interesting part was his time wrestling in Mexico because I didn't know much about that. The WWE and WCW information was pretty boring for me because if you watched him on tv during that time then you won't really learn anything new. I'm not a Rey Mysterio fan, just a huge wrestling fan, and I found this book to be very uninformative and lacking in substance. I would recommend it if you are a Rey Mysterio fan, but otherwise I would say pass on it or just check it out at the library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David M. Goode on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rey Mysterio:Behind the Mask is a good solid wrestling bio.It's an autobiography co-written with Keith Elliot Greenberg who co-authored autobiographies of Fred Blassie,Superstar Billy Graham and Ric Flair among others.This book uses the same format as those other books as it tells the story of one of the few luchadors to find success in the world of wrestling North of the border.There's an all too brief mention of the history of lucha libre and the tradition of the mask.But there are nods to el Santo and Mil Mascaras,two of the greatest luchadors ever,in this book.There are some who have even referred to Mysterio as a Mil Mascaras for the 21st century.I say Mysterio's accomplishments can stand on their own.He is one of the most exciting wrestlers ever to put on a pair of tights.Have you ever seen the Spider-Man movies? Well that's how Mysterio moves,and without the aid of CGI.In this book Mysterio answers questions about steroids(something every successful athlete is asked about these days)and talks a little bit about his own conditioning program.More importantly we learn how a 5'5" 100lb.wannabe through force of will became one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE.We learn how he was trained by his uncle,legendary luchador Rey Misterio,and went from wrestling in small venues in Tiajuanna as a teenager to headlining matches in arenas like New York's famed Madison Square Garden.We get to hear the inside story on his unmasking in the WCW. We're also told about his relationship with the late Eddie Guerrero and the Guerrero family in his own words.We also learn about Mysterio's relationship with his own family.This is something that's very important,because aside from wrestling itself the most important things in the world of lucha libre are family,tradition and honor.This book is a good read if you're a fan of pro wrestling and I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JahWoo on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you're a fan of rey. You should probably take the time to read the book. If you're a fan of wrestling books you've read much more in depth and amusing books. It's not a terrible read but it's lacking any thing unique or overly exciting.

It also seems to be written from a perspective aimed more at kids or those who believe that pro wrestling doesn't have predetermined finishes. What do I mean by that? Where as most other wrestlers whose books I have read didn't attempt to weave the magic of disbelief into their matches, the stories here about rey's matches seem to come from more of a I COULD have won that match if i did this, that, or the other.

Not to say there aren't interesting bits but it's much more about the man than his adventure in and out of the ring...which of course there are SOME wrestling stories...but mostly it's more about him...WHICH makes sense since the book is called behind the mask. Right?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By timfool on February 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First let me say that I am a huge Mysterio and lucha libre fan. So I was really looking forward to this book. Rey has helped revolutionize an industry with his amazing high flying. He brought the lucha libre style to a world wide audience. That's why this book is such a let down. So many basic mistakes on things that Rey himself should and would know.
He claims that Psicosis still wears his mask in Mexico. The only problem is that he doesn't. There is a luchador called Psicosis but it's not Dionicio Castellanos Torres.(Psicosis's real name, who wrestles as Nicho El Millinario in Mexico sans mask) Rey should know that considering Nicho was the best man at his wedding. And Rey was wrestling in WCW at the time Psicosis lost his mask to Billy Kidman.
Speaking of Billy Kidman, Rey claims that he and Billy won the WCW tag titles on the last episode of Nitro. Except that they didn't. They won the WCW cruiserweight tag titles. He even talks about this on one of his DVDs.
He talks about the development of the 619 and how he based it on a move that Tiger Mask used to do. And the epic battles that Tiger had with Dynamite Kid, how Tiger was Mitsuharu Misawa under the mask. Except the epic battles Dynamite had with Tiger Mask, it was Satoru Sayama under the mask. Misawa was the 2nd Tiger Mask but it wasn't until 1984 not 1980 like this book claims. I've seen the RF shoot interview Rey did shortly after WCW died. He knows all this stuff. Glaring mistakes like this make me think that Rey actually had very little to do with this book. If you really want to read it, check it out from the library. If actually spend money of this book you're going to be very disappointed.
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