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Rey Mysterio Reveals Past Struggles With Painkiller Addiction

WWE Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio talks about the addiction that nearly ended his career.

By Chris Phelan
Rey Mysterio stands in the ring during Wrestlemania

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WWE Superstars are human, just like us. They aren’t immortal; their bones break, their muscles tear and their bodies wear out over time. Sometimes they struggle with addiction, too. Some Superstars let their habits control them, while others bravely battle with their addictions and come out the other end a better person.

Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio is an example of the latter.

Rey Mysterio’s Addiction Struggles Started Earlier in His Career

During a shocking tell-all interview on Wednesday on Logan Paul’s IMPAULSIVE podcast, Rey opened up about many topics surrounding his illustrious career. The significance of his mask, his lucha libre origins and his son Dominik were just a few topics that he and Paul's long chat covered. 

The interview was pretty straightforward for Rey until around the 43-minute mark of the podcast, when he revealed his struggle with painkillers nearly 15 years ago. It was an addiction that almost ended his career. He specifically mentioned a timeframe in 2008 when he realized his reliance on pills was spiraling out of control. 

“So, during my big run in WWE and after so many surgeries, I got hooked on painkillers for a very long time,” he confessed. “My wife caught me one time. We were on vacation. She saw that I was just out of it completely, so she gave me an ultimatum. That really opened me up and it made me a stronger person because I remember getting back home to San Diego, I flew to TV, and the next day, I spoke to Vince.”

Other WWE Superstars Have Had Issues With Addiction 

Painkiller abuse happens in the world of professional wrestling. WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle once famously admitted to taking “65 Vicodin pills a day” during the height of his substance abuse issues. Obviously, Rey’s wife, Angie, saw warning signs in her husband’s behavior, and that was all Rey needed to let Vince McMahon know he needed time off. 

“I told him, ‘I need to check myself in – I’m gonna need some time off.’ He was cool with it. That was a big life changer for me and a different perspective of life and the appreciation of family and the support of my wife.“

Unsurprisingly, Rey credits his wife for her unwavering support, especially during a time in his life when his children were still teenagers and most likely had no idea the struggles their dad was going through. 

“It’s crazy, she’s been there from day one,” Rey said of his wife. “It was bad, and to be able to recognize it, and check yourself in, and put everything aside and move on with your life to a positive note, it was crazy. I really enjoyed that phase of my life because I learned so much about what not to do.”

Rey admitted he was in rehab for 30 days and called it one of the best times of his life simply because he was taught what not to do – lessons that were invaluable for the future WWE Hall of Famer. Although Rey didn’t touch the bottom again after that, he pointed to another instance in 2011 when he almost relapsed due to a knee injury he suffered in the ring. 

An Injury Nearly Causes Rey Mysterio To Relapse

“After I went to rehab, probably three years later, I ended up getting another surgery and it was probably the worst one of all,” he said. “I remember I was in mad pain. I tore my ACL, I sprained my MCL. They said pretty much my knee was dangling by one thread. So it was pretty bad. I remember I wrestled in San Diego that night and we were the main event. In the first two minutes of the match, I felt that snap. We kept rolling, but then afterward, I probably damaged it more in the 10-12 minutes that I stayed in the ring.”

With major reconstructive knee surgery looming, Rey found himself face-to-face with the prospect of using painkillers again. Luckily, once again, Angie was by his side to help Rey battle his demons. As it turns out, being under the care of a doctor and having the support of a loving spouse goes a long way toward using medication responsibly. 

“I came home and the doctor gave me painkillers,” Rey continued. “I took one. And throughout the night, because they had to drill two holes in my knee, I remember it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt from the surgeries that I’ve had in the past. I would tell my wife, ‘No, I’m not gonna take anything. I’m not gonna take anything.’ And I controlled my pain as much as I could until she said, ‘I can’t stand watching you like that.’ So it was pretty bad. She actually had them so she controlled everything, but I didn’t want to take them.”

In a world where most of the WWE Universe is privy to nearly every piece of information about Superstars at all times, Rey’s candor and willingness to divulge this private information is a testament to the legend he’s become both inside and outside the ring. 

Add “overcoming addiction” to Rey Mysterio’s laundry list of accolades. From being inducted into the 2023 Hall of Fame to appearing in feature films and getting to take a couple of high-speed laps in a race car, he’s been busy outside the ring in the last year – and that’s not even taking into account his bitter rivalry with his son, Dominik, that is currently still raging across WWE television!

After his appearance on Paul’s podcast, Rey continues to cement his legacy in the eyes of the WWE Universe. We’re excited to see what obstacles are put in his path next and how he’ll steamroll past them, just like he always has.

Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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