Rey Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon worked together in WCW between 1996 and 1998. The masked superstars later reunited in WWE when the latter joined Vince McMahon’s company in 2003.
Speaking via his interpreter Sonny Onoo on the Perched on the Top Rope podcast, Ultimo Dragon explained why his WWE run lasted just 12 months.
“Rey Mysterio was there, of course. He [Ultimo Dragon] says, ‘The way they [WWE] look at it, they were similar characters. Both masked guys, smaller, cruiserweights, but I didn’t understand at the time.’ He said, ‘That’s true, but I didn’t realize until afterwards.’ So they asked him if he would take his mask off. He said that’s one of the reasons why he left,” Sonny Onoo said.
Ultimo Dragon was assigned to the SmackDown brand during his one-year spell in WWE. However, the majority of his matches took place on minor weekly show Velocity.
Ultimo Dragon understands why WWE favored Rey Mysterio over him
Having joined WWE in 2002, Rey Mysterio had already established himself as the company’s top masked high-flyer when Ultimo Dragon arrived in 2003.
Ultimo Dragon still wrestles at the age of 54, while he now works as a promoter in Japan. On reflection, the wrestling legend joked that he would also have pushed Rey Mysterio instead of himself in WWE.
“He said, ‘Rey Mysterio was really popular so, as a masked man, there wasn’t really a spot for me. Of course, I’m a promoter as well so I understand a lot more now.’ He says, ‘I’m a promoter now and if I was given a choice between Rey Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon, I would choose Rey Mysterio!’” Sonny Onoo stated.
In 2019, AEW President Tony Khan approached Ultimo Dragon about competing in a one-off match for his company. The Japanese star already had other commitments which prevented him from accepting the offer.
Please credit Perched on the Top Rope and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
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