With Dominiks Mysterio's championship run ending recently and a new year upon us, it is a perfect time to take stock. Despite early doubts from fans online, Dominik Mysterio is good, and WWE legends are right about Dominik Mysterio. Industry icons have always been high on the 26-year-old performer, who helped push the Judgment Day to relevancy. Old friends like Chavo Guerrero, champions like Mickie James, main eventers like Seth Rollins, and, of course, Rey Mysterio, despite their onscreen feud. The top tier of wrestling does have a role in shaping opinion, but that is not why fans are getting on board. They have seen firsthand that the wrestling legends are right about Dominik Mysterio, who has excelled in various positions in 2023.
Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley still have fan interest.
There are inarguably more "traditionally" impressive physiques in wrestling than Dominik Mysterio's, but he has become a heartthrob of sorts thanks to his partnership with Rhea Ripley. Dominik has slid out of his leading role in Judgment Day. Damian Priest has finally emerged as the focal point of Judgment Day, along with its true star in Rhea Ripley. However, Mami and Dirty Dom as a duo are still viral hits for WWE. They also add both a bit of fun and a raunchy edge to the overall presentation that keeps fans invested.
There is a niche industry of people invested in the Dominik and Rhea story on social media and other platforms. The wrestling fans may not have given Dominik Mysterio much credit for that, but he is a significant part of the duo's success. The physically dominating Rhea needs a less dominant partner, and Dominik has that. His association with his family also makes his turn for her more interesting. Only Dominik could do that; nobody has any experience with a story like that. He has done it masterfully and at every level of the company this year. It is what makes the potential split between them so appealing. It isn't at all obvious how either party will react, building up the intrigue.
WWE has utilized Dominik everywhere in 2023.
WWE Legends are right about Dominik Mysterio; the company seems to know it. WWE only uses its top names on multiple shows, as they want to create enough variation to make the shows interesting while still relying on top stars for drawing power. That is why Roman Reigns appears on Raw occasionally or why WWE's newest acquisition and Dominik's most recent opponent, CM Punk, will make an odd appearance on Smackdown. Throughout 2023, though, Dominik Mysterio appeared frequently on Smackdown, was a main event heel on Raw, and was brought down to NXT to become North American Champion.
What makes Dominik so talented isn't the fact that WWE booked him on three shows. It is that he never got boring on any of those shows. He was interesting when he appeared on Smackdown earlier in the year and again when Judgment Day needed to fill in for the Bloodline as the top faction. On Raw, he has factored into real feuds with stars like Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes and worked comedy angles backstage with R-Truth and JD McDonagh. On NXT, he has been a prominent fixture, and often without his faction for support. In all three iterations, he has made the fans angry with him to no end and made his opponents look phenomenal as they wail on him in the ring. His NXT time in particular, has seen him work with some of the top young athletes, on the roster. Working televised matches with Wes Lee and Trick Williams in front of an NXT crowd is a fast way to develop as a WWE superstar.
A natural born heel with an eye for what works.
Beating on your father at WrestleMania, especially when your father is Rey Mysterio, is worthy of jeers. Rey, however, won that match. Likewise, Dominik Mysterio's family all joined in on the beatdown. Lastly, Rey Mysterio has lost plenty of times throughout his career, and some of his rivals, like Edge and Batista, had amazing face runs after their feud. So while initially, it seemed like the boos for Dominik Mysterio stemmed from that feud, it is just rationally not the case. One of the points that WWE legends are most impressed with is how easy it is for him to play the heel. Konnan and Teddy Long have both given interviews (to Haus of Wrestling and Fightful, respectively) praising his heel work as some of the best in the industry.
Arenas in every city have all made it their mission to drown out the younger Mysterio when he speaks. That is a level of sustained heat that used to be reserved for his "aunt" Vickie Guerrero, which Teddy Long pointed out in his sitdown with Fightful. It also means he doesn't get to say much in front of the live crowd, doing much of his work online or on social media. maintaining that level as a heel, primarily through his in-ring work and posting, shows that he just understands what makes people mad. He knows his last name, partner, and friends are all points that annoy people. Every fan knows someone they believe is coasting on their family's success or hangs around with the wrong people. He uses that expertly, even when it is not the focus of his story on television, as it hasn't been for much of 2023.
Like fathers, like son, WWE Legends are right about Dominik Mysterio.
Fans are right, of course; Dominik benefits from Rey Mysterio's name and legacy. Less than some would like to believe, but being a Mysterio comes with a lifetime of experience in the industry and adds a lot of options for storylines. His persona, though, is much more Guerrero, and praise from icons like Konnan and Chavo helps to add to his "rudo" credientials and Eddie Guerrero image. Both men are joked as being Dominik's father after an old angle between the two was fought over custody of Dom. Whether it be like Rey or Eddie, the future for Dominik Mysterio is bright, and he is truly his own man as a performer.
Rey never turned heel in WWE, and Dominik may follow his father's lead and stay on the dark side forever. His work in NXT has already developed his in-ring work quite well. His natural ability as a cocky heel and his chemistry with Rhea Ripley all indicate he has more than a few attributes for short-term success in 2024. However, how quickly it has all come together shows that the past WWE legends are right about Dominik Mysterio and his future as a megastar.