Dominik Mysterio has been a member of the WWE officially since 2019, a full 16 years after his initial debut alongside his father, Rey Mysterio, in 2003.

Over that tenure, he was popular, hated, intriguing, and hated once more, only now, fans have come to hate him in a sort of “love to hate” way, with booing him any time he enters the building almost a right of passage for fans who happen to catch him on a live show.

Is Mysterio a really good heel? A really good foil? Or simply someone fans can't stand despite being shoved down their throats? Well, in the humble opinion of Shawn Michaels, the man who has booked Mysterio during his tenure in NXT, “Dirty” Dom isn't just off to a great start but is arguably the MVP of WWE through the first 11 months of the 2023 calendar year.

“Well, of course, I can remember the first time and just so early on, thinking to myself like, “Rey, he’s already taller than you are [laughs]', such a young age. But Dom has, to me, Dominik Mysterio, MVP of the WWE this year,” Shawn Michaels said on Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg via Fightful. “Every time he comes here, I look at him as the hardest-working man in the show business. He has just been an ironman for us. I can't speak to what he does on the main roster, but he has done just everything we have asked of him. He’s done it professionally, he’s done it admirably, done it to the best of his ability. Yes, do I think it's been to his advantage because a lot was put on him early, and he probably didn't get the opportunity to develop behind the scenes as much as other people have, and he had to do it out there in front of the world and probably got judged harshly for it, but I'm telling you, I have nothing but admiration for that man. He has been a stud for us. I think from a company standpoint, everybody would agree with me. He got a lot put on him early, and I think he has grown a lot in this last year. I think he's become a hell of a performer as well, when everything is said and done. But it's hard for me not to admire the young man who's worked so hard for us.”

Is HBK on the money? Has “Dirty” Dom come in clutch time and time again and produced when WWE needed someone to step up? Or does that honor belong to someone more… traditional, a performer like LA Knight or Cody Rhodes? Well, that's the beauty of a personal MVP, isn't it? Even in a sport like WWE, where *spoiler alert* the outcomes are predetermined, there isn't a clear-cut performer worthy of the title, let alone some sort of a governing body that votes on such awards like in traditional sports.

Santos Escobar stands with Dominik Mysterio against Rey Mysterio.

Speaking of wrestlers who have Dominik Mysterio's back in the WWE Universe, Santos Escobar recently stopped by The Bump to talk about his feelings for Rey Mysterio and how he did such a poor job ushering along young wrestlers like himself, Dragon Lee, and even his own son.

If WWE wants to build for the future, Escobar surmised, they need to stop booking the Hall of Famer.

“Yeah, I mean, to be perfectly honest, I don’t like the guy, I don’t respect the guy. But I do see a pattern there. I mean, let’s think about it.” Santos Escobar said on The Bump via Fightful. “Dominik was the future of lucha libre. Then he wasn’t. Then I was the future of lucha libre. Then I wasn’t. Now, Dragon Lee’s the future of lucha libre. I wonder how that’s gonna end up. But like I said before, down to a tee, everything Dominik said, he was right. Rey only thinks about Rey. Rey only has time for Rey. Like I said before, I deserved to be the United States Champion, and who ended up becoming the champion? It was my desire to reform the LWO, and when we did it, who ended up taking over, bringing in new members, just doing whatever he wanted, and stealing the show? You know who.”

Is Escobar right? Have luchadors of the past, performers like Sin Cara, Lince Dorado, Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and beyond failed to catch on because they weren't Rey Mysterio? Or is it because Rey Mysterio wouldn't step out of the way despite being in his 40s to let someone new soak up the spotlight? Well, considering Mysterio is expected to be gone for the foreseeable future after knee surgery, these next few months could help to prove or disprove Escobar's theory for himself, Lee, Dom, and any other luchadors like Axiom who make their way to the main roster.