Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gone, But Not Forgotten: Gino Hernandez

Gino Hernandez (1957-1986)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

You have to be an old school fan of wrestling to remember Gino Hernandez.  With the exception of "Quickdraw" Rick McGraw, Hernandez is the first wrestling death that I remember.  I was a huge fan of World Class Championship Wrestling and Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams were two of the company's biggest heels.

It was the cocky Hernandez who persuaded Adams to turn against the ever popular Von Erich clan.  Then the two dominated the tag team ranks and even picked up a third partner in Jake "the Snake" Roberts.  The trio won the WCCW 6 man tag team titles from the Von Erichs and Bobby Fulton.

Gino and Andrea the Lady Giant were paired together at this time too. Andrea would later become Baby Doll in the NWA.  He and Adams also held the tag team titles on a couple of different occasions.  And Gino was a singles champion in the NWA and World Class.  As a kid I remember him being the guy you loved to hate.  He was smug and cocky and in my opinion one of the best heels WCCW ever had.  It's a shame he died too soon to reach his full potential.

Photo by sunnyBoy10 (Flickr)
One of the most memorable matches he had in WCCW was when he and Adams teamed up against Kevin and Kerry Von Erich.  This was a hair match, and I think maybe the first one I'd ever seen as a young fan. The good guys won and the heels had their heads shaved in the middle of the ring.  That probably hurt Gino the most, as he was often referred to as "The Handsome Half-Breed".

A short time later, he turned on Adams, blinding him with a mysterious substance.  A few days later, Hernandez was found dead in his apartment.  The official cause of death was a cocaine overdose.  Investigators though did look into the possibility that Gino was the victim of a drug-related homicide, but no one was ever arrested.  There are some who were involved with WCCW that still believe Hernandez was murdered.

It was 1986, long before Internet or Twitter could break such news.  Even though at the time I didn't like him because he was the heel, I was still sad that he was gone.  I looked forward to his feud with Chris Adams.  I wanted to see more of Gino Hernandez.  Twenty-eight is just too young to die.  I think had he lived, he'd a been a major player in the business.




12 comments:

  1. You are so full of crap. I have been a fan for 25 years. It was Gary Hart who persuaded Adams to turn on the Von Erichs, Jeez!

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    1. Wow Charlie, my bad. I was 12 years old when it happened. Obviously I missed some of the details. Thanks for the correction.

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    2. It's ok Charlie, the man made a mistake, he apologized and corrected it, he is only human. You can put away the knife now. No need to chop his head off

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  2. I will admit that Gino would have been multiple time World Champ.

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  3. Wow Charlie, my bad. I was 12 years old when it happened. Obviously I missed some of the details. Thanks for the correction.

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  4. How can I forget Gino..Sadly someone who never realized his full potential. It's hard to believe that so many young guys from when I was a fan, from the late 70s on are gone. RIP

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  5. Gino died @ the age of 29 his real name is Charles Wolfe.Gino was murdered.I got this info from lance Vaughn aka lance vonerich.why would cocaine be found in your stomach

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    1. Perhaps you need to speak to the authorities. Lance Vaughn is really Ricky Vaughn and his name is NOT Lance. So, if you don't know his real name, I doubt you ever spoke to him. You are just blowing smoke up peoples arse.

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    2. Same happened to Stevie Ray Vaughn. He mixed cocaine with whisky every day for years.one day his stomach rupture _ he almost bleed to death internally.

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  6. Very talented gone way too soon. A lot of controversy surrounding the death we will never be certain.

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  7. There is no proof either way that Gino was murdered or not. He lived a fast life. Bottom line is that there will never be another. He will always be Bad to the Bone. RIP Buddy.

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    1. I watched wrestling televised from the Fort Worth Sportatorium since 1973 and I am huge fan. Johnny Valentine was one of my favorites and in later years I became huge fan of Gino Hernandez, and saw him in person in Midlothian,Texas and was always impressed with his persona and showmanship. I feel that he was a very caring person inside, and was faced with some very difficult obstacles. I will always think of him as a champion, and I know he would have eventually became World Champion if given the chance.

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