|Gino Hernandez (1957-1986)|
@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)|
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.