Sad news from lucha libre, where the legendary Perro Aguayo has died at age 73. The news originally came from the official Facebook page of El Perros del Mal, the massively popular stable led by Perro Aguayo Jr. until his tragic in-ring death in 2015.
The elder Perro Aguayo may not be as familiar to fans in the United States, but it’s hard to overestimate his influence on lucha libre and the business/form in general. He rose to fame in the 1970s, where he was the last big rudo to feud with lucha’s biggest star, El Santo. Aguayo was synonymous with the then-WWF’s Mexican partner promotion, the Universal Wrestling Association. There, he was the first man to hold the WWF Light Heavyweight title (WWE doesn’t recognize his runs with the belt, as their acknowledgement of it doesn’t start until Taka Michinoku won it December of 1997 when it returned to the company after more than 16 years as a traveling belt). Aguayo participated in the ‘97 Royal Rumble, along with fellow lucha superstars El Canek and Mil Máscaras.
Aguayo helped found AAA, and his rivalry with Konnan and Cien Caras in the early 90s remains one of the company’s top drawing programs. He was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2012 at Triplemania XX.
He retired in 2007, but his legacy lived on in the many he influenced, including his son.
Here are some thoughts from wrestling journalists and lucha scholars:
Perro Aguayo is one of the biggest stars in the history of Mexican wrestling, possibly the biggest drawing card ever among unmasked wrestlers. Every brawling rudo since him carries a bit of his style.
— luchablog (@luchablog) July 4, 2019
Perro Aguayo Sr. just passed away. There are only a handful of men in history who drew more fans during their career and one of the hardest working and most charismatic wrestlers ever.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) July 4, 2019
I don’t think a lot of younger or newer wrestling fans realize how awesome of a worker Perro Aguayo was. He was the embodiment of the “El Toreo” independent style of the ’70s and ’80s. pic.twitter.com/gAzCk37eEr
— Fredo Esparza (@therealfredo) July 4, 2019
Descanse en Paz, Perro Aguayo.