Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Jason Hess
Hello and welcome to the latest installment of
Houston Wrestling here at Kayfabe Memories.
In this edition of Houston Wrestling memories, we
will take up the cause of “jobber appreciation month for June 2003
with a look at a couple of guys who were the ultimate “rags to
riches” stories in Houston Wrestling.
So, join us as we take a look at “Jobber Appreciation Month”
for Houston Wrestling!!
At the tender age of 19, he made his debut in the
world of wrestling, and by the age of 23, was a star.
His picture was taken with “A” list Hollywood celebrities
like Farrah Fawcett. He was
looking at a future as an actor, but really made his fame inside the
Charles Wolfe is not nor was not known to many
fans. His name didn’t
grace many wrestling programs, nor appears on many title listings.
He wasn’t a sex symbol for women fans.
He wasn’t a flamboyant heel or handsome babyface.
There was no controversy surrounding who his father was or was
When we look at the life and career of Gino
Hernandez, we can certainly say that he was known to a great deal of
fans, especially from 1980-1986. We
can positively identify him as not only a program seller, but a ticket
seller as well. He wasn’t
just any champion…for often, he was “your champion.”
To say that women didn’t swoon over him would be to deny
reality….despite his penchant for being the flamboyant heel.
When he was the handsome babyface, Gino was one of the most
popular around. And, as far
as the controversy surrounding his father…….we will let people more
“in the know” than myself handle that one.
Start of Something Great:
When Gino Hernandez first started wrestling
professionally, he was skinny, and in the prelims.
However, he was one story of someone who became widely known
after a rocky start. In
fact, by the end of 1976, Gino was already tabbed in the wrestling
magazines as the next big superstar after a Madison Square Garden
showdown against the “Unpredictable” Johnny Rodz.
Gino would be a babyface for the beginning of his
career. And, he would meet
with success away from “home” as he beat the Sheik for the Detroit
U.S. Title. But his
true claim to wrestling fame would rest on the other side of the
fence….as a heel.
As a heel, Gino would indeed grace the cover of a
great deal of wrestling programs, and his name on the marquee would be
used to sell thousands of tickets to fans who wanted desperately to see
Gino get his due reward from many choices of favorites.
Still, although hated, Gino did have his share of women fans,
which didn’t like his deeds, but did enjoy his looks. Some of Gino’s most memorable Houston feuds included his
legendary series of matches against Jose “Supersock” Lothario, Mil
Mascaras, Dos Caras, and his tag team with Tully Blanchard (The Dynamic
Duo) as they faced Ricky Morton and Ken Lucas for the Southwest Tag Team
As late as 1983, Gino showed that he could still
have that babyface appeal, as he turned face on television after Tully
Blanchard turned on him…in a match that they won!!!
After his face turn, Gino met Tully in Houston ….only in
opposition to long-time promoter Paul Boesch.
Their match at the Summit (now Compaq Center), while heated, was
a part of an “all-star” card that only drew 1,700 fans.
Still, Gino was arguably the most popular wrestler with the fans
on the card.
After moving to World Class Championship Wrestling
in 1984, Gino quickly became one of the main focal points of the heel
side as he, along with Chris Adams, warred against the Von Erich
brothers for most of 1984-1985. While
a mainstay for World Class, Gino would return to the Sam Houston
Coliseum for shots against Kerry when World Class and Mid-South had an
amicable business relationship. Gino,
while not a regular, was one of the most over heels in Houston.
As we all know, Gino sadly died in early 1986. He was still young in wrestling, having been born in 1957, and could STILL be going today, approaching 46 years old. More...