Puerto Rican Legend Hercules Ayala Passes Away

The 3x WWC Universal Champion died at 69.


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Puerto Rican legend, Hercules Ayala, passed away last week at the age of 69. The original giant on the island was a key piece of the success of WWC in the 1980s.

Hercules Ayala will be remembered for being the giant of the 1980s’ Puerto Rican wrestling scene. He began his career in Boston, training with Angelo Sanvoldi and doing some appearances in New York for Vince McMahon Sr. He met members of the Hart family in Germany and was brought to Canada to wrestle for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling. Ayala became a tag team champion in the company alongside WWE Hall of Famer, Jim Neidhart. The Ayala and Canada connection were key to bringing young stars like Bret Hart to Puerto Rico and vice versa.

Eventually, Ayala landed in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon’s Capitol Sports Promotion (now WWC). He wrestled as a tag team wrestler for some time. His partners included: Hercules Hernandez, King Tonga, Kevin Sullivan, among others. He would do some singles matches, the most important one being an NWA World Championship match against WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair.

Ayala was an imposing figure, six foot one, 275 pounds. Other wrestlers were bigger, but none were imposing as Ayala. (One would argue that only Bruiser Brody could match that.) He eventually would turn heel against Colon, who had beaten most of his rivals by that time. Ayala has been considered the best rival of Colon’s career, ending the feud in a hellish match that had the ring surrounded with fire. The big moment of that feud came when Ayala attacked Colon’s wife in a ceremony.

Ayala, who had competed all over the world, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, would take it easy in the 1990s. He had won the WWC Universal Championship on three separate occasions and had held the great singles titles of WWC. Ayala became a booker of WWC’s competition in the 1990s, AWF. The company would eventually fold, making his return to WWC. Ayala could retire in the 2000s.

Many wrestlers like Savio Vega, Chicky Starr, and El Profe owe their careers to Ayala. Behind the imposing figure laid a giant heart, open to help many up-and-comers on the island. WWC Aniversario 2011 was dedicated to him, with Ayala settling eventually in his adopted country, Canada. Ayala is one of those last members of the golden age of Puerto Rican wrestling, with his heel turn being peaking before the disaster of the Bruiser Brody murder.

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