Lucha Libre (Mexican professional wrestling) is known for its pageantry, colorful masks, and high-flying luchadors. The style is an unmistakable combination of athleticism and spectacle. But behind the scenes, there are dark stories of the supernatural, paranormal, and death, with many questions left unanswered.
1. Did Oro Forsee His Death?
In the early ’90s, Oro (Gold) was a promising young star in EMLL (now CMLL). He won the Mexican National Tag Team Championship with his brother Plata (Silver) and the NWA Middleweight Championship after defeating Mano Negra (The Black Hand). But on October 26th, 1993, Oro, unfortunately, wrestled his last match.
That night, the semi-final at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City pitted the team of Oro, Brazo de Plata (Silver Arm AKA Super Porky), La Fiera (The Wild Beast) versus Dr. Wagner Jr. (Silver King’s older brother), Jaque Mate (CheckMate) and Kahoz.
Before the match officially started, Kahoz (Leonel Chato Hernandez), who was inside the ring and partially screened by the referee, used this advantage to draw nearer to Oro and viciously struck him between the throat and breastbone with his open hand.
This is known as a "cupped chest lick" (similar to a chest slap) and is rather common in Lucha Libre because closed fists are prohibited.
Oro, who was in his team’s corner outside of the ropes, tumbled to the floor. He recovered and approached Kahoz, who was now on the ring’s opposite side and in his team’s corner.
Oro vehemently challenged him to get in the ring to wrestle instead of hitting him with cheap shots like he had just done. Kahoz seemed to play possum and didn’t seem too enthused about acquiescing to Oro’s unyielding invitation.
Did you know? This Kahoz was the second person to adopt the character. The original Kahoz was inspired by El Murcielago (Bat) Jesús Velazquez, who slyly hid bats and spiders inside his mysterious cape, then set them free to perturb the fans.
The original Kahoz was meant to induce psychological terror amongst the fans and wrestled barefoot to "ground" his thirst for destruction and curve his bestial wildness.
He sometimes carried a sacred skull that supposedly belonged to a Franciscan friar who helped the poor. It was meant to counterbalance the tremendous evil within Kahoz.
He carried a white dove inside his cape that he launched towards his opponents. Then, he would cut its head off and let the blood drip all over his clean white mask.
The malignant forces within allegedly incited him to want to kill his opponent and not just defeat him, leading to the abandonment and burying of the mask and sacred skull out of respect and fear.
Before Kahoz entered the ring, Jaque Mate, who was the current legal man, seemed to whisper something into his ear. When Kahoz finally got into the ring, the action became fast and furious, with Oro coming off the ropes and getting hit by Kahoz again in the upper chest and throat.
Kahoz seemed a little perplexed for a couple of seconds when he saw that Oro didn’t get up as quickly as usual but made nothing of it as the two wrestlers continued battling with both tumbling to the outside.
While facing each other in the aisle that led to the locker rooms, they confronted each other and had a heated exchange of words.
Oro proceeded to go back to the ring, but Kahoz inexplicably continues walking up the aisle in the opposite direction. He then looks at his left wrist and seems to take off some of the tape, subsequently giving it to a fan sitting in an aisle seat.
He continues walking up the ramp, and it is uncertain what he does afterward because the camera quickly focuses back to the ring.
He could’ve gone to the restroom, or maybe he got his wrist retaped; many theories abound. But what is strange or perhaps an odd occurrence is that upon returning less than 30 seconds later, the person he gave the tape he’d previously ripped off his wrist was no longer in his seat.
Kahoz joined his team in their corner, while the portly, almost 300 lb Brazo de Plato did a mighty splash on Jaque Mate inside the ring. Jaque Mate rolled outside, just a few feet away from Oro, sitting dazed on the floor.
His head leaned forward as he touched his face and mouth with his right palm. He got looked over by a referee and later Brazo de Plata while the rudos (heels) took the first fall inside the ring by submitting La Fiera.
Because of an ongoing knee injury, some believed that was the reason Oro wasn’t getting up.
Outside, many people surround him, and the medics eased him on a stretcher to take him to the locker rooms and then to an awaiting ambulance.
According to witnesses, Oro’s brother Plata tried to encourage his brother by telling him, "Don’t go to sleep, Oro!"
Their mother and father (Calavera II, translated as Skull II) were also at the arena watching the match but unable to help.
Oro, unfortunately, passed away en route towards the hospital.
"El Maya" Rafael González was scheduled to referee Oro’s semi-final match, but a last-minute change had him work the main event instead.
While joking around with him that night, El Maya remembers Oro’s last words to him: "Oh, so now that you’re the big shot referee, you don’t want to work my matches anymore, huh?" El Maya also recalls seeing Brazo de Plata crying outside the hospital after hearing the tragic news.
No Autopsy, Many Theories
Because Oro’s parents refused an autopsy for their son, there is much speculation about his death. A more agreed-upon theory is that he suffered severe head trauma or a brain aneurysm that led to a hemorrhagic stroke (intracerebral hemorrhage) within minutes.
But in 1993, kayfabe was inseparable from Lucha Libre, and many fans still swear that Kahoz had a weapon that somehow damaged Oro’s throat, causing his death.
On the day of Oro’s burial, his father, Esteban Hernández, said he doubts his son was a victim of foul play.
"I don’t think he died because of the strikes received because he had adequate training and was prepared to receive strikes like those and even harder ones. He was a professional and not someone who didn’t know what he was doing in the ring."
When reviewing the somewhat blurry and aged video of the match, it seems that Kahoz’s hands are empty during the second strike. But conspiracy theorists explain that his hands are bare because the first strike Oro received caused the permanent damage, not the second one.
We cannot see if he has a weapon for the first strike because he is rather far away from the camera and with his back towards it. During the second strike to the throat, it is clear that Kahoz’s hands are devoid of any weapon.
Conspiracy theorists theorize that said weapon got disposed of with the aid of the fan in the aisle seat.
Oro’s brother Plata was unable to speak with him for too long before his passing but believes his brother died of a stroke and claims that his brother was choking on his own blood in the locker room.
Ex-wrestler and Oro’s friend El Justiciero said that Oro confessed to him days before his death that he had not been feeling well and spitting up blood. He believes that Oro’s high-risk style, compounded by the hits he’d been receiving, led to his collapse and untimely death. El Justiciero begged him to retire, but Oro, of course, did not heed his advice.
Kahoz offered to pay for funeral expenses, but Oro’s parents turned down the generous offer. What is strange is that Oro supposedly believed that something would go wrong in his life. He refused to go on a tour of Japan, and whenever possible, he ensured he took many family members to witness his final matches.
The rumors are that the night of his death, 30 family members were in the audience. Others claim (like El Justiciero) that Oro knew that he had severe health problems that would probably shorten his life but continued working.
His brother Plata has a son who wrestles by the name Oro Jr. in honor of his uncle.
Watch the Two Strikes That Possibly Ended the Life of Luchador Oro:
2. The Death Pact of La Ola Blanca (The White Wave)
El Santo (The Saint), El Médico Asesino (The Killer Medic), and El Enfermero (The Male Nurse) comprised the earliest version of the prominent babyface stable La Ola Blanca (The White Wave) from the ’50s.
But in the ’60s, there was an all-heel resurgence of La Ola Blanca, considered by some as the most dominant trio of luchadors ever assembled. They were Dr. Wagner, El Angel Blanco (The White Angel), and El Solitario (The Lone Man, like The Lone Ranger that was popular at the time).
For many years, they had no equals in popularity or in the ring. Developing a strong bond, like a brotherhood, La Ola Blanca (also nicknamed the "Infernal Trio") broke up after El Solitario turned babyface and began feuding with his former partners. Dr. Wagner and El Angel Blanco were now determined to retire El Solitario from wrestling and have him pay dearly.
Instead, El Solitario dealt the greatest indignity a luchador can suffer and unmasked El Angel Blanco and Dr. Wagner on December 8th, 1972, and December 1st, 1985, respectively.
The rivalry ended, but El Angel Blanco and El Solitario reportedly made an eerie death pact. The agreement entailed that the first to die was to come back and tell the other about the afterlife.
On April 6th, 1986, El Solitario, at 46 years old, died of a sudden heart attack. His death struck El Angel Blanco especially hard, who then assured that El Solitario contacted him from the afterlife in sweat-filled dreams and startled him in the middle of the night by "pulling his feet while he slept."
On April 27th, just twenty-one days after El Solitario’s death, El Angel Blanco, Dr. Wagner, Mano Negra (Black Hand), Jungla Negra (Black Jungle), and Solar were carpooling after a show in Nuevo Laredo.
Dr. Wagner was the driver, and on the passenger side was Jungla Negra until El Angel Blanco asked to trade places. During the trip, Angel Blanco confessed his strange dreams from what he believes was El Solitario communicating with him from the afterlife. Unfortunately, nobody could’ve imagined that he, too, would soon join his former friend and rival.
According to Solar, after leaving Nuevo Laredo, their car hit a motorcycle. The police wanted to confiscate the vehicle and keep the driver in a jail cell, but the local promoter luckily showed up and made a deal with the police, convincing them to let the wrestlers go.
Once back on the highway en route to Monterrey, Solar remembers that they talked about El Solitario dying way too young. Someone said, "Idols die too young."
Solar, answering half asleep with his arms behind his head, replied, "Yeah, well, that’s why I’m not an idol." Suddenly, a back tire had a blowout. That’s when Dr. Wagner lost control, and according to Solar, the vehicle felt like it wanted to launch into the air.
They rolled over several times and smashed into a pole. The destroyed vehicle then burst into flames. Solar had lost consciousness but was helped out by Mano Negra and Jungla Negra.
Fortunately, a passing trucker recognized them and put out the fire. But sadly, Angel Blanco did not survive the accident and had died on impact.
Dr. Wagner escaped the burning car but suffered spinal cord damage and fractured his leg to the degree that he never wrestled again and became wheelchair-bound.
"It’s strange," Solar affirms when recounting the story. "It’s almost like having a premonition. I spoke with Angel Blanco for an hour in Nuevo Laredo before the show and about his friend El Solitario. He was afflicted because he had died young."
A mask can hide many emotions, but the recounting of this tragic incident led to a fountain of tears from the pained luchador.
"To me, it’s been very hard. Time hasn’t passed for me. I feel like it was yesterday," laments a teary-eyed Solar. "That’s life. It seems we risk our lives in and out of the ring."
That was the tragic and macabre end of La Ola Blanca. We can only hope that El Angel Blanco is reunited with El Solitario in the afterlife.
3. The Tragic End of Luchador “Minis” La Parkita and El Espectrito Jr.
La Parkita and El Espectrito Jr. (Little Spectre) were very popular little people luchadors named "minis" in the AAA promotion and were smaller versions of wrestlers on the roster. CMLL calls them "Mini Stars." Unfortunately, they met a tragic end.
On June 29th, 2009, the twin brothers, without their attire or masks, were partying like there was no tomorrow in a bar just northwest of the city’s historic center. They were having a great time, with singing mariachis blowing their trumpets, playing their violins, and strumming their guitars around them.
When live musicians didn’t accompany them, they gladly settled for the jukebox filled with good tunes that encouraged the continued flow of the hard stuff.
They decided to continue the festivities in room #52 at the nearby Moderno Hotel. Authorities do not know if the mini luchadors called ahead for two women or if they met at the bar and went together.
Hotel security cameras reveal them entering the hotel lobby and their companions already there. In the chilling video, we also see the women leave at 6:30 am without the luchadors, presumably after they had poisoned and robbed them.
Watch Hotel Lobby Video Where La Parkita and El Espectrito Jr. Encounter Their Murderers:
The next morning, after knocking on the door and not receiving a response, room service entered and faced a grisly discovery—two dead naked mini luchadors sprawled on the bed. There was a liquor bottle on the nightstand, cans of juice, and their clothes tossed every which way. What exactly happened the night before?
Authorities determined that the sex workers poisoned the luchadors with a lethal mix of Cyclopentolate eye drops in their alcohol. These particular drops dilate your pupil before an eye exam, enlarging it and relaxing the eye muscles. If ingested orally, they can cause blurred vision, mental hallucinations, loss of coordination, rapid heartbeat, and even death.
During this time, the authorities were regularly finding drugged men who had been looking for romance in all the wrong places, disposed of their personal belongings, and becoming victims of something far worse than a bad hangover.
These death-dealing ladies of the night were part of a delinquent group called "Las Goteras."
One year later, the scandalous case was solved, when a judge sentenced María De Los Ángeles Sánchez Rueda (44) and Estela González Calva (65) to 47 years and six months each in prison. The judge also ordered the equivalent of $7,350 for damages and psychiatric care for the minis’ children.
In 2015, director Arturo Ripstein released a movie based on this incident with the title "La Calle de la Amargura" or Bleak Street. The 72-year-old director, in his facetious description of what his film is about, said that "it’s a story about whores and midgets."
In the movie, the mini luchadores have an ongoing relationship with the prostitutes. The film intends to show the struggles of people living on the margin of society just trying to survive.
4. The Mysterious End of Abismo Negro
Abismo Negro (Black Abyss) made his debut in the late ’80s as a babyface under several names, but as "Winners," he found most of his success. Later in AAA, he became the rulebreaker Abismo Negro in 1997, known for his charisma and intense ring entrances where he used a handheld flame thrower. But on March 22nd, 2009, he was found dead under bizarre circumstances.
Konnan was working the back of a show he and Abismo Negro wrestled on in Mazatlán. He remembers telling Abismo Negro that he wanted a good show that night and Abismo Negro assuring him that he would be alright. Konnan recounts his version of the events.
"Some guys came looking for him in the dressing room, and I told them that if they were there to bring Abismo Negro something or sell him something, to please wait for after the show."
Konnan then saw the same guys talking to Abismo Negro in a corner, and he later warned Abismo, "You better not have bought anything from them or be using anything right now."
"No, they came looking for [so and so]," replied Abismo Negro. "It didn’t concern me."
Even though Konnan knew they were there for Abismo, he decided to let it go because Abismo seemed fine and not drugged-out.
After the match, Konnan hugged Abismo, thanking him for a good show, and both proceeded to the hotel everyone was staying at. "But when it was time to go, Abismo Negro stayed for several days partying,” remembers Konnan.
“I heard that the two guys that went looking for him in the locker room were amongst the guests."
"I heard he went crazy, even lost a tooth," Konnan continued. "I’m not sure if he got into an argument with someone, but when he would party, he’d lose it, and sometimes we couldn’t find him for days.
"He then ran out of money and asked the promoter for help, but I think he was afraid of giving him money. That’s why Abismo wound up on a bus and not on a plane."
Abismo Negro’s body was found face down and drowned under a bridge close to a processed juice factory.
After what seems like suffering an anxiety attack because of a possible over-ingestion of anabolics, he demanded the bus driver stop the vehicle. Abismo Negro inexplicably went into the dark wilderness from where he texted his wife that he "was lost in the bushes."
It is unknown if Abismo Negro’s death was a murder, suicide, or just a freak accident. Some unconfirmed sources say that his wrists were handcuffed behind his back, but this is disproven by most media outlets.
The official cause of death is that he drowned, and in the pictures circulating the internet, alleging that they are of the dead wrestler, his wrists are free.
Shortly before Abismo Negro was found dead in Rosario, Sinaloa, an imposter Abismo Negro was wrestling in a Cancún AAA show. For this fraud, promoter Renán Martínez was given a two-year suspension.
Abismo Negro (Andrés Palomeque) was only 37 years old.
5. The Dark Life of La Dama Del Silencio (The Quiet Lady)
The life of Juana Barraza Samperio is a depressing and appalling one.
It started when she was born on December 27th, 1958, in Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, and her father abandoned her mother one day after being born.
Three months later, her mother took her and Juana’s sister to Mexico DF, where she barely made ends meet by working as a maid. Her mother then became an alcoholic and had two more children with another man who became Juana’s stepfather.
Juana claims she was habitually physically and verbally abused by her mother, unbeknownst to her stepfather, whom she considered her only protector. He, in turn, didn’t allow her to go to school or leave the house because he foresaw no reason for Juana to obtain an education if she was going to be a housewife.
One day, Juana’s mother went drinking with friends and brought Juana along. There she did the unthinkable act of selling her underage daughter in exchange for three beers. The man proceeded to beat her, tie her wrists together, and repeatedly raped her.
The ill-fated teenager became pregnant and gave birth. Three months later, her stepfather’s brothers were able to take her away from that seemingly neverending nightmare.
As if things weren’t grim enough, in an attempted mugging, the son born from this rape was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat at age 24. Juana says that this “was the saddest moment of her life.”
Juana only feels fury and seethes with hatred when reminded of her 18-year-old mother that died from cirrhosis of the liver.
At 23 years old, Juana got married and had a daughter, but this man was unforgivingly violent with her. She then began a relationship with another man who did the same.
At age 30, Juana Barraza stepped into the squared circle, giving herself the curious name of La Dama Del Silencio (The Silent Lady). Pink and white were the primary colors used along with gold accents, and her mask resembled a big butterfly just like her belt.
Unfortunately, in one of her matches, she hurt her spinal column, and a specialist told her that she could become paralyzed if she continued to wrestle. So The Silent Lady quit but started promoting wrestling shows instead.
In 2003, the already darkened crime-ridden streets of Mexico City became even seedier after authorities discovered several murdered elderly women with signs of strangulation. Suspects were captured but eventually released.
From November 2003 to January 2004, there had been 23 murders, but evidence suggests that Juana began her murder spree as early as the late ’90s.
On January 25th, 2006, Juana Barraza Samperio was finally arrested, and to the authorities’ surprise, the accused serial killer wasn’t a man but a reasonably nondescript woman.
Juana offered to help 84-year-old Ana María with her groceries, who she noticed was barely able to handle the weight. Once in Ana María’s apartment, Juana offered her services to wash and iron the older woman’s clothes.
When the octogenarian offered to pay Juana the equivalent of one dollar for the job, Juana told her that it was too little. The spirited Ana María supposedly remarked, "That’s the way these cats are, always looking to make too much."
Juana bit her tongue at this put-down but became unglued. She grabbed a stethoscope, wrapped it around Ana María’s neck, and ruthlessly choked her to death. She immediately left the woman for dead and fled.
Unluckily for Juana, Ana María rented a room to a student who got to the apartment minutes after the murder and tracked down the police a few blocks away.
At 48-years-old, Juana Barraza Samperio, now nicknamed La Mataviejas (The Old Lady Killer), was sentenced to 759 years in prison for the murder of 17 women.
"Fortunately" for her, the law only allows imprisonment for a maximum of 50 years, so she might see the light of day when she’s 98. Juana claims that she only killed Ana María and none of the others. When asked why she killed her, she simply answered, "I got angry."
Juana had four children with three different men. She lived with the youngest two–a boy aged 13 and a girl aged 11. According to Juana’s lawyer, she was proud to say that she kept things going on her own and for playing the role of both father and mother to them.
After exploring the seedy underbelly of Lucha Libre, you’ll now probably never watch Mexican wrestling the same again!
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