The following article originally appeared in Rudo Can’t Fail issue 6 as we looked back 1 year after his passing. The cover art was created by Jeffrey Everett of Rockets Are Red and donated to the Aguayo family.

RIP Perro Aguayo Jr

July 23, 1979 – March 21, 2015

by Matt Farmer

After Perro’s death last year, I wrote an article for about his life and time. In honor of the one year anniversary, I’d like to share parts of it is with Rudo Can’t Fail.

Often, we hear people are born to do something. Pedro Aguayo Ramirez was born to be a luchador. As a son of arguably Mexico’s biggest box office attractions, Perro Aguayo (Pedro Aguayo Damián), he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Just before his 16th birthday, he made his debut in grand fashion before nearly 20,000 fans for one of the largest wrestling companies in the world, on that company’s biggest event of the year.

Asistencia Asesoría y Administración’s Triplemanía is the company’s biggest event, their WrestleMania. On June 18, 1995 at Rio Nilo Coliseum in Tonalá Jalisco el Hijo del Perro Aguayo made his debut showing a ton of potential, losing an ‘Olympic-style’ match to another second generation sensation Juventud Guerrera. A week before his 16th birthday, he made his US debut at the L.A. Sports Arena, once again he faced Guerrera as nearly 9,000 fans watched.

Over the next few years, Perro Aguayo Jr wrestled across Mexico and the southern United States. Some fans in the United States may remember his brief non-televised appearance at the 1997 Royal Rumble, where he teamed with Venum to defeat Mosco de la Merced and Maniaco in front of 60,000 fans at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio Texas. There were also his rare appearances on WWF Superstars in that same month. Not many 17-year-old kids have wrestled in front of over 60,000 fans for the largest wrestling company in the world.

While Perro Aguayo Jr. was proving himself in AAA, his father returned to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. With Aguayo Sr., seasoned veterans, and a mix of young wrestlers coming into their own business started increasing for CMLL. His return to Arena Mexico was part of an announced retirement tour, as he wanted to finish his career with the company where he first found fame some 30 years ago. Father and son continued working for rival promotions until the summer of 2003.

On August 1, 2003, Perro Aguayo Jr. arrived in the building where his father had so many classic battles over the years, working for the oldest wrestling company in the world, CMLL, at the famed Arena Mexico. CMLL had seen its share of highs and lows; in the mid-1990s the company reached one of their lowest periods at the box office, but by the early 2000s the company had regained its composure and was on the upswing. Perro Aguayo Jr. made an immediate impact upon his return. Just six weeks after his return on September 19, 2003 at the company’s 70th anniversary, he teamed with Negro Casas to capture the CMLL Tag Team Championship from Los Guerreros del Infiernos: Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Bucanero.

2004 was an even bigger year for CMLL and Perro Aguayo Jr.  Featured at a June 18, 2004 event honoring the 30th Anniversary of El Satanico, was a multi-person cage match where the loser would have their hair shaved. The finale came down to Perro Aguayo Jr. pinning his partner Negro Casas and taking his hair. This event would set up Perro Aguayo Jr.’s run as a rudo. It also featured the appearance of one of Perro’s best rivals and a future box office champion, Místico. A week later, the return of his longtime friend, Hector Garza, would set the stage for one of Mexico’s famous factions.

Aguayo soon found himself having problems with current partner Negro Casas, which culminated at the annual Leyenda de Plata tournament. In the finals of the tournament, Aguayo defeated Felino to capture the Leyenda de Plata trophy. During the closing ceremony, el Hijo del Santo, the son of the man honored, came out to present the trophy to Perro Aguayo Jr., which offended him. He stated he didn’t want a trophy honoring El Santo, as he felt his father was the true legend. He then viciously attacked Santo with his trophy to the shock of the fans! These events lead to Perro Aguayo Jr. and partner Damien el Terrible joining forces with Hector Garza, calling themselves La Furia del Norte.

Business was booming. Friday night events at Arena Mexico were selling out consistently with scalpers buying up tickets so fast that it became a business all unto its own. Two reasons for the increase in business were the explosion in popularity of Místico and the formation of one of the most successful heel groups in all of wrestling: Perros Del Mal.

Perros Del Mal was a spin-off of members from La Furia del Norte with the original members Perro Aguayo, Hector Garza, Tarzan Boy, and Damien el Terrible. The group quickly became the number one rudo combination in all of Mexico. Perros Del Mal merchandise became a hot item. Every night, you could look out and witness a sea of people wearing Perros Del Mal t-shirts. Soon after, you would see celebrities and other famous athletes wearing the shirts.

As successful as Perro’s time in CMLL was, it only lasted five years. Perro Del Mal was a major reason for the company’s success. To continue the momentum, a storyline was devised for Perros Del Mal to become independent. On the surface, Perros Del Mal would become their own promotion and engage with rivals from CMLL. In reality, they would work alongside CMLL, eventually doing an inter-promotion angle. However, what started as a storyline turned into reality when Perros Del Mal Prodducciones was founded. They broke out on their own as complete independents. Perro’s schedule decreased dramatically, and not being seen on television affected their bookings.

But then, on June 6, 2010, Perros Del Mal made a dramatic appearance at AAA’s Triplemanía! Perros Del Mal formed a partnership with Konnan and AAA owner Dorian Roldan to form a group called La Sociedad, which became the top rudos group in the company.

In the early part of 2010, Perro started experiencing extreme pain in his abdomen. At first he thought he had broken a rib. He checked himself into the hospital to find it was more serious than a broken rib. With his health problems being shielded from the media, Perro underwent surgery to remove the tumor in his stomach. Rumors were spreading and at the time there was concern that this could end his in-ring career or, worse, be life-threatening. During a press conference a few months later, Perro stated he had a cancerous tumor removed from his stomach and underwent chemotherapy which explained his loss of hair. He went on to say his doctors expected a full recovery, however, he would have to wear a girdle when he wrestled and would have to change his diet dramatically. To dispel rumors that he was in rehab and not the hospital, he showed his abdominal scar.

When he came back, it was obvious it took a toll on him physically. Even with his limitations, he continued to be a great performer and few could match his off the chart charisma. On March 18, 2012, he took part of AAA’s annual event: Rey de Reyes. He faced LA Park, Jack Evans, and personal friend Hector Garza in the Rey de Reyes elimination tournament where he walked away as the winner. Things were looking up when tragedy struck. His close friend and longtime partner, Hector Garza, was diagnosed with lung cancer and unfortunately passed away May 26, 2013 at the age of 43.

In 2014, AAA’s business was really picking up momentum with the additions of the former Místico, under the name Myzteziz, and former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio. In 2015, AAA saw the return of Rey Mysterio! The possibilities were now endless and it was quickly announced that the main event for that year’s Rey de Reyes event, scheduled to take place March 15, 2015, would see Rey Mysterio teaming with Myzteziz against Perro Aguayo Jr. and Pentagon Jr. The card was postponed due to weather for a few days later on March 18th.  Watching the event, you could feel that this company was on the verge of big things. However, 48 hours later, their world would come crashing down.

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Rey Mysterio returned to the building where he started his wrestling career, the famous Auditorio de Tijuana. Rey teamed with another luchador that broke in at the same place: Extreme Tiger. The duo faced off with el Hijo del Perro Aguayo and his partner, Manik (TJ Perkins). We’ve all seen the video and the tragedy that occurred that evening.

A year later, we still feel this tremendous loss. It was such a tragic accident, I would prefer to remember all the good times and entertainment he provided for me and the millions of lucha libre fans around the world. I still recall watching him wrestle El Dandy 15 years ago and being blown away by them both. In fact, after watching their match, I would tell anyone that would listen how I felt Perro Aguayo Jr. was the best all-around wrestler in the world at that time. That is a comment I still stand by to this day.

Pedro Aguayo Ramirez lived to the age of 35; in those 35 years he provided years of entertainment. For that, we will forever remember him and thank him for all of his contributions to lucha libre throughout his life.

RIP Perro Aguayo Jr.