BIO: Gino Hernandez
Hometown: Highland Park (Dallas), TX
Signature Moves: Reverse flying elbow drop, Russian leg sweep
WCCW Titles Held: WCCW American Heavyweight Champion (three times), WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion (six times), WCCW Texas Brass Knuckles Champion, WCCW American Tag Team Champion (four times: twice with El Gran Markus, once with Gary Young, once with Chris Adams), WCCW Texas Tag Team Champion (three times: once each with Jimmy Snuka, Pak Song and Bruiser Brody) and WCCW Six-Man Tag Team Champion (with Chris Adams and Jake Roberts).
Notable WCCW Feuds: The Von Erichs, Chris Adams
Need to Know Facts: Born Charles Wolfe on August 14, 1957, Gino Hernandez is perhaps World Class' greatest enigma.
After Gino graduated from Spring Branch High School in Houston, he quickly entered the professional wrestling ranks at the tender age of seventeen. Trained by wrestling great Jose Lothario, Gino would wrestle throughout the state of Texas. However, he would make his first professional claim to fame in Joe Blanchard's Southwest Championship Wrestling.
In the early stages of his career, Gino often teamed with Lothario, before eventually turning on him and joining forces with manager Gary Hart. This set up the classic wrestling angle of "teacher versus student", which ultimately resulted in Gino losing his hair to Lothario as the result of a hair vs. hair match in Houston. Shortly afterward, wrestling in Dallas-Fort Worth under the tutelage of Gary Hart, Gino began a feud with David Von Erich over the Texas Heavyweight title.
The duo would split during a 1983 match against the Grapplers, and a big gate program was planned between the two former partners, with Gino playing the babyface. However, Gino abruptly left the Southwest promotion before the feud really ever took off. His whereabouts during this period is one of pro wrestling's great mysteries, with individuals speculating as to whether Gino decided to pursue an acting career in Hollywood, or opening a night club in Florida.
Much like his persona in the ring, Gino was living the high life in social settings away from the ring as well. Hernandez was often seen in the trendiest nightclubs, accompanying any woman he fancied (he dated Hollywood bombshell Farrah Fawcett for a time in the '80s), all the while exuding wealth and class for fans and friends alike to see.
Hernandez would make his return to the industry at World Class' first annual Parade of Champions in May 1984, challenging both Chris Adams and Jimmy Garvin for the American Heavyweight championship. Gino now had WCCW's massive television syndication to display to the world what wrestling fans in Texas (and other Southwestern regions) already knew: that the "Handsome Halfbreed" was the quintessential professional wrestling heel. Whether it was a sneak attack on his opponent, having a temper tantrum over a referee's call that had gone against him, pulling a pair of brass knuckles out of his tights, or riling up the ringside fans, Gino knew exactly what buttons to push, and wrestling insiders would later recognize him as a true heat machine.
Aligning himself initially with Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Gino would eventually form another version of the Dynamic Duo with Chris Adams after the "Gentleman" turned heel. The pair quickly became one of the industry's top tag teams (in an era where legendary tandems like the Road Warriors, the Rock 'n' Roll Express, the British Bulldogs and others were in their respective primes). The duo had an intense rivalry with the popular duo of Kevin and Kerry Von Erich, and the two tandems spilled blood, while sharing the number of victories.
When Hernandez and Adams took to cutting a few locks of the Von Erich's hair after a victory (as well as the hair of Iceman King Parsons, Brian Adias, Scott Casey and even referee David Manning), the Duo challenged the Von Erichs to a hair versus hair match.
The historic bout occurred at the Cotton Bowl on October 6, 1985 in front of 25,000+ fans. The Dynamic Duo had their heads shaved in defeat, much to the approval of those in attendance. Donning masks afterward to conceal their bald heads (and sometimes to interfere undetected in each other's matches), Gino and Chris would continue to feud with the Von Erichs throughout the remainder of 1985. However, on Christmas night, the Duo's partnership ended at Reunion Arena when Gino refused Adams' tag during a key moment in a match-up against the Von Erichs.
The split resulted in a showdown between the two former partners on January 27, 1986 in Fort Worth at the Tarrant County Convention Center, with a stipulation that the loser of the bout would again lose his hair by means of the infamous Freebird Hair Cream (which in this case was liquid). During the bout, Gino squirted the purple liquid into Adams' eyes, "blinding" him and causing sheer pandemonium at ringside. WCCW referees David Manning and Rick Hazzard, who took off his shirt to wipe the liquid from Chris' eyes, immediately attended to Adams, while Hernandez squirmed out of the arena. It was to be Gino's final televised match; after no-showing several cards following this bout, friends and World Class officials began to worry about his well-being.
Hernandez was hated by World Class fans because that was his job, and he obviously did it well. Those who knew him personally, however, have stated that he was a great friend who quietly made visits to Houston hospitals to meet and attempt to cheer up mentally retarded patients, and others in need.
Indeed it appears that the "Handsome Halfbreed" was a complex man...and a star that was dimmed much too early.