Octavio Gaona

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Octavio Gaona
Born 1907
León, Guanajuato, Mexico
Died 1996
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Octavio Gaona
Billed height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Billed weight 89 kg (196 lb)
Debut October 1934

Octavio Gaona (1907–1996) was a Mexican Luchador, or professional wrestler, known for his participation in the first ever high profile Lucha de Apuesta, or wager fight, against Murciélago Velázquez. Gaona held both the Mexican National Middleweight Championship and the Mexican version of the World Middleweight Championship. Gaona's son, adopted son, grandson and great grandson have all or are all professional wrestlers.

Professional wrestling career

Octavio Gaona made his professional wrestling debut in 1934, wrestling for various small promoters in Guanajuato and surrounding states. By 1937 Gaona wrestled full-time for Salvador Lutteroth's Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL). On February 6, 1937, Gaona defeated Black Guzmán to win the vacant Mexican National Middleweight Championship.[1] Gaona held the title until September 2, 1938, where Firpo Segra won it but would regain it on January 1, 1939.[1] Gaona's second reign ended just over a month later on February 9, 1939.[1] The loss was not a step down however, as he defeated Gus Kallio to win both the National Wrestling Association World Middleweight Champion and the Mexican version of the World Middleweight Championship.[2] Gaona's title win helped establish the World Middleweight title in Mexico.[2] Gaona unified both titles, only defending them together. On February 4, 1940, Gaona lost the Championships to Tarzán López.[2]

Shortly after the title loss Octavio Gaona took part in one of the most pivotal events in Lucha Libre as he took part of the very first Lucha de Apuesta match.[3][4] After a long buildup of a storyline between Gaona and Murciélago Velázquez, one of the top Rudos ("Bad guy" or Heel character) of the time, Gaona challenged Velázquez to face him in a match where the masked wrestler would "bet" his mask on the outcome of the match. Since Velázquez was so much lighter than Gaona he requested a further condition before he would sign the contract: Octavio Gaona would have to put his hair on the line as well, creating the first match in Mexico where a two wrestlers "bet" either their hair or their mask.[3][4] On July 14, 1940, Octavio Gaona defeated Murciélago Velázquez, forcing him to unmask after the match in what would become a Lucha Libre tradition.[3][4] Since then Apuesta matches have become headliners all over Mexico; winning the mask of an opponent is seen as prestigious, and the more famous the masked man is, the bigger the victory.[4][5] In 1942 Velázquez would get his revenge on Gaona when he defeated him to win the vacant Mexican National Middleweight Championship, although the victory could never equal the loss of the mask.[1]

By the end of the 1940s Gaona's wrestling career had slowed down, especially with the birth of his son Octavio Gaona, Jr. Gaona, Jr. would go on to become a professional wrestler, as would his son Arturo Gaona and Arturo's son Arturo Gaona, Jr. making the Gaona family a four generation wrestling family.[6] Octavio Gaona also adopted Francisco Ruiz Arreola, who would wrestle under the name "Tamba", nicknamed "the Flying Elephant".[6] Gaona came out of retirement in 1972, in his late sixties, defeating Tamba in a Lucha de Apuesta match to unmask him.[6]

Octavio Gaona died in 1996.

Championships and accomplishments

Luchas de Apuestas record

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Octavio Gaona (hair) Murciélago Velázquez (mask) Mexico City, Mexico EMLL Live event July 18, 1940 [3]
Octavio Gaona (hair) Chale Romero (hair) Mexico City, Mexico Live event July 1964  
Octavio Gaona (hair) Tamba (mask) Mexico City, Mexico Live event 1972 [6]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Mexico: National Middleweight Championship". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 392. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "EMLL NWA World Middlweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. pp. 389–390. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d Lourdes Grobet; Alfonso Morales; Gustavo Fuentes & Jose Manuel Aurrecoechea (2005). Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling. Trilce. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-933045-05-4. 
  4. ^ a b c d Madigan, Dan (2007). "The Mask in the match". Mondo Lucha A Go-Go: the bizarre & honorable world of wild Mexican wrestling. HarperColins Publisher. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0-06-085583-3. 
  5. ^ Madigan, Dan (2007). "Okay... what is Lucha Libre?". Mondo Lucha A Go-Go: the bizarre and honorable world of wild Mexican wrestling. HarperColins Publisher. pp. 29–40. ISBN 978-0-06-085583-3. 
  6. ^ a b c d Madigan, Dan (2007). "A family affair". Mondo Lucha A Go-Go: the bizarre & honorable world of wild Mexican wrestling. HarperColins Publisher. pp. 128–132. ISBN 978-0-06-085583-3. 
  7. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "United States: 19th Century & widely defended titles – NWA, WWF, AWA, IWA, ECW, NWA: World Middleweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 14. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
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