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The Death of Perro Aguayo Slams the Wrestling World

Updated on March 22, 2015

Perro Aguayo Passes Away

Early Saturday morning, the wrestling world was shocked as they learned of the tragic death of Perro Aguayo Jr. The son of legendary Mexican luchador Perro Aguayo, who wrestled from the 70s into the 90s. Aguayo was in a tag team match, teaming with Tiger Uno, against Manik and former WWE Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio.

According to numerous sources, Perro Aguayo's cause of death was a stroke, caused by cervical spine damage. Earlier reports also suggested that Aguayo had died from a crushed trachea and whiplash. There is a half dozen videos that have made their way onto social media sites, showing the match and subsequent injury. However, there doesn't seem to be any clear moment when something goes wrong. Instead what we see if Perro Arguayo's wrestling as normal, and then almost instantaneously, slumping onto the second rope. Former wrestler Konnan, who was at ringside, tried to stabilize Perro Aguayo until medical personnel could take over.

Perro Aguayo's untimely death at the age of 35, brings to light an often overlooked fact in professional wrestling. Despite it's somewhat scripted nature, pro wrestling is very dangerous and equally as real as competitive sports like football and soccer.

To understand professional wrestling, one has to know the true history of the sport. And the history is as long as it is interesting. But in short, pro wrestling started out as a legit contest often referred to as "catch as catch can." The pin and submission based grappling had a slack set of rules, set forth by the wrestlers and promoters themselves. One could ban certain holds, while others may decide to go no holds barred. Catch as catch can is very similar to what mixed martial arts is today, as the wrestlers often traveled to other countries and picked up that regions trade secrets and holds.

As the years progressed, patrons of the wrestling matches started to get bored with the longevity of the bouts. It was not uncommon for matches to go hours, as catch as catch can relied heavily on scientific wrestling, leverage over strength. Because this was their livelihood, the wrestlers decided it was in their best interest to start "working" matches with each other. To give the audience a little more action, as to not lose their interest or their money. And once the wrestlers decided to work with each other, it grew from there.

Pro wrestling in its current state mirrors very little to the pro wrestling of yesteryear. Today, its referred to as sports entertainment rather than professional wrestling. The companies are more interested in theatrics and showmanship, than they are skill and precision. And unfortunately, they are more concerned with the cool moves than they are about protecting the wrestlers.

Today's pro wrestlers are encouraged to wrestle a style that is more punch and kick, more fly and fall, than it is wrestling. But with this encouragement comes a bigger risk to ones body. A very real danger. It's not normal to land on your back night in and night out. The toll on your body comes quickly. Bones and joints break and weaken. Spines become disjointed, maybe to the point that a simple fall you've taken a hundred times, now ends in death, like the unfortunate case of Perro Aguayo.

If there is one lesson that we should take away from this past weekends truly devastating circumstance, its that pro wrestling needs to scale back. In order to evolve, it needs to regress to a simpler form for the safety of the wrestlers. It's not being suggested that wrestling go back to catch as catch can rules. Nor is it being suggested that wrestling pretend like its still 1980. But there is a middle ground somewhere in which today's wrestlers can work smarter and minimize the risk they take each time they step into the ring. Wear and tear on the body is more prone to happen when we throw caution to the wind and think we are indestructible.

Rest in peace Perro Aguayo Jr.

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