Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Luchador - Salvador "Gory" Guerrero Quesada

Salvador "Gory" Guerrero Quesada (January 11, 1921 – April 18, 1990) was one of the premier Hispanic professional wrestlers in the early days of Lucha Libre when most wrestlers were imported from outside of Mexico.

Gory was born in Ray, Arizona but his family moved shortly thereafter to California where he went to an English school. His family moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico and Gori used his language skills at a pottery shop. In Guadalajara, he joined the local "Box y Lucha" club (intending to learn boxing) and was trained by the legendary trainer Diablo Velasco as one of his first protegés. He made his debut shortly after in 1937 in Guadalajara.

Over the next few years, he would make important friends, learn more about the tricks of the trade and amateur wrestling. He made his debut for the Mexico City promotion Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre in 1943. He quickly rose the ranks, being named "Rookie of the Year" and winning two titles in 1945, the National Welterweight title (which he never lost) and the National Middleweight title. His feud with Cavernario Galindo is considered to be one of the first true blood feuds in the history of professional wrestling. The feud later evolved into a tag feud, with El Santo on the side of Gori Guerrero, forming the legendary tag team La Pareja Atómica, and Black Shadow teaming with Galindo.

He continued his success, defeating Tarzán López for the NWA Middleweight title and even wrestling a match with NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz. He broke away from EMLL and worked as an independent in the mid-sixties, also beginning to branch out into booking. As he got older he was wrestling less and less until he retired in the 1980s. He died at the age of 69 in 1990 in El Paso, Texas.

Gori is best remembered for his aggressive technical style and he is credited with the invention of La de a Caballo (or "Camel Clutch" as it is known in the U.S. since it was used by Middle Eastern heels like The Sheik) and the Gori Special, a back to back stretch hold which has been modified into a facebuster move (Gory Bomb) or a neckbreaker/backbreaker (Widow's Peak). He was well respected by several generations of luchadores for his toughness and ability.

A key part of his legacy are his children, Chavo Guerrero Sr. (whose son Chavo Guerrero Jr. is also a wrestler), Hector, Mando, and Eddie Guerrero. He also has two daughters, Cuqui and Linda. His wife Herlinda was the sister of Mexican wrestler Enrique Llanes. He was a born-again Christian and raised his children in the Baptist Church.

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