Spotlight: The career of Héctor Garza
Héctor Solano Segura was born on June 12th, 1969 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon into local wrestling royalty as his father Humberto Garza was already one of the biggest stars of the area and like most sons of luchadores when he was young his dream was to become a star like his father. His brother Mario who debuted two years after Héctor was born was also a big role model in his life because Mario was able to relate to Héctor differently than his dad and was the one that taught Héctor and his brother Humberto who was 3 years older than Héctor how to wrestle when they were kids. Mario would become a star like his father in Monterrey in the 80’s as El Ninja while his younger brothers were going through high school but he wasn’t the only one who had influence on Héctor’s career as Mr. Lince who was a legendary local rudo in Monterrey in the 60’s & 70’s as well as Blue Fish who was one of the top rudos in Monterrey in the late 80’s-early 90’s taught Héctor a different style of working which would come into play in a huge way later in Héctor’s career.
Héctor would make his debut on September 4th, 1992 working for Monterrey’s legendary promoter Carlos Elizondo and started making waves fairly quickly as a handsome young guy who the ladies loved with long black hair that would become one of his trademarks and one of the most coveted by the rudos of the era as they wanted to be the one to brag about shaving his head. Héctor’s first big hair match would come just over 9 months into his career where he took El Sanguinario who was one of the top rudos around the area’s hair which showed the fans that he wasn’t just the son of Humberto Garza but his own man looking for success the right way. At this time, Hector’s brother Humberto would debut but his biggest ally at the time was a young wrestler named Latin Lover who debuted 3 months before Hector but had similar training backgrounds and both were being pushed by Elizondo as the heartthrobs of Nuevo Leon. Héctor was one of the best high flyers around when he was younger as he could fly around the ring and quickly got over his Tornillo (corkscrew plancha) as one of the premier dives in not just Mexico but the world soon thereafter. Héctor also had tremendous charisma where when he was a tecnico at this stage of his career he could get the fans behind him as good as just about anyone at that time in Mexico.
By 1994, Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre or by then known as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre was in the rebuilding phase as Asistencia Asesoría y Administración had basically gutted their roster over the last couple of years and were looking for young guys who they could build around and they looked to Monterrey where they found Héctor and knew he could be their biggest tecnico star almost immediately. Héctor joined the promotion and was given a superpush in so many words as he would win the Torneo Gran Alternativa with Negro Casas in 1994 and from April-December of 1995 he would take the hair of big-time rudos El Satanico, El Brazo, MS-1, Bestia Salvaje, & El Satanico a 2nd time to solidify his standing as a top guy. 1996 came and saw Hector’s star continue to shine as he would win the CMLL Trios Titles with legends Dos Caras & La Fiera from Bestia Salvaje/Emilio Charles Jr./Gran Markus Jr. but would actually lose his biggest match of the year to Emilio in the finals of the first ever Torneo por la Copa Juniors which was a tournament featuring sons of famous luchadores. Later that year, Garza was a player in one of the biggest angles of the era as he was teaming with El Dandy and newly turned tecnico Negro Casas against Bestia Salvaje/Felino/Scorpio Jr. where Felino ended up being Hijo del Santo in disguise where he attacked Casas sparking his rudo turn which shocked the nation and sparked a revival for the promotion which was getting beaten by AAA for the last 4 years. The end of the year saw Garza make the jump to AAA which was mainly due to the working agreement they had with the World Wrestling Federation and got Garza on worldwide television in 1997 as Garza would participate in the Royal Rumble and worked on Monday Night Raw.
Garza would stay in AAA until he got an opportunity to go to World Championship Wrestling as they were on a luchador hiring binge and his look was perfect for what they were looking for as he wasn’t masked and had great charisma. September 22nd, 1997 would see Garza get one of the biggest and most notorious wins of his career as he would defeat Scott Hall on WCW Nitro via a distraction from Larry Zbyszko and an inside cradle but it was the beatdown afterwards, the revenge match the next week where Hall squashed him, and Hall bragging about “putting over” Garza that made the whole scenario a big joke in the business for years to come. Garza would stay with WCW for the next 2 years positioned the same as almost every luchador but a few that was made an angle in 1999 as they all joined together under the leadership of Eddie Guerrero to form the Latino World Order which was a spoof of the New World Order. Garza would eventually leave WCW in late 1999 where he would rejoin AAA and immediately became embroiled in a unique feud with Perro Aguayo Jr., Heavy Metal, and old friend Latin Lover. These guys in various forms of matches would have the best non-minis matches in the promotion for the next 4 years. Garza would take Heavy Metal’s hair on November 23rd, 2001 at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City after a 4 Way Dance with Perrito & Latin which was one of the biggest matches of the early 00’s of the promotion. Also in this era, Garza had some big matches against Pirata Morgan for the IWC Heavyweight Title along with Abismo Negro, Electroshock, & Jerry Estrada for the Mexican National Lt. Heavyweight Title and with Perrito as his tag partner they would defend the Mexican National Tag Titles against such teams as Abismo & Electro and Charly Manson & Electro.
2002 saw Héctor turn rudo for the first time in Mexico and it was to align with Heavy Metal to feud with former friends Perrito & Latin Lover along with El Zorro but it would soon become a beef between Garza & Latin over who was the true heartthrob in the promotion. The feud would come to a head on October 26, 2003 at Arena Solidaridad in Monterrey where the two stars would face off in a high stakes hair match since both men’s hair was one of their drawing cards for the ladies. This was one of the rare hair matches where you really didn’t know how it was going to turn out and this time it was for Latin Lover who now had the bragging rights for saying that he was the first man to take Garza’s hair. It wasn’t too long after this that Garza’s affiliation with AAA paid off for him again in the United States as he would join Abismo Negro, Mr. Aguila, Heavy Metal, & Juventud Guerrera as members of Team Mexico for Total Nonstop Action’s America’s X-Cup tournament which they would win beating Team America, Team Britain, & Team Canada before advancing to the World X-Cup tournament where this time they were tecnicos trading spots with Team Canada but would fall in the end as Garza would lose in the finals which was an Ultimate X match with Chris Sabin & Petey Williams which Sabin would win in the end. Garza would come back to Mexico afterwards and came back to AAA but not for long as he would get upset with owner Antonio Pena for not paying him what he thought was due him for working in TNA and he decided to make the move that would soon change the face of lucha libre for years to come.
June 25th, 2004 saw Héctor return to EMLL as he would team up with Shigeo Okumura & Tarzan Boy to face his old friend Perro Aguayo Jr./Negro Casas/Mr. Niebla and the angle would begin with Héctor influencing Perrito to turn rudo which he had never done which took place in August with Hijo del Santo being their main protagonist and a new young high flyer named Mistico being Santo’s star pupil. Also at this time, Garza formed a trio with Damian el Terrible & Tarzan Boy called La Furia del Norte which would soon transform into a bigger faction with Perrito called Los Perros del Mal. Garza was still working with TNA at this time as the promotion was really high on him as he would win a 20-man X-Division Gauntlet match beating Frankie Kazarian on the Victory Road PPV on November 7th, 2004 and would get a highly competitive match with Jeff Jarrett who was the NWA World Heavyweight champion at that time on TV which was to set up a big feud in 2005 with the man who he was linked to the most in wrestling circles for the wrong way for the previous 8 years in Scott Hall with a big match scheduled for the Final Resolution PPV on January 16th, 2005 but something happened on the way there. Héctor was arrested in Houston, Texas on January 5th for possession of Deca-Durabolin which is an anabolic steroid, and Primobolan which is a substance used in between cycles which are legal in Mexico but not in the United States. Garza was held on $1,000 bail but he wanted to go to court trying to find a way to be able to still work in the United States. Garza went to court a week later and plead guilty to the charge with the judge sentencing him to 15 days in jail which he had already served 7 of those days waiting for the trial and afterwards he was deported back to Mexico. Garza claimed to the end that he had a legal prescription for the drugs and posed for photos with all the magazines to maintain his innocence saying that the guards were out to humiliate him but the damage was done and wouldn’t return to the United States for another 5 years. Garza also at this time wore and sold t-shirts proclaiming his innocence saying “Si Pepe el Toro es Inocente, Héctor Garza Tambien!” which says If Pepe el Toro is innocent, Héctor Garza is as well!” which is in reference to the film Nosotros los Pobres and the role of Pepe el Toro which was played by the legendary Pedro Infante where he was a carpenter that was wrongly arrested on a murder charge and went to prison where he met the real murderers and fought with them so hard that he popped the eye out of the leader who confessed to the guards that “Pepe el Toro es Inocente.”
With his options in the United States now over, Héctor returned to EMLL on a full-time basis where now Los Perros del Mal had become a powerful entity in the promotion as almost all of the top rudos in the promotion were under their banner before Pierroth and his crew were kicked out leading to Garza volunteering to take on Pierroth in a big hair match at Arena Mexico on August 19th, 2005 which Garza would win. Also at this time, Los Perros were in a big feud with Los Hermanos Dinamitas and on the 72nd Anniversario at Arena Mexico on September 18th, 2005, Garza & Perrito would put their hair up against Mascara Ano Dos Mil & Universo Dos Mil but 3 weeks earlier Garza injured MA2K with a Martinete and the match became a 3-way match but the odds didn’t favor the Perros as Universo would defeat Garza with help from Cien Caras and Pierroth’s valet La Nazi. 2006 & 2007 saw Los Perros del Mal become the most dominant rudo force in the country as they would run roughshot through EMLL and on the independent circuit with their large roster of talent but Los Perros was at it’s core Perrito as Ric Flair and Garza as his Arn Anderson and like all rudo factions the dissension would eventually happen and in February 2008, Garza left the group and returned to his tecnico roots which early on saw bad results for him as he would face his former friend Perrito in a hair match at Arena Mexico on March 21st which was the 2nd and last hair match that Garza would lose.
Garza decided to take some young tecnicos under his wings this time and formed Los Angeles Rebeldes winning the CMLL Trios Titles with Hijo del Fantasma & La Máscara and spent the next two years teaming with all of the major tecnicos against the rudo factions of Los Perros and Los Guerreros del Atlantida. March 2010 saw Garza showing his rudo ways again as he started having issues with his teammates then teamed up with young rudo Pólvora where they would win the 2010 Torneo por la Gran Alternativa over Volador Jr. & Delta. The next week on May 7th, 2010 at Arena Mexico, the Rebeldes had a CMLL Trios Titles defense lined up against La Ola Amarilla (Taichi Ishikari/Shigeo Okumura/Hiroshi Tanahashi) which Garza didn’t approve of and it showed during the match as he turned on his teammates causing them to lose their titles. Garza wasn’t through though as the next week, he turned on Brazo de Plata & Toscano against the new group of outsiders in the promotion in Los Invasores (Alebrije/Histeria/Maniaco) and in a press conference a week later, he was named a co-leader of the faction with old friend Mr. Aguila. Los Invasores had a very solid summer as Aguila & Garza would take the CMLL Tag Titles from La Sombra & Volador Jr. on July 16th, 2010 and held the belts for almost 4 months before losing them to Dragon Rojo & Ultimo Guerrero.
January 4th, 2011 saw Garza make his first tour of Japan in 15 years as earlier he worked for Wrestle And Romance but now he was on the grandest stage as he worked the Wrestle Kingdom show at the Tokyo Dome for New Japan teaming up with Jushin Thunder Liger where they fell to Máscara Dorada and La Sombra. Garza continued leading the Invasores throughout the early part of the year but after coming back from another New Japan tour in July he would again go back to the tecnico side and this time he would go for the CMLL Heavyweight Title which he would win for the first time beating Ultimo Guerrero on August 12th which he would never lose as on November 11th, he called a press conference where he announced he was leaving the promotion and vacating the title to rejoin Los Perros del Mal who by now was working with AAA as well as running their own shows. Garza immediately helped out their fledgling promotion and became a key figure in their war against AAA. Garza would win the Mexican National Heavyweight Title for the 2nd time on February 14th, 2012 after a 6 Way Dance with Perrito, Hijo del Texano, El Mesias, Toscano, & X-Fly but as anyone could see the love affair with Garza & Los Perros wouldn’t last long and sure enough on Triplemania XX on August 5th, his accidental chairshot on Perrito cost him a chance of winning the AAA Mega Heavyweight Title from Dr. Wagner Jr. and at a TV taping 5 days later in Tampico he was promptly destroyed and kicked out of the group.
October 15th, 2012 saw Garza release a statement in the press that he had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and he was retiring from wrestling to focus on the chemotherapy he needed to help beat the cancer and was never seen in public again as he retreated to his home in Monterrey surrounded by friends and family. There were reports going around this year that his health was starting to decline and was noticeably absent from the benefit show that was held for him at Arena Solidaridad on April 21st where at that show his old friend and rival Latin Lover announced his retirement from active competition which combined with Garza’s ailing health in all terms slammed the door on that great era of Monterrey lucha libre.
Héctor Garza was one of the most dynamic luchadores of his era combining all the traits needed to become a star with appeal to reach a broad fanbase as he could make the women howl and scream and the men appreciate just how tough he was by going toe-for-toe with all the greats of his era. He may have been overshadowed by contemporaries such as Perro Aguayo Jr. or Latin Lover but he was extremely important to their successes by being their friend or rival and his career should never be taken lightly.
QEPD “El Queburin”