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[Deathwatch] Ray "Hercules Hernandez" Fernandez, wrestler, 46

Thanks to a reader for sending this obit.  BTW, different stories have
different ages (46/47) - Ed.

'Hercules' Hernandez dies
By JOHN POWELL -- Co-producer, SLAM! Wrestling

Hercules Hernandez

Former WWE and WCW superstar Raymond Hernandez, (AKA: ?Hercules?
Hernandez) passed away in his sleep Friday night. He was 46.

Though Hernandez had notable success in many promotions during the
early eighties, most fans will remember him as the chain-swinging
backbone of Bobby Heenan?s heel stable in the WWE. Although Hernandez
never achieved main event status there, the muscle-bound powerhouse was
a solid mainstay of the promotion making his presence felt in
WrestleManias 2 through 7.

Hernandez began his career in 1982, primarily wrestling in Florida and
Texas. At that time, he was managed by Sir Oliver Humperdink. The
highlight of his tenure being his feud with wrestling legend Harley

Teamed with Canadian Dewey Robertson, Hernandez won the Central States
Tag Team Championship. The switch to tag team wrestling was beneficial
to Hernandez who would be the backbone of many teams throughout his
professional life in pro wrestling.

In an interview at the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame dinner in Blasdell,
NY Saturday night, Robertson recalled Hernandez arrived in Kansas City,
with only ski boots to wear in the ring. Promoter Bob Geigel tried to
discourage Robertson from helping Hernandez, especially leading the
match when they fought in the ring, a role traditionally expected of
the babyface.

Moving on to the Mid-South area, Hernandez fell under the tutelage of
Mr. Wrestling II. Later, Hernandez joined forces with his future WWE
stablemate - Ted Dibiase - to form the Devastation Inc. The team was
managed by General Skandor Akbar.

In the mid-eighties, Hernandez joined the WWE and in his first
appearance at a WrestleMania (WrestleMania 2), he battled veteran Ricky
?The Dragon? Steamboat. By the time WrestleMania 3 rolled around,
Hernandez had made his mark in the promotion and was elevated to a
prominent feud with face Billy Jack Haynes over who had the deadlier
full nelson finisher. The feud culminated in a memorable and bloody
Chain Match at the broadcast. From there, Hernandez was positioned as
the strongman to beat. He was booked in feuds with The Ultimate
Warrior, Earthquake and other ?big men?. His persona getting a bit
moldy in that role, Hernandez was repackaged in a tag team with Paul
Roma as ?Power and Glory?.

Having not won a heavyweight title of any kind in the WWE, Hernandez
moved on to World Championship Wrestling in the early nineties in a
brief stint as the masked Super Invader managed by his one-time foe,
Harley Race. Hernandez then teamed up with another strongman - Scott
Norton - and put together the ?Jurassic Powers? tag team in the IWGP
promotion in Japan. The team beat The Hellraisers to win the tag team
titles there.

Details of the funeral arrangements for Hernandez will be forthcoming
in the next few days. 

Tue, Mar. 09, 2004

Wrestling star Ray "Hercules Hernandez" Fernandez dies at Tampa home

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Former wrestling star Ray "Hercules Hernandez" Fernandez,
known for donning chains around his neck while wrestling for the World
Wrestling Federation in the mid-1980s, has died. He was 47.

Fernandez did in his sleep Saturday at his home in Tampa. The 6-foot-2,
280-pound Fernandez started wrestling in the early '80s when a scout
saw him and recruited him for the WWF. Fernandez joined New Pro Japan
Wrestling in the 1990s and toured the world.

"It was great! We went to matches and took friends, meeting people like
Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and Brett Hart," said Fernandez's oldest
daughter, Nichole, 25. "I was very proud that after all these years,
people remember who he was."

Fernandez, the father of six, died of heart disease, said his wife,

Frequently recognized by fans, Fernandez's family said he preferred to
live as a "simple Tampa guy who never took himself to be as big a star
as he was," Debbie Fernandez said.

Fernandez regularly talked to students about staying in school and
avoiding drugs. He also visited terminally ill children in hospitals.

"He would say, `I'm nobody compared to these kids. They're always
smiling and happy no matter what,'" Debbie Fernandez said.