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RIP Villano III


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From WO's story:

Arturo Diaz Mendoza, best known as Villano III, passed away today at the age of 66.

Diaz was considered one of the biggest stars in the history of Lucha Libre, and was the son of Hall of Famer Rey Mendoza.

Mendoza's sons all used the Villano name, and he was Villano III because he followed his two older brothers into pro wrestling in 1970.

Arturo was considered the best wrestler in the family and the second biggest star, behind his father.

He was one of the biggest stars and top draws during the mid-70s and 80s run of the UWA promotion, where he held World titles as a junior heavyweight, junior light heavyweight, light heavyweight. and welterweight.

He was actually best known for his run as WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, a title that was never defended in the WWF, but was a major title within the UWA as well as New Japan Pro Wrestling.

His mask match loss to Atlantis on March 17, 2000, is generally considered one of the greatest matches in Lucha Libre history. It was voted Match of the Year in the 2000 Wrestling Observer awards, which is even more impressive since it is the only match in Mexico ever to win that award.

Prior to the loss to Atlantis, he had retained his mask in at least 58 consecutive matches, which has to be among the most wins of that type in Lucha Libre history. Among the people he retained his mask over were Colosso Colosett, El Medico, Babe Face, El Signo, Alberto Munoz, El Texano, Perro Aguayo, Rambo, Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit), and Super Astro. When the top junior heavyweights from around the world came to the UWA, like Benoit and Owen Hart, Villano III was used as their Mexican rival because he had both the big name and the technical ability to work with them and have some of the best matches at El Toreo of the era.

While not voted in, Villano III has come close to being voted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame almost every year.

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He hadn't been in good health for a while, and he had a match at Triplemania in 2015 that was Heroes of Wrestling territory bad due to the state of everyone involved. 

cubsfan made a good point in his bio that guys from his era that did his style on the infamously concrete-esque lucha rings of the 70s/80s ended up in pretty bad shape. 

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1 hour ago, Charles (Loss) said:

If anyone is interested, I put together a YouTube playlist of the entire 2000 feud with Atlantis as it played out on television, along with links to discussion of all of those matches here at PWO: 

As if there wasn't enough out there to watch, yeesh... :)

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1 hour ago, Charles (Loss) said:

If anyone is interested, I put together a YouTube playlist of the entire 2000 feud with Atlantis as it played out on television, along with links to discussion of all of those matches here at PWO: 

 

Sad news indeed. He's those guys along with Blue Panther that gave me a greater appreciation for Lucha. Big props to you Loss for posting his feud with Atlantis, definitely check it out. 

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