Former AAA And CMLL Luchador Black Warrior Passes Away

The lucha libre world has awoken today to horrible news. Jesus Toral Lopez, best known as Black Warrior, has passed away at the age of 54. No cause of death is known at this time. Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, both of which Lopez wrestled for during his career, separately confirmed the news earlier this morning. Wrestling Inc. offers condolences to Lopez' family and friends during this difficult time.


"CMLL joins the grief that overwhelms the wrestling family due to the death of Jesús Toral López "Black Warrior", a wrestler who had an outstanding career as part of this organization," CMLL tweeted. "Rest in peace." "The #LuchaLibreAAA family deeply regrets the passing of Black Warrior," AAA tweeted. "We wish prompt resignation for [his] family and friends. #QEPD."

Born on January 7, 1969, Lopez' uncles included luchadores Hector Lopez and CMLL star Blue Panther; he would also later become related to lucha legend Mano Negra, after marrying his daughter. As such, lucha libre has always been in Lopez' blood, and he would make his debut only five days after his 15th birthday, on January 22, 1984. While he worked for AAA, CMLL, and the Universal Wrestling Association (UWA), Lopez struggled to find success, going through several name and gimmick changes from his debut until 1996, when he adopted the Black Warrior gimmick upon joining CMLL full-time. As Warrior, Lopez would become a CMLL mainstay, becoming one of the most popular rudos in the promotion.


Black Warrior's Greatest Rivalry Was With Mistico

Renowned as a trios wrestler, Lopez would win the CMLL World Trios Championship and Mexican National Trios Championship a combined 5 times, each time with different partners. Among the luchadores Lopez won the Trios Titles with were his uncle, Panther, Atlantis, Dr. Wagner Jr., El Canek, Raya de Jalisco Jr., and Volador Jr. He also became known for his "bullet tope suicida," considered by many to be the greatest suicide dive in lucha libre history.


Lopez had singles success as well, including two reigns as NWA World Light Heavyweight Champion and one as NWA World Middleweight Champion. However, the peak of his singles career arguably came in 2006, after he turned rudo (heel) by betraying Mistico. Then a budding star within CMLL, Mistico would later become known to American fans for his run in WWE from 2011 to 2014, working as Sin Cara.

The feud, which has been credited as the catalyst that helped make Mistico the biggest star in lucha libre from 2006 on, culminated in Lopez losing his mask to the then 24-year-old phenom at CMLL's 73 Aniversario. To date, it is considered by many to be one of the most important mask versus mask matches in lucha libre history. Even still, the rivalry never truly died, and nearly 11 years later, Mistico would take Lopez' hair as well in a four-way cage match in Arena Naucalpan on July 23, 2017.


Black Warrior's Death Comes Only A Year After The Death Of His Son

Lopez remained with CMLL until the fall of 2009, but returned in 2011, before leaving again in 2013. Since then, Lopez, under the Warrior name, had continued to work sparingly, making appearances for AAA, Lucha Libre Elite, numerous indies, and later CMLL again, largely in legends matches. Despite his age, Lopez remained a solid performer, and continued to pull off his beloved bullet tope well into his 50s.


Lopez' death comes less than a year after the tragic death of his son, Ramces de Jesus Toral, better known as Warrior Jr. A highly touted prospect who was expected to debut for CMLL in 2021, Toral was rumored to have suffered a spinal injury that led to his death, though a cause has never fully been confirmed. The 24-year-old luchador, who once won the IWRG Intercontinental Tag Titles with Lopez, left behind his wife, Omil Casas, daughter of lucha libre legend Negro Casas, and two children. 

Lopez continued to wrestle even after his son's death, and his last match took place only a month before his own, defeating luchador Vegas at an independent show on December 3, 2022.