The Tragic Story Of Perro Aguayo Jr.

At its best, professional wrestling plays host to some of the greatest storylines and aspects of entertainment out there, but not one promotion within the theater of sports entertainment is without its real-life tragedies. Some of these tragedies are so horrible, they involve the loss of a wrestler's life. Even more tragic, there have been instances where this happened in the ring, in front of fans, with other performers involved, leaving a lasting impact on those still with us.

In one of these instances, Pedro Aguayo Ramírez, who wrestled as El Hijo del Perro Aguayo and Perro Aguayo Jr. in promotions such as Asistencia, Asesoría y Administración de Espectáculos (AAA), Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), and even in a promotion of his own creation, Perros del Mal (the name of a wrestling stable he performed in), was a victim of one of these tragedies.

Aguayo Jr. died at just 35 years old after what can be described as a "freak accident" when he took a blow from Rey Mysterio in the ring during a match in Tijuana, Mexico on March 21, 2015. After the hit, the match continued for a few minutes before the referee realized something was wrong. Aguayo was taken to a local hospital, where he later died. Staff attempted to revive the star for an hour and a half, to no avail. It was later revealed by the official doctor for the Tijuana Wrestling Commission that Aguayo Jr. died from a heart attack that was brought on by a cervical stroke, suffered due to a broken neck.

Who Was Perro Aguayo Jr.?

Perro Aguayo Jr. was the son of Mexican wrestling legend Perro Aguayo, who helped found the promotion AAA in 1992. Aguayo Jr. debuted in the ring at just 15 years old in 1995, and frequently teamed with his father. In his June 1995 debut, he lost to Juventud Guerrera in an "Olympic Rules" match at TripleMania III-B. Aguayo Jr. and his father won the Mexican National Tag Team Championship twice. He created his first stable with three other young luchadors known as Los Junior Atómico. After taking multiple losses, the group disbanded and Aguayo Jr. began to team with Místico, the original Sin Cara in WWE, with whom he won the Mexican National Tag Team Championship.

Aguayo Jr. competed in AAA for eight years, then headed to CMLL in summer 2003, initially as a face to team with Negro Casas. Having often competed as a heel, Aguayo Jr. didn't exactly win the crowd's adoration, so the company turned him back to the darkside, a switch that would occur several times. His father also often made appearances throughout his time with CMLL, including during Aguayo Jr.'s feuds with Universo 2000 and El Hijo del Santo. His final feud with CMLL, in his first run, was against Héctor Garza, which ended in a hair-versus-hair match that saw Aguayo Jr. win with a low blow.

Aguayo started his own stable during his time in CMLL known as Perros del Mal. Over the years, the stable featured former WCW stars such as Damian 666, Halloween, and Hector Garza, and current AEW stars Penta El Zero Miedo and Taya Valkyrie. Perros del Mal, or "The Dogs of Evil," had a motto of "Dios perdona, los Perros no" ("God forgives, the Dogs don't.").

Perros del Mal: The Promotion

In October 2008, Aguayo Jr. left CMLL to start his own promotion, named after his group, which was the most high-profile heel stable within the promotion. Perros del Mal's first show was held in Mexico City in 2008, competing against a CMLL show running in the same area. Perros del Mal debuted its "Perros del Mal Championship" at the 2009 Lucha Libre Expo, but did not crown their first champion until 2010. Other championships within the company included the Perros del Mal Extremo Championship, Perros del Mal Light Heavyweight Championship, and the Perros del Mal Mini Championship. The Mexican National Heavyweight Championship was also defended within the promotion as well.

The promotion had an open-door policy, where wrestlers could come and perform, but go wrestle elsewhere as they pleased, and many wrestlers who had also left CMLL as well as AAA came to work with the promotion. There were rumors Perros del Mal would work with CMLL, with the stable acting as "an invading force," but nothing ever came from that, until it was announced the stable would be appearing at Triplemanía XVIII in 2010.

In 2010, Perros del Mal began using AAA wrestlers, as a part of their working agreement. Talent who would often appear included Héctor Garza, El Ángel, Black Warrior, La Medussa, Super Crazy, Booker T, Violento Jack, and many, many more. Aguayo Jr. and the rest of Perros del Mal left their own promotion in 2010 to debut once again in AAA. Aguayo Jr. stayed with AAA up until the time of his death. His Perros del Mal promotion became inactive in 2015, the year of its creator's death.

Previous Health Issues

Prior to the tragic incident in the ring involving Mysterio, Aguayo Jr. suffered other serious health issues. According to, Aguayo Jr. underwent surgery in April 2011 in Guadalajara to remove a tumor from his stomach. The luchador had reportedly gone to the hospital in extreme pain prior to surgery, and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after it was found he had a "golf-ball-sized" tumor that needed to be removed immediately. The Perros del Mal stable held a press conference while Aguayo Jr. was in the hospital, and even provided x-rays of the tumor to the press.

Aguayo was moved to a hospital in Mexico City for treatment before finally being released, but would have to receive treatment for the following year. He held a press conference to discuss his health issues that May. He said he actually initially believed the problem to be a broken rib and only found out about the tumor, which was cancerous, at the hospital. Aguayo Jr. said he had surgery to remove the tumor, and that a full recovery was expected.

During the press conference, Aguayo Jr. had to dispel rumors he was hospitalized for drug and alcohol abuse, and that his surgery was a lie by showing his surgical scar. Per, Aguayo Jr. was set to return to the ring just six days later at another show in Mexico, but had to pull out due to issues with medications. He would actually return to the ring a month after surgery, feuding with top technicos, and seemingly did not suffer any adverse effects of the tumor in the years prior to his death.

A Tragic Day In Mexican Wrestling

The tragic event that led to the death of Aguayo Jr. took place the day of March 21, 2015, in a municipal auditorium in Tijuana, Mexico for CRASH Lucha Libre, an independent promotion. Aguayo Jr., who teamed with then-TNA star Manik, was involved in the match with Rey Mysterio, and Extreme Tiger (Tigre Uno). In a YouTube video that still exists of the match, Mysterio can be seen hitting Aguayo Jr. with a hurricarana, knocking him outside the ring. When Aguayo Jr. gets back in, Mysterio knocks him into the ropes with a dropkick, setting him up for the 619.

Aguayo Jr. visibly slumps on the ropes before Mysterio hits the maneuver. When the 619 connects, Aguayo Jr. doesn't sell the move at all and remains slumped over and Mysterio seems confused looking on in the ring. The match continued on for almost two minutes, with Mysterio hitting a 619 to another opponent with Aguayo Jr. still knocked out beneath the ropes. The referee finally realizes how injured the star is, and stops the match. Former wrestler, Konnan, is seen on video shaking Aguayo Jr. several times in an attempt to revive him. EMTs were reportedly late to arrive ringside, as they were tending to other wrestlers who had been injured earlier in the night. According to CBS News, the luchador was taken to a hospital a block away from the auditorium. He was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m.

Following the tragic accident, Baja California state prosecutors opened an investigation into possible manslaughter in Aguayo's death. While no charges were ever filed in the investigation, Mysterio and the other wrestlers in the ring at the time were called to answer questions. Juan Carlos Pelayo, the Tijuana Wrestling Commission's president, told the Los Angeles Times there was no negligence in Aguayo's death. CRASH had two ambulances, five paramedics, and a doctor on hand at the time, according to the Times.

A Wrestling Family Tragedy

The tragedy of Aguayo Jr.'s passing shook his family, wrestling blood in their veins, to a great extent. Aguayo Sr., who often teamed with his son, retired officially from the ring in 2008, but many of his last matches were fought beside his son. One of the team's highlights before the elder Aguayo retired was a hair-versus hair match in Arena Mexico, defeating Cien Caras & Mascara Año 2000. Aguayo Jr. was buried in the days following the tragic accident in Guadalajara. His father, Aguayo Sr, did not speak at the funeral, barely addressed the public following his son's death, and died himself four years later in 2019. In 2016, Aguayo Sr. finally spoke out on the death of his son.

"I gave my life, my effort, everything to lucha libre, and lucha libre took the most important thing to me, my son," he said. "I don't want to talk about it to anyone, because I don't know how I would explain it." Aguayo Jr.'s mother released a statement as the debate around the medical team's response continued in the fallout. The Aguayo family also asked fans to not blame Mysterio, who was asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral and attended without his mask.

"We, as relatives of Pedro, want to thank all of you for the affection and respect you have shown for Pedro, and you will understand that we are in no condition to comment with respect to the death of Pedro," Luz Ramirez, Aguayo Jr.'s mother, said in a statement provided by the Daily Mail.

Post-Tragedy Fallout

"When we get into the ring, we give ourselves and our best to our public. A real accident happened ... I ask you with my heart for a prayer that God protect him," Mysterio said when he addressed the crowd as paramedics were tending to Aguayo Jr. Mysterio opened up about Aguayo Jr.'s death to Sports Illustrated in June 2015, with the outlet writing Mysterio "got choked up" when hearing his name. He said that the world had lost the greatest superstar Mexico had ever seen.

"When I meet great people in this industry, I like to let them know they are great human beings. Perro was definitely one of them. He was so warm-hearted, kind, and respectful," Mysterio told Sports Illustrated. In an interview with Playboy a year later, Mysterio revealed more about the final conversation he had with Aguayo Jr. He said they spoke about family life, and a recent match they had in Guadalajara. "I told him, 'You blew my mind. You are on another level,'" Mysterio said. "That was the last thing I told him before we went out to the ring."

Current AEW star Pentagon Jr. also spoke about Aguayo's passing in 2016 in an interview with Tag Rope Wrestling. He said Aguayo's death was a "major loss" because he felt that Aguayo was like his father in pro wrestling. "He did so much for me in Mexico. I've made a promise to him and his memory to become the great great, luchador that I know he wanted me to be and to follow the mission that he had for me," he said. 

Aguayo Jr.'s Memory Lives On

The legacy of Aguayo Jr. lives on even after his death. AAA aired an hour-long tribute to the luchador following his passing. Lucha Underground also paid respect to Aguayo, with a ten-bell salute. Vampiro, Konnan, and El Hijo del Fantasma all spoke about Aguayo during the show. Years later, in 2021, a Japanese offshoot stable of Los Perros del Mal was formed, known as Los Perros del Mal de Japon. The stable lasted a year, featuring former members Super Crazy and Texano Jr.

March 2023 marked eight years since the death of Aguayo Jr., and his memory is still very much alive across the wrestling world. CMLL paid tribute to Aguayo Jr., taking time to remember the AAA Hall of Famer on social media. Místico, who returned to his original ring name in CMLL after departing WWE, wore a silver Perros del Mal mask to the ring for a match in tribute to his friend and rival. 

"Requiem for a great rival," CMLL posted to X (formerly Twitter) alongside photos. "Místico appeared with a mask to remember one of his greatest rivals (El Hijo del Perro Aguayo) 8 years after his departure." Pedro Aguayo Ramírez will be remembered as one of the most influential luchadors across all promotions, from AAA to CMLL, and was taken too soon from the wrestling world.