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Huracán Ramírez

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Huracán Ramírez (Spanish for "Hurricane Ramirez") was the ring name Mexican luchador enmascarado, or masked professional wrestler Daniel García Arteaga (April 9, 1926 – October 31, 2006). García was neither the first, nor the last wrestler to work under the name "Huracán Ramírez", but was given the name in 1952, based on the popularity of the Lucha film Huracán Ramírez. During his career his true identity was a closely guarded secret except to the closest family and friends, more closely guarded that any other luchador of that period. Following his retirement the "Huracán Ramírez" name and mask has been used by others, primarily because García did not own the rights to the name and the mask.

García, as Huracán Ramírez, was considered one of the most talented luchadors of his time and one of the most iconic luchadors of all time alongside wrestlers such as Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras. He invented and popularized a move called the/la Huracarrana, a move that is now commonly used by smaller, high flying professional wrestlers all over the world. During his career he worked as Huracán Ramírez in at least five of the eight movies in the Huracán Ramírez movie series, starting with the second one in 1962. He also played the part of Santo in a biographical movie produced by Santo's son El Hijo del Santo.

Professional wrestling career

García's family finally allowed him to become a professional wrestler after having trained for it for years, letting him follow in the footsteps of his older brothers. He started out as the enmascarado (masked) character El Buitre Blanco (The White Vulture), a rudo character (wrestlers who portray the bad guys), the only time in his career that he worked as a rudo. He would at times also work as the unmasked "Chico García" ("Kid García"), named after his boyish looks.

Huracán Ramírez (1953–1987)

He actually had a small, uncredited part in the 1952 movie Huracán Ramírez where he played both Buitre Blanco and "Chico García" in some of the wrestling scenes. When the wrestler who played the "Huracán Ramírez" role, Eduardo Bonada, wanted to stop wrestling under a mask the Rodríguez' decided to quietly audition for a new wrestler to take over the mask, the audition included a number of wrestlers such as Octavio Gaona, Jr., Memo Rubio, Marco Carta and García. The older Rodríguez picked García due to his high flying skills, while his son wanted to go with Marco Carta. In the end García was given the character, he did not have to pay the Rodríguez for use of the character but he was also not entitled to any of the proceeds from the movie or any merchandise the Rodríguez family sold. He was formally introduced as "Huracán Ramírez" in 1953, working a match in Mexico City against one of the top rudos of the time El Medico Asesino. García's smooth, high flying wrestling style quickly earned him the name El Príncipe de Seda ("The Silk Prince") and it including popularizing a move that became known as the Huracarrana, or Hurricanrana in English speaking countrie, named after the character. His style of wrestling was so unconventional that fans often commented that he did not actually known how to wrestle, just jump around in the ring. Which lead García to adopt a ground based wrestling style to prove that he COULD wrestle, he just chose to work a different style. By the early 1960s García had become synonymous with the character, making the "wrestling character" so popular that the Rodríguez decided to produce more "Huracán Ramírez" movies, this time with García performing the wrestling part. From 1962 to 1973 García appeared in five "Huracán Ramírez" movies. Two movies produced later on focusing on a boxing character called El Torrito did feature the "Huracán Ramírez" in a minor role, but Daniel García has indicated that he did not actually wear the mask for those movies. Due to his wrestling style and the popularity of the film series Huracán Ramírez became on of the top tecnicos in Empressa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL; later known as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) at the time, regularly working against some of the top rudos such as Medico Asesino, Ray Mendoza, El Solitario, El Enfermero, Karloff Lagarde, René Guajardo, Coloso Colosetti, Dorrell Dixon, Murciélago Velázquez and El Santo. Following El Santo's tecnico turn in 1963 the two formed a regular tag team inside the ring and became lifelong friends outside the ring.

García was one of the first wrestlers ever, and the first Mexican born wrestler, to fight against a boxer, defeating a French boxer known as El Tigre Francés in a scripted match. One of his major victories came on June 12, 1964 when he defeated the masked Espectro III ("Ghost 3") in a Luchas de Apuesta, or "bet match" where the loser of the match would be forced to unmask. Following his loss Espectro III removed his mask and revealed that his real name was Luis Miguel Vázquez Bernat. He won the Mexican National Welterweight Championship from Rizado Ruiz on April 3, 1965. A couple of months later he added another championship to his list of accomplishments as he won the NWA World Welterweight Championship from Karloff Lagarde. The title match was just one of many matches the two would have over the years as they developed a long running rivalry. García would win two additional championships, although documentation is unclear on which, but he was promoted as a "Four belt Champion" during one of his many international tours, a claim that was legitimate. He lost the NWA Welterweight title back to Lagarde on September 24, 1965. He lost the Mexican National Welterweight Championship to Alberto Muñoz on February 2, 1966. In 1968 he defeated El Enfermero in a Luchas de Apuestas match, forcing El Enfermero to remove his white mask and announce that his real name was Antonio Navarro Camargo. He regained the Mexican National Welterweight Championship in 1969 and would trade it back and forth with Karloff Lagarde as their rivalry stretched into 1972 and beyond. Over the years he participated and won a number of Luchas de Apuestas matches, winning the mask of wrestlers Halcón de Oro, Moloch, Halcón Dorado, Scorpio, La Tarántula, Blue Angelo, Cadaver II, La Sombra and Los Hermanos Muerte (I and II). He also won the hair of several unmasked wrestlers, defeating Carnicero Grimaldo, Delfin, Espectro I and El Greco in Luchas de Apuestas matches.

Over the years García traveled all over the world and wrestled as Huracán Ramírez, including Japan, the United States of America, Europe and a lot of tours of South America including such countries as Guatemala, Panama, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. In some countries such as Ecuador and Bolivia Huracán Ramírez was more popular and more well known than even El Santo. In 1969 he worked a tour of Bolivia free of charge, drawing crowds to a series of shows benefiting the victims of a September 26, 1969 plane crash that killed all 74 passengers and crew, including an entire team from the Bolivian first division soccer club. During the benefit tour García was introduced to his future wife. In 1974 wrestling promoter Francisco Flores broke away from EMLL to form his own company called Lucha Libre Internacional, later known as the Universal Wrestling Association. Huracán Ramírez was one of the first wrestlers he signed to a contract, using the popularity of the character to establish the company. Over the years Huracán Ramírez regularly teamed with El Santo, as well as with Rayo de Jalisco for trios matches. The trio of Ramírez, Santo and Rayo de Jalisco was wrestling against Los Misioneros de la Muerte ("The Missionaries of Death"; El Signo, El Texano Negro Navarro) when Santo had a heart attack during the match. It was only through García quick actions and medical assistance that El Santo survived the day. The same heart condition would later take El Santo's life and when he was buried (in his silver mask) García, wearing the Huracán Ramírez mask was one of his pall beares.

Character controversy

While García spent over 30 years wrestling as "Huracán Ramírez" and had become synonymous with the character he did not actually hold the rights to the name, thus was not able to personally pass the character on to a second generation "Huracán Ramírez" in the way Santo had passed his legacy on to his son El Hijo del Santo and Blue Demon passed his name on to adopted son Blue Demon, Jr. The rights to the name was at the time owned by Jose Rodriguez Mas, son of the producer of the original Huracán Ramírez movie. At the time García and Mas were close friends, so close that García offered his services for a new photo-montage-style comic book about Huracán Ramírez for free in exchange for a share of the profits. When the comic book became a big success García approached Rodriguez Mas for his share of the profits, but were denied. After a heated argument Rodriguez Mas threatened to take the Huracán Ramírez character away from García. Unhappy with the situation and the threat García actually unmasked during a couple of local shows, something that was virtually unheard of in Lucha Libre, an active competitor unmasking voluntarily. The move did not convince Rodriguez Mas to share the profits with García, in fact he stated that he wanted a younger wrestler to take over the "Huracán Ramírez" character. The threat prompted García to take action the very next night. During a show García walked to the ring, removed the mask and showed the fans in the audience and the photographers at ringside his face and revealing his name. The move ensured that the name "Huracán Ramírez" would be forever linked to Daniel García and was a big part of the reason why subsequent efforts to give someone else the name failed to catch the favor of the fans.

Retirement and death

The decades of in-ring wrestling took their toll on Daniel García; he had several back surgeries after his retirement, he suffered from four herniated discs and a narrowing of the lumbar channel. On October 31, 2006, Daniel García Arteaga died from a heart attack at the age of 80. Following his death, there was an outpouring of sympathy and tributes from wrestlers and fans all over the world.

Personal life

Daniel García Arteaga was born on April 9, 1926 in Mexico City's El barrio bravo de Tepito district to Juan García and Encarnación Arteaga de García. Daniel was the fifth of six sons all together, Arturo, Rodolfo, Guillermo, Juan, Daniel and Miguel. His mother's family had a long history in Amateur wrestling and a large number of people from Tepito became well known boxers or martial artists. Three of his older brothers became professional wrestlers, Arturo was known under the ring name "La Panter Roja" ("The Red Panther") and later "El Catedrático", Rodolfo wrestled as "Rudy García" and Guillermo worked under the name El Demonio Rojo ("The Red Demon"). Originally Daniel García tried to become a full-time boxer, but due to his small stature he was never successful.

García met his wife to be Eulalia Fernández during a tour of Bolivia in 1969, moving with García to Mexico City after their marriage where she would work at the Bolivian Embassy in Mexico City for many years. Together they had the daughters Sandra and Karla García Fernández. The couple's youngest daughter Karla is married to professional wrestler Axxel, the grandson of El Santo who was one of García's closes friends.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
  • Nicknames
  • El Príncipe de Seda ("The Silk Prince")

Championships and accomplishments

  • Mexican Northern Middleweight Championship (1 time)

Lucha de Apuesta record

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Mask Huracán Ramírez Halcón de Oro Unknown Unknown
Mask Huracán Ramírez Moloch Mexico City 01955-06-14June 14, 1955
Mask Huracán Ramírez Halcón Dorado Peru 01959-01-011959
Hair Huracán Ramírez Carnicero Grimaldo Guatemala 01962-08-01August 1962
Mask Huracán Ramírez Espanto III Mexico City 01964-06-12June 12, 1964
Mask Huracán Ramírez Scorpio Mexico City 01965-12-10December 10, 1965
Mask Huracán Ramírez El Enfermero Mexico City 01968-04-26April 26, 1968
Mask Huracán Ramírez La Tarántula Guatemala 01972-06-01June 1972
Hair Huracán Ramírez Delfin Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas 01974-01-27January 27, 1974
Hair Huracán Ramírez Espectro I Pachuca, Hidalgo 01974-04-29April 29, 1974
Mask Huracán Ramírez Blue Angelo Mexico City 01974-07-24July 24, 1974
Mask Huracán Ramírez Cadaver II Tlalnepantla de Baz 01975-03-30March 30, 1975
Mask Huracán Ramírez La Sombra Mexico City 01975-07-16July 16, 1975
Hair Huracán Ramírez El Greco Cuautitlán, Mexico State 01975-07-29July 29, 1975
Masks Rayo de Jalisco and Huracán Ramírez Los Hermanos Muerte (I and II) Unknown 01978-09-17September 17, 1978

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