Ray Fernandez

Ray Fernandez

Infobox Wrestler
name=Ray Fernandez

names=Hercules Hercules Hernandez The Mighty Hercules Super Invader
Masked Assassin #2
Mr. Wrestling III
weight=convert|275|lb|kg st|abbr=on|lk=on
birth_date = birth date|1956|5|7|mf=y
death_date = death date and age|2004|3|6|1956|5|7
birth_place = Tampa, Florida, United States
trainer=Eddie Sharkey

Raymond Fernandez (May 7, 1956 - March 6, 2004) was a professional wrestler who primarily wrestled in Florida and Texas before joining the World Wrestling Federation. He was best known by the ring name Hercules or variations thereof. Fernandez was also a featured bodybuilder, appearing in several muscle magazines.


Early career

Fernandez started wrestling in 1981 mainly in the Florida and Texas territories as ”Hercules” Hernandez. In 1982, Hercules joined the NWA Central States territory that ran out of Kansas City and promoted shows in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. While in Central States, Hercules teamed up with Dewey Robertson, the future Missing Link and the two won the Central States tag-team championship on two occasions; they beat Mike George and Mark Romero (aka Mark Youngblood) both times. He also held the Central States Television title for a little over 6 months winning the title from and losing the title back to his main rival Mark Romero. [cite book | author=Royal Duncan & Gary Will | title=Wrestling Title Histories | publisher=Archeus Communications | year=4th Edition 2006 | id=ISBN 0-9698161-5-4 ] His two other big feuds in the Central States territory were against Manny Fernandez and Harley Race, the latter being the feud that really garnered Hercules national attention due to Harley Race being a former NWA World Champion. The feud with Harley Race started because Race had an issue with Oliver Humperdink’s House of Humperdink, which Hercules became a part of soon after joining the promotion. One match between the two had the stip ulation that Harley Race would get 5 minutes inside a steel cage with the hated manager if he won. Hernandez was caught using brass knuckles and disqualified which meant that the cage match was on. When the match was about to start, Hercules ran to ringside, knocked Race out (kayfabe), and threw him into the ring with Humperdink. In the end, Race recovered and piledrove Oliver Humperdink on a steel chair (most likely a story created to allow Humperdink to leave the territory). After losing his manager, Hercules did not stay in the Central States Territory for long but instead signed up with Jim Crockett Promotions.

In JCP, Hercules was paired up with Jody Hamilton who had been wrestling as the Masked Assassin; Hercules became the Masked Assassin 2, a gimmick that had been played by several other wrestlers over the years. The two competed at the first ever Starrcade beating the team of Rufus R. Jones and Bugsy McGraw. [cite web| url = http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/usa/wcw/starrcad.html#83 | title = Starrcade Show results | accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = prowrestlinghistory.com] Hercules' run as one of the Assassins ended less than a year later after he was unmasked by Jimmy Valiant.

After being unmasked, Hercules moved on to Bill Watts Mid-South Promotion where he once again put a mask on. Mr. Wrestling II had recently turned on his tag team partner Magnum T.A. and become a heel. Mr. Wrestling II renamed himself simply “Mr. Wrestling” and got a new protégé “Mr. Wrestling II” who was Hercules under a mask (referred to as “Mr. Wrestling III” in magazines to avoid confusing their readers). Hercules seconded Mr. Wrestling in his feud with Magnum T.A. Later on, Hercules unmasked and competed once again as “Hercules “ Hernandez where he would feud with ”Hacksaw” Jim Duggan under the tutelage of Jim Cornette. Hercules would soon join Skandor Akbar’s stable known as Devastation Inc. alongside future WWF co-worker Ted DiBiase. As part of Devastation Inc., Hercules would feud with the Junkyard Dog and Terry Taylor before leaving for Florida.

In “Championship Wrestling from Florida”, Hercules quickly won the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship from Brian Blair and then won the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship from Hector Guerrero the following month; this made him a double champion [#References| [1] . Some time during July 1985, Hercules was fired from the CWF over a dressing room fight with Wahoo McDaniel and stripped of both titles. After leaving Florida, Hercules signed with the World Wrestling Federation.

World Wrestling Federation

Hercules joined the WWF in 1985. His first real national exposure came when he competed at WrestleMania 2 in a losing effort to Ricky Steamboat. [cite web| url = http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/usa/wwf/mania.html#II | title = WrestleMania results | accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = prowrestlinghistory.com] Soon after, he would change his name to the Mighty Hercules, carry a long steel chain as a weapon, and get Bobby Heenan as a manager. In the fall of 1986, Hercules would rekindle a feud with Billy Jack Haynes that went back through every federation the two were ever in together. During the confrontation, Haynes attacked Heenan which led to an altercation between Haynes and Hernandez that saw the chain used as a weapon. The feud culminated at the Pontiac Silverdome at WrestleMania III in a double count out after Haynes applied his full nelson on the floor. After the match, Hercules left Haynes busted wide open with a right punch with his chain.

On November 26, 1986, Hercules got a very publicized shot at the WWF World Heavyweight Title when he faced Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. However, he came up short [cite web| url = http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/usa/wwf/snme.html#8 | title = Saturday Night’s Main Event | accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = prowrestlinghistory.com] in what was arguably the biggest match of Hercules' WWF career.

In the early part of 1988 during an episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Hercules was swinging his chain in the direction of The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior caught the chain, and the two began a tug of war with the chain which led to the steel chain snapping at the middle, with credit being given to the Warrior for snapping the chain. [cite book | author=Brian Shields | title=Main event – WWE in the raging 80s| publisher=Pocket Books| year=4th Edition 2006 | id=ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6 ] This led to their match at WrestleMania IV which ended with Warrior pinning Hercules after kicking off the corner pads and landing on top of Hercules all while trapped in the full nelson. During the fall of 1988, Bobby Heenan sold Hercules' contract to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase; DiBiase claimed that in Hercules, he had now purchased his own slave". This comment got to Hercules who stated that he was owned by no man and turned face to feud with DiBiase.

After the feud with Dibiase ended, Hercules had a series of matches with ”King” Haku. Despite pinning Haku at WrestleMania V, he did not become “King”. Hercules’ career stalled following his feud with Haku. He was mainly used to help push the latest heels such as The Earthquake who squashed him at WrestleMania VI. In the summer of 1990, Hercules turned heel alongside Paul Roma and the two formed Power and Glory managed by Slick. They had a high profile feud with the Rockers and challenged WWF World Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation. Yet despite the fact that the two worked well together as a team, they never seemed to be able to win the “big match” needed to cement themselves as serious players in the tag team division. When the Legion of Doom squashed them in 59 seconds at WrestleMania VII, it was evident that the team was not destined for greatness. After SummerSlam 1991, Roma left the WWF. Hercules spent the rest of his time in the WWF as a "jobber to the stars" to wrestlers such as the Big Boss Man and Sid Justice, and then Intercontinental champion Bret Hart before leaving the federation in early 1992.

Hercules lasted forty minutes in the 1991 Royal Rumble. In 1992, he lasted less than a minute.

After the WWF

After being with the WWF for 7 years, Fernandez signed with World Championship Wrestling. He once again adopted a masked persona, this time as Super Invader, a supposed oriental assassin under the management of former enemy Harley Race. As the Super Invader, he beat Todd Champion at WrestleWar 1992 [cite web| url = http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/usa/wcw/w-war.html#92 | title = WrestleWAr results | accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = prowrestlinghistory.com] and beat Marcus Bagwell in a dark match before the Great American Bash 1992 PPV. The highlight of his run as the Super Invader was his appearance at teaming with Rick Rude, Jake Roberts, and Big Van Vader in an elimination tag team match against Sting, Nikita Koloff, and the Steiner Brothers. Although Sting eliminated him early, Fernandez's team won the match. By the end of 1993, Ray Fernandez had left WCW and started to compete on the independent circuit.

One of the federations he worked for was New Japan Pro Wrestling where he appeared as “Hercules” Hernandez once more, mainly teaming with fellow power house wrestler Scott Norton to form The Jurassic Powers. The team would win the IWGP World Tag Team Championship from the Hell Raisers (Hawk Warrior & Power Warrior) and hold them for about 4 months before losing them back to the Hell Raisers at NJPW’s January 4 Dome Show (NJPW’s biggest annual event) [cite web| url = http://puroresufan.com/njpw/results94.php | title = StrongStyle Spirit: NJPW Results from 1994 | accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = puroresufan.com] . While holding the titles the Jurassic Powers successfully defended against teams such as Takayuki Iizuka & Akira Nogami, Masa Saito, & Manabu Nakanishi, and the Barbarian & Haku. The team also had a series of matches with the Steiner Brothers and made it to the finals of the 1993 Super Grade Tag League where they lost to Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase [cite web| url = http://puroresufan.com/njpw/results93.php | title = StrongStyle Spirit: NJPW Results from 1993| accessmonthday = 04-03| accessyear = 2007| author = puroresufan.com]

In 1994, he wrestled in the American Wrestling Federation promotion taking part in the tournament to crown the first AWF champion. In 1999, Hercules decided to end his career after working for various independent promotions all over the world.

Fernandez died in his sleep in his home on March 6, 2004. The cause of death was attributed to heart disease according to Fernandez's wife.cite web
url = http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20040312/ai_n10950193
title = Ray Fernandez
accessdate = 2007-03-07
author =Millwaukee Journal Sentinel
date = 2004-03-12

In wrestling

Finishing and signature moves:*Backbreaker rack :*Full nelson:*Powerbomb:*Backbreaker:*Half nelson choke
*With Paul Roma:*"Power-Plex" (Superplex by Hernandez followed by a diving splash by Roma)Managers
*Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
*Harley Race
*Jim Cornette
*Skandor Akbar
*Percy Pringle
*Freddie Blassie

Championships and accomplishments

*Central States Wrestling:*NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Dewey Robertson:*NWA Central States Television Championship (1 time)

*Championship Wrestling from Florida:*NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (2 times):*NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

*Independent Association of Wrestling:*IAW Heavyweight Championship (1 time):*IAW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Paul Roma

*International Wrestling Federation:*IWF Can-Am Championship (1 time)

*Mid-South Wrestling Association:*Mid-South Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Ted DiBiase

*New Japan Pro Wrestling:*IWGP Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Scott Norton

*Pro Wrestling Illustrated:*(PWI) ranked him #220 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.


External links

* [http://slick.org/deathwatch/mailarchive/msg01297.html Ray "Hercules" Fernandez deathwatch entry]
* [http://armpitwrestling.com/Pick-My-Brain/Pick-My-Brain-Nichole-Rae-Fernandez.htm Pick My Brain interview with Hercules' daughter, Nichole Rae Fernandez]

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