If there was one wrestler that in my opinion is one of the biggest what if’s in the Wrestling business, I would definitely say Gino Hernandez. When I was staring to learn more about history of pro wrestling that there were many that said Gino could have been a top name in the business. I watched many of his promos and matches he did and my goodness he was a fantastic. He could have easily been one of the faces of the business and would have definitely worked with the WWE. So I watched Vice’s Dark Side of the Ring documentary on Gino Hernandez and I learned many things that I did not know about. So, I thought why not give a list of the 10 things in this documentary that learned while watching it.
10. Gino Hernandez was a Second Generation Wrestler
I got to learn a lot about Gino in this documentary, and what I did not know was that he was a second generation superstar. His Stepfather was Luis Hernandez and he actually wanted to be a part of the business due to him. I honestly never heard of Luis Hernandez until watching this documentary. Gino even started to wrestle professionally at the age of 17 to follow his footsteps.
9. He had a few dates with Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett was a very popular actress during the 70’s and 80’s. She would star in multiple shows including Charlie’s Angeles, The Burning Bed, and Small Sacrifices. There was a promo where Gino Hernandez was taking about his date with Fawcett, thus proving how gorgeous he was. The photos that he showed also kind of looked fake to the camera. Well it turns out that photo was actually real. Gino’s mother Patrice confirmed that Gino and Farrah did have a few dates. They did not have a long relationship, but they did go out with each other which I could not believe. I thought it was Kayfabe, but it turned out to be reality.
8. Gino was Extremely Paranoid in his Final Days.
One of the best parts about this documentary is that we actually got hear from the family of Gino Hernandez. Especially, from his mother Patrice who was all over this documentary.
So Patrice tells the story about the last time she saw Gino Alive. It was around Super Bowl Sunday in 1986 and Gino was in a hurry like he always was. But something was truly off about Gino as he was more paranoid. He came in with this small box and placed it somewhere in her house and was a nervous wreck. Patrice even revealed that Gino was never nervous and paranoid about anything normally. Gino soon left as like I said earlier he was in a hurry. Now, nobody knows what was in that box and it was never reveal in the documentary, which was a bit strange. Whether it was that he felt threatened by somebody or was high on drugs, something happened.
But this is not the only story of how bad his paranoia was in his final days. David Manning even had a story where Gino stormed into his office and asked for any contacts he had of buying a gun. Hernandez kept saying that somebody was stalking and following him.
7. The discovery of Gino Hernandez Body
Now when this was just crazy to me as when they talked about the discovery of Gino’s body. So there were two big bookings that involved Gino Hernandez and he rarely if ever misses a booking to an event.
Jeannie Williams was neighbors with Gino. One day, she noticed Gino’s car was parked at a weird angle and it never moved for a few days. Which was very odd as Gino loved that car. So this got Jeannie to check on Gino and she was knocking on his door. Of course no answer, but she noticed a pie that he had recently bought was still out in plain sight. Gino told Jeannie one night that she could come over and have a slice of pie that was going to be in the fridge. Gino left the pie on the table before Jeannie left. So a day passes and the same pie was never moved or put in that fridge which is of course a red flag and it got Jeannie worried.
With David Manning, he was the Booker/referee of WCCW a promotion Gino was working with. Manning got a call from two people saying that Gino never made his bookings, which like I said earlier was very off as Gino was known to never miss a booking. So David sent an employee to Gino’s apartment to check on him and heard nothing. So the employee jumped over the wall and peeked in the back door. That is where he saw Gino body lying on the floor. So he called the police and apparently, he was lying dead for around 4-5 days and that there was a gun also at the scene by his body. That is just unbelievable and I could not believe that was how they discovered Gino’s body.
6. His Autopsy had multiple errors
Now the documentary discusses Gino’s autopsy report and there were a lot of notable errors made. The first error was that Gino was listed that he was an overweight male. Which of course is not the case as he was a professional wrestler and he was in amazing shape. Second error was that they listed him as a Mexican/Hispanic which is not true. The third error was that Gino was listed as an uncircumcised male, well according to Gino’s mother and ex wife they revealed that he was circumcised. It was very fishy with some of the details in this autopsy report and I don’t blame Gino’s family for questioning whether that was him or not. It gets worse as….
5. Gino had 5 times the Amount of Cocaine in his Body to Overdose.
I contemplated putting this in with the last point, but this left me stunned when I heard this. While the medical examiner was discussing Gino’s death, apparently he had 5 times the amount of cocaine in his body to overdose. Which is just insane to think about how Gino was able to get that amount of drugs in his body. In fact, that amount of cocaine in Gino’s system would be enough to kill an elephant. Even the medical examiner was perplexed and told Bruce Pritchard (another promoter) that he doesn’t know how that amount of cocaine could get in his system.
4, There was No Cocaine At The Crime Scene
So in the documentary they were talking more about the Crime Scene and Gino’s drug habit. With the large amount of cocaine in his body, there had to be more cocaine at the crime scene. Well apparently according to reports, the Police could not find any cocaine at all in his apartment. Which just does not make any sense knowing how deep he was with top cocaine drug runners (Oh we will get to that).
Plus with Gino’s bad drug habit, there had to be more in that apartment. Even David Manning said Gino would have so much blow that there would be sugar bowls that were full of cocaine in his apartment. Which leads to a story that somebody that cleaned up cocaine at the crime scene. One theory was that somebody in the wrestling business was at the crime scene and dumped the drugs in the toilet in order to protect the business.
3. At the time, many believed wrestler Chris Adams killed Gino Hernandez
Now if you do not know Kayfabe is when the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic. Wrestlers utilized this to basically protect the business. I wish the documentary went in a bit more detail as it was briefly mentioned, but wrestling was so believable, that many fans accused wrestler Chris Adams of murdering him.
Going back to the Chris Adams story, before Gino’s sudden death there was a storyline where he turned on his tag team partner Adams. In that storyline Gino sprayed a substance (I forgot what they called it) in Adams eyes. For a long time Adams wore an eyepatch trying to sell this angle. When Gino died there were many that accused Adams for killing him due to the angle. It go to the point where the police actually came to speak to Adams about the death of Gino. That is how big and believable Kayfabe made wrestling.
2. Gino’s family feared for there lives
With Gino’s death along with the questionable autopsy, it I was not shocked that Gino’s family feared for there lives. Plus the fear grew when a man approached her saying “Gino owed me a lot of money, but I am going to pay for this funeral”. That is a very creepy thing for someone to say to a grieving mother and I don’t blame Patrice for getting spooked. That man turned out to be John Royal and top cocaine dealer. The family was so terrified that everyone looked over there shoulder every time they left there apartment. There is a reason why it took many decades for Gino’s family to speak about Gino’s death as they did not want any more harm done on there family.
1. Gino hung out with Top Cocaine Drug Dealers including John Royal and The Anonymous Man
Now we get into the best part of the documentary where the directors actually got too interview two top drug dealers Gino hung out with in John Royal and The Anonymous Man. This is the first time that either have come out to speak about this, for of course obvious reasons.
Royal was serving a long jail sentence at the time of this interview due to him being a high ranking member of cocaine deals.. John Royal was actually with Gino in his final hours alive at a party, but Gino left mid way before the party ended. Royal admitted that there was no foul play in his death from his knowledge and he even was a planned intervention as well due to the concern about how bad Gino’s drug habit was. Royal admitted to paying for the funeral and gave an eulogy at his funeral and did not mean to threaten Gino’s mother.
So now we get into The Anonymous Man. Of course he does not want his name out for obvious reasons, but only did this interview, because he did not want Gino’s family to worry anymore about drug dealers coming after them. Gino ran as a drug runner with the Anonymous Man and they worked together making drug deals. He even admitted that the drugs got a hold of him due to his participation of the operation. The Man even admitted that Gino was taking the drugs while drinking alcohol which of course is not a great combination. Like the anonymous man said it was Gino’s own doing that eventually resulted in his untimely death.
My thoughts on the documentary
Overall this was a sad, but well made documentary. There are many that still debate on if Gino Hernandez’s death was an accidental overdose or murder. I am leaning towards accidental overdose, as it was clear Gino had a really bad drug problem. I also believe John Royal and The Anonymous Man’s statements in this documentary.
It is clear that Gino’s mother Patrice was the star of this documentary and I felt really sad knowing what she went through. No parent should ever have to bury there child and that fact that Patrice had to is heartbreaking.
It is just sad to think that Gino Hernandez left this world way too soon. He had plenty more left to give not only in wrestling, but in the world. Like I said earlier, he will go down as one of the biggest what if’s in wrestling history. He could have honestly been one of the Four Horseman and fit right in with that group. I definitely believe that he could have been one of the greatest wrestlers that ever performed. But unfortunately, we will never know what he could have been due to his addiction to drugs. Rest in Peace Gino.
Hello my name is Nicholas and I am a writer for Moore Than Sports. I am a graduate from Farmingdale State College. Currently I am enrolled at Canisius College going for my Masters Degree in Sports Administration. My favorite sports teams are the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Charlotte Hornets, Buffalo Sabers, New York Rangers, and New York Yankees. I enjoy watching sports, analyzing transactions, scouting football players, and of course writing sports articles.