Earlier this month, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) started announcing the names of some of the men and women who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6 as the Class of 2021. So far, the names revealed include Molly Holly, Eric Bischoff, The Great Khali and Kane.
Along with the Class of 2021, the Class of 2020 will also be honored with a place in the upper echelons of the WWE since their ceremony was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The Class of 2020 includes John “Bradshaw” Layfield, The British Bulldog, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, New World Order and The Bella Twins. The latter tag team is made up of female wrestlers Brie and Nikki Bella, who were born Brianna and Stephanie Garcia-Colace and are of Mexican and Italian descent.
Along with Bella (Garcia-Colace), there have been a handful of Latino wrestlers who have found their rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame since the company began inducting its wrestlers in 1993. There were no inductions between 1997 and 2003. Here is a look at 10 Latinos who are known as top-tier athletes in the HOF.
Rocca, who was of Italian and Argentine descent, is a member of the Class of 1995. He was inducted posthumously. Rocca became the first International Heavyweight Champion and held the Tag Team title with Puerto Rican wrestler Miguel Pérez. After his wrestling career, Rocca worked as a wrestling commentator for four years in the 1970s. “I love him like a brother,” Pérez said during Rocca’s induction ceremony. “He taught me a lot in professional wrestling.” Roca died in 1977 at the age of 55.
Morales, who was Puerto Rican, was inducted as a member of the Class of 1995. He was considered a Triple Crown Champion because he won three of the organization’s major titles. He was also the first Latino to win the world title in 1971. Morales was named Wrestler of the Year by Wrestling Annual magazine in 1973. “Pedro, to me, was more than a champion,” said wrestler Gorilla Monsoon at Morales’ induction ceremony. “Whether it came down to the inside of a squared circle or outside in a parking lot, I wanted Pedro on my side.” Morales died in 2019 at the age of 76.
Born Johnny Rodriguez, Rodz was a member of the Class of 1996. He was known in the ring as the “Fire Band from the Bronx” and “The Unpredictable” and would tag team with José Estrada and Frank “The Gypsy” Rodriguez. Rodz is also a trainer in Brooklyn. He is 82 years old.
A member of the Class of 2004, Santana was the Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion twice in his career and held the Tag Team Championship twice, too. In 1989, he won the King of the Ring tournament. He also wrestled at the first nine WrestleMania events. He is 67 years old.
The popular Mexican American wrestler was inducted into the hall of fame in 2006, the year after he tragically died at the age of 38 of heart failure. During his tenure with the WWE, he held the Championship belt one time, the Intercontinental Championship two times, the Tag Team Championship four times and was also a Triple Crown Champion.
Born Aarón Rodríguez Arellano, the Mexican luchador comes from a long line of wrestlers. He appeared sporadically with the WWE after a ban on masked wrestlers was lifted but was never a main character for the organization. He is considered part of the Holy Trinity of Mexican wrestlers alongside El Santo and the Blue Demon. He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2012. Today, he is 78 years old.
Carlos Colón Sr.
The Puerto Rican retired pro wrestler was inducted into the hall of fame in 2014. Like Mil Máscaras, he made occasional appearances, but was never a staple in the organization. Colón is 72 years old.
The iconic Mexican luchador, who was born Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, was a legacy inductee in 2018.
The Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki Bella)
Born Brianna and Stephanie Garcia-Colace, the twin sisters will become the first Latinas inducted into the hall of fame on April 6, 2021. Brie is a one-time WWE Divas Champion. Nikki is a two-time WWE Divas Champion and holds the record for the longest reign of that specific title. Today, they star on the reality TV series Total Bellas. The Bella Twins are 37 years old.