HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the Week: Hernandez
Our resident philosopher looks at the Latino Superstar who scored the upset of the year by cleanly defeating Samoa Joe on Impact.
Upsets are a major part of pro wrestling. Hernandez scored, perhaps, the biggest upset in the history of TNA when he used a Splash off the top rope to cleanly pin the Samoan Submission Machine, Samoa Joe. Hernandez is this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week.
The other HotStuff
Shawn Hernandez grew up in the Houston, Tx area. Shawn started his sports career by playing Arena Football. Shawn was noticed by Texas wrestling legend, Tugboat Taylor, who suggested the big Latino consider pro wrestling. Taylor made arrangements for Shawn to receive training at the wrestling school owned by Shawn Michaels and Rudy Boy Gonzales. After finishing his initial training, Shawn Michaels made calls to the WWE and got Hernandez a few dark matches with the company. He took the role of jobber, working only a handful of matches.
Hernandez returned to the Texas circuit to further his training. He worked most of the indy promotions in Texas and the surrounding states. Hernandez’s main home was the Dallas-based, NWA Southwest. He held. While in the NWA system, he won both the North American and National titles. Hernandez was given the nickname “Hot Stuff”. It is unclear if that was a tribute to Eddie Gilbert or not. As Hernandez’s star began to rise, he worked selected dates for TNA, Ring of Honor and Japan. Eventually, Hernandez would decide to accept a position, full-time, with TNA.
The Elite Guard
Hernandez was partnered with Chad Collyer and Onyx to form an enforcer trio, hired (storywise) by Jeff Jarrett to help protect him from challengers. The triad also feuded with Konnan, Ron “The Truth” Killings and B.G. James (3 Live Kru). While they traded a few wins, 3LK came out on top of the feud. Shortly after the feud ended, Hernandez and the rest of the Elite Guard were released from the company. Hernandez went back to his Texas home territories to wait for the next stage of his career. It would come, two years later.
In March, 2006, Hernandez re-signed with TNA. He was brought in as part of the new Latino-oriented tag team, the Latin American Xchange. The group was originally a nod to the Latino World Order of the WCW. Hernandez was joined by Homicide. In August, 2006, the duo upset then-champions A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels to win their first World tag titles. LAX dropped the belts back to Styles and Daniels, exactly one month later. They would take them back on October 22.
LAX would go on to feud with America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) and Team 3D. LAX was dominant in their feud with AMW and seemed to be on their way to over-whelming Ray and Devon. That would change when LAX faced Team 3D in an electrified cage match at Lockdown. After being shocked by the cage, Homicide was pinned. After losing the belts, LAX went into a major slump. They lost their leader, Konnan, which left them at loose ends. They would bring in Shelly Martinez to serve as their valet. She portrayed Salinas. Martinez would stay with the group for a few months, before accepting a role on the Reality Show, The Next Elvira, as well as a few low-budget movies. LAX would also take on Hector Guerrero, brother of Eddie Guerrero, as their leader. Hector would leave, following a vicious beating.
At Sacrifice 2008, LAX started their third run as tag champs. They defeated Team 3D for the vacant titles. They would hold the belts until Hard Justice, when they dropped the straps to the new team of Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode). The two members would then compete in the annual Feast or Fired match. Homicide earned the X-Division title shot (which he used to win the belt). Hernandez gained the World title shot. Shortly after winning the World title shot, Hernandez sustained a neck injury. To allow Hernandez time off to recover, he was attacked by the faction known as The British Invasion. Hernandez returned home for three months to fully recover. On the July 23rd edition of Impact, Hernandez returned to TNA to aid his long-time partner, Hernandez, from a gang assault. Homicide was actually offended that Hernandez “saved him”. There have been rumors of a possible “brother” feud between the two, but nothing is confirmed. Rumors are speculating that Homicide might be considering a jump to the new World Elite faction.
Hernandez took his first step into the singles’ title hunt with a battle against Samoa Joe. Most critics felt that Hernandez would either be dominated in the match or win by disqualification. Instead, Hernandez held his own against the Samoan brute. In the end, Hernandez scored a Top Rope Splash to take the stunning victory.
Shawn “Hotstuff” Hernandez has wrestled for over a decade in TNA and other companies. He’s had success as a tag team specialist and is now looking to expand to a singles career. Pinning Samoa Joe, cleanly, was a definite step in the right direction. Hernandez has stated that he wants to be the first Latino to hold the TNA World title. Before last week, most would have scoffed at the concept. After taking the win over Joe, Kurt Angle should be nervous. Hernandez just might make good on his desire and win the big one. One thing he definitely won, this week is the OWW Wrestler of the Week award.