It was reported on Saturday that lucha star Silver King (real name Cesar Gonzalez) passed away at the age of 51 after collapsing in the middle of a match with Juventud Guerrera in London and being unable to get back up afterward. He was later confirmed to be dead with the wrestling world mourning his passing. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has more details on his death, including what exactly happened at the time of the collapse and what was done in the immediate aftermath.
The collapse was due to a heart attack and Gonzalez reportedly had a pre-existing health condition. This was revealed by Guerrera, who didn’t know about it during the match but found out later. Others have confirmed it as well. However, Gonzalez was able to get licensed by several commissions in Mexico after passing health tests. The Torreon commission said he passed as recently as February. Daniel Lopez (El Satanico), who leads the Zapopan commission outside Guadalajara, said he didn’t want to get in trouble for stating his real opinion but he wants stricter medical procedures than what he saw on the video of the match that has been circulating the internet. Most commissions that regulate wrestling require a doctor at ringside and some require an ambulance at the venue. In the UK, there is no requirement.
Gonzalez had a heart attack in the ring and couldn’t move. He hit Guerrera with a flying clothesline and pinned him, but after Juvi kicked out, Silver King couldn’t get up. The match kept going and both Guerrera and Black Terry (the referee) didn’t do anything as they seemed unsure of what to do. At one point Juvi kicked him lightly in the chest as he was confused. Guerrera pinned Silver King and Terra held up the count since it wasn’t the finish instead of simply stopping the match, before finally counting three. At one point El Hijo del Santo was also in the ring hovering over him. Fans were confused and some thought it was part of the show. There was no doctor in the arena or ambulance nearby. It took seven minutes or more before anyone was in the ring to treat him. He died by the time an ambulance arrived at the arena (ten minutes later). The show was then cancelled.
The incident has been compared to the time that Jerry Lawler had a heart attack on an episode of RAW in Montreal, where WWE had a medical staff on hand and he was treated instantly. In that case, Lawler’s heart stopped for several minutes and he was actually dead, but the quick treatment saved his life. This latest incident has led to a movement, mandated by MLW and talked about in other companies by referees, in which referees should take CPR classes.
The media in Mexico has not really reacted negatively to the way the incident was handled at this time. The show was one of a series of them for Lucha Libre World, a promotion led by El Hijo del Santo. It was Silver King’s third match of the day, as he previously wrestled as Ramses (from Nacho Libre) and later worked in a battle royal as Silver King. Black Terry, the referee, was said to be upset over what happened, especially since the video made him appear to be negligent due to how he reacted.