Villano III Passes Away At The Age Of 66

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One of the most legendary wrestlers in Mexico, Villano III has passed away at the age of 66. The former UWA star was responsible for one of Mexico’s best matches in history, when he went head to heat against Atlantis in 2000 in a Lucha de Apuestas.

The Best of Los Villanos

Arturo Diaz, Villano III’s real name, comes from one of the most prestigious lineages of Mexican families in wrestling. His father was Ray Mendoza, a successful NWA luchador, key for the creation of Universal Wrestling Association in Mexico, which was the primary rival to Empresa Mundial de Lucha Libre (EMLL) – the precursor to CMLL. He and his four brothers all became wrestlers in Mexico, becoming the famous Villano family.

Villano III was brought early on in the wrestling business by the family, wrestling in UWA, EMLL and even New Japan Pro Wrestling. Villano III is credited as the best of the Diaz-Mendoza brothers – Los Villanos. His legendary feuds with Perro Aguayo, Sangre Chicana and Gran Hamada are credited to bringing fame to WWE’s original WWF Light Heavyweight Championship – Villano was a 7x Champion – in Mexico. Maybe the most notorious feuds for the title was against NJPW’s Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit), which followed over a series of great matches.

One of the Greatest Lucha de Apuestas Match

In the 2000, Villano III and Atlantis were the protagonists in one of Mexico’s best Lucha de Apuestas match in history. A rivalry for the CMLL World Light Heavyweight ended up in a 20,000 fans in attendance in Arena Mexico for Atlantis vs. Villano III, Mask vs. Mask match. Dave Meltzer‘s Wrestling Observer awarded the match four star and three quarters and it was awarded the Best Wrestling Match in the year 2000. Before losing his mask, Villano III had won over 60 Lucha de Apuestas at that point. He ended up winning  close to 80 Lucha de Apuestas matches by the time of his death.

His Legacy

Villano III is one of Mexico’s greatest wrestlers, probably the best in his family alongside his father. In his last years, he wrestled for CMLL, up until 2009. He wrestled in the indies in the final years of his life. He was also well remembered in Puerto Rico. There he won World Wrestling Council’s Puerto Rican Championship, Puerto Rico’s oldest championship.

His sons, Hijo del Villano III and Villano III Jr. are currently wrestling in Mexico’s indie scene.