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Pepper Gomez (1927 - 2004)

    

Real NameJoseph Serapio Palemino Gomez, Jr.
Lifespan4/21/97 - 5/6/04
5'5" 220 lbs. - Los Angeles, CA

Athletic BackgroundBodybuilding (1951 Mr. America - 4th); Olympic Weightlifting; Football (College); Gymnastics, Track & Field (High School)

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional BackgroundHouston(`53), Portland(`53-`54), Houston(`54-`61), Portland(`56), San Francisco[AWA](`62-`68), Houston(`63), Houston(`64-`65), Australia(`60s), San Francisco[NWA](`69), Los Angeles(`69), AWA(`69-`71), Houston(`71), San Francisco(`71-`72), Indianapolis[WWA](`7?-`76), Nashville(`75), San Francisco(`77), Indianapolis[WWA](`78-`79), Las Vegas(`78), Indies(`7?-`82)

Aliases

Peak Years`55-`69

Place in HistoryPepper Gomez had perhaps one of the greatest pro-wrestling angles in history and it worked numerous times in numerous places with great effect. A cast iron stomach, a ladder and a dirty kneedrop made Pepper Gomez one of the biggest stars of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Gomez had a great foundation to build a pro-wrestling career; he was a well-rounded athlete and a Muscle Beach regular. In addition to those attributes, Gomez's "Pepper" nickname came from his fiery personality and Mexican heritage. His ethnic appeal got him over huge when he broke into pro-wrestling in the Houston territory. Gomez leapfrogged other Latin competitors with his amazing look and work that developed quickly. He soon understood how to utilize lucha libre highspots, exciting brawling and sound scientific wrestling. In Texas, he and Duke Keomuka had a storied rivalry that made him the top face there in the mid-1950s. Gomez numerously challenged the NWA Champion, usually Lou Thesz, to sizable sellouts in Houston. In the late 1950s, Gomez was one of the top regional talents and could come into a territory and quickly main event. He used his ladder angle with Keomuka in Houston, Killer Kowalski in Chicago and Boston and later Buddy Austin in Los Angeles, but it was Ray Stevens who took it to the next level. Roy Shire was just starting his San Francisco promotion and the angle set the company on fire. Although the two never did the huge show they could have, they helped turn San Francisco into the biggest money territory of the time. Gomez traveled out of the region selectively during the 1960s before leaving for the Midwest in the 1970s. Banged up and losing his fire, Pepper Gomez was not as effective and was largely riding out his final days as best he could. After his gear was stolen in 1977, he stayed in Los Angeles, promoting some himself and working for Antone Leone's independent into the 1980s. Although he had been a shell of his former self for over a decade, Gomez was able to capitalize on his fame by working in San Francisco. His health declined though as his kidney broke down despite his life of fitness, he passed away in 2004.

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