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February 15, 1959 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Hugo Savinovich
El Hombre Simio
La Pantera Asesina
La Ferretería Ambulante
El Hijo de Doña Mélida
Hugo Savinovich (born February 15, 1959) is a former Ecuadorian professional wrestler, formerly employed by WWE, where he was one half of the Spanish announce team for the company's TV shows and pay-per-view (PPV) events. He was a color commentator and partner of Carlos Cabrera and occasionally Marcelo Rodríguez. When he worked with Rodriguez, he was the play-by-play announcer. Their audio can be accessed in the United States via the SAP feature on most TV sets.
Before his current stint as a commentator, Savinovich had been a wrestler for many years, performing in many Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. He claims that becoming a professional wrestler literally saved his life, as he was originally a gang member in the streets of New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He joined the sport under the guidance of Johnny "El Toro" Maldonado. Mexican wrestling promoter Arturo Mendoza took him to Puerto Rico, where he lived for close to 14 years. He was originally a "tecnico" (the Puerto Rican wrestling term for a "face", or "good guy"); after breaking up with his original wrestling partner, Little Chief Cherokee (and with Mendoza) he joined the local World Wrestling Council franchise in Puerto Rico, Capitol Sport Promotions (owned partially by Carlos Colón), where he gained notoriety for being one of the "rudo" wrestlers (i.e., "heels", or wrestling villains), with a penchant for flamboyancy and self-promotion that gained him his most famous ring name, "El Muñecazo" ("The Big Baby Doll"). Savinovich is on record as stating that he modeled his role after Gorgeous George, although his looks were particular to him and him alone (long hair with a mullet and David Letterman-like gapped teeth). He did promote his wrestlers using a high-pitched voice and fast delivery resembling that of drag racing radio advertisements in the United States. This also gave him the chance to develop his skills as a color commenter for wrestling matches, using a loud and fast narrative style -which he pioneered, since called "estilo lucha libre" ("wrestling style") in Puerto Rico.
Hugo managed some the most notorious heels in professional wrestling such as Abdullah the Butcher, Ox Baker, The Sheik and Buddy Landell until he had a fallout with Barrabas Sr and became a face and a announcer when he replased Rickyn Sánchez when Sánchez left WWC in the fall of 1984. He eventually became a partner at World Wrestling Council, only to split with Colón a few years after in a rather acrimonious business dispute. Personal disputes with the company management forced him to leave and joined the rival American Wrestling Federation.
Hugo Savinovich began commentating in 1984 in the World Wrestling Council until 1992 when he joined the American Wrestling Federation. His colorful personality and success promoting led him to land a job with the World Wrestling Federation. Savinovich and was paired with announcer Carlos Cabrera to host the Spanish language versions of Raw, SmackDown, Superstars, NXT, and pay-per-view (PPV) events. Savinovich and Cabrera had a show at WWE.com called WWE En Español (WWE in Spanish), which lasts about 30 minutes; it is a recap of Raw, SmackDown, NXT, and pay-per-view events. The show celebrated its 100th episode in April 2006. Currently, WWE launched a mini show starring Hugo and Carlos called 28 Segundos, which consists of the announcers making fun of life. The show is in Spanish and can be found on WWE.com.
In previous years, while working for WWE on their pay per views, the area in which he works with Cabrera, commonly known as the Spanish announcers' table, has become a staple in professional wrestling. It is a convenient device for wrestlers to execute dramatic moves on, such as the Piledriver or the Pedigree. The moves almost always result in the destruction of the table.
One of the most famous on-air incidents that Savinovich was involved in with WWE was at WrestleMania XIX, when he accidentally received a chair shot to the head from Hulk Hogan in the match between Hogan and Vince McMahon after McMahon ducked a chair shot. He was unable to continue with the Spanish broadcast and Cabrera had to finish the show by himself. Savinovich and Cabrera provide live Spanish commentary for all weekly shows from the WWE Television Studios in Stamford, Connecticut and are at ringside for PPV events. This practice temporarily ended in mid-2006. Originally due to the addition of the now-defunct ECW brand, the announce teams of all three brands were present for tri-branded pay-per-views (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series). During this time, Savinovich and Cabrera provided commentary for these events from the WWE Television Studios but were still placed at ringside for brand-exclusive PPV events.
When the brand-exclusive pay-per-view concept ended in 2007, the announce teams of all three brands were placed at ringside for all PPV events. Beginning in 2009, a single three-man announce team, composed of announcers from the two current brands, was designated for pay-per-views. Savinovich and Cabrera returned to ringside for PPVs at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania in 2009. However, they were not reinstated full-time until WrestleMania XXVI in 2010. Also in 2009 Hugo Savinovich returned to the World Wrestling Council after a 17 years absence and the 2009 WWC Anniversary Card was dedicaded to him. On October 19, 2011 Savinovich announced that he was leaving WWE. Hugo Savinovich was a guest commentator at the AAA Triplemania XXI. Also at that event, Savinovich was in El Mesias' corner in a match against Blue Demon Jr. for the AAA Latin American Championship.
He was married to the famous former female wrestler Wendi Richter. He is married to wife Diana and has two sons: Jovannie and Genaro. He is a born again Christian and travels most of South and Central America sharing he's Christian testimony.
- "Remembering Luis Magana". CANOE. April 2, 2008.