Former wrestler and promoter TNT Keny G, also father to independent wrestler Santana Garrett, has died after a long illness.
On Facebook, Luanne Garrett, Keny Garrett's wife of 26 years, confirmed the passing on December 10th: "If you knew him, you were immediately part of the family," she wrote. "Sunday breakfast or feeding everyone at our wrestling shows. You knew where you stood with him. No filter ever on his ideas. Not an easy life, I only wish I had more time with him. 26 years wasn't enough. 5 kids and a granddaughter wasn't enough. His body just betrayed him. I loved him and always will."
Santana Garrett informed her fans on December 4th that the lung cancer her father had been battling returned and an operation would not be possible.
"He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had multiple major scares over the years," Santana wrote. "[He] had his lung removed and was cancer-free for three years. The cancer came back on his only remaining lung about a month ago, and now he is having many complications. His kidneys are failing, he has blood clots and they are unable to perform surgery needed in order to treat the cancer."
Keny promoted HighVoltage Wrestling in Florida and St. Louis, working with the likes of Adam Pearce, Kahagas and others. He began running shows under the High Voltage banner in 2008 in the Midwest.
After having a stroke in 2014, Keny partnered with fellow St. Louis promoters, Jim and Crystal Yount, and their company, Dynamo Pro Wrestling, to host a benefit show for the American Stroke Association and to assist others who have had strokes. Santana, who was inspired to get into the industry by her father, was a special guest at that show.
Raul Mata, a star in California and Mexico from the late 60s and through the 70s, who still holds the record for the longest reign as Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion, has passed away.
His younger brother Carlos Mata alerted those in wrestling of that earlier today.
Mata was 71.
Mata was a small but talented wrestler who came to California in the summer of 1971 as the Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion, a title he had held since 1969. He would play the guitar and sing, and was a pioneer in flashy moves, most notably his version of a huracanrana, called the Mata rola, or Mata roll-up, which was done with such speed and precision into a pinning maneuver that nobody has fully equaled it for execution. The move was the inspiration of the Frankensteiner version that Scott Steiner popularized in the 90s.
He came in and out of Southern California, with his biggest run being his first where he held the Pacific Coast title and held the Americas Tag Team titles with partners like Dory Dixon, Ray Mendoza, Salvator Lothario, Raul Reyes, David Morgan, and Victor Rivera.
He had a good, but not great run in Northern California, where he worked as a regular in 1974 and 1975, headlining many smaller arena shows with Pat Patterson as his partner, but never winning any championships.
Mata ended up moving to Florida, and for whatever reason, Eddie Graham never pushed him. He worked mostly prelims, and lost on television regularly. Fans in Miami, who got the Los Angeles program, never understood why Mata, who was a legit star in California and very talented, never got past the prelims in Florida.
Mata was in one of the top matches on the August 27, 1971, legendary Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum show that drew 25,867 fans, headlined by Fred Blassie vs. John Tolos. In a battle of the Mexican Light Heavyweight Champion against the NWA world Light Heavyweight Champion, Mata lost two of three falls to El Solitario in a match considered one of the highlights of the show.
Mata eventually held the NWA world Light Heavyweight title, which was based in Mexico, for almost all of 1980, during the era of Alfonso Dantes as the perennial champion.
He wrestled independent shows in Florida into the early 90s. From a talent standpoint, he was far ahead of the people he was working with and ability wise even at that point he was better than most of the wrestlers working for major promotions. But he had already been established on television for so many years in Florida as enhancement-level talent.