LUCHA LIBRE STAR LIZMARK HAS DIED

Posted December 17th, 2015 by 1Wrestling News Team

Juan Baños or better known as Lizmark passed away during the early morning hours of December 17th from respiratory failurE at the age of 66. Lizmark which was a play off of the legendary German battleship “Bismarck” from World War II was also known as “El Geniecillo Azul” which is Spanish for “The Little Blue Genius.” Baños was born in Oaxaca on September 18th, 1949 but he grew up in Acapulco where he became a local icon years later but before he got in the wrestling business he actually had a career in hotel management working at the Acapulco Hilton Hotel. The reason why he started wearing a mask to begin with was to hide his identity from his co-workers and clients. Lizmark who had been training to be a boxer by his uncle since he was 10 years old but grew tired of amateur boxing in his early 20′s and he decided to dedicate himself to bodybuilding which paid dividends as he won Mr. Acapulco in 1971 then a year later won Mr. Guerrero (the state where Acapulco is located.) Legendary referee Roberto Rangel discovered him and told him that he would make a great wrestler but it would take 3 years of training under local Acapulco maestros Braulio Mendoza, Hércules, & Abundio Radilla before making his professional wrestling debut on March 14th, 1976. He took the Lizmark name because he had been fascinated by the Bismarck ship since he was a child when it was once docked in Acapulco and his mask was considered suitable for the name as he prepared hard for his battles and had the best weapons to achieve victory. Lizmark’s athleticism which was legendary helped him become one of the true innovators in modern Lucha Libre as he was able to incorporate flashy high flying moves with a strong ground attack which back in the late 70′s took the country by storm. Lizmark not only was a trainer boxer but was famous for his cliff diving as well as his swimming and it was his great physique as well as his graceful style in the ring that he became very popular with the female fanbase.

Lizmark quickly made a name for himself on the local Acapulco scene winning all the major titles in the state of Guerrero and it was early in 1978 when he signed up to join EMLL. It didn’t take long before he became a champion as on April 18th, 1978 in his hometown Acapulco, he took the Mexican National Welterweight Title from Americo Rocca starting an in-ring rivalry which lasted years with some of the best pure Lucha Libre matches ever to their credit. In fact it was Rocca who took the title off of him on March 29th, 1980 at Arena Mexico. 1980 also saw Lizmark start a blood feud with Sangre Chicana that saw violence that wasn’t seen much at Arena Mexico in its day with many believing that it would lead to a Mascara contra Caballera match but it never came to be. Lizmark though would move up in rank next by taking the NWA Welterweight Title on June 4th, 1980 again in Acapulco from El Supremo before losing it to rising star La Fiera on October 23rd, 1981 at Arena Mexico. It wasn’t long after this that Lizmark moved up in weight and started a feud with a man who he would be linked to for the next decade in El Satanico where on February 19th, 1982 at Arena Mexico he took the Mexcian National Middleweight Title which he proudly wore until losing to Satanico’s ally Espectro Jr. on March 3rd, 1983 at Arena Isabel de Cuernavaca. Lizmark though would repeat his welterweight success in the middleweight division as he took the NWA Middleweight Title from Satanico on June 3rd, 1983 at Arena Mexico before losing it back to him on December 2nd, 1983 at Arena Mexico.

For the next few years, Lizmark maintained his status as one of the top tecnicos in Mexico and even got a tour of All-Japan in 1984 but he didn’t get any championship success until he moved to the lt. heavyweight division and it was on March 20th, 1988 at Arena Mexico when Lizmark defeated Cien Caras for the NWA Lt. Heavyweight Title. Lizmark became the 2nd man in history to win an NWA title in 3 different weight classes joining only the legendary Gori Guerrero which put him in high cotton. Lizmark didn’t hold the title long though before El Fabuloso Blondy (Ken Timbs) took it from him at Arena Mexico on June 24th, 1988 but Lizmark not to be denied snatched it back from him on December 9th, 1988 at Arena Mexico. During this time period, Lizmark also became the WWA Lt. Heavyweight champion by defeating El Cobarde II at Auditorio Municipal de Tijuana on April 1st, 1988 with Lizmark holding that title off and on for the next 5 years. Lizmark would drop the NWA Lt. Heavyweight Title back to his rival Satanico on July 21st, 1989 at Arena Mexico ending the 80′s on a sour note.

The 1990′s though was a new beginning for Lizmark as on March 21st, 1990 he regained his NWA Lt. Heavyweight Title this time from Fabuloso Blondy in his hometown of Acapulco and would trade the title back and forth with Satanico again on November 25, 1990 in Leon, Lizmark taking it back on May 1st, 1991 in Acapulco, and Satanico finally taking it back on April 5th, 1992 at Arena Mexico. 1991 also saw the debut of Lizmark’s son….Lizmark Jr. who would wear a modern version of his father’s attire and would on his own become a star but not on the level of his father. 1992 saw a lot of turmoil in Lucha Libre as Antonio Pena who was booking EMLL left to form AAA and Lizmark was one of the many loyal wrestlers to him that made the jump and it was in AAA where Lizmark added a new title to his resume as he would defeat Universo Dos Mil in Acapulco on September 18th, 1992. Lizmark would hold this title for almost 2 years defending against many top names but it was also in this era that he started a feud with a hot rising star named La Parka and it was La Parka who took that title from him on September 9th, 1994 in Rio Bravo which was the end of the feud basically. Like I said earlier the two men had traded the WWA Lt. Heavyweight Title with Lizmark winning the title on October 23rd, 1993 and La Parka taking the belt back on June 20th, 1994 in Monterrey. Lizmark vs. La Parka was one of the top feuds in AAA and was one of the top matches of the first Triplemania show on April 30th, 1993 at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City where Lizmark defended the Mexican National Lt. Heavyweight Title  against Parka in a match that originally saw La Parka cheat to win the third fall but the finish was overturned by the Distrito Federal Box y Lucha Commision so they went to a 4th fall which went to a draw thus allowing Lizmark to retain his title.

Lizmark would grow tired of AAA and returned to EMLL in 1995 (although he would also work Promo Azteca in 1996 a little) where he would revive his feud with Satanico and formed a permanent tag team with old friend Atlantis called La Ola Azul (The Blue Wave) where they took the CMLL Tag Titles from La Nueva Ola Blanca (Gran Markus Jr. & Hijo del Gladiador) on September 18th, 1996 in Acapulco but their title reign would end 12 days later when they had a disputed finish in a match against Los Head Hunters. La Ola Azul would add a new member soon thereafter as the young phenomenon Mr. Niebla would join the group and on April 29th, 1997 at Arena Mexico they would take the CMLL Trios Titles from Emilio Charles Jr., Rey Bucanero, & El Satanico but would have to vacate the titles in October 1998 due to an injury to Niebla. January 1999 saw Lizmark have his first battle with heart problems and there were stories that he had a heart attack which he denied but he was out of the ring for a 6 months and was told to never wrestle again but Lizmark wouldn’t retire and came back although on a very light schedule. Lizmark would make his last grand stage appearance on June 15th, 1993 at Toreo de Cuatro Caminos de Naucalpan for AAA where he teamed up with Octagon, La Parka Jr., & Super Calo to face Abismo Negro, Cibernetico, & Los Head Hunters in the main event but after that he would work mainly in Acapulco up until 2008. A couple of years ago, he introduced another son of his as Lizmark Jr. who was mainly working in Tijuana but he decided that wrestling wasn’t for him and retired not soon after.

Lizmark was known for being one of the best title match wrestlers of all-time and didn’t put his mask up a whole lot but he would various times in his career. On March 4th, 1979 along with Centauro they took the hair of El Musulman & Mario Valenzuela in Acapulco, then on October 20th, 1982 he took the biggest scalp of his career as he took the hair of El Faraon also in Acapulco. March 12th, 1985 saw Lizmark team up with El Fantasma to take the masks of Ciclope & Espanto Siniestro and on November 25th, 1990 along with long time partner Atlantis they took the masks of Los Animals (Chuck Walton & Eddie Watts) at Arena Mexico in what were probably the biggest trophies of his career.

Going back and watching tapes of the 80′s and 90′s, Lizmark always seemed like one of the best guys around who never got the love he deserved because he wasn’t pushed as some of the others and was getting up in age but damn he was so smooth in everything he did and just a joy to watch. Descanse en Paz “El Geniecillo Azul”

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