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José Lothario, NWA Hall of Famer & Trainer of Shawn Michaels, Dead At 83

NWA Hall of Famer and professional wrestling trainer José Lothario has died. The sad news comes from former NWA owner Bruce Tharpe, who announced that Lothario had passed away at the age of 83. He’s best known for his own in-ring career where he wrestled for NWA territories.

Later in life, Lothario drew praise for his skills as a professional wrestling trainer. His most famous student is “The Heartbreak Kid” himself, Shawn Michaels. He famously cornered Michaels at WrestleMania XII, which saw “HBK” take on Bret “The Hitman” Hart in an Iron Man match. The match was widely praised.

“So thankful that I had the opportunity to induct him into the NWA Hall of Fame while I served as President,” wrote Tharpe. “He was so happy and it was my pleasure to induct him. God bless you José Lothario and may you Rest In Peace.”

WWE also issued the following after Lothario’s passing:

WWE is saddened to learn that Jose Lothario has reportedly passed away at age 83.

Despite never winning a WWE-sanctioned championship or competing at WrestleMania, Jose Lothario –  born Guadalupe Robledo on Dec. 12, 1934 – made a lasting mark on the WWE Universe by simply agreeing to train a cocky teenager from San Antonio, Texas. A cocky teenager that grew up to become WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.

Lothario helped HBK find his footing for a career between the ropes, from selecting Shawn Michaels as a ring name to teaching The Showstopper how to effectively perform the signature kick that came to be known as Sweet Chin Music. HBK soaked up every last lesson taught by Lothario, a Saturday morning staple for wrestling fans of a certain age from the Lone Star State.

“I think every young boy who lived in Texas knew who Jose Lothario was,” Michaels told WWE Magazine in 1996. “I first saw him on TV when I was 12. He was the first Superstar to come across my screen. He is a legend in San Antonio, Cuba, Mexico… just about everywhere!”

Their relationship reached the summit at WrestleMania XII, when Lothario – having helped Michaels break into the business nearly 15 years earlier  – watched from ringside as HBK realized his boyhood dream of becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Bret “Hit Man” Hart in an unforgettable WWE 60-Minute Iron Man Match.

Of course, Lothario became an effective mentor only after establishing his well-traveled reputation as a gritty grappler. As an NWA mainstay, he helped usher in popular Mexican wrestling styles to the sports-entertainment scene in the United States. His fans knew him best as “Super Sock,” a nickname recognizing the punches Lothario used to dole out during his past experiences in boxing.

Lothario even briefly displayed his considerable talents before the WWE Universe, most notably by humbling Jim Cornette in a match at In Your House 10: Mind Games.

WWE extends its condolences to Robledo’s family, friends and fans.

We all at WrestleZone send our condolences to José Lothario’s friends and family. The wrestling world is in mourning.