We heard this morning that Ruben Cruz, better known to wrestling as Hercules Ayala, passed away last night due to heart issues at the age of 69. Born in Puerto Rico, Cruz wrestled all over the world, winning dozens of titles in his career. We offer our condolances at this time pic.twitter.com/PbknUq0ekN
— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) January 23, 2020
Born Roberto Cruz, and originally from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Ayala came to the United States in the early to mid-1970s. During his time in Boston, Ayala met former NWA legend Angelo Savoldi. Under Savoldi’s tutelage, Cruz performed for the WWWF. He captured the NWA North American Tag Team Championship with his partner Victor Jovica.
However, it wasn’t until the late 1970s when Ayala met former WWF Champion Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart and the late ‘Dynamite Kid’ Tommy Billington. It was Hart and Billington who introduced Ayala to Stu Hart. Ayala competed in Canada for eight year’s as part of Hart’s Stampede Wrestling promotion in Calgary, Alberta Canada. During his time in Stampede Wrestling, Cruz captured one-half of the Stampede International Tag Team Championship along Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart.
Ayala’s time in Canada was also spent competing for French Canadian promotion Lutte Internationale facing the likes of ‘Dr. D’ David Shultz and Abdullah the Butcher.
After his stay in Canada, Ayala would return to his native Puerto Rico where he competed for World Wrestling Council. It was originally known as Capital Sports promotion but later changed to WWC. While in WWC he faced the likes of Kevin Sullivan, Ric Flair, and Randy Savage. He will long be remembered with his longstanding feud with Carlos Colon for the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title. Ayala left the promotion in 1989. A few years after his departure from WWC, Ayala took on the role of booker for the AWF in Puerto Rico. He returned to WWC in the mid-1990s having a short-lived feud while there with Dominican wrestler, El Bronco No. 1.
After a fifteen-year absence from the promotion, Ayala returned to WWC with the WWC Anniversary Card dedicated to him in his honor. Ayala returned to Canada after his retirement settling in St. Albert, Alberta Canada.