Super Mex Shawn Hernandez may not be a household name like some wrestlers in the WWE, but the man from Houston, Texas is a global superstar. The passion and dedication that he has shown for wrestling over the past 20 years have allowed him to secure a place in the sport where he is making an impact both personally and professionally.
Not every independent wrestler is able to do that. Most wrestlers struggle on the independent circuit until they get their big break, and are offered the dream spot with the WWE. Hernandez however, is not like most wrestlers. Aside from having a few dark matches with the largest wrestling promotion in the world, Super Mex never wanted to be a permanent member of the WWE roster.
“I was more captivated by the Lucha wrestling and the Japanese style. I found it more appealing to be able to say that I’m going to Australia for three months, or I’m going to Germany for two months,” said Shawn Hernandez. “I wanted to do my job and then go home. It was never my dream to be on RAW or Samckdown every week.”
Professional wrestling is physically and mentally demanding. To be successful in the long run, one needs to possess certain character attributes. If you’re missing athleticism or discipline, you’re in the wrong business. Growing up, Hernandez is fortunate to have both.
Shawn’s father was a Green Beret who served in the Viet Nam War. His 30-year military experience had a huge influence on Shawn and though his father was very loving, he was also very strict. Shawn was expected to achieve passing grades, he wasn’t allowed to play football until the 11th grade, and his first date was at his senior prom.
High school football prepared him for a defensive spot on two different college teams, but when it came to the NFL, no team was looking for a 260-pound defensive lineman. When college ended, he passed on the Canadian Football League after a tryout. Hernandez came back to Houston and played two years with the Arena Football League.
At the age of 25, and responsible for supporting a child, Hernandez knew that Arena Football wasn’t going to pay the bills. At a crossroads in his life and not knowing what he was going to do, he decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler.
“It was a little awkward because I was 25 and I was asking my father for permission,” Hernandez said. “Football didn’t pay the bills and it was important for my father to raise me as a productive member of society.”
Hernandez didn’t have to go far for professional training. He was trained by Tugboat and Chaz Taylor in his hometown of Houston. When the time was right, he hit the independent scene hard. By 1999, he was working on a regular basis with Texas All-Star Wrestling. After holding the mid-card spot for three months, he moved up to having main event matches. It was also around this time when Shawn had his dark matches with the WWE and had a couple of tours in Japan.
“Wrestling on a regular basis and making decent money is two different things,” Hernandez explains. “But it was about this time that I thought that I could really break out and make some money at this.”
Wrestling outside the United States and establishing himself as an international wrestler in countries such as Germany, Australia, Japan, and Mexico, were enabling him to be a fulltime wrestler. When the up and coming wrestler from Texas would come back to the States, he struggled to make substantial money wrestling on the weekends on the independent circuit
“Nobody was teaching me how to make money on a regular basis. They were happy to see me fly off the top rope, but I couldn’t make money in the independents,” Hernandez said. “I was told that I needed to do transitional wrestling, mat wrestling, and to have excellent conditioning.”
Shawn became willing to humble himself. For an entire year, Hernandez would make the round trip drive from Houston to Atlanta to work with NWA Wildside, just so he could polish his craft.
The promotion had a proven track record. Wrestlers such as New Jack, Ron Killings, C.W. Anderson, and A.J. Styles, each of these wrestlers would come through there at one time or another. At the time, Bill Behrens was in charge, and under his guidance and the help of the wrestlers on Bill’s roster, Shawn was determined to grow as a technician in the sport of wrestling.
“The biggest paycheck that I received while I wrestled at NWA Wildside was $30.00, but if I hadn’t done that, I still wouldn’t be making any money on the weekends,” Hernandez mentioned. “But after that, I got my first opportunity to wrestle in Puerto Rico and by 2003, I had my first run in TNA.”
The TNA stint in 2003 didn’t last long, but in 2006, Shawn was with the company once again, and his run this time lasted off and on up until 2014. Hernandez enjoyed his time with TNA because the wrestling promotion filmed four episodes in a six to 10 day period, which allowed him to keep his international wrestling schedule going. Most importantly, however, TNA was his first significant exposure to a mass audience.
“Being a national TV star is what every wrestler dreams of,” said Hernandez. “TNA didn’t have a developmental system, so I needed to be ready before I got on TV.”
Even though Hernandez lacked the knowledge of how to wrestle for the television cameras, he was in luck. His friend and LAX tag team partner Homicide, would not only be the man he would hold the NWA and TNA tag belts with, but he also would become Shawn’s teacher.
“He told me to listen to him and get through the match. Later, he would explain to me how and why we did things a certain way,” Hernandez recalls. “He became my mentor, brother, and friend. I spent more time with him on the road then I did with my own family sometimes.”
Today at the age of 44, Super Mex is still experiencing his share of in-ring action. Along with his regularly scheduled trips to Japan and Europe, Shawn has hooked up with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, based out of Mexico City, Mexico. His affiliation with the promotion offers him television exposure, the opportunity to work with top talent, and the chance for him to continue doing what he loves to do, which is wrestling.
Wrestling is a time-limited sport and Shawn is well aware of that. When the day comes when he no longer laces up his boots and steps in the ring is anybody’s guess. He feels that if he can’t consistently perform at a high level, that he will become more of a liability.
“I told myself long ago when I can’t do the Superman dive off the top rope anymore, that I will call it quits,” Hernandez said. “Most of the fans are young, and nobody wants to see their heroes get old, and that’s a little bit sad.”
Favorite wrestler: La Park and Ric Flair.
Career highlight: Winning the TNA tag belts the first of several times.
Favorite sports team: UNC Tarheels
Hobbies: Working out
Dog person or cat person: Dog person
A state that you’ve never been to: Alaska
Favorite food: Sushi
A movie that you’ve seen multiple times: V for Vendetta
Favorite actor: Terry Crews
Favorite color: Baby blue
Interview with Supermex Shawn Hernandez
Supermex Shawn Hernandez shoots on LAX and Mexican Indys
Supermex Shawn Hernandez jumps from the top of the cage.
LAX vs AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels
Supermex Shawn Hernandez vs Cody Rhodes