Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, known as Hijo del Perro Aguayo, fell unconscious on the ropes, apparently after receiving a flying kick from fellow wrestler Oscar Gutierrez, known as former WWE star Rey Mysterio Jr., according to video of the match in a municipal auditorium in Tijuana.
The match continued for almost two minutes before other participants and the referee realized Aguayo was seriously injured and tended to him.
He was taken to a hospital a block away and died about 1:30 a.m., prosecutor's spokesman Raul Gutierrez said.
"I have no words for this terrible news," Joaquin Roldan, director of the AAA wrestling federation, said through his Twitter account. "My sincerest condolences for the Aguayo Ramirez family."
The state prosecutor's office said the cause of death, based on the autopsy, was trauma to the neck and a cervical fracture. It has opened an investigation into possible manslaughter.
The company that reportedly organized the event, The Crash, couldn't be reached for comment. The Tijuana Boxing and Wrestling Commission called the death an unfortunate accident like those that occur in other high-risk sports.
Even though the match continued as Aguayo hung listless on the ropes, commission President Juan Carlos Pelayo said people moved immediately to check his condition. He said the doctor in charge was not at ringside because he was treating another injured wrestler, but paramedics and a doctor who was a spectator attended to Aguayo.
"The reaction for medical attention was quick, in my opinion," Pelayo said at a news conference Saturday.
Mexico is famous for its colorful characters and costumes in professional wrestling, popularly known as lucha libre, where fighters perform daring aerial maneuvers inside and outside the ring.
Aguayo, 35, had wrestled for 20 years and was the son of the legendary Pedro "Perro" Aguayo, now retired and a member of the Aztec lucha Hall of Fame.
The younger Aguayo was also popular and led a group called "Los Perros de Mal," or the bad dogs. He won numerous titles, including national pairs with his father, a national heavyweight championship and the Consejo Mundial Lucha Libre world trios championship.
"It makes me very sad because he was a professional colleague and I have great affection for his father," wrestler Hijo del Santo said in a telephone interview. "I think the fans in Japan, the U.S. and Mexico, of course, where he was very popular, must be in mourning, especially because of his youth. He had much ahead of him."
Wrestler Dies During Match
Sean Rueter of Cagesideseats.com discusses the circumstances surrounding the death of Mexican wrestler Pedro Aguayo Ramirez.