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2023 Wrestling RIP Thread


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Per the WON website yesterday

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Spencer Churchill, who was one of the oldest living pro wrestlers, passed away at the age of 93. He wrestled in the U.K.from the early 50s through 1977 and was a Mr. Universe place-winner and on bodybuilding magazine covers from the late 40s.

 

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This seems to have slipped through due to happening right at the start of the new year.

Here is Dave's writeup about Mike Pappas who passed away on 12/31

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Manroli Savvenas, better known as The Flying Greek, Mike Pappas, passed away on 12/31. He was 81. He passed away after a lengthy illness. Savvenas was the subject of a 2021 documentary “The Flying Greek” and was also given a Courage Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club. As Mike Pappas, he was one of the best smaller wrestlers in the world. Billed at 5-foot-7 and 198 pounds he was in reality closer to 5-foot-3 and 175 pounds. In the 60s and 70s, guys like that were considered too small, but he was so good in the ring he got bookings, even if he was basically enhancement talent. He hit many of the major circuits over the years, including runs in WWWF in 1971 and again 1973-74, as well as Florida, Tennessee, Australia, Mexico, the McGuirk territory, Central States, St. Louis as well as Quebec and Eastern Canada. He was born in Rhodes, Greece, and while small, was very athletic and had a good physique. Because he was too small for most sports, he ended up as a boxer, since they had weight classes. He ended up moving to Australia and was talked into trying pro wrestling. He started in the early 60s, working on smaller shows before the Jim Barnett/Johnny Doyle era of Australian wrestling. He was also there working for Barnett and Doyle and because of his physique, got the nickname “Little Bruno.” He started out with Bill Dundee. Later he moved back to Greece before deciding to try and make it as a pro wrestler in the U.S. in 1968. He said he called the WWWF office, which was in Manhattan at the time, talked with Arnold Skaaland, and had a tryout match, but when they saw him they told him he was too small. Skaaland recommended he go to Mexico because smaller guys could get work there. He went there for seven months and then spent time working for Nick Gulas in Tennessee. He said that Gulas got him a working visa and he worked there for years, but the pay was terrible. He said he was starving working there, sometimes not even eating for three days at a time. He said later he had no idea how he survived. In 1971, Vince McMahon Sr., heard he was very good in the ring and brought him in to work prelims and be an enhancement wrestler on television, because he gave good action. He was a good high flyer for the standard of the time, particularly in a territory with really big guys who didn’t fly around. He said that everything there was just doing punching and kicking, but Argentina Rocca was doing flying in the 50s and was the biggest draw there. He had another WWWF run in 1973-74, when Andre the Giant first started working for Vince McMahon Sr. Because of his small size, he did a lot of publicity photos with Andre to accentuate Andre’s size. He went back to Australia at one point and worked a number of different territories, but always as a prelim guy. He got a little bit of a push from Bob Geigel, but said life was lonely and boring for him, and he missed seeing his family since the schedule was so hard. In 1978, he decided to retire from wrestling. He purchased a jewelry store in 1979, Manoli’s Jewelers in Springfield, MO, and did very well. Manoli’s Jewelry was a successful business and exists to this day. Jason Brasier, an area filmmaker and longtime wrestling fan, decided to chronicle his story in a documentary. Madusa and Bill Apter were both part of the documentary. The movie was a human interest story about a jeweler who lived a colorful life as a wrestler

 

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Johnny Powers died on December 30th, age 79.   But the news didn't break until this weekend.

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Johnny Powers, a professional wrestler who later became a promoter for the National Wrestling Federation, has passed away at the age of 79.

Slam Wrestling reported that Powers passed away on December 30 at his home in Smithville, Ontario, Canada.

Powers made his debut in pro wrestling back in 1960, working for the Detroit territory. He also competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, where he challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Championship. He also had title matches with Lou Thesz forNWA World Heavyweight Championship.As a promoter, Powers and Pedro Martinez took what was then the Buffalo territory and founded the National Wrestling Federation. The promotion ran worldwide, distributing their television show, Championship Wrestling with Johnny Powers, both in the United States and internationally. Powers sold the promotion to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1973, where the NWF Championship was used as the company’s major championship through 1981.

Powers retired from pro wrestling in 1982 and largely left the business. At one time, he ran a wrestling school with Sweet Daddy Siki before Ron Hutchinson became a trainer, with Siki and Hutchinson later training wrestlers such as Edge, Gail Kim, and Trish Stratus.

 

 

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1 hour ago, odessasteps said:

Lucha folks on twiiter are saying Black Warrior passed away age 54. 

That sucks. "El Black" was so damn great in his heyday. QEPD.

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His son passed away last year, apparently after living several months with a severe cervical cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. I can only imagine the grief that BW felt and I truly hope that it didn't contribute to this early on passing. Warrior was one of my favorites during the fairly brief time I was able to really get into lucha libre. RIP.

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4 hours ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

RIP BW

It was always a treat when he’d get spotlighted on the Galavision weekend shows. And of course he’d always get a shoutout on Momentos Estrella for his topes reminding you that they are flying headbutts, and not flying pushes.

Amen to that.

 

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 I remember that happening around when CMLL was kicked off Galavision for AAA, so a lot of the Mistico Vs. Black Warrior was off US TV. But for some reason I recall most of it. So either Luchablog’s reports were super accurate, or I did indeed watch it on TV? I just remember also being in fuck Galavision mode, and thinking about walking into the headquarters by Miami International Airport to formally complain, then realizing how nerdy that would be.

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4 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Can we get some good Black Warrior matches posted? I honestly don't think I've seen any of his stuff, save perhaps a couple Schneider comp appearances. 

 

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