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2022 Wrestling RIP Thread


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Sadly, I have to start this thread already.

It is coming out that Strong Kobayashi has passed away. He had just turned 81 on Christmas

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Aww, man.  Her delivery of "I'm the bearded lady.  Who are you, one of the freaks?" has been burned into my mind since I was 8.

I'll also always remember her for her guest shot on Married With Children. She was the go-to whenever you needed a big, badass lady for about a decade.  RIP.

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I interviewed QK for a magazine and a nicer, more professional dame you couldn't find. Hilarious stories - she said she had the first ever phone sex hotline in the '70s, and the FBI dropped by and couldn't understand that she wasn't operating a call girl racket. Her long-time husband was often featured in her videos and photo shoots when he wasn't behind the camera. She was always hustling, a true worker who wanted to maintain her independence from any manager, promoter or corporation. I still have her press packet buried somewhere, I think, and her reel (VHS) of media appearances. I am saddened. 

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22 hours ago, Happ Hazzard said:

Deanna Booher aka Matilda the Hun from GLOW passed away at 73. I've seen her in a few movies but never realised she played the bearded lady in Spaceballs until now. RIP.

Oh man, talk about a shoot name made for wrestling. Literally "boo her." That's up there with Richard Blood and Jonathan Good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is what Dave put in the WON about Raper

Quote

Ken Raper, a Memphis television enhancement wrestler in the 80s and 90s, passed away on 1/24. He was 67 and had been in poor health the last several months due to congenital heart failure. Raper was part of one of the more memorable moments in Memphis wrestling TV history in 1983. Raper & Robert “I’m not Mike Brady” Reed were regular job guys on Memphis television. At the time, the CWA world tag team titles were held by The Masked Assassins, managed by Jimmy Hart. These Assassins were Donald Welch (usually known as Don Bass) and Roger Smith (sometimes known as Roger Mason). Smith had teamed in Georgia with Jody Hamilton for a version of The Assassins, the area’s legendary heel team where Hamilton would get various partners after the retirement of his original partner, Tom Renesto. The Assassins at the time were feuding with The Fabulous Ones, Stan Lane & Steve Keirn, arguably the most popular tag team in the history of the territory. Hart said that Lane & Keirn were not going to get any more title shots but that they were going to put the titles up against Reed & Raper on October 29, 1983 so that all the shut-ins could get to see a world tag team title match. Lance Russell put it over like Reed & Raper were young guys who were getting better but stood no chance and the idea that this was a title match was a joke. This would work with any announcer but Russell made it that much better. The Assassins were squashing both when and picking them up at two. One of the Assassins went for a senton and Keirn snuck out and pulled Raper out of the way and The Assassin landed on his back. Keirn threw Raper on top of the Assassin for the three count. The live crowd exploded big and a bunch of babyfaces came in to celebrate. Lane did a promo about how Don King was calling Reed & Raper and wanted to bring them to New York as world tag team champions. This was similar to the angle Dusty Rhodes did in 1986 with the Mulkey Brothers getting an upset win on TBS over The Gladiators to get into the Crockett Cup but they just beat an unknown team and got a rare win, this was a world tag team title win. It’s really something in that area that would only happen in Memphis. The Assassins won the titles back two nights later at the Mid South Coliseum in a quick match. Raper wrestled under a number of different names, including when Lawler was booking monsters and wanted somebody to play Frankenstein, it was Raper under the mask. Also, when Danny Davis left the Galaxians tag team, they had Ken Wayne revive the Galaxians tag team, Raper put on the mask to be the second member of the team. Wayne & Raper also at times teamed up without masks, as part of the Wayne vs. Davis feud. On March 7, 1993, in one of the promotion’s last big crowds, drawing 8,377 fans by bringing in Terry Funk, Austin Idol, Jimmy Valiant, Tommy Rich and Koko B. Ware, Raper went under the mask as Leatherface teaming with Deadface in a world tag team title match losing to the Moondogs. Leatherface & Dead Head also lost to the Moondogs in a tag title match in the November 1 show. Raper started wrestling in 1976 after being trained by Mario Galento. In 1978 and 1979, he wrestled as Chief War Cloud in Puerto Rico, and held the Caribbean heavyweight title, beating Gil Hayes on November 25, 1978, and losing it to Don Kent on January 6, 1979. He also did television jobs on WWF television from at times from 1995 to 1997. He wrestled for Randy Hales’ Power Pro Wrestling after the original promotion folded, as a jobber on WMC television, through 1999. He worked a regular job and worked prelims at spot shows around Memphis on some weekends, occasional Monday nights in prelims at the Mid South Coliseum and mostly the Saturday morning live television show putting people over. During and after wrestling he worked at Petco

 

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Vicki Askew - Vince McMahon's mother - has passed away at the age of 101

Per the obituary - she passed away of natural causes on Jan 20.

She passed away on the one year anniversary of Vince's older brother, Rod, passing away

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Masashi Takeda's wife passed away suddenly earlier in the month. They have young children. He hasn't wrestled since. Freedoms have announced that they'll be selling Takeda portraits at their next show, to raise money for the family.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Though he later became a pure babyface, the Gladiator sort of pioneered the "tweener" when he first showed up in Florida in the late 60s. Took the Florida title off the very popular Nick Kozak but later feuded with the Great Malenko. Very, very good in the ring.

Edited by LP Steve
typo
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Spoiler

FORMER WWE & WCW REFEREE MICKIE JAY HENSON DIES
Posted by Greg Oliver | Feb 14, 2022


Steve Keirn shared the news today, February 14, that long-time WWE and WCW referee Mickie Henson — who was also known as Mickie Jay — had been taken off life support, and passed away. He was 60.

On Facebook, Keirn’s nephew, Vince Ross shared the news on Keirn’s page:

I’m broken hearted that today I had to see my best friend Mick be taken off life support. I was his friend for 40 years. His family became the pro wrestling business and he loved it. This was a great man, a friend who called me weekly to just say “Hey Pal just checking on you.” I have lost so many friends in the last two years the pain is knowing they are gone.

I truly believe he is in heaven he loved Jesus and when he accepted his award at the CAC 2018 he started his speech with acknowledging his Lord and savior was Jesus. I was so very proud of him getting the award but more proud of him saying that. I will always love him as my brother in Christ. Rest In Peace Pal

Steve Keirn

Henson’s career is detailed in depth in a 2018 article, before he was honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club, with the Charlie Smith Referee Award — Mickie Henson’s career — and life — hardly a quick 1-2-3. It also details so many of the health challenges that he went through, especially battling cancer.

In short, he was a taken to the AWA matches by his grandfather, and became a fan who befriended the wrestlers in Moline, Illinois, and that was his entry into the business. Steve Keirn was key to all that happening.

“Mick became a referee, and boom, his thing was history from there,” said Keirn in a 2018 interview, adding how he helped Henson along the way. “He wanted to work for WWE, and they had taken a lot of the guys from WCW, but they didn’t take Mick. John Laurinaitis said, ‘Tell him to lose some weight’ because he was too fat. So I got on Mick about losing weight, he lost like 90 pounds, he looked great. John hired him and he did really good. He’d come from WCW so he had the experience and he was a great referee but it goes back to why he was — he was a great referee because he wasn’t just collecting a paycheck. He was a great referee because he loved what he did and he tried to give it his best. That’s what really makes talent and referees is having pride in what you do, and also the respect for the business, you care for it and you protect it. Not just go out there and say, ‘Ah, there’s not that many people out here tonight, I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to lay down. Cover me, 1-2-3. This is over.’ You’ve just got to be willing to put yourself out sometimes when it’s least expected.”

At the CAC event, in April 2018 in Las Vegas, Henson was brief. He thanked God and Jesus, and told the story of how he was told in 2008 that he had six months to live.

“Please forgive me, because I never did promos, so I’m kind of nervous,” he said.

Henson thanked Steve Keirn, and looked around the room: “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in this business, the best storytellers. Pat Patterson, Jerry Brisco … Dusty Rhodes, Gordon Solie was my friend.”


He thanks WWE, who helped with much of his medical expenses, and concluded: “I want to say thanks to the friends I’ve met, the lifelong relationships, the memories, and tonight brings it full circle.”

Four recipients of the Charlie Smith Referee Award at the Cauliflower Alley Club in 2018, from left, James Beard, Mickey Henson, Charlie Smith and Bobby Simmons. Photo by Greg Oliver

Henson was not married, and had no children. He lived in Key West, Florida, and loved to fish and see live music, often invited many friends from the wrestling business down to hang out. Henson was also active on Facebook, and enjoyed sharing photos of friends, music events he attended, memes, and, especially wrestling.

Funeral arrangements are not known at this time.

 

Edited by RIPPA
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  • 2 weeks later...

Joe D'Orazio passed away at the age of 99.

Meltzer said that as far as he knows - D'Orazio was the oldest living wrestler

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20 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Joe D'Orazio passed away at the age of 99.

Meltzer said that as far as he knows - D'Orazio was the oldest living wrestler

Here is what Dave wrote in the WON (which is half Dave trying to figure who are the oldest wrestlers)

Spoiler

Joe D’Orazio, who had been the world’s second oldest living professional wrestler and was once among the most influential people in the U.K. wrestling scene, passed away on 3/9 at the age of 99.

D’Orazio was born Giuseppe Augusto Antonio Loreto Mario Scala on July 27, 1922 in Bermondsey, England.

He was widely believed to have been the oldest living pro wrestler, but in actuality the oldest is Dick Medrano, who was born November 20, 1921. Medrano was a journeyman wrestler in the 40s and 50s in Mexico who also appeared in some Santo movies, and later trained wrestlers in the 60s and 70s. D’Orazio is believed to have been the third oldest wrestler in history, behind Medrano and the oldest, Abe Coleman, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 101. The oldest person ever in the wrestling profession is believed to be former Washington state promoter Harry Elliott, who was nearly 102 when he passed away in 2006.

The oldest person from the U.S. wrestling scene is believed to be Texas announcer Bill Mercer, at 96. Aside from Medrano, the oldest living wrestlers are believed to be Alex Iakovides, who lives in Australia and is 93, Cowboy Bob Ellis, one of the big drawing cards of the early 1960s, who is 92, and Sammy Berg aka Samson Burke, who is also 92.

When British pro wrestling was at its actual popularity peak, during the 1950s and 1960s, D’Orazio was one of the key men in the industry. He was both a wrestler and a promoter, who also trained wrestlers, later became a referee and a wrestling reporter, writing for the national wrestling magazines and had also a book on the subject.

As a promoter, he is most famous for joining with George Kidd and Eddie Capelli to run the MatSports promotion, which ran in direct competition with Joint Promotions during the late 1950s. Kidd was the promotion’s top star as the world lightweight champion. D’Orazio was the business head of the organization.

Kidd was to be the focus of the promotion with his technical wizardry, in particular for his popularity with the wrestling purists. But he couldn’t do it by himself and they had trouble recruiting name talent.

The promotion was known for giving opportunities to a number of new peformers. Adrian Street was the most famous wrestler that MatSports started.

A twist is that Mat Sports vs. Joint never denigrated into a promotional war. Joint never tried to sabotage the promotion like happened in virtually every other period of major promotional competition. It was said that everyone in Joint had so much respect for Kidd and D’Orazaio that Joint let them do what they did, which was not the case with anyone else who tried to compete with Joint.

He started promoting in Scotland, where Kidd was the biggest star. But they were unable to get a high quality of talent besides Kidd, who was considered at the time the best worker in that part of the world. They made amends with Dale Martin Promotions, but the shows stopped drawing without the talent depth.

In 1963, MatSports and Joint reached an agreement to work together. D’Orazio was largely retired from the ring by this time, but he was well known as a referee during the period in the 60s when wrestling was viewed by more people on television than any period in its history.

A lot of the top new talent was sent to D’Orazio for refining them since he had great knowledge of every aspect of the business. He handled publicity for Joint, writing the programs andnewspaper stories using the name Bob Scala. Within the industry during the 60s he was known as the smartest person in the British wrestling business.

He was said to have an encyclopedic knowledge of pro wrestling, since he worked in every aspect of the business and was part of the business since 1948, so he first hand saw every era.oa a nen

When the popularity of local wrestling collapsed with the rise of WWF on television and the end of the weekly exposure on ITV, D’Orazio remained involved with the industry.

He was also the President of the British Wrestlers Reunion and attended most of the events until the pandemic. He founded the group in 1991.

He also worked with Pam Edwards on writing a book called “The Who’s Who of Wrestling,” released in 1971. The book was a guide to all of the top stars of the 50s and 60s that appeared on the ITV television show. Like with all his writings, he used the name Bob Scala.

In the entry for Joe D’Orazio in 1971, what was written was, “Joe D’Orazio has been a referee for the past 10 years. Before that he spent 13 years as a wrestler, and as swuch traveled all over Europe. He holds a Black Belt in Judo, and at one time was a well-known film stunt man.”

He appeared in about 30 movies, best known for being the stunt double for J. Carrol Naish, who played Charlie Chan.

D’Orazio was in the demolition industry, knocking down buildings, when he was younger, and then joined the Royal Air Force and served in World War II in Northern Africa.

After the war was over, he joined the London Judo Society with his best friend, John Logeland. Logeland became a well-known pro wrestler, Steve “Iron Man” Logan, the longtime tag team partner of Mick McManus, one of the biggest U.K. wrestling stars in history. He was also the cousin of Mike Harrison, who was also one of the top stars of the 60s and 70s as Mike Marino.

He started wrestling in 1948. He wrestled a lot in Belgium, France and was in many of the major German tournaments.

He started his own promotion in 1958 because he didn’t like how Joint and Dale Martin Promotions treated talent. He attempted to organize wrestlers to stick together to demand better working conditions and at times organized picket lines outside the shows.

But he ended up changing his tune when he became a promoter.

D’Orazio told himself he would never wrestle for the larger promotions again, but was okay in being a referee and said that both companies ended up very good to him, even with his past as a union organizer and promoting against them..

Besides working in his younger days in television and movies as a stuntman, he also wrote poetry, and into his 90s, taught those with learning disabilities how to paint.

 

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