Name: Domenic Denucci
Year Inducted: 2012
Domenic Nucciarone came
to Canada from Frosolone,
in the Italian province of Campobasso,
in 1955 at the age of 20. He settled in Montreal, where his great-uncle
lived. Denucci quickly
found friends at the PalaisNationale,
where all the amateur wrestlers trained and professionals such as Maurice Vachon, would
come by for a workout. He was approached by Yvon Robert
and Tony Lanza about
entering pro wrestling, and despite the fact that he really didn’t know
anything about it, he
began training under Lanza’s supervision.
early 1960s, Denucci started
in the Montreal area under a hood as a villainous Masked Marvel. He later
moved on to Detroit where he was teamed with the original Dino Bravo as
Dominic Bravo. “We hit it off pretty well. They booked us mainly where the
Italian ethnics were. We used to bring them in,” said Bravo.
in Calgary, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Japan and Australia followed for the
master of the airplane spin. The Roy Shire San Francisco territory was an
early highlight. “I think the best thing for me was when I was in San
Francisco. That was the first one, when I beat Ray Stevens for the
championship, United States champion. That, to me at that time, was very
exciting because I was still young,” Denucci said.
Australia, he was a part of the initial Jim Barnett-led World Championship
Wrestling crew and was a huge national star. In his column about the golden
years of Australian wrestling (1964-1978), Ed Lock wrote thatDenucci was
“one of the best and most popular grapplers ever to campaign in Australia.”
his typical modesty, Denucci downplayed
his stardom. “I did a good run with [Killer] Kowalski. I was over, not to
say because it was a long time ago, but I was over,” said Denucci.
“We did hell of a good business.”
Hitting the WWWF in late 1969, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound “Italian Sensation”
rose to prominence as a tag team wrestler, holding the tag belts with
partners Pat Barrett, Victor Riviera and the younger Dino Bravo (Adolfo Bresciano)
from Montreal. His favorite
partner? “I’m not knocking
Victor because Victor was a really good worker too, but Dino Bravo, I think
was my best.” His skills were well known and he was often used as a mentor,
including working around the horn with a young Hulk Hogan in 1981.
1983, Denucci left
the WWF just before its big expansion. He wrestled around the world until
1988 and organized tours in locations such as Saudi Arabia and the
Philippines before retiring for good. Denucci was
involved in running a wrestling school in Pittsburgh and trained former
world champions Mick Foley and Shane Douglas.
- Greg Oliver