Name: Ilio DiPaolo

PWHF New York State Award, 2003

Ilio Dipaolo

What an honor to be awarded the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame's New York State Award at the same time as Ilio DiPaolo. Who would have thought that when I was a kid that my best friend later in life would be an Italian boy born in Intradacqua, Italy? Ilio and I were like brothers, we never argued and who in there right mind would argue with Ilio? He came to New York State in the 1950's and never left. He made it his home. We traveled together, wrestled together, toured Japan together, promoted wrestling together, but probably were most noted for the charity work we did together. During our various charity functions there wasn't a T.V. host or sportscaster that didn't experience the "double body slam" by Ilio and me. Ilio spoke with a beautiful Italian accent and his oldest son, Dennis, can imitate his Dad perfectly. At a charity golf outing Ilio thanked everyone for coming, the celebrities in attendance and then all the sponsors. Dennis then got up and said he would like to interpret what his father said and then he would speak exactly like his Dad. When we were promoting Rochester together he was instructing Hercules Cortez, who spoke with a Spanish accent, to speak very slowly during his interview.

Ilio never forgot a name - everyone is "Cumpa." I recently went to Ilio's Restaurant to find out how to spell "Cumpa" and where it came from. They gave me the spelling and Barbara, Dennis, and Michael said that "Cumpa Sieprev" means my good friend or my equal. Ilio at the restaurant or on the golf course treated everyone the same, "My Cumpa." You know what! -Barbara, Dennis, and Michael are the same! And we can't forget his wife, Ethel. I guess the old saying still holds true, "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree."

When the Buffalo News printed a story about the DiPaolo family they spelled Cumpa -"Goombah" so no matter how you spell it - it still means the same. "My friend, My equal."

- Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer

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