Name: Antonino Biasetton
Year Inducted: 2003
Induction Category: Television Era

Antonino "Argentina" Rocca

He was born Antonino Biasetton in Naples, Italy on April 13, 1929. This name is unknown to fans of wrestling, but his ring name is engraved in the minds and hearts of wrestling fans world wide. He was billed "Argentine" (or "Argentina") Rocca. He moved with his family to Argentina when he was a young teenager. It was in his new home of Buenos Aires that he blossomed as an athletic star in rugby, fencing, and wrestling. It was the latter sport that brought him fame in his adopted home. He turned pro in 1947 and he was soon spotted by a visiting American wrestler, Nick Elitch. The old pro was so impressed that he contacted Doc Sarpolis, a friend and wrestling promoter in Texas. Doc was sold on the new find and brought him to the U.S. in May 1947. The sport had never seen a wrestler with such aerial athleticism and he has been given his honored title of "original high flyer." Tony Rocca went on from his debut in 1947 to become a major media focus of the sport, in and out of the ring. He with his tag team partner, Miquel Perez sold out the old Madison Square Garden 20 times. He is the only wrestler ever to appear on CBS's weekly talk show "Person to Person" with Edward R. Murrow. His picture even graced the covers of Esquire magazine and the Superman comic book. His legs were insured by Lloyds of London for a million dollars. In the twilight of his career he was a co-host of the weekly WWWF and also did guest ref work around the country. At the age of 49 he passed away on March 15, 1977.

-Tom Burke

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