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PHOTO Dino Bravo in the early 1970s

PHOTO With Gino Brito

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Dino Bravo

Real name: Adolfo Bresciano

The "Italian Strongman." In his prime, was both very strong and agile, but the agility was gradually lost. Huge upper body that seemed to get bigger over time. Began wrestling in Montreal in 1970. Initially billed as the cousin of Gino Brito, his tag partner, in Montreal's Grand Prix promotion. Wrestled in Los Angeles and the Mid-Atlantic area in the 70s before going to the WWWF in 1977-78.

Won the inaugural tounament for Frank Tunney's NWA Canadian title in 1978, and was presented the belt by Whipper Watson. Later recognized as Canadian champion in both the AWA (1979) and WWF (1985). Was the lead wrestler and promoter (along with Brito and Frank Valois) of the Montreal promotion in the 1980s before joining the WWF in 1985.

Involved in a famous incident in January 1986 when the WWF cancelled a scheduled match in Montreal between Bravo and Hulk Hogan at the last minute -- with 20,000 people in the stands -- because Bravo was clearly the crowd favourite and they didn't want Hogan to be booed.

Bravo quit the WWF at the time, but returned a year later. He colored his hair blond in March 1987, took Frenchy Martin as his manager later that year (eventually replaced by Jimmy Hart). Formed a tag team with Greg Valentine. Called himself the world's strongest man after an attempted bench press of "710 pounds" at the first Royal Rumble in 1988. Bravo was truly very strong, and could probably come close to a legit bench press of 575 pounds at this time.

Became Hulk Hogan's top opponent in 1990-91, along with partner Earthquake (Canadian John Tenta). Returned to being a brown-haired babyface in July 1991, feuding with The Mountie Bravo made some appearances with the WWF and in Puerto Rico until 1992. There was a scheduled WWF retirement show for him at the Montreal Forum in December 1992, but it was cancelled.

Bravo was shot to death in Montreal in March 1993 at age 44. For several years, there had been rumours of Bravo's involvement with organized crime in Montreal. His execution was reportedly linked to cigarette smuggling.

The name "Dino Bravo" was taken from a wrestler from the late 50s, who was nicknamed "the Italian Casanova."

Prominent Titles:

  • Grand Prix tag champion, with Gino Brito, 1973
  • NWA Americas champion (Los Angeles), 1974
  • NWA Americas tag champion (Los Angeles), with Victor Rivera, 1974
  • NWA Mid-Atlantic champion, 1975
  • 2-time NWA Mid-Atlantic tag champion, 1975-76
  • NWA World tag champion (Mid-Atlantic), with Mr. Wrestling, 1976
  • WWWF World tag champion, with Dominic Denucci, 1978
  • NWA Canadian champion, 1978-79

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