August 6, 1948|
|Died||March 10, 1993
Laval, Quebec, Canada
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Billed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|Billed from||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Trained by||Gino Brito|
Adolfo Bresciano (August 6, 1948 – March 10, 1993) was an Italian-born Canadian professional wrestler, best known for his work as Dino Bravo, self-proclaimed as "Canada's Strongest Man" and later the "World's Strongest Man".
Professional wrestling career
Bresciano began wrestling in 1970, taking the "Dino Bravo" moniker from a wrestler from the early 1960s who had teamed with Dominic DeNucci as the Bravo brothers, Dino and Dominic. He was trained by Gino Brito and often worked in a tag team with his mentor, billed as Brito's cousin. Bravo worked in a number of other tag teams, partnering with, among others, "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods and DeNucci.
Bravo held the Jim Crockett Promotions version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Woods, winning the title from Gene and Ole Anderson and eventually losing the title to the Andersons. Bravo also had a major program with Blackjack Mulligan, pinning Mulligan twice in a televised non-title match to set up a series of matches for Mulligan's United States title. Bravo did not win the U.S. title from Mulligan, but did receive several shots at NWA World Champion Harley Race during his tenure with Crockett.
By the late 1970s, Bravo had become a big enough draw to get a singles push in the Montreal territory. In December 1978, he defeated Gene Kiniski in Toronto to win the new Canadian heavyweight title as recognized in that area
World Wrestling Federation
With Dominic DeNucci, Bravo captured the WWF World Tag Team Title in March 1978 from Professor Tanaka and Mr. Fuji. Three months later in June, The Yukon Lumberjacks defeated Bravo and DeNucci for the title.
In the early 1980s, Bravo and King Tonga (later known as Haku) formed a tag team for a brief while, but never got much of a push. Bravo was scheduled to headline a card against Hulk Hogan in 1986, but the match was canceled on short notice, with Bravo leaving the company shortly thereafter; the rumor was that the company did not want the Montreal crowd to cheer Bravo, the hometown hero, over Hogan, and that Bravo quit after finding out. Bravo returned to the WWF the next year, almost immediately dying his brown hair blond and working as part of Lucious Johnny Valiant's stable with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Beefcake was kicked out of the stable at WrestleMania III and Bravo took his place in The Dream Team tag team with Valentine.
Bravo returned to singles competition after a few months and began a strongman gimmick. At the 1988 Royal Rumble, Bravo (who was legitimately strong and was said to be able to press more than 500 pounds) attempted to bench press what he claimed was 715 pounds, which would have been a world record at the time. Commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura helped lift the bar at one point, but Bravo played the lift as a success and began billing himself as the "World's Strongest Man." In this gimmick, Bravo feuded with Don Muraco, Ken Patera, Ron Garvin, and Jim Duggan. Bravo yelled "Bah-Ah" every time he got the upper hand on an opponent to get crowd heat.
He played up his Québécois identity wearing the Fleur-de-lis and was managed by Frenchy Martin; who often toted around a sign reading USA is not OK. In March 1988, Bravo lost in the first round of the WWF Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV against Don Muraco. During a rematch at SummerSlam in August, Martin distracted Bravo's opponent Muraco to allow Bravo to get the victory. In October at the King of the Ring, Martin managed Bravo in a win over Jim Duggan in a flag match. At the Royal Rumble in January 1989, Bravo, accompanied by Martin, teamed with The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond) but lost a two out of three falls match against Jim Duggan and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). At WrestleMania V Bravo defeated Rugged Ronnie Garvin.
After Frenchy Martin's departure, Bravo joined Jimmy Hart's stable and entered a feud with The Ultimate Warrior, unsuccessfully challenging Warrior for his WWF Intercontinental Championship. Prior to a WrestleMania VI loss to Duggan, Bravo teamed up with Earthquake, and Bravo would often display his strength by doing push ups while the 460 lb. Earthquake sat on his back (although Tenta kept his feet on the floor, so not all of his weight was on his partner). The team of Earthquake and Bravo would have a lengthy feud with Hulk Hogan and Tugboat.
Following a WrestleMania VII loss to Kerry Von Erich, he disappeared from WWF TV for several months before having a short run on Montreal house shows as a face, against The Mountie and The Barbarian. Bresciano left the WWF and retired from wrestling following a European tour in April 1992. In his final match, televised on Sky Movies, he and Colonel Mustafa lost to The Legion of Doom in Sheffield, England. After retiring, he helped train wrestlers in Montreal.
On March 10, 1993, Bresciano was found shot dead. He was 44 years old. He was hit by 17 bullets, 7 to the head and 10 to the torso, while watching hockey in his Vimont, Laval, Quebec home. His alleged role in illegal cigarette smuggling in Canada is popularly believed to have led to his officially unsolved murder. Rick Martel has stated in interviews that because of Bresciano's notoriety from being a popular professional wrestler, he was able to attract many customers (particularly natives), thus crossing the mafia. Right before his death, Bresciano confided to friends that he knew his days were numbered. He was a nephew by marriage of Montreal crime boss Vic Cotroni, and was believed by authorities to be involved in his organization for some time. Bresciano's remains are in a mausoleum at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec.
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Lutte Internationale
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- World Wide Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Federation
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 179 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- PWI Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (1978)
- Shields, Brian (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. pp. 174–177. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
- "Dino Bravo". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Worlg Tag Team title history". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Oliver, Greg (March 26, 2001). "A 10-bell salute for the late WrestleManiacs". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Miedzian, Myriam (2002). Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence. Lantern Books. p. 214. ISBN 1-59056-035-3.
- Shields, Brian. Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s, 176.
- "Royal Rumble 1989 official results". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- Dino Bravo's most recent matches, from WrestlingData.com
- "Brainroom: Past Deaths of Professional Wrestlers", from FOX News
- "The Murder of Dino Bravo", transcribed from Rick Martel's Highspots.com shoot interview
- Hart, Bret (October 16, 2007). Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Random House of Canada. ISBN 0307355667.
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter. March 22, 1993.
- "Find a Grave". Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04.