|Birth name||Anthony Gareljich|
20 September 1946 |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Tony Garea|
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|Billed from||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Trained by||Wild Don Scott|
Anthony "Tony" Gareljich (born 20 September 1946) is a retired New Zealand professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Tony Garea, who wrestled for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), spending thirty-two of his thirty-five-year career in the promotion. After his in-ring retirement, he was signed by WWE as a road agent.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The son of Croatian-born Ivan Gareljich, Anthony Gareljich was born in Auckland, New Zealand to parents of Yugoslavian and Irish descent. He was originally an accomplished sprinter and a rugby player.
Garea was trained by Wild Don Scott. He made his professional wrestling debut in his native New Zealand. He worked in NWA San Francisco territory where he and Pat Patterson defeated Don Muraco and Invader I for the NWA San Francisco Tag Team Championship in May 1976.
World Wide Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Federation (1972–1986)
Debut and Early Tag Title Reigns (1972–1979)
Garea left New Zealand in 1972 and went to United States where he signed a contract with Vince McMahon, Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). He made his WWWF debut at a TV taping in the Philadelphia Arena on 20 September 1972 as a babyface, defeating Davey O'Hannon. On 30 May 1973, he teamed with Haystacks Calhoun and defeated Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka to win his first WWWF World Tag Team Championship. Garea and Calhoun feuded with Fuji and Tanaka for the rest of the summer before losing the titles back to Fuji and Tanaka on 11 September.
Garea continued the feud with Fuji and Tanaka with a new partner, Dean Ho. On 14 November, Garea and Ho defeated Fuji and Tanaka for Garea's second and Ho's first WWWF World Tag Team Championship. Garea's second tag team reign was longer and better than his first reign. They held the titles for five and a half-month before losing them to Valiant Brothers (Jimmy and Johnny) on 8 May 1974 episode of All Star Wrestling. They continued teaming for a while before disbanding their tag team and working on their own. Garea, who had been successful as a tag team wrestler, began a singles career.
Garea continued his singles career for three years before forming a tag team with new partner Larry Zbyzsko in August 1977. They began teaming after entering a tag team tournament for the vacant tag titles, where they were defeated by Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka in the finals on 27 September 1977. They continued to challenge for the titles before defeating The Yukon Lumberjacks (Eric and Pierre) for Garea's third and Zbyzsko's first WWWF World Tag Team Championship on edition of 21 November 1978 of Championship Wrestling. They held the titles for four months before losing them to Valiant Brothers (Jerry and Johnny) on edition of 24 March 1979 of Championship Wrestling. Later that same month, Wide was dropped from the promotion's name, renaming the promotion World Wrestling Federation.
Teaming with Rick Martel (1980–1982)
Garea continued to wrestle in the tag team division, with another former WWF Tag Team Champion Rene Goulet. The two participated in a tag team tournament for the titles, where they were defeated by The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) in the finals on 27 September 1980. Garea formed a tag team with new partner Rick Martel, which was Garea's most successful and most popular tag team. They defeated Wild Samoans on 8 November for Garea's fourth and Martel's first WWF Tag Team Championship. Garea and Martel continued to feud with the former champions for the rest of the year. After Wild Samoans left WWF, the champions began feuding with The Moondogs (King and Rex). They dropped the titles to Moondogs on edition of 17 March 1981 of Championship Wrestling.
Martel and Garea continued to feud with Moondogs, trying to regain the titles. On 8 June, Garea beat a young rookie named Man Mountain Canyon in Madison Square Garden, who returned to WWF four years later as King Kong Bundy. On edition of 21 July of Championship Wrestling, Martel and Garea defeated Moondogs in a rematch to win their second WWF Tag Team Championship as a team, though, it was Garea's fifth and final individual reign. Garea's final run as a tag team champion ended on edition of 17 October of Championship Wrestling after Garea and Martel were defeated by Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito for the tag titles. Garea and Martel continued to feud with Fuji and Saito, trying to regain the titles but failed to do so.
Martel left WWF in 1982 while Garea went on his own. Garea teamed with newcomers to the WWF such as Eddie Gilbert and B. Brian Blair in 1983 and 1984 but was unable to recapture the success he previously enjoyed as a tag-team champion. He moved to the jobber to the stars status, jobbing to rising newcomers before retiring in 1986.
Retirement and beyond (1986–present)
Garea was employed as a road agent by WWF, a position he continues to hold to this day. He recently appeared with former tag team partner Rick Martel at Vengeance: Night of Champions in June 2007. They came to the aid of the team of Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka who were being attacked following their losing effort against Deuce 'n Domino.
When WWE came to New Zealand on 11 June 2008 in Auckland he was a guest on the very first international V.I.P Lounge along with Bushwacker Butch. The segment's host, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) announced him as Bushwhacker Luke but then apologised. Eventually, MVP attacked Butch and Garea with the microphone. Butch and Garea recovered and fought off MVP, then celebrated with the Bushwhacker walk. On 3 March 2009 he was featured on WWE.com exclusive segment Top-rope Theater posing as "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. On 29 March 2010 episode of Monday Night Raw Garea appeared as a lumberjack in the Christian vs. Ted DiBiase lumberjack match. Towards the end of the match, Garea brawled with other legends that were serving as lumberjacks.
- "The Living Legend"
Championships and accomplishments
- NWA San Francisco
- UWA Universal Wrestling Association
- UWA World Heavyweight Junior Championship. (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wide Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Federation
- "Tony Garea's Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Solomon, Brian (2006). WWE Legends. Pocket Books. pp. 195–199. ISBN 978-0-7434-9033-7.
- "N.W.A. World Tag Team Title [San Francisco]". The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "WWWF Show Results 1973". The History of WWE. 30 May 1973. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Tony Garea & Haystacks Calhoun defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions Prof. Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji to win the titles
- "World Tag Team Championship official title history". WWE. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "WWWF Show Results 1973". The History of WWE. 11 September 1973. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Mr. Fuji and Prof. Toru Tanaka defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions Tony Garea & Haystacks Calhoun to win the titles when the referee stopped the match, ruling Calhoun unable to continue after Tanaka threw salt into the champion's eyes and choked him with his own horseshoe
- "WWWF Show Results 1973". The History of WWE. 14 November 1973. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Tony Garea & Dean Ho defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions Prof. Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji to win the titles
- "WWWF Show Results 1974". The History of WWE. 8 May 1974. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Jimmy & Johnny Valiant defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions Dean Ho & Tony Garea to win the titles
- "WWWF Show Results 1977". The History of WWE. 27 September 1977. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
WWWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals: Prof. Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji (w/Freddie Blassie) defeated Larry Zbyzsko & Tony Garea to win the titles
- "WWWF Show Results 1978". The History of WWE. 21 November 1978. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Tony Garea & Larry Zbyzsko defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions the Yukon Lumberjacks (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) to win the titles at 9:18 when Zbyzsko pinned Eric after the champions collided in the ring; after the match, Albano fired his team for losing the championship
- "WWWF Show Results 1979". The History of WWE. 6 March 1978. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Johnny & Jerry Valiant (w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Jimmy Valiant) defeated WWWF Tag Team Champions Larry Zbyzsko & Tony Garea to win the titles at 10:54 when Johnny pinned Zbyzsko after Jerry and Zbyzsko collided and Jimmy pulled Jerry to the floor, allowing Johnny to take his place in the ring
- "WWF Show Results 1980". The History of WWE. 9 September 1980. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals: The Wild Samoans (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) defeated Tony Garea & Rene Goulet at 10:08 to win the titles when Afa pinned Goulet following a double bodyslam behind the referee's back
- "WWF Show Results 1980". The History of WWE. 8 November 1980. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Rick Martel & Tony Garea defeated WWF Tag Team Champions the Wild Samoans to win the titles at 14:29 when Martel scored the pin with a sunset flip as the illegal Samoan covered Garea at the same time, moments after Garea and the legal Samoan collided in the ring
- "WWF Show Results 1981". The History of WWE. 17 March 1981. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
The Moondogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Tony Garea & Rick Martel to win the titles at 6:36 when Moondog Rex pinned Garea after Moondog King hit Garea in the head with his bone as the referee was knocked down
- "WWF Show Results 1981". The History of WWE. 8 June 1981. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Tony Garea defeated Man Mountain Cannon at 6:23 (King Kong Bundy)
- "WWF Show Results 1981". The History of WWE. 21 July 1981. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Rick Martel & Tony Garea defeated WWF Tag Team Champions the Moondogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) to win the titles at 8:14 when Martel pinned Moondog Spot with a sunset flip as Spot attempted to choke Garea with his bone
- "WWF Show Results 1981". The History of WWE. 13 October 1981. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Rick Martel & Tony Garea at 9:48 to win the titles when Saito pinned Martel after Fuji threw salt into the champion's eyes as Martel attempted a crossbody off the top, allowing Saito to roll through on the move to get the win
- Robinson, Bryan (24 June 2007). "Tag champs win, but taught a legendary lesson". WWE. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. Retrieved 3 November 2009.