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Dick 'The Destroyer' Beyer in 1973
|Birth name||Richard John Beyer|
|Born||July 11, 1930|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 7, 2019 (aged 88)|
Akron, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
|Family||Kurt Beyer (son)|
Billy Red Lyons (brother-in-law)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Dick Beyer|
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|Debut||December 29, 1954|
|Retired||July 29, 1993|
Richard John Beyer (July 11, 1930 – March 7, 2019) was an American professional wrestler who is best known by his ring names, The Destroyer or Doctor X. Beyer worked extensively in Japan and in 2017 he was awarded one of the country's highest honors, the Order of the Rising Sun.
As an athlete at Syracuse University, Beyer was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams. He played in the 1953 Orange Bowl for Syracuse. Beyer graduated with a Masters Degree in education and was a member of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta's Syracuse Chapter. Beyer was also an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Beyer was a teacher in New York until he began his wrestling career, and he also coached swimming.
Professional wrestling career
Worldwide Wrestling Associates
Beyer began as a "babyface" wrestler in the mid-1950s. His career as a "masked" wrestler, The Destroyer, began in 1962 in Los Angeles. He used the "figure-four-leg-lock" on his way to the Worldwide Wrestling Associates (WWA) championship on July 27, 1962 in a win over Freddie Blassie, who convinced him that the mask gimmick would give him a large "push". Beyer went on to defend the WWA title for 10 months.
In early 1963, Beyer wrestled three sold-out matches against Shohei "Giant" Baba at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. In May 1963, Beyer traveled to Japan for the first time, to wrestle with Rikidōzan, in a match watched by 70 million TV viewers. In June 1964, Beyer returned to Los Angeles and beat Dick the Bruiser for another WWA title. Beyer lost the title to Bob Ellis in September, won it back in November, and then lost it for the last time in March 1965 to Pedro Morales.
American Wrestling Association
Between 1966 and 1972, Beyer wrestled as Doctor X while in Minneapolis, although he was known as "The Destroyer" elsewhere. During his time as Doctor X, Beyer had matches with many of the top names in the business including his real life brother-in-law Billy Red Lyons. In fact, it was Lyons who handed "X" his first American Wrestling Association (AWA) defeat on Minneapolis television when he defeated the good Doctor with a figure four leg lock. In August 1970, "X" removed his own mask to get a chance at revenge against his former partner Black Jack Lanza. He stood in the center of the ring with announcer Marty O'Neill, who told the fans that "X" was a former coach from Syracuse University. "X" then removed his mask, handed it to St. Paul promoter Eddie Williams, and wrestled the match as Dick Beyer.
In other AWA cities, he was actually unmasked by both Lanza and Paul Diamond. In these matches, his name was revealed to be Bruce Marshall. The reason for Beyer wanting to be unmasked was that, he and his family were set to go on a world tour, where he would also wrestle again as The Destroyer. It has been speculated that by late August 1970, Beyer had already left the AWA and that it was "jobber" Bobby Jones under the mask until Beyer removed his own mask on the August 8, 1970 card in St. Paul. During 1972, Beyer had several battles with "Crippler" Ray Stevens. Their last match resulted in Beyer as Doctor X having his leg "broken." This "injury" allowed Beyer to leave the Minneapolis area to join a wrestling tour in Japan.
Japan and Canada
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From 1973, Beyer wrestled in Japan for six straight years, in a deal with Giant Baba and NTV of Tokyo. During his tenure in Japan, he had a feud with Mil Máscaras which resulted in a series of seven matches. Beyer also helped promote All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) for Giant Baba and established himself as a television personality in a late-night TV show called Uwasa No Channel. Beyer held the PWF United States Championship until 1979, when he left AJPW and the championship was abandoned.
Later life and death
Beyer went into semi-retirement in 1984. From 1984-1995, Beyer taught physical education in the Akron, New York Central School District, where he also coached football, wrestling and swimming. Beyer lived in Akron, New York. He served on the Board of Directors of the Cauliflower Alley Club, which holds annual reunions in Las Vegas. He was a member of Toastmasters International, a public speaking club, and carried the club designation of Certified Toastmaster. He Inducted Gorgeous George into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 27, 2010.
On August 27, 2011, Beyer, along with his son, returned to Japan to take part in All Together, a charity event held together by AJPW, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah. Beyer, appearing under his Destroyer mask, hosted the Destroyer Cup and presented a trophy to its winner, Kentaro Shiga. In 2013, Beyer opened Destroyer Park Golf in Akron; the first Park golf course in the United States.
On November 4, 2017, it was announced that Beyer would be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, by the Japanese government for "a lifetime spent promoting goodwill and bi-cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States".
Championships and accomplishments
- 50th State Big Time Wrestling
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- All Asia Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- PWF United States Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- January 2 Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (1979)
- January 3 Korakuen Hall Battle Royal (1975)
- Champion Carnival Technical Award (1977)
- Champion Carnival Fighting Spirit Award (1979)
- American Wrestling Alliance
- AWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- American Wrestling Association
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Iron Mike Mazurki Award (1996)
- Central States Wrestling
- George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2002
- Lutte Internationale
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Los Angeles
- NWA International Television Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles version) (1 time) - with Don Manoukian
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- (Class of 2005)
- New York State Award (2003)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Stanley Wetson Award (2017)
- Ring Around The Northwest Newsletter
- Tokyo Sports
- World Wrestling Alliance (San Francisco)
- WWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- Worldwide Wrestling Associates
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- "Observer Radio, Interview with Dick Beyer, June 2, 2010".
- "東日本大震災復興支援チャリティープロレス All Together". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Slam! Wrestling News/Rumours". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. 2017-11-03. Archived from the original on 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
- "The Destroyer Dick Beyer dies". canoe.com.
- Wolf, Jason (March 7, 2019). "Legendary Buffalo pro wrestler Dick 'The Destroyer' Beyer dies at 88".
- "Misc. All Japan Events". www.prowrestlinghistory.com.
- "AJPW New Year Giant Series 1975 - Tag 1 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- "Champion Carnival 1977 « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- "Champion Carnival 1979 « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- Rodgers, Mike (2004). "Regional Territories: PNW #16". KayfabeMemories.com.
- 東京スポーツ プロレス大賞. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- Tenay, Mike. "Dick "the Destroyer" Beyer". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-03-18.