|Born||November 8, 1926
Introdacqua (AQ), Abruzzo, Italy
|Died||May 10, 1995, aged 68
Hamburg, New York
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Ilio DiPaolo|
|Trained by||Toots Mondt|
Professional wrestling career
DiPaolo was born in Italy and lived there until he moved to Venezuela in 1949. There, he met promoter Toots Mondt, who taught him to wrestle. While waiting to get the proper paperwork to move to the United States, he relocated to the Dominican Republic to wrestle in the meantime. After the paperwork was completed, he moved to Buffalo, New York in 1951. He then began to work for Frank Tunney out of the Toronto area. Around this time he teamed with Whipper Billy Watson to win the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Championship.
After wrestling around the world, he returned to Toronto in 1968 to wrestle Pat O'Connor for the World Championship, but the match went to a one-hour time limit draw. His last match was against Lou Thesz for the same title; a match that also went to a one-hour time limit draw.
He opened his first restaurant, a pizzeria, when he was in his 40s, but it was destroyed by a fire. DiPaolo retired from wrestling full-time in 1965 and opened his second restaurant, an eponymous Italian restaurant now known as "Ilio DiPaolo's" in Blasdell, New York. He died in 1995 while trying to enter a restaurant with his wife after being struck by a car during a torrential downpour. After his death, DiPaolo's oldest son Dennis began to run the restaurant. His other children also worked in the restaurant.
World Championship Wrestling held the Ilio DiPaolo Memorial Show for DiPaolo from 1996 through 1999. To this point over $750,000 has been raised for the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Fund and for other Buffalo charities like Children's Hospital and People Inc.
DiPaolo was selected as a New York State Award recipient by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 2003. The DiPaolo family has also been inducted into the New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for the creation of the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship fund and continual contribution to high school wrestling.
Championships and accomplishments
- Other honoree (1994)
- Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame
- 1996 inductee
- Midwest Wrestling Association
- MWA Ohio Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- MWA Ohio Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Athol Layton
- New York State Award (2003)
- WWA International Television Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Tex Mckenzie
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Calgary version) (1 time) - with Tex McKenzie
- Key, George. "Canadian Hall of Fame: Ilio DiPaolo". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- Oliver, Greg (May 12, 2005). "DiPaolo's Restaurant celebrates 40 years". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- Beyer, Dick. "Ilio Dipaolo". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2009-12-28.