John Tolos passed away last night in California at the age of 78. His death is believed to be as a result of kidney failure.
“The Golden Greek” and his brother Chris worked a number of territories as a tag team including the WWWF, NWA Detroit, Maple Leaf Wrestling, NWA Los Angeles, Stampede Wrestling and Championship Wrestling from Florida. They held several tag team championships throughout North America as heels.
Following his split from his brother, Tolos went on to become a top singles heel in Los Angeles and was considered one of the top talkers of the seventies.
Tolos may be best known for feuding with Fred Blassie in one of pro wrestling’s all-time greatest feuds. He was chosen by Blassie to be his opponent in a match in 1971 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, which was one of the biggest events in wrestling of the time.
Tolos had a brief run in the World Wrestling Federation in 1991 as the manager of Intercontinental Champion “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, replacing Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Known as “The Coach,” the character never really caught on, partially because Hennig took an extended leave of absence following SummerSlam after suffering a severe back injury. With Hennig indefinitely out of action, along with The Beverly Brothers changing their manager to “The Genius” Lanny Poffo, Tolos quietly disappeared from the World Wrestling Federation by the end of the year.
Tolos later worked for Herb Abrams’ Universal Wrestling Federation as an announcer and heel manager for “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Cactus Jack and The Power Twins.
Tolos’ career in wrestling spanned three decades and he worked regularly into his 50s. He was known for his tremendous conditioning as he continued distance running well into his 60s. However, a near fatal stroke slowed him down in recent years.
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