He was the Canadian Strongman, alleged to have once bench pressed over 700 pounds. He was highly successful but died mysteriously soon after his retirement.
Real Name: Adolpho Brescino
Stats: 6′ 1″ 256 lbs.
Born: August 6, 1948
Dino Bravo was a popular Canadian star and made the claim to be the strongest man in the world. His celebrated career is now overshadowed by his mysterious, brutal death.
Dino Bravo began wrestling professionally in the early 1970’s in Montreal, Canada. At 6′ 1″, 256 lbs., Bravo was incredibly strong and sported an enormous upper torso. He competed as a tag team wrestler in the early stages of his career, teaming with Gino Brito in the Grand Prix promotion in Montreal and with Victor Rivera, with whom he would win the NWA America tag team title in Los Angeles in 1974. One year later he captured the NWA Atlantic Coast tag team title along with Tiger Conway, Jr. and later that year with Mr. Wrestling. In 1976, he teamed again with Mr. Wrestling to capture the NWA World tag team title. In 1978, he moved to the Northeastern region of the United States and entered the WWWF and quickly captured the WWWF tag team belts, along with Dominic Denucci.
In late 1978, Bravo ventured out into the singles ranks and found success immediately winning the first tournament in Frank Tunney’s promotion to win the NWA Canadian title (which was presented by Whipper Billy Watson). He would later win the Canadian International title in Montreal and would be recognized as the Canadian champion in several promotions, including the AWA and the WWF which he entered in 1985.
In 1986, Bravo reached the peak of his popularity, but was briefly engaged in a controversial incident. In a January show in Montreal, Canada, the WWF canceled a scheduled match between Bravo and Hulk Hogan because the 20,000 in attendance were clearly in support of Bravo and the federation did not want their biggest star (Hogan) to be booed. After briefly leaving the WWF, he returned a year later with a new look (bleached blond hair) and a new gimmick (the world’s strongest man). With Jesse “the Body” Ventura in attendance, Bravo tried to set the world record with an attempt to bench press 710 lbs. at the 1988 Royal Rumble. Despite his (and Ventura’s) claim that he had been successful, his attempt was never deemed successful by any official organization.
Over the next few years, he competed as a major competitor to Hulk Hogan and the Mountie. He retired in 1992, although a retirement show put on by the WWF in Montreal was canceled in December 1992. Three months later the wrestling world was shocked with the news that Dino Bravo was dead. He was found shot to death on March 11, 1993 in his home in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Rumors circulated that his murder had to do with a continuing involvement with organized in Montreal. It was alleged that he was killed because of an involvement in black market cigarette smuggling.
Bravo found a great deal of success in his career both in singles and tag team championships. It is likely his career was held down because of a desire to continue the push for Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, he could be enjoy the status of a legend, his life was cut tragically short.