Adolfo Bresciano (August 6, 1948 – March 10, 1993) was an Italian-born, Canadian-based professional wrestler, and #7 on our list of wrestlers. Professionally known as Dino Bravo, he famously billed himself as “The World’s Strongest Man”. He began wrestling in the early 1970′s, having taken the name “Dino Bravo” from a previous competitor. At the start of his career, Bravo worked in a number of tag team combinations, including co-bills with Dominic DeNucci and Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods. During his partnership with Woods, Bravo won the NWA World Tag Team Championship, which had been won from the team of Gene and Ole Anderson, and which was eventually lost to them in a rematch later that year. By the late 1970′s, Bravo had become a large enough personality to get a push as a solo performer. In December 1978, he won a hotly contested match against Gene Kiniski to win the Canadian heavyweight title.
Moving onto the World Wrestling Federation in early 1978, Bravo teamed with DeNucci to win the WWF World Tag Team Title, but lost it to the Yukon Lumberjacks only some months later. Later, in the early 1980′s, Bravo (as a solo performer once again) was scheduled for a career-defining title match against Hulk Hogan in Toronto. Unfortunately, the match was cancelled, allegedly due to the WWF organizers not wanting to witness the prospect of a hometown crowd cheering on Bravo instead of Hogan. Crestfallen by this setback, and in need of a new image to bolster his sagging career, Bravo hit upon a new gimmick at the 1988 Royal Rumble. Bravo, who was legitimately reputed to be capable of bench pressing more than 500 pounds, now attempted to bench press what was claimed to be 715 pounds–which, if confirmed, would have been a world record. Despite the lack of official confirmation, Bravo soon afterward began billing himself as “The World’s Strongest Man”.
Bravo’s persona was that of a Quebecois nationalist, proudly sporting the Fleur-de-is and often carrying placards bearing anti-American slogans into the ring with him. However, following a loss at WrestleMainia VII to Kerry Von Erich, Bravo left WWF, later surfacing on local Canadian television for several matches against The Mountie. Bravo retired from active competition in April 1992.
On March 10, 1993, at the age of 44, Dino Bravo was allegedly shot 17 times in the head, in what has passed into legend as a reputed “mob hit”. He had been watching hockey on television in his Laval, Quebec apartment. Rumours quickly reached the press and public that Bravo’s role in illegal cigarette smuggling had led to his untimely demise. His popularity with locals had given him a virtual monopoly on the trade, thus putting him in the bad books of local mafiosi. Various sources have confided to the media that Bravo had known his days were numbered, as he was in fact a nephew (by marriage) of Montreal crime boss Vic Cotroni, and had been involved in the mafia for some years, overlapping extensively with his wrestling career. He was survived by his wife Diane and daughter Claudia.