Ilio DiPaolo

Ilio DiPaolo (November 7, 1926 – May 10, 1995), was an Italian professional wrestler and restaurateur who lived in the Buffalo, New York area.

Ilio DiPaolo
Ilio DiPaolo.jpg
BornNovember 7, 1926
Introdacqua (AQ), Abruzzo, Italy[1]
DiedMay 10, 1995, aged 68
Hamburg, New York
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Ilio DiPaolo
Trained byToots Mondt

Professional wrestling careerEdit

DiPaolo was born in Italy and lived there until he moved to Venezuela in 1949.[1] There, he met promoter Toots Mondt, who taught him to wrestle.[1] While waiting to get the proper paperwork to move to the United States, he relocated to the Dominican Republic to wrestle in the meantime.[1] After the paperwork was completed, he moved to Buffalo, New York in 1951.[2] He then began to work for Frank Tunney out of the Toronto area.[1] Around this time he teamed with Whipper Billy Watson to win the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Championship.[1] Also in Toronto, he wrestled Pat O'Connor for the NWA World title in 1959, but the match went to a one-hour time limit draw.[1] His last match was against Lou Thesz for the same title; a match that also went to a one-hour time limit draw.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

DiPaolo met his wife Ethel, stepdaughter of promoter Pedro Martinez, in 1952.[2] The couple had four children.[2]

He opened his first restaurant, a pizzeria, when he was in his 40s, but it was destroyed by a fire.[2] 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.[1][2] He died in 1995 after being struck by a car during a torrential downpour while trying to enter a restaurant with his wife.[1] After his death, DiPaolo's oldest son Dennis began to run the restaurant.[2] His other children also worked in the restaurant.[2]

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.[3] 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 accomplishmentsEdit

  • 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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Key, George. "Canadian Hall of Fame: Ilio DiPaolo". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Oliver, Greg (May 12, 2005). "DiPaolo's Restaurant celebrates 40 years". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  3. ^ a b Beyer, Dick. "Ilio Dipaolo". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  4. ^ "List of CAC Award Winners". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Whalen, Ed (host) (December 15, 1995). "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame: 1948-1990". Showdown at the Corral: A Tribute to Stu Hart. Event occurs at 15:38. Shaw Cable. Calgary 7.

External linksEdit