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Annual Obituaries
SPECIALIST: List of Deceased Wrestlers for 2002 (Wahoo, Thesz, Rocco, Mr. Wrestling)

Dec 3, 2007 - 1:11:12 PM
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By Thomas M. Gallipoli, PWTorch.com Obituary Specialist

Deceased Wrestlers for 2002
PWTorch.com Exclusive
By Thomas M. Gallipoli, PWTorch.com Obituary Specialist


"Welcome to my funeral parlor." -Paul Bearer

Hey there, hi there, ho there, everyone. I'm back with the 2002 Obituary List.

After taking a break, here is 2002. As with the 2003 edition, I will list the information by Wrestler's Name, Real Name, Date of Death, Cause, Age and a brief snapshot of his/her career. I will also provide any Main-Stream Media links to the wrestlers if applicable. 2002 had less links than 2003 did. Again, please note that much of, if not most, of this information may be culled from "non-official sources" like blogs and websites but I have tried to insure the information was accurate. It is still my goal to make this section as up-to-date and accurate as possible for Wade and visitors so please feel free to email me at tomphoenix@optonline.net with any questions, comments, updates, links, corrections, or anything else you like. I'll give you a shout-out and thanks for any updates or corrections. I hope to update this section at least once per week with one entire year per update so the next one will cover 2001.

I'd like to thank my wife, parents, and sister for their continuing patience and love. And now, onto the roll call:

Mighty Igor, Richard J. Garza, January 7, 2002, Heart Failure, age 70

-Longtime wrestler, used strongman gimmick, won Bodybuilding championship Mr. Michigan, trained by Bert Ruby, NWA (Detroit-Tag Team Champion, Detroit-United States Champion), WWC Puerto Rican Heavyweight Champion, AWA (Midwest Heavyweight Champion, AWA World Heavyweight Champion); Los Angeles-International Television Tag Team Champion

Herb Calvert, January 27, 2002, Unknown, age 45

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Buck Forrester, Buck Forrester, January 28, 2002, Unknown, age 54

-Masked wrestler, wrestled in the Masked Medics tag team with Bill White, not much else.

Nelson Royal, Nelson Royale, February 2, 2002, Heart Attack, age 70

-Longtime wrestler, considered a world-class cruiserweight wrestler before that designation existed, after retirement he became a maker and seller of wrestling boots and attire, World-World Junior Heavyweight Champion, NWA (four-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, Americas Tag Team Champion, two-time Atlantic Coast Tag Team Champion, Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champion, Central States-Tag Team Champion, North American Tag Team Champion, three-time Tennessee-Tag Team Champion, Pacific Northwest Tag Team Champion)

Paddy Casey, February 15, 2002, Natural Causes, age 92

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Bud Adams, February 17, 2002, Unknown, age 67

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Bad Boy Basil, Basil Bozinis, February 18, 2002, Unknown, age 26

-Trained by UPW promotion, UPW Heavyweight Champion, not much else is known

"Slick" Robbie D, February 18, 2002, Unknown, age 32

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Swede Hanson, Robert Fort Hanson, February 20, 2002, Alzheimer's Disease, age 68

-Longtime wrestler, one half of famous tag team with Rip Hawk, NWA (three-time Western States Tag Team champion, Florida Tag Team Champion, Atlantic Coast-Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champion, IWA Tag Team Champion
MSM Link:
Swede Hanson article

Nick Roberts, Feb. 23, 2002, Unknown, age 75

-Longtime Texas promoter and wrestler, claim to fame was that he was the father of NWA wrestling valet Baby Doll Nikla Roberts

Steve Bolus, March 23, 2002, Cancer, age ??

-Canadian wrestler, I could find nothing else out

Dave Casanova, March 1, 2002, Unknown, age 35

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Charlie Harville (Announcer), Charles Harville, March 1, 2002, Natural Causes, age 83

-Longtime announcer for Jim Crocket Sr. Promotions, used radio contacts to help promote, would often do angles with heel wrestlers to get them over, template for later interviewers like Mean Gene Okerlund,
MSM Link:
Charlie Harville article

Dream Machine, Troy Roland Thompson Jr., March 4, 2002, Heart Attack, age 47

-Indie wrestler from Memphis area but wrestled elsewhere, had long feud with Jerry Lawler, WWA Tag Team Champion, AWA (three-time Southern Tag Team Champion, two-time Southern Heavyweight Champion), USWA Heavyweight Champion
NWA Mid America Heavyweight Champion

Medic, March 4, 2002, Unknown, age 72

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Norm Kimber (Announcer), March 12, 2002, Unknown, age 70

-Longtime Canadian ring announcer, worked for local Canadian indie promotions

"Big Red" Jerry Reese, March 17, 2002, Unknown, age 51

-Puerto Rican wrestler, also wrestled under the names Voodoo Malumba, WWC North American Tag Team Champion

Logger Larson, Ray Schilling, March 21, 2002, Unknown, age 62

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Bobby Managoff, Robert Manoogian, Jr., April 3, 2002, Unknown, age 84

-Longtime wrestler, son of "Terrible Turk" Bob Managoff Sr. alias Big Yusiff (who was stereotypical Arab character), cast plaster "death mask" of French wrestler, Louis Tillet, who was deformed from Acromegaly, same disease that Andre the Giant suffered from, National Wrestling Association-World Heavyweight title, five time Montreal-World Heavyweight title

Wahoo McDaniel, Edward McDaniel April 18, 2002, Stroke, age 63

-Legitimate (1/16th Chickasaw) American Indian wrestler, former NFL legend, played for Broncos, Oilers, Chargers, Dolphins, and Jets, one of the true toughest men in wrestling, wore headdress into the ring, NWA (three-time World Tag Team Champion, five-time United States Champion, five-time Eastern States-Mid Atlantic Champion, four-time Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champion, American Heavyweight Champion, four-time American Tag Team Champion, two-time Southern Heavyweight Champion, two-time Florida Tag Team Champion, Florida Heavyweight Champion, Florida Television Champion, Florida-United States Tag Team Champion, two-time Georgia Heavyweight Champion, Georgia Tag Team Champion, National Heavyweight Champion), SCW (two-time Southwest Television Champion, Southwest Tag Team Champion, SCW Tag Team Champion), IWA Heavyweight Champion, two-time Texas-Texas Heavyweight Champion, Texas Tag Team Champion, UCW Heavyweight Champion
MSM Link:
Wahoo McDaniel article

***image1*** Lou Thesz, Louis Thesz, April 28, 2002, Natural Causes, age 86

-Legendary icon of wrestling, one of the toughest shoot-fighters in wrestling, wrote self-published autobiography titled "Hooker"-nickname for tough man wrestlers, trained by Farmer Burns, became youngest recognized World Champion at age 21, unified National Wrestling Alliance World Championship and National Wrestling Association (different promotion) World Championship into NWA World Championship of legend, became disgruntled with American wrestling and helped promote UWFI promotion in Japan, actually wrestled match in Japan when he was in early 80s, created finishing maneuver "Lou Thesz Press", wrestled virtually every longtime wrestler in the business, accomplishments and history can extend to fill volumes, two-time World-World Heavyweight Champion, MWA World Heavyweight Champion, AWA (Boston-World Heavyweight Champion, four time Montreal-World Heavyweight Champion, Ohio-World Heavyweight Champion, three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, LAOA World Heavyweight Champion, Texas-Texas Heavyweight Champion, NWA (three time World Heavyweight Champion, International Heavyweight Champion, two-time Southern Heavyweight Title), WWA-Los Angeles World Heavyweight Champion,
United States-Mississippi Heavyweight Champion, United States Junior Heavyweight Champion, TWWA World Heavyweight Champion, UWA World Heavyweight Champion
MSM Links:
Lou Thesz article

Fernand Rene Alix, Fernand Rene Alix, May 1, 2002, Natural Causes, age 84

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Haiti Kid, Raymond Kessler, May 5, 2002, Unknown, age ?

-Midget wrestler in WWE, most famous for getting hair cut by Roddy Piper on Piper's Pit to hype boxing match with Mr. T. at WrestleMania 2

Mary Gagne, May 7, 2002, Unknown, age 75

-Wife of wrestling legend Verne Gagne and mother of Greg Gagne

Randy "Pee Wee" Anderson, Randall Anderson, May 7, 2002, Cancer, age 41

-WCW referee, NOT a member of the fictional Anderson family, reliable hand in the ring, participated in angle where WCW President Eric Bischoff "fired" him on the air, was not hired by WWE after WCW purchase.
MSM Link:
Pee Wee Anderson article

Mass Transit, Erich Kulas, May 12, 2002, Complications >From Gastric Bypass
Surgery, age 22
-Indie wrestler, most noted as underage wrestler whose forehead was literally carved up in the ring by ECW performers, sued ECW unsuccessfully, tried to cash in on notoriety, incident mentioned in Mick Foley's autobiographies

Abe Ford (Promoter), May 13, 2002, Natural Causes , age 90

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime promoter

Ben Alexander, May 13, 2002, Unknown, age 51

-I could find nothing else on this wrestler

George Gordienko, May 14, 2002, Unknown, age 74

-Longtime Canadian wrestler who had undistinguished career but later became a famous artist whose surrealist works were exhibited in museums
MSM Links:
George Gordienko article

Ben Alexander, May 15, 2002, Unknown, age 51

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Shoichi Arai (FMW President), May 16, 2002, Suicide, age 36

-Japanese promoter of "garbage wrestling" indie promotion FMW which was major influence on original ECW promotion in U.S., beyond that, I could find out nothing else

Big Dick Dudley, Alex Rizzo, May 16, 2002, Kidney Failure, age 34

-Indie Long Island wrestler who was member of fictional ECW Dudley Boyz stable, trained by Johnny Rodz, XPW Heavyweight Champion, NWA (New Jersey Hardcore Champion, New Jersey Heavyweight Champion), UXW (UXW Tag Team Champion, two-time Heavyweight Champion)
MSM Link:
No Weblink but Newsday carried Obituary on May 18, 2002

"British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, David Boy Smith, May 17, 2002, Heart Attack, age 39

-British wrestler, real name was David Boy Smith due to clerical error on birth certificate, real-life cousin of British wrestler Dynamite Kid, trained by Ted Betely, and Stu Hart, became famous Tag Team in WWE with Dynamite Kid as The British Bulldogs, would bring bulldog named Matilda to the ring, later became singles wrestler after Dynamite forced into retirement, married Diana Hart of Hart Family, helped draw WWE's biggest legitimate crowd of over 80,000 fans to Wembley Stadium, England in 1992 for SummerSlam against brother in-law Bret Hart, Stampede Wrestling (British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion, World Mid-Heavyweight Champion, four-time International Tag-Team Champion, two-time North American Heavyweight Champion), WWE (two-time Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental Champion, two-time
European Champion, two-time Hardcore Champion), IWA Heavyweight Champion, WWWA Intercontinental Champion
MSM Links:
Davey Boy Smith article

Pete McKay, June 2, 2002, Unknown, age 54

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Executioner(Terrence D Manton), June 9, 2002, Unknown, age 54

-Other than he wore a mask, I could find out nothing else about this wrestler

"Mr. America" Bob McCune, Robert E. McCune, June 14, 2002, Unknown, age 80

-Longtime wrestler, known for his great physique, also wrestled as Lord Pinkerton, besides holding the Ohio-Ohio Heavyweight Championship, I could find out nothing else

"Speedy" Hatfield (Referee), Virgil Hatfield, June 30, 2002, Heart Attack, age 93

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime referee

Randy Tyler, July 22, 2002, Unknown, age 50

-I could find out nothing else

Don Owen(Promoter), August 1, 2002, Natural Causes, age 90

-Longtime promoter in Oregon area, had reputation as honest promoter thus very popular with wrestlers, gave Roddy Piper, Nick Bockwinkle, Jimmy Snuka, Curt Henning, and others their first break, ran local wrestling television show from 1952-1991, forced out of business by WWE and harsh Oregon regulation of wrestling

El Sanguinario, August 8, 2002, Heart Attack, age 33

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

"Little Frankie" Masanobu Okamoto, August 15, 2002, Liver Cirrhosis, age 44

-Other than he was a midget performer, I could find out nothing else on this Japanese wrestler

Mike Paidousis, Sept. 9, 2002, Unknown, age 78

-Longtime wrestler, former college football player for Tennessee, wrestled in America, Japan, and Australia, beyond that, I could find out nothing else

Derrell Cochran, September 13, 2002, Unknown, age 72

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

Jimmy McGuire (Referee), September 16, 2002, Unknown, age 51

-I could find out nothing else on this referee

Ted Petty (Rocco Rock), September 21, 2002, Heart Attack, age 49

-Wrestler who gained acclaim as one half of the ECW tag team, Public Enemy with Johnny Grunge (who is in the 2006 Obituary), had highflying wrestling style who helped popularize in recent history, was spotted street vending in New York City shortly before he died, four time ECW World Tag Team Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, NWA (World Tag Team Champion, United States Tag Team Champion), CWA Tag Team Champion, TCW Tag Team Champion, MECW Tag Team Champion, two-time i-Genration Tag Team Champion

Toshikuni Matsunaga (All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling President), September 22, 2002, Unknown, age 57

-Japanese promoter, could find out nothing else on him

Jay "Big Dottie" Caldwell, September 28, 2002, Car Accident, age ??

-I could find out nothing else on this wrestler

Mike "The Alaskan" York, Michael York, September 29, 2002, Diabetes, age 62

-Longtime wrestler, one half of the Alaskans tag team, beyond that, I could find out nothing else

Vince Risko (Promoter), October 3, 2002, Heart Attack, age 90

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime promoter

Miyuki Yanagi (Katsue Yagishita), October 19, 2002, Multiple Sclerosis, age 64

-I could find out nothing else on this Japanese wrestler

"Moose" Cholak, Edward Cholak, October 31, 2002, Natural Causes, age 72

-Longtime wrestler, would wear a stuffed moose head into the ring, complete with antlers, trained by Al Haft, Naval veteran who won Boxing title, three-time WWA Tag Team Champion, IWA Chicago-World Heavyweight Champion, NWA (Ohio/Buffalo-North American Heavyweight Champion, Detroit Tag Team Champion, Ohio-United States Tag Team Champion, Buffalo-World-United States Tag Team Champion)

Billy Goelz, William C. Goelz, November 20, 2002, Natural Causes, age 84

-Longtime wrestler, member of the Sicilians (not the Louis Albano stable) and G-Man stable, NWA (Midwest Heavyweight Champion, three-time Midwest Junior Heavyweight Champion, two-time Midwest Tag Team Champion, Junior Heavyweight Champion), PCW Light Heavyweight Champion

"Thunder" Sugiyama, Tsuneharu Sugiyama, November 22, 2002, Unknown, age 62

-Longtime Japanese wrestler, IWA (three-time Tag Team Champion, IWA Heavyweight Champion)

Billy Joe Travis, William Joseph, November 22, 2002, Heart Attack, age 40

-USWA(Heavyweight Champion, two-time Tag Team Champion, four-time AWA Southern Tag Team Champion, CWA (three-time Tag Team Champion, International Heavyweight Champion), two-time TASW USA Heavyweight Champion,
PPR Tag Team Champion, WWC (Tag Team Champion, Junior Heavyweight Champion)

Jeff Peterson, November 29, 2002, Leukemia, age 22

-Indie babyface wrestler, trained by 2 Cold Scorpio, IPW Cruiserweight Champion, wrote a children's book titled Lion in Bed with Hope [pronounced 'Lyin' in Bed with Hope']about Leukemia before dying and family published it after his death
MSM Link:
Jeff Peterson article

George "Two Ton" Harris, George L. Harris, November 29, 2002, Heart Attack, age 75

-Longtime wrestler, besides weighing 350 pounds, not much is known

"Mr Wrestling" Tim Woods, Timothy Woods, November 29, 2002, Heart Attack, age 68

-Masked longtime wrestler, invented the gimmick of Mr. Wrestling but it was his successor Tim Brooks who took it to new heights in popularity, NWA (four-time Florida Southern Heavyweight Champion, Television Champion, Georgia Tag Team Champion, two-time Florida Tag Team Champion, Florida Television Champion, Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champion, Florida Heavyweight Champion, American Tag Team Champion, United States Champion)
MSM Links:
Tim Woods article

The Diva, Kelly S. Tabor November 29, 2002 , Unknown, age 28

-Lady indie wrestler, EWF Ladies Champion, CIWI Ladies Champion

Duke Hoffman, Robert Leipler/, December 24, 2002, Unknown, age 76

-I could find out nothing else on this longtime wrestler

"Raging Bull" Yukon Braxton, Jeffrey M. Dingess, December 24, 2002, Unknown, age 24

-Indie wrestler, trained by Bobo Brazil Jr., two-time XICW Heavyweight Champion, GLW Heavyweight Champion, IWR Heavyweight Champion

General MSM Link for 2002:
2002 overview article





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