Thursday, October 5, 2017
There were quite a few ex-Football players that hit it big in Pro Wrestling. Here in Toronto we had regulars Gene Kiniski, Fritz Von Erich, and Angelo Mosca, as well as others like George Wells and Ernie Ladd, and some others that didn't hang around as much.
Gil Mains and Wayne Bock were two that would wrestle while under contract to the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. Mains in 1955 and Bock in 1960.
This time we will have a look at Wayne Bock, the then 25 year old who stood 6'4 and weighed in at a wrestling ready 257lbs. He came into the city highly touted and with a reputation that preceded him.
Lou Agase, the Argo's coach who had previously recruited Bock for both Illinois University, the Chicago Cardinals, and now the Argos was a big fan.
'He's an animal' said Agase.'
Toronto Promoter Frank Tunney, as usual, was quick to see the potential in another gridiron star.
'I recruited Wayne as a wrestler' said Tunney, 'because Gene Kiniski tipped me off. Kiniski said 'he's just about as tough a (deleted) as I am' and this coming from Kiniski is high praise indeed.'
Tunney offered that Bock would wrestle on the Ontario circuit until football practices start and then would give up the bumps and grinds of the ring for the bumps and grinds of the grid.
Bock had previously been under contract to the Ti-Cats back in 1955 but had suddenly left camp and joined the Marines. The then coach of the Ti-Cats had phoned his counterpart in Toronto asking if he had seen his highly touted player who 'had a great camp'.
He played football for the Marines and later signed with the Cardinals and played there briefly before coming to Toronto.
He already had some experience in the ring having wrestled around the North/Northeast US in 1959 and early 1960 before arriving in Toronto.
In a Jim Hunt column Bock was asked if he was a villain in the ring. 'I'm not a very nice fellow in the ring or on the football field' he replied.
Coach Agase claimed he had no problem with Bock working the grunt and groan as it would keep him in shape and he was better off wrestling than sitting around gaining weight. Bock was due to report for training on the field as of July 1.
Another pre-bout write up referred to Bock calling himself 'The Beast'
John Yachetti aka 'The Beast' who wrestled here for many years was still 2 years away from his MLG debut at that time.
His first bout was against 'Babyface' Don Jardine (the future 'The Spoiler') and made an instant impression. The recap said the Argo's fans would be happy as was fast for a guy his size and will welcome 'his ugly temper' that he demonstrated in beating Jardine after 11:46 of action.
'The fans don't usually like me very much' added Bock.
His second bout was against Tony Marino with the same result, winning with a top spread after 11 minutes. That would mark the end of his ring tenure.
The Argo's would finish the 1960 season in first place, losing in the Eastern final to the Ottawa Roughriders but Bock was absent, having never played a game in Toronto. For such a highly touted star he only shows to have stats for 4 games for the Cardinals in 1957 (though said to have played over 3 seasons with them), the extent of his pro career.
He was gone by the end of training camp but am unsure if he left or got cut.
There is quite a bit online about him having ties to the criminal underworld around Chicago, an enforcer type and worse.
Wayne Bock passed on in 2016 at the age of 82