ROLLERBALL ROCCKED OFF
English pro-wrestler Mark “Rollerball” Rocco had died at the age of 68. A regular on ITV’s World of Sport in the 1970s and 80s, he was the undercard workrate specialist that hipsters would point to as their favourite instead of the bigger name (bigger everything, really) Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. Rocco held the British Middleweight and Light Heavyweight titles. He also transitioned well to Japanese puro wrestling, donning the mask as the original Black Tiger – evil nemesis of popular kids favourite and high flying pioneer Tiger Mask – and played a pivotal role in the early career of Jushin “Thunder” Liger, now one of the most respected Japanese wrestlers of all time. His Japanese matches were heavily tape traded in the late 80s and provided inspiration for an entire generation of wrestlers including Eddie Guerrero and Daniel Bryan.
He also had memorable matches with former DDP hit Dynamite Kid and future DDP hit Dave “Fit” Finlay. It was after a match with Finlay in 1991 that Rocco suffered near fatal heart failure, an event which lead to his immediate retirement from the ring and settling down in Tenerife. Somehow he managed to live nearly another 30 years.
Rollerball was arguably born a decade too soon, and despite being viewed as one of the best wrestlrs of the 70s, never gained the fame he perhaps deserved, and isn’t as well known in America where he never wrestled. In recent years he had suffered from dementia, the last victim of a style which was to go all out for today and leave the consequences to tomorrow.
He also briefly worked as a trainer for TNA, but we wont harm his reputation by mentioning them further. Rollerball was a unique hit for Oliver’s Army of the Dead.
Mark “Rollerball” Rocco
11 May 1951 – 30 July 2020