By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer
There aren’t many wrestling Legends that I can honestly regard as a true friend other than the type of friendship that develops solely during the momentary salutations or nods during wrestling events, but Pampero certainly made me feel special throughout the years.
As he was about to turn babyface in the mid 1970s in match where Ernie Ladd was about turned heel, yours truly was transfixed by his wild and animal like appearance and verbal yells. Finally, someone who I could look up to.
It was no wonder then when I walked up and stood in front of him as he was walking to the Cleveland Arena ring and then yelled in a similarly guttural growl, “Ooooooh, Yeaaah! Destroy and pulverize him tonite!!!!” he stopped in his tracks, looked at me in a stern face and then yelled in a loud but normal voice, “Go home, punk! Punk, go home!”
I felt then that somehow I had made a mark of some sort on his memory.
During one of his next Akron Armory appearances he granted me the backstage photos shown here. During that time I asked him whether I could interview him at some future NWF o0r NWA show and he agreed.
He retired from professional wrestling on October 17, 1986
Fast-forward nearly 40 years. Through the Cauliflower Alley Club I was able to re-connect as his daughter Mary became my Facebook friend and she explained that the photos and article shown herein were also in his personal scrapbook.
My only regret was not being able to reconnect him with the late Pedro Morales as he had stated he would have liked. But the honor and pleasure of having had a feeling of camaraderie with this wrestling Legend is something that I will always treasure and drive me to continue to try develop new and exciting content for the wrestling and Sports Entertainment venues.
Thank you for your friendship, Steven!
Article and photos by Paul Stratoti unless otherwise noted