Guest Author - Vance Rowe
John Tolos was a professional wrestler in the 1950’s and 60’s. Nicknamed the Golden Greek, Tolos teamed up with his brother, Chris and called themselves the “Canadian Wrecking Crew” and in 1963 they upended Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski to win the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship. That is only one of probably nineteen different titles he has held. He has held many different regional NWA Tag team championships with multiple partners like his brother and others such as Gene Kiniski and Mr. Saito. John Tolos has also held several singles titles including the NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship on ten different occasions.
The Golden Greek has a tremendous legacy in professional wrestling and was voted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007 along with his brother Chris. During the 1970’s, Tolos was a heel wrestler and was hated by the fans. He would get hit with chairs by the fans and anything else that they could throw. John Tolos once said that he was more afraid of the fans than his opponents. He had some memorable matches with Fred Blassie and in one infamous match in 1971, John Tolos was wrestling against Blassie and reportedly threw some kind of medicated powder in Blassie’s eyes and Blassie claimed to be blinded by it. Blassie took some time off to have knee surgery and then tour Japan. When he came back to the states, he faced Tolos again and this time came out the victor.
In more recent memory, John Tolos was in the WWF in the early 1990’s where he managed such wrestlers as Curt Hennig and the Beverly Brothers. He was known as “The Coach” and dressed like an old style coach complete with whistle. His tenure in the WWF was a short one and just quietly disappeared after Hennig took some time off from a broken back and the Beverly Brothers had “The Genius” Lanny Poffo as their manager.
On May 29, 2009, John Tolos passed away from renal failure due to the many strokes he has had prior to that. He was a much respected wrestler in the business among his peers. No one ever had a bad word to say about the Golden Greek. He has come to the aid of many of his peers when they needed it. Professional wrestling has lost another true legend of the sport and in his words at the end of his interviews, let me just say that “the only way to spell wrestling is - T-O-L-O-S!”.