“Jumping Johnny” DeFazio passed away Friday. The Shaler native was 80.
DeFazio was a “Studio Wrestling” legend.The program ran Saturdays at 6 p.m. on WIIC-TV (Channel 11) from 1959-74. It took place at the station’s studio in Fineview.
The top star was Bruno Sammartino, the long-time WWWF (now WWE) champ and one of wrestling’s biggest attractions ever. DeFazio was on the next tier of performers along with other mainstays like Domenic DeNucci, Baron Mikel Scicluna and Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt.
DeFazio was also a union official for the United Steelworkers of America and an Allegheny County Councilman.
To read my Triblive.com column on DeFazio’s passing, click HERE.
The match below is from a local independent show and took place years after DeFazio’s “Studio Wrestling” prime. But it’s the only YouTube footage available on DeFazio and is representative of his babyface-style work. (To my knowledge, DeFazio was never a heel.)
Added bonus: DeFazio’s opponent, The Beast, is managed by the late Mark Curtis, nee Brian Hildebrand. Curtis went on to nationally televised fame as a referee for WCW. He grew up on Mt. Troy Road in Reserve Township, same as me.