Ilio DiPaolo was born in Introdacqua (Abruzzi) Italy on November 8, 1926. DiPaolo left Italy in 1949 for Venezuela. While he was wrestling in Caracas, Ilio DiPaolo met Tutz Mondt, promoter of the wrestling alliance and the Madison Square Garden Arena. Ilio DiPaolo signed a contract at this time to wrestle in the United States, but while he was waiting for the documents and visa, he wrestled in the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.
In August 1951, Ilio DiPaolo arrived in New York with his working visa, and within a few months he met Pedro Martinez, the promoter of the New York territory. At this time DiPaolo met his lovely wife Ethel, she was working in the office of her father, Pedro Martinez. It was love at first sight and Ethel and Ilio DiPaolo married May 22, 1952.
Ilio DiPaolo left the country in 1953 and traveled to Haiti to get papers for a permanent visa. While in Port of Prince DiPaolo talked with local promoters and challenged Omelio Agromonte who at that time was ranked in the top ten (10) in Ring Magazine in boxing. Ilio DiPaolo pinned him in the third round at Stadium Magloire with 17,000 in attendance. DiPaolo wrestled three more times while there. Ilio wrestled with Pontera Negra defeating him both times, and Tarzan De Las Pampas from Argentina, defeating him in 27 minutes. On May 23, 1953 Ilio DiPaolo received his visa and traveled back to New York City.
Ilio DiPaolo again left the United States and traveled with his wife Ethel and son Dennis (16 months old) and went to Australia. He was extremely busy, and had continued success over the next four months. Returning back to the U.S. he stopped in San Francisco and teamed up with the great Leo Nomellini the West Coast Championship at the Cow Palace. Ilio and his family stayed in San Francisco for six months where their daughter Barbara was born in 1957.
When they returned to Buffalo Ilio DiPaolo decided to make it his home. Ilio continued to travel to Detroit, New York City, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Montreal, Syracuse, Hamilton and other cities continuing his success, but remaining in Buffalo to raise his family.
In 1960 son Michael was born, and in 1962 daughter Lisa. Continuing to travel, in 1963 Ilio DiPaolo went to Japan. That was a tremendous experience for Ilio and he had much success and wrestled for 40 days straight. Ilio DiPaolo won the All Asia Championship from Mr. Togo and Ricki Dozene with his partner Buddy Houston.
Returning to Toronto Ilio DiPaolo wrestled against Pat O’Conner for the World Championship and it ended in a draw. Ilio also went on to wrestle a draw with Lou Thesiz in Winnipeg, Canada for the World Title. Dick Hutton wrestled Ilio in Minneapolis; all three matches were a one hour time limit.
Back in Buffalo Ilio DiPaolo decided to look to start a restaurant. Ilio’s ankle had been giving him trouble and he realized he needed to start a new career. In 1965 Ilio opened a pizzeria with four employees. They worked hard and eventually their work paid off and they enlarged the restaurant putting much emphasis on good food and friendly service. Ilio retired from wrestling in August of 1965.
Ilio DiPaolo always said that the people in WNY were the best he had encountered throughout his travels worldwide. He was happy and proud to be a part of a community who made him feel part of its family and friends.
Tragically in 1995 Ilio DiPaolo passed away leaving us with wonderful memories of a Great Man. He now rejoins his deceased daughter Lisa and granddaughter Tara who also tragically died in an automobile accident that occurred on October 20, 1989.