John Tolos, best known for being the heel counterpart of Fred Blassie in one of pro wrestling's all-time greatest feuds, passed away last night at the age of 78.
The death was believed to have been from kidney failure.
Tolos, one of the best promos in wrestling, was chosen by Blassie to be his opponent in a 1971 match at the Los Angeles Coliseum which was one of the biggest events in wrestling of the time.
In the angle, Tolos, the Americas' champion, was jealous that Blassie was awarded the Wrestler of the Year honors, and threw Monsel's powder from the bag of Dr. Bernardt Schwartz, a boxing/wrestling doctor who used it to close cuts when he was doing boxing.
They sold it was if Blassie's career was over due to blindness, an angle repeated with similar results years later by Michael Hayes and Junkyard Dog which still holds the record for attendance in New Orleans.
Blassie actually was taking time off for knee surgery and to tour Japan, and came back for what is the most famous match in California for a generation of fans.
Tolos had a long career, spanning three decades, working regularly into his 50s. He was known in particular for his conditioning, as he was distance running and remained in great shape well into his 60s. He had slowed down in recent years from a near fatal stroke.
He held championships throughout North America, often with brother Chris, although he achieved his greatest fame after the tag team broke up in the late 60s, as a top star in Southern California, where he was the dominant main eventer from 1971-75, both as a babyface and a heel.