Juan Kachmanian, best known as Pampero Firpo, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina who grew up to headline almost every major pro wrestling arena in the world as one of pro wrestling's top stars of the 60s and 70s, passed away this morning at the age of 89.
For the modern era, while not well known to many, Firpo was the wrestler that Randy Savage copied his interview style, from the guttural voice, the stream of conscious flow right down to the "Ooooh yeah," which were all staples of the Firpo style.
Firpo had retired from pro wrestling in 1981 (although had his final match in 1986) and settled in San Jose, where he held many different jobs including being a somewhat well known celebrity mall security guy and for 25 years worked at the post office where he processed the delivering of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Known as "The Wild Bull of the Pampas," Firpo spoke eight languages. His father promoted boxing matches in Argentina and he started wrestling there in 1953. He became a star in Texas in 1957 under the name Ivan the Terrible. While wrestling there he met Jack Dempsey, the boxing legend, who had a famous World title fight with Luis Firpo from Argentina. Dempsey came up with the idea of him being the son of Luis Firpo.
The name stuck for most of the rest of his career, although for whatever reason, Hawaii promoter Ed Francis hated the name and he was a major star there as The Missing Link. At other times he dropped the Firpo name and was just The Great Pampero.
He had two runs as a headliner in Madison Square Garden, the first in the early 60s as the partner of The Great Antonio, and the second in 1972 as a rival to WWWF Champion Pedro Morales. He was probably best known for his 70s run in Detroit where he, The Sheik, and Bobo Brazil were the area's top three stars during a business boom.
Firpo was one of the most believable crazy wrestlers in history. He was short, maybe 5-foot-8, and at 240 pounds, billed as one of the strongest men in wrestling, using the claw, sometimes called El Garfio, as one of his finishers.
At one point or another he worked every major territory and always as a headliner. It was when Randy Poffo was breaking into pro wrestling in the 70s working for The Sheik in Detroit, where Firpo was a key star, that Poffo copied many aspects of Firpo's gimmick and to an extent mixed them with the flashy Ric Flair style gimmick to come up with Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
He was voted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.