Dino Bravo was a former professional wrestler who became a star in Canada and the United States. He won several championships and faced some of the biggest names in the industry. But his life took a dark turn after he retired from wrestling and got involved in organized crime. He was brutally murdered in his home in 1993, and the case remains unsolved to this day. This article will explore the details of Dino Bravo’s death and the possible motives and suspects behind it.
Dino Bravo’s Wrestling Career
Dino Bravo was born as Adolfo Bresciano in Italy in 1948. He moved to Canada with his family when he was young and started wrestling in 1970. He trained under Gino Brito and adopted the name Dino Bravo from a previous wrestler who had teamed with Dominic DeNucci. He worked in various tag teams and singles matches, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championship, the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship, and the Canadian International Heavyweight Championship. He also had a feud with Blackjack Mulligan and challenged Harley Race for the NWA World Championship.
In 1978, he joined the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), where he won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship with Dominic DeNucci. He left the company in 1980 and returned to Montreal, where he became one of the top stars of Lutte Internationale. He also wrestled in Japan and Puerto Rico, where he won more titles.
In 1985, he rejoined the renamed World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he was managed by Johnny Valiant and later by Frenchy Martin. He changed his look and gimmick, becoming a blond-haired, arrogant heel who claimed to be the world’s strongest man. He feuded with Ken Patera, Don Muraco, Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan. He also teamed with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart. He had his last match at WrestleMania VII in 1991, where he lost to Kerry Von Erich. He retired from wrestling in 1992.
Dino Bravo’s Criminal Activities
After retiring from wrestling, Dino Bravo became involved in illegal cigarette smuggling in Canada. He was related by marriage to Vincenzo Cotroni, a Montreal crime boss who was part of the Bonanno crime family. It was believed that Bravo had been working for Cotroni’s organization for a long time, using his status as a wrestling celebrity to facilitate his business. He sold contraband cigarettes to Aboriginals and other customers, making a lot of money and attracting the attention of rival gangs and law enforcement.
According to some sources, Bravo also got involved in cocaine trafficking, partnering with some of the biggest drug dealers in Montreal. However, things went wrong when a $400,000 shipment of cocaine was seized by the police in a warehouse. Bravo and his partners blamed each other for the botched deal, and tensions rose between them. Bravo was reportedly warned by his uncle-in-law to get out of the drug business, but he refused to listen.
Dino Bravo’s Murder
On March 10, 1993, Dino Bravo’s wife and daughter returned home to find him dead on his couch. He had been shot 17 times, seven in the head and 10 in the torso. He still had the TV remote in his hand, and there were no signs of a struggle or a break-in. The police found several bullet casings from two different guns, a .22 caliber and a .380 caliber, indicating that there were two shooters. The killers had apparently entered the house through the garage, which was left unlocked, and waited for Bravo to come home. They then executed him in a professional manner, leaving no clues or witnesses behind.
The police suspected that Bravo’s murder was a contract killing ordered by his former associates in the drug trade. They believed that Bravo had either betrayed them, owed them money, or tried to cut them out of the business. They also considered the possibility that Bravo was killed by a rival gang or by the Hell’s Angels, who were also involved in cigarette smuggling. However, they had no concrete evidence or leads to prove any of these theories. The case remains open, but no arrests have been made.
Dino Bravo’s Legacy
Dino Bravo’s death shocked and saddened the wrestling world, especially his friends and fans in Canada. He was remembered as a talented and charismatic performer who had a successful career in the ring. He was also a loving husband and father who cared for his family. However, his involvement in organized crime tarnished his reputation and led to his tragic demise. He was buried in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montreal, where his grave is often visited by his admirers.
Dino Bravo’s death also raised awareness about the dangers and risks of cigarette smuggling, which is still a lucrative and illegal business in Canada. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, cigarette smuggling costs the government about $2 billion in lost tax revenue every year. It also fuels organized crime, violence, and corruption. The government has taken measures to combat this problem, such as increasing penalties, enhancing border security, and launching public education campaigns.
Dino Bravo’s death remains one of the most notorious and unsolved murders in Canadian history. It is also one of the most tragic and mysterious stories in wrestling history. He was a star who fell from grace and paid the ultimate price for his choices. He was a victim of a ruthless and violent underworld that he could not escape. He was a legend who left behind a legacy of glory and sorrow. He was Dino Bravo, and this is his story.