Thursday, March 23, 2017

MOST BABY BOOMERS REMEMBER THE GREAT BOLO


I specifically remember THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO wearing this garb when they returned to the Charlotte Coliseum in the late 1960s to face JACK BRISCO and TIM (MR. WRESTLING) WOODS.

THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO work over one of THE KENTUCKIANS in one of the biggest money-making feuds in pro wrestling history.

THE GREAT BOLO (Renesto) reaches for his 'foreign object' while working on BIG BOY BROWN of THE KENTUCKIANS. (Note the tape under the mask to cover Renesto's mustache.)

Big TEX McKENZIE works over the masked man.

Even bigger HAYSTACK CALHOUN tries to physically rip THE GREAT BOLO's hood off, along with the head the mask covers.

A 1961 posed photo of BOLO and THE GREAT BOLO when the two were working for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS.
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From the time I first started pro wrestling on TV, I was fascinated by a mysterious man who wore a mask and went by the name THE GREAT BOLO. This rulebreaker was the top heel in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS and drew money like nobody's business.

Every week, all across the Carolinas and Virginia, droves of people tuned in and turned out to see the likes of GEORGE BECKER, 'Irish' MIKE CLANCY, CHIEF BIG HEART and GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT rip off the hood of this hoodlum so we could all find out who he was (not taking into account that just because we might see his face, we would automatically know his name), but that was a mute point.

The mask of THE GREAT BOLO was his championship belt. To lose the mask was to destroy his wrestling career. Many years after the fact, we now know that THE GREAT BOLO was a superb grappler named TOM RENESTO. But according to an interview the late Mr. Renesto gave a few years before his passing, at the time, the other wrestlers did not actually know who was under the mask of THE GREAT BOLO. Promoter Jim Crockett demanded that Renesto travel alone and don the hood before entering the wrestling venue.

Very similar scenario as the old-time movie serials in which the villains were named The Scorpion, The Wrecker, The Crimson Ghost , The Lightning, etc. Only in the last chapter would the identity of the evil doer be exposed to the audience.

But, ironically, the identity of THE GREAT BOLO would be revealed by only one person in the wrestling business. That person was...THE GREAT BOLO.

A number of years after leaving JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, THE GREAT BOLO (Renesto) and his partner BOLO were wrestling in Georgia as THE ASSASSINS when Renesto decided it was time to leave the business as an in-ring combatant.

He removed his own mask, and THE GREAT BOLO was no more.

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