R: Carlos Rocha

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Carlos Rocha

Portuguese Class

The blond haired Portuguese heavyweight Carlos Rocha was welcomed by British fans when he visited the country in the mid 1960s. Not only did he have the looks he had the ability. Unlike some of the other overseas visitors he had the skill to live up to expectations.  Skill and experience because he was already internationally acclaimed when we discovered him wrestling in Britain in May 1964. His opponent that night was Alan Garfield, a British veteran with whom he had crossed paths earlier in his career.  A few days later he was an attraction at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall, Britain’s premier wrestling venue packed with more than 5,000 wrestling enthusiasts. With a selected opponent of Dazzler Joe Cornelius, the immensely popular Londoner on his home turf, going down to the Dazzler was inevitable. Carlos did, though, demonstrate that he could hold his own whoever the promoters matched with him.

Having turned professional in the late 1940s Carlos was already well known on the European continent, and had made his way to the United States in the early 1960s.  The  earliest record we found of Carlos in the USA was in 1962, though we have read reports of him working there as early as 1960. We discovered him wrestling in California against Americans that included George Drake and Waldo Von Erich and a very well known Brit, Alan Garfield. Maybe Garfield introduced Carlos to british promoters Dale Martin.

Carlos returned to Europe in the spring of 1964, coming to Britain following a few weeks in Germany, working initially for Dale Martin Promotions. He was soon to be introduced to television fans with a match against European champion Billy Howes on 10th June. Gordon Nelson, Earl Maynard, Josef Zaranoff and Zebra Kid counted amongst his opponents. Against the best on offer results were mixed, but in professional wrestling results counted for little and fans appreciated the skills of the blond haired Portuguese star,

In September, 1964, he travelled to Germany and took part in the Hanover tournament, returning to Britain the following month. For most of 1965 Carlos remained in Britain, with more televised outings against Joe Zaranoff and Bruno Elrington. He disappeared from our rings at the beginning of 1965 and we have lost track of him for a few years.

In the early 1970s Carlos moved to Canada, wrestling in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. In his fifties Carlos worked for the WWWF, said to have been the first Portuguese wrestler to work for the group and working a feud with Superstar Billy Graham.  He retired in the late 1970s, having completed a career of almost half a century.

Carlos Rocha was born in Portugal on 11th January, 1927. He died in the Palm Coast, Florida on 27th January, 2020.

Page added 08/02/2020