N: Ramon Napolitano
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
The international star was everything that the fans anticipated ... big, muscular, skilful. But all was not as it seemed. The exotic sounding name was genuine enough, but the man from North Carolina had a family heritage just a bit closer to home. Ramon Napolitano was born in West Ham, London, on 2nd February, 1928. Those fans with memories going back to 1951 may even have remembered him the first time around.
With his wanderlust and family members still in Britain the old country was never too far away and Ramon returned to Britain in September, 1958. By now he was an "American heavyweight" who the Liverpool Echo proclaimed was making his British debut when he wrestled Dominic Pye at the Stadium. Little did they know. Ramon remained a familiar figure until 1962, dodging from one side of the Atlantic to another. He was a main eventer wrestling only the biggest names in the heavyweight division. The highlight, though, must have been the night he wrestled Gideon Gidea at the Royal Albert Hall, suffering one of his occasional defeats. In 1962, back on the other side of the Atlantic Ramon (as Oliver Winrush) tagged with Alan Garfield on his American visit.
Our last sighting of Ramon Napolitano in britain came in 1965. A planned visit to the Royal Albert Hall in December, 1966 failed to materialise, his place being taken by Nick Barone to lose to Judo Al Hayes.
Ramon Napolitano was credited by Billy Two Rivers as the man who encouraged him to visit the UK.
In Britain he was a fine heavyweight who tangled with the best. Elsewhere he remained a mid carder in America, wrestling as Tinker Todd, Danny Knapp around North Carolina, one time partner in the Kangaroos tag team as Ray St Clair and stereotypical British villain as Sir Oliver Winrush. Ramon retired from wrestling in 1972.
He died on 14th July, 2013. At the time of his death Canadian Wrestling Heritage member and erstwhile Wrestler columnist Bob Leonard wrote, "We'll miss seeing him sit in his chair, with barking little dogs on his lap, at his feet and on his shoulders as Danny spun another yarn. We'll miss his stories and his irreverent sense of humor."