Abruzzo’s Strong Mark on the World of Professional Wrestling

May 26, 2023 569

Michele Leone was born on June 8, 1909, to Giovanni and Anna Leone in Pettorano sul Gizio, (population 1,376 in the 2015 Census) which is a town along the Gizio River just south of Sulmona in the province of L’Aquila in the region of Abruzzo. Despite his parents’ disapproval, he began wrestling at an early age under the tutelage of his uncle, Michele Leone, and became the town champion at age 14. He graduated from the local high school in 1927.

In 1933, he began to travel the European circuit. In early 1938, the 28-year-old Leone immigrated to New York City where he continued to wrestle. In June 1940, he relocated to Washington, D.C., and wrestled there too. When Italy declared war on the United States on December 8, 1941, he became an enemy alien and an instant “bad guy”. 

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SOURCE: https://www.abruzzomoliseheritagesociety.org

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