Professional wrestler John Tolos whose dastardly antics in bouts with archrival Freddie Blassie attracted throngs to the Olympic Auditorium and one record-setting match at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1971, died at age 78 from kidney failure in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood.
Tolos, was a professional wrestler, and professional wrestling manager who was nicknamed “The Golden Greek” because of his Greek heritage.
During the 1950s and 60s, he was part of the Canadian Wrecking Crew with his brother Chris Tolos. He also had a brief managerial career in Herb Abrams’ Universal Wrestling Federation, managing Bob Orton, Jr. and the Power Twins. On December 28, 1963, John and Chris captured the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship in Teaneck, New Jersey in two straight falls from Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski. While both teams were heels at the time, the Tolos Brothers did a television interview prior to the title match, “looking forward” to seeing all of their fans in Teaneck. That night, they were cheered throughout.
Tolos joined the World Wrestling Federation for a brief stint in 1991 as Coach (a classic coach, whistle and all), managing The Beverly Brothers and “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, replacing Perfect’s former manager Bobby “The Brain”Heenan, who was then moving into a broadcaster’s role. Mr. Perfect lost his Intercontinental Title to Bret Hart at SummerSlam. Prior to this match, Hennig suffered a serious back injury, but he still showed up to drop the title to Hart. The injury would sideline Hennig from competition for more than a year afterward, as he did not return to active competition until the Survivor Series in 1992. With Hennig indefinitely out of action, along with The Beverly Brothers changing their manager to The Genius, “Coach” John Tolos disappeared quietly from the WWF.
Dr. Mike Lano, a California-based dentist and pro-wrestling historian who ran the John Tolos fan club in the early 1970s said “John just did everything well. He wasn’t flashy in his wrestling but he certainly was in his incredible, off-the-chart (interviews). No one could touch him — and I saw and heard everyone.”