This installment shares some chilling details on how Canada’s own Dino Bravo went from pro wrestling and ‘bench pressing 715lbs’ to getting involved with the mob and eventually getting murdered because of it. A tragic story.
Rick Martel recounts the story of Dino Bravo:
“Dino had kind of painted himself in a corner…
He tried to stay in the WWF, but he just couldn’t; Vince didn’t wanna have him back. I remember I called Pat Patterson and I suggested that I team up with Dino – because I liked him.
I said, ‘I’ll take the bumps and do all the moving around and he can do the strong stuff…I’m sure we can make it work, you know?’ He said, ‘No, no…we just think that Dino doesn’t fit any more in our plans…’
Dino liked the high lifestyle…he had a sports Mercedes, he had a big home, you know…and suddenly wrestling was over. Dino couldn’t be a 9 to 5 guy…he didn’t have any business experience of any kind. Wrestling was his whole life. And back then, WWF was the only game in town. So if he couldn’t do it for the WWF, what could he do?
His uncle [by marriage] was the head of the mafia in Montreal. And he was always saying, ‘Dino, come work for me…’
I remember we were in Europe and he confided in me. ‘Rick…I know I could go into crime and do really good money…but I don’t wanna go that route…I know myself and I know what kind of guy I am…’
Dino was the kind of guy who always wanted more and more. He knew himself and he knew his demons. But then his debts and lifestyle got too much…
I remember the breaking point for him was when he had to go and borrow from his mom. That was too much for his pride to take.
And back then in the early 90s the [illegal] cigarette trafficking* in Canada started. A lot of people were doing it. So Dino got into that…
He went to see the Indians. The Indians had the river so they could pass cigarettes across like crazy – or arms – whatever. And the Indians were big wrestling fans, you know? So when they saw Dino they were like, ‘Oh man..!’ They started dealing strictly with him. So Dino had the monopoly with the Indians.
He started doing really well.
After a while, the cigarette business was doing so great that the cocaine people started saying, ‘Hey, maybe there’s some money in there for us too…’
So the big cocaine guy apparently went to see Dino and said, ‘Look, let me in on your cigarette deals and I’ll let you in on some cocaine deals…’
So what apparently happened is they did some kind of agreement…Dino had a $400,000 shipment in some warehouse somewhere and it stayed there for like, three days…and on the third day when the cocaine guy went to pick it up, the police were there.
So they were blaming each other. Dino was saying, ‘You should have picked it up on the first day and it would never have happened – you shouldn’t have let it sit there…’
There was a lot of heat on Dino. This was a week before he died.
It was a Wednesday. His wife and his daughter went to Ballet lessons. He was watching Hockey on TV.
His wife found him that night.
She had his daughter in her arms – luckily, thank god, his daughter was sleeping so she didn’t see her dad. There was blood everywhere…on the ceiling. It was horrible.
They’d pumped ten bullets in his head.
There was no force of entry in his house…and it was the winter, so you could see there would [have been] footprints [in the snow outside]- but there were none.
They had somebody…an inside person. It was probably someone who was watching hockey with him and said, ‘Hey look, Dino, I’m gonna go to the bathroom…’
They shot him from behind.
The detective told us that the remote control was loose in his hand…they say that if they shoot you from the front you [see it coming and] tense your muscles and [he would have gripped] that remote control [tightly at the point of death].
So they shot him from behind. He didn’t see it coming…”
[NOTE: *Cigarette smuggling is the illicit transportation of cigarettes from an administrative division with low taxation to a division with high taxation for sale and consumption. The practice, commonly used by Organized crime syndicates and rebel groups, is a form of tax evasion. In Canada, between 63 and 79 percent of the price of a package of cigarettes is tax. As of 2009, illegal cigarettes were believed to be a $1.5 billion industry in Canada.]
SOURCES: ‘Rick Martel Highspots shoot’ (see above), Wikipedia
Quote above about Dino Bravo compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page