Angelo Mosca

Last updated

Angelo Mosca
No. 68
Angelo Mosca 1984.jpeg
Mosca, circa 1984
Born:(1937-02-13)February 13, 1937
Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died:November 6, 2021(2021-11-06) (aged 84)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Career information
CFL status National
Position(s) DT
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight275 lb (125 kg)
College Notre Dame
NFL draft 1959 / Round: 30 / Pick: 350
Drafted by Philadelphia Eagles
Career history
As player
19581959 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
19601961 Ottawa Rough Riders
1962 Montreal Alouettes
19621972 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1963, 1970
CFL East All-Star 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1970
Awards CFL's Most Outstanding Lineman Award - Runner Up (1963, 1970)
HonorsGrey Cup champion (1960, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1972)
Career stats

Angelo Valentino Mosca [1] (February 13, 1937 – November 6, 2021) was an American professional football player and professional wrestler. He was a defensive lineman in the Canadian Football League (CFL). As a wrestler, Mosca was known by the nicknames King Kong Mosca and The Mighty Hercules. He had a son, Angelo Jr., who also wrestled. Mosca was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1987, the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. [2]

Contents

Early life

The second oldest boy in a family of four boys and seven girls, [3] Mosca was born on February 13, 1937, in Waltham, Massachusetts, to Agnes and Angelo Mosca. [1] His father Angelo was an immigrant from Panni in southern Italy, and his mother's mother was an African-American (and also half-Italian and half-Black), which was kept a secret from neighbours in their segregated, working-class neighbourhood in Waltham since New England wasn't known for its racial tolerance at the time. [1] [4] Mosca's parents were alcoholics, and he was often neglected and abused by them, which opted Mosca to run away from home at the age of 16. [3] His father died in 1986, and his mother died at the age of 93. [3]

Football career

Mosca attended the University of Notre Dame on a scholarship, but was kicked out for bookmaking. [4] He then went to Wyoming, but was booted out for theft, allegedly stealing typewriters and cameras from stores and selling them on campus. [3] [4] He was drafted by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in 1959 in the 30th round (350th overall). [2] [4] He had already decided to play in the CFL, in 1958 for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. [2] He went to Hamilton the same year after graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in business administration. [4] He was traded to the Ottawa Rough Riders for Hardiman Cureton on August 15, 1960, and played for the Rough Riders in 1960 and 1961 before joining the Montreal Alouettes in 1962 for 5 games. [2] He played his remaining years, 1962 to 1972 in Hamilton and was a five-time all star. [2]

Mosca played both offensive and defensive tackle, middle guard and end. [5] He played in nine Grey Cup games, more than any other player in CFL history, tied with his teammate John Barrow. [2] [5] Mosca's teams won five Grey Cup games, one with the Ottawa Rough Riders and four with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. [2]

He is infamous for the 51st Grey Cup game out-of-bounds and late hit on BC Lions star running back Willie Fleming. [6] [3] With Fleming out of the game, the Tiger-Cats went on to win the Grey Cup and Mosca's reputation as being the meanest CFL player grew. [6] [3] It was a reputation he later promoted as the notorious professional wrestler "King Kong" Mosca. [6] [3] Mosca was the runner-up for the Schenley Most Outstanding Lineman award in 1963 and 1970. [5] He also only missed one game his entire football career. [3]

On August 25, 2015, the Tiger-Cats announced that they would retire Mosca's jersey number 68. [3]

Professional wrestling career

Angelo Mosca
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) King Kong [7]
King Mosca [7]
Angelo Mosca Sr. [7]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (193 cm) [8]
Billed weight319 lb (145 kg) [8]
Debut1960
Retired1986

Mosca was brought into wrestling by Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn. [4] He began wrestling in the off-season, and became a full-time wrestler after his retirement from football. [4] He wrestled all across North America, always at or near the top of the card, and almost always as a heel, even in Toronto until the late 1970s, then he became a face, and in the early 1980s, the lead face. [4] [3] He also wrestled in Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association and in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling, where he was frequently paired with Superstar Billy Graham in tag team competition. [4] During the mid '70s and '80s, Mosca worked in the Carolinas, facing top stars such as Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan, and Ivan Koloff. [3]

Mosca and Bob Backlund, c. 1982 Bob Backlund and King Kong Mosca, circa 1982.png
Mosca and Bob Backlund, c.1982

In 1981, during his time in the World Wrestling Federation, Mosca wrestled as (often – in a reversal of his character in Canada) as the promotion's most hated heel due to his brutal style. [4] [3] He became a top challenger to WWF Champion Bob Backlund's World Championship, but was not successful in winning the belt. [9] He also engaged in a feud with Pat Patterson, a part-time wrestler who also did color commentary on the WWF's syndicated programs, after Mosca attacked Patterson at a television taping with a water pitcher; Patterson had grown disgusted with Mosca's rulebreaking tactics and, setting off the attack, publicly thanked a referee for disqualifying Mosca for refusing to pin his jobber opponent. [9]

Mosca was the colour commentator and wrestled for the WWF TV tapings in Ontario from August 1984 until January 1985 as a babyface. [3] [9] After being fired by the WWF, Mosca promoted the NWA in Ontario in 1985-87. He and Milt Avruskin hosted a TV show featuring compilations of NWA matches. Mosca organized an NWA card in Hamilton in February 1986 called "Moscamania" that drew an excellent house of 12,000 but the follow-up a year later drew only 3,200. He retired from wrestling in 1986. [3] [9]

Mosca's son, Angelo Mosca Jr., had a brief wrestling career. [4] [10] Mosca managed his son for a brief time in late 1984. [10]

Personal life

Mosca lived in and around Hamilton for many years, and lived in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Helen, a real estate agent. [2] He first met her in 1996 at a Ticats game; they married in 1998. [11] His first wife, the mother of his two children, died of cancer. [3] His second wife, to whom he was married 20 years, suffered a fatal heart attack. [3]

He authored a book with Steve Milton called Tell Me To My Face, published by Lulu Canada Inc. [2] [4] The book was released in September 2011. [12]

In 2011, Mosca got into a fight with former B.C. Lions quarterback Joe Kapp at a CFL alumni luncheon regarding a controversial hit Mosca had made in the 1963 Grey Cup game, where Mosca ended up hitting Kapp on the head with his cane. [13] [3] The video of the fight went viral, receiving over 647,000 views on YouTube [14] and mentions on ESPN's Monday Night Football and on Fox TV's The O'Reilly Factor . [15] Mosca auctioned off the cane he used against Kapp at the following year's alumni luncheon for $7700, with the money going towards the alumni association's "dire straits" fund for struggling former players. [14]

Mosca appeared in several Canadian TV commercials in the 1970s and 1980s. [2] Mosca still made PR appearances for the league and the Ticats and for other businesses. [2]

In February 2015, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, [11] which took away his ability to swallow or eat solid foods. [4] [3]

His number 68 football jersey was retired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football club on August 27, 2015, in a ceremony at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. [3]

In July 2016, Mosca was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. [16] US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed the lawsuit in September 2018. [17]

Death

Mosca died at the Maccassa Lodge in Hamilton at age 84 on November 6, 2021. [4] He had stayed there for a number of years. [4]

Championships and accomplishments

North American football

Professional wrestling

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References

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