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Dennis Coraluzzo Tribute

October 14, 2002

It was a day in 2001, that seemed quite like any other. I got home from work, and went on the computer. My first stop was a wrestling website, and there I saw something that my eyes could not believe. Still not wanting to believe, I clicked on the article. Tears welled up in my eyes. Wrestling promoter Dennis Coraluzzo, a man who I had worked for in my wrestling days, had passed away. I immediately touched out to some friends from the days of yesteryear. Together we consoled each other, and shared stories. As a form of therapy I put pen to paper, and wrote a tribute for a man who believed in me, much the way I believed in him. Those words, words about Dennis Coraluzzo, are printed here so you can get a true appreciation for the man I miss, but will never forget.

I am not really sure where to start, or what to say. But I suppose saying thank you would be a good beginning.So right now I would like to thank Dennis Coraluzzo from the bottom of my heart for giving a young guy a chance. After all, in the wrestling world that is all one can ask for.I feel one of the best ways to show what he meant to me, is to share some of my memories from the times I was fortunate enough to work for him.What Dennis Coraluzzo represented to me was a man who loved the wrestling business. In fact, through the years on his shows he loved to give the boys a chance to work and get more experience. And that is exactly what he did for me.Let's flashback to late 1993. I was trying to get more work. I sent a tape off to Dennis, and a couple of weeks later I called him. I told him who he was, and in his direct tone he said "Who?" I explained to him who I was, and he said he would watch my tape, and to get back to him.When I called back he spoke in a more friendly tone, and told me during the summer he did run as much as he would like, thus at that point and time he would not be able to use me. I said that was fine, and I understood. Which I did. But that did not stop me from calling him religiously every couple of weeks. He had promised that in the future he would use me.Eventually he said I will use you at some point. As luck would have it, in October of 1994, former WCW referee Scott Dickinson, whom I was, and still am, friendly with happened to live nearby. He was going to be talking to Dennis about an upcoming booking, and he said he would be certain to mention me. He did, and I was booked for two late October bookings in New Jersey, the area Dennis most often promoted.I traveled there with Scott Dickinson and the late Tony Rumble. When we got to the hotel, we were met by the late and legendary Dick Murdoch, and I man who I had not met before. I introduced myself to Dick, and I turned to the gentleman next to him. "I am John Rodeo" I said, as I extended my hand to him. The man shook it, and said "I am Dennis, the guy who booked you."That was my introduction to Dennis Coraluzzo.It was at this time that Dennis gave a chance to another young, and hungry talent. He was the future Crowbar, than known as Devon Storm. By booking young hands Dennis proved a great opportunity to learn. Thanks Dennis.I remember fondly the car trip for breakfast with Dennis driving, Marc Coraluzzo his son in the middle of the front seat, and Dick Murdoch in the passenger seat. Meanwhile Rumble, Dickinson, and I were sandwiched in the back. I was so happy to be with these men.In typical Dennis fashion he was raving about the place we were going to. He told Dick how his friend, who was a cook there, was going to cook him gyros. According to Dennis, they were the best around, and they were not on the day's menu. So they would be a specially prepared for Dick.However, when they waitress came to take our order we found out two things. That Dennis' friend was not there, and that they served gyros everyday. That was typical Dennis. He got so excited in things that at times maybe he stretched the truth just a little bit. But it was hard to get mad, because he was such a real person.I was so quiet that at one point Murdoch asked me "Don't you ever say anything?" I answered "Sometimes." Maybe it was not the most clever response, but I was just I tried my best to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as I could. And I am glad I did. These learning experiences helped my confidence improve, which resulted in me growing as a heel manager.

Thanks again Dennis.I left those shows very content, and Dennis offered me the chance to work for him again down the road.The next chance I got to work for Dennis came in early 1996.The great Eddie Gilbert had passed away. And it was Dennis who had the class, and love to put together a first class tribute show. That was the origin of the first Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl.I was a big Gilbert fan, and that combined with the opportunity to work on one of the biggest independent shows of the year, was a dream come true. And without Dennis caring enough to book me on the show, none of that would have been possible. As it turned out Eddie's family, Doug, Tommy and Peggy, were there. In addition, Dennis was able to get names like Jim Cornette, Jerry Lawler, Dory Funk, Jr., Tommy Rich, Dan Severn, and Al Snow to appear. Mick Foley even showed up, unexpected and unannounced to the pre show banquet to pay tribute.That event was in many ways to me, the highlight of my career. Thank you for giving me that memory Dennis.In the years to come I would occasionally venture into the New Jersey independent scene. At times I would work for Donnie B, whom I had met at that same show. And at other times I would work for Dennis. They treated me well, and I knew that they were always there for me. For they themselves had said that if I ever needed a booking, all I had to do was to pick up the phone and call.It was little things like that that make this crazy and cutthroat business worth it.And Dennis, if I had one last request before I leave you to rest, it would be this. This guy, the same kid you extended a chance and a handshake too would take you up on your offer. I would ask you to please book me on your show once more. For old times sake.Dennis, I have shed some tears over your leaving us. Both happy and sad ones. Thanks for the opportunity. I hope you are in a better place now.I will miss you Dennis, I truly will. I wish you, and your family the best.

All my love. Peace.
John Rodeo.


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