Saturday, February 25, 2017


By Scott Williams-Collier

Adolfo Bresciano, better known by his ring name Dino Bravo was a popular wrestler in the WWF in the 1970's through to the early 1990's. Born in 1948 in Campobasso Italy the Bresciano family eventually emigrated and settled in Montreal, Quebec.

Dino's uncle by marriage was Montreal Mobster Vic Cotroni, head of the Cotroni crime family who was also a capo in the Bonanno crime family. So early on in Dino's life we can see that there was a very influential and powerful figure in Vic Cotroni present in Dino's life. In fact a good friend and fellow wrestler Rick Martel said in an interview that Bravo had confided in him that if he desired to he could make a lot of money from crime. He also said that his Uncle had often asked him to come work for him.

Although the authorities suspect that Bravo had been involved with the mob for some time, he did have a successful career as a professional wrestler from 1970 until his eventual retirement in 1992. He became a top draw in the wrestling world in the late 70's which lasted for most of the 1980's.

Dino had a big match up scheduled in 1986 against Hulk Hogan in his home town of Montreal. Unfortunately his boss and owner of the WWF Vince McMahon decided to pull the fight as he didn't want the home crowd cheering Bravo more than Hogan. This prompted Dino Bravo to to quit wrestling.

The match up with Hogan in his home town of Montreal would have been huge for Bravo so understandably he was extremely upset by the decision to pull the contest. He did return later that year and continued to wrestle in the WWF throughout the 80's. His Career started to fizzle out in the early 1990's and he eventually announced his retirement from the sport after a European tour in April 1992. 11 months later he would be brutally murdered in his home while watching an ice hockey game on TV.

Dino Bravo wasn't your average 9 to 5 guy. He made a lot of money and spent a lot during his wrestling days. He had the big house and expensive sports cars and liked the high life. So after his wrestling career he had too find something to keep the money coming in. Rick Martel said in an interview that Dino had to ask his mother for money once, something that he hated, that he couldn't do that it was too much for his pride! What could a guy like Bravo do once his wrestling
Vic Cotroni
career was over? He wasn't really a business man but he did have his connection with the Cotroni crime family. So he went back to what and who he knew to keep the money coming in.

Cigarette smuggling in Canada in the 90's was very big business. Dino used his reputation as former pro wrestler to win favour and build partnerships with the local Indians who had control over smuggling across the river. The Native Indians were really big wrestling fans and loved Dino. They dealt directly with him which gave him the monopoly over cigarette smuggling in the area helping him make a lot of money.

On March 10th 1993 Bravo was sat watching a ice hockey game in his home. He was shot 7 times in the back of the head. The police know that the shots came from behind as the TV remote was loose in his hand. If you are shot from the front your natural response is to tense up waiting for the bullets to hit you hence the TV remote would have been tight in his gripe. He was then shot a further 10 times in the torso. Whoever did this really meant business and wanted him dead! Police believe that the person who did this was likely a guest in the house and was watching the hockey game with Bravo on TV.

There's a lot of theories to exactly why Dino Bravo was brutally murdered. No doubt he had obviously upset someone a great deal! The general consensus among law enforcement is that Dino was stealing his own cigarette shipments and then selling them and keeping all the profits for himself instead of sharing with his fellow partners in crime. There was also mention that Bravo had got into trouble over a drug deal and some say he was refusing to share his operation with the mob. Personally I believe the most likely scenario was Dino was stealing cigarette shipments and keeping the profits for himself instead of sharing with the mob.

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter who killed Dino and why.  We have seen this play out hundreds of times in the history of the mob. When you involve yourself in the life you know the risks. There are rules to follow and so many ways you can mess up. If you get greedy and don't share, if you don't follow the rules, if you disrespect the wrong people its only going to end one way. Dino Bravo knew this and was fully aware of what he was getting himself into. He confided in friends days before his murder that his days were numbered. Unfortunately that rang true and ended in his untimely death at the age of 44.

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