Name: Ilio DiPaolo
PWHF New York State Award, 2003
What an honor to be awarded the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame's New
York State Award at the same time as Ilio DiPaolo. Who would have thought
that when I was a kid that my best friend later in life would be an Italian
boy born in Intradacqua, Italy? Ilio and I were like brothers, we never
argued and who in there right mind would argue with Ilio? He came to New
York State in the 1950's and never left. He made it his home. We traveled
together, wrestled together, toured Japan together, promoted wrestling
together, but probably were most noted for the charity work we did together.
During our various charity functions there wasn't a T.V. host or
sportscaster that didn't experience the "double body slam" by Ilio and me.
Ilio spoke with a beautiful Italian accent and his oldest son, Dennis, can
imitate his Dad perfectly. At a charity golf outing Ilio thanked everyone
for coming, the celebrities in attendance and then all the sponsors. Dennis
then got up and said he would like to interpret what his father said and
then he would speak exactly like his Dad. When we were promoting Rochester
together he was instructing Hercules Cortez, who spoke with a Spanish
accent, to speak very slowly during his interview.
Ilio never forgot a name - everyone is "Cumpa." I recently went to Ilio's
Restaurant to find out how to spell "Cumpa" and where it came from. They
gave me the spelling and Barbara, Dennis, and Michael said that "Cumpa
Sieprev" means my good friend or my equal. Ilio at the restaurant or on the
golf course treated everyone the same, "My Cumpa." You know what! -Barbara,
Dennis, and Michael are the same! And we can't forget his wife, Ethel. I
guess the old saying still holds true, "The acorn doesn't fall far from the
When the Buffalo News printed a story about the DiPaolo family they spelled
Cumpa -"Goombah" so no matter how you spell it - it still means the same.
"My friend, My equal."
- Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer