Name: The Tolos Brothers
Year Inducted: 2007
Induction Category: Tag Team

The Tolos Brothers

From the 1950's to the 1970's, there was only one was to spell wrestling - "T-O-L-O-S!" It is also an excellent alternate way to spell "Family", a theme that runs throughout the careers of the Canadian Wrecking Crew. Their interviews were punctuated with, "Isn't that right, brother Chris?" and "That's right, brother John." As a tag team, their fanatical devotion to each other knew no bounds. In the 1970's, Chris Tolos took himself off the road to look after his elderly mother and his handicapped sister.

In the 1988 book, Drawing Heat, author Jim Freedman described his visit to the reclusive Tolos household and found the family to be genuine: "Their home was authentic, made charming and warm by the undiluted sentimentality of immigrants securing each other's past and future. It was hard not to notice this, and I blurted out my appreciation when leaving. I told Evangelina how comfortable I felt in a house where there was a close family."

The wrestling business was good to Chris and John Tolos. Chris was the older sibling, and broke into the business in the early 1950's. A few years later, he helped train his slightly bigger and heavier brother for the ring. Like many Hamilton wrestlers, the Tolos brothers were known for their roughness. "They had a tough stomping style," said Don Curtis, who often teamed with Mark Lewin against the Toloses. "They were pretty much equal in the ring, and really had good timing and thought very much alike."

The list of tag team titles they held includes the Pacific Coast belts in 1953, the WWWF U.S. tag titles 1963, the NWA World tag championships in both Florida and Detroit in 1964, the Canadian and World tag belts in Vancouver in 1967 and the International belts in Toronto.

Both Tolos brothers were great hands on their own. In the late 1960's, Chris "The Body" Tolos feuded with Mike Dibiase in Omaha. When he returned to Hamilton in the 1970's, Chris wrestled around Ontario for Frank Tunney and "Bearman" Dave McKigney. Described by many as "reserved" to his brother John's "outgoing" personality, Chris Tolos wrestled until 1980. He died of cancer on August 12, 2005.

The singles career of John Tolos was more memorable than his brother's. He was a magnificent interview, usually starting off quietly before becoming a raving madman, stripping off his finely tailored suit to prove his point. He was hardcore and used all kinds of foreign objects, from chairs to two-by-fours and even a boa constrictor, to make his opponents bleed. John Tolos had monumental feuds during his career as both a hated heel and as a loved babyface. Fans particularly remember battles with Freddie Blassie and Killer Kowalski. In the 1980's, Tolos returned as a manager of Cactus Jack and Bob Orton in Herb Abrams' UWF promotion. He would follow that with a brief run in the WWF as "The Coach", with Curt Hennig as his main star. Today, John lives in California and is fighting to regain his health after a stroke in the spring of 2006.

- Greg Oliver and Steven Johnson



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