Italian American wrestling legend Dominic DeNucci was hospitalized on Friday due to a health scare. The cause was originally unknown, but his family later provided an update. The 88-year-old was dealing with a heart issue and underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure.
"Dominic was admitted to the hospital on Friday after experiencing some very minor health issues, including fatigue," DeNucci's family said in a statement. "After tests concluded that DeNucci had slight stenosis of his aorta, the doctors decided to perform a routine heart catheterization to insert a stent into the narrowed artery. That procedure was successfully performed earlier [on Monday] and Dominic is resting comfortably. His daughter and son-in-law, Danielle & George Kassel, are with him and report that he is in great spirits and feeling much better. They asked that their heartfelt thanks be extended to all of Dominic's friends and fans around the world."
According to the statement, DeNucci has "long been regarded" as one of wrestling's most talented ambassadors. He has trained several big names in wrestling throughout his career. This includes Cody Michaels, Brian Hildebrand [Mark Curtis], the "Franchise" Shane Douglas and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley. In addition, DeNucci is a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club's Hall of Fame.
"Legions of professional wrestling fans have followed Dominic DeNucci's legendary career for decades and he has long been regarded as one of the squared circle's most talented ambassadors," the statement continued. "But for those of us who grew up in Pittsburgh, DeNucci was a mainstay on WIIC-TV's [WPXI] Studio Wrestling every Saturday night at 7 PM. Hosted by another Pittsburgh legend, 'Chilly Billy'- Bill Cardille, Studio Wrestling boasted the biggest names in professional wrestling, including DeNucci, 'Haystacks' Calhoun, the 'Valiant Brothers,' 'Superstar' Billy Graham, 'Jumping' Johnny DeFazio, and of course, Pittsburgh's own 'Living Legend' Bruno Sammartino."
DeNucci began his pro wrestling career in 1958 as the "Masked Marvel." He started in Canada but took part in events all around the globe. DeNucci spent time in Australia and Japan before joining the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1967. He continued to wrestle professionally until he retired in 1987 at the age of 55.
Despite walking away from full-time wrestling, DeNucci still sporadically took part in matches for decades. He wrestled three times during the 1990s and then came out of retirement in 2005 at the age of 73. DeNucci participated in several matches before retiring once again in 2012.