The wrestling community mourns the loss of an icon. Mark "Rollerball" Rocco passed away at the age of 69. WWE confirmed the news with the statement, as did NXT on-screen General Manager William Regal. Rocco's cause of death is not public.
"I've woken to the terrible news that my friend and colleague Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco has passed away," Regal tweeted on Friday. "Mark was so ahead of his time and wether as himself or the original 'Black Tiger' in @njpwglobal. He, along with Marty Jones were the true originators of the fast paced, hard hitting Jr Heavyweight style we see today. In 1978 I saw a match of theirs and it took my Wrestling fandom to a different world. Becoming a friend and getting to Wrestle Mark at 18 a dream come true Mark had an unbelievable work ethic in and out of the ring and my life was better for knowing him.
"There aren't enough words for me to explain how much it means to me to be fortunate enough to have know him, wrestled him and explain how much he meant to the British and World wide wrestling scene and I just wished I could have one more of the hundreds of car rides I had with him 'hold court' with his wonderful stories. My deepest condolences to all of Marks family." Regal and Rocco previously partnered in 1985 to wrestle Kendo Nagasaki and Bearded "Psycho" Stevens. Regal performed under the name of "Nature Boy" at the time.
Born in 1951, Rocco was a fourth-generation wrestler. His father was Jim Hussey, a big star in the 1940s. Rocco's son, Jono "Rocco" Hussey, became a professional boxer and continued the string of athletic endeavors.
Rocco started his career in New Japan Pro Wrestling and later won the WWE Junior Heavyweight title in 1982. According to the WWE statement, Rocco competed as the original masked Black Tiger. In his career, Rocco faced off with such names as Jushin Liger, Dynamite Kid, Tiger Mask and Fit Finlay. Rocco later retired in 1991 due to a heart condition.
"RIP ROLLERBALL ROCCO,what a good man,our last handshake and laugh was at Wembly,we both rocked that place many times,I always loved going out at night to find the old school fish houses after the matches with Rocco,we would laugh,drink Ichiban beer for hours me,him,and Andre HH," Hulk Hogan tweeted Saturday morning. He joined the multitudes mourning the death of a wrestling icon.