SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   Tue, July 20, 2010



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER tapings


Alexia Nicole


Ox Baker


BCW Excellence


WWE in Montreal


ROH Unauthorized


Smackdown in Philadelphia







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





A pair of seats for Tony (Cannonball) Parisi
By JOE SCARINGI - Special to the Niagara Falls Review


Tony Parisi in his International Wrestling days.

It has been 10 years since Larry Pugliese lost his brother, and he and his family honoured his brother's memory with the purchase of a pair of seats at the new Gale Centre.

Antonio Pugliese, known by many as Tony "Cannonball" Parisi, was a major ambassador for the city of Niagara Falls. Born in Cosenza, Italy, Parisi moved to Thunder Bay, at the age of nine, but soon moved to Niagara Falls. He joined the Niagara Falls, N.Y. YMCA and, at 16, began his amateur wrestling career.

Parisi became a professional wrestler when he was 18 and worked for numerous wrestling promotions, including the World Wide Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment), Buffalo-based National Wrestling Federation, Montreal-based Lutte Internationale and Toronto-based Maple Leaf Wrestling.

In addition to working for professional promotions, Parisi ran many of his own local shows throughout Ontario. After retiring from wrestling, Parisi promote wrestling events in the Niagara Region, and even held his own wrestling show at the annual CHIN Picnic in Toronto.

Outside of wrestling, Parisi was a loving family man, who cherished every moment he could with his friends and loved ones. He operated two family-run businesses in Niagara Falls, the Niagara Family Inn and Big Anthony's Restaurant.

"He was a good family man with a heart of gold. He always thought a lot of his family; that was his agenda," said brother Larry. "He was generous to all of his family, and he was always there to help."

Parisi had a strong passion for opera, often listening to opera music and partaking in voice lessons to perfect his own operatic voice. He sang at many local venues and was a prominent member of both the Club Italia and Club Roma Coro singers.

"He loved singing and entertaining, especially around Christmas," recalled Pugliese. "He loved Christmas time because the family was always together. There was always an accordion or guitar and he would sing until the wee hours of the morning."

Parisi sadly passed away in the summer of 2000. Following his death, the Tony "Cannonball" Parisi Memorial Fund was established by his brother Larry and his family and friends. Each year, the fund gives to local charitable organizations such as Red Cross and the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association (ORMTA). Most funds are raised through an annual golf tournament held in Parisi's honour every May.

As such a prominent ambassador for the city of Niagara Falls, Parisi's brother Larry and his family felt it only fitting to honour him at the Gale Centre in order to preserve his memory so that it may live on for generations to come. Pugliese and his family have purchased adjacent VIP seats in Parisi's memory. This, they feel, will serve as a celebration of the life of Parisi and will allow his memory to live on in the city which he loved so dearly.

RELATED LINKS

  • Aug. 20, 2000: Tony 'Cannonball' Parisi dies