We take a look at another member of the Class of 1995 with The Grand Wizard of Wrestling!
Real Name: Irwin J. Roth
Birthday: June 2,1929
Death: October 12,1983
Weight: 130 lbs
Inducted by: Sgt. Slaughter
Irwin J. Roth was born in Canton City,Ohio. He first got into the entertainment business as a disc jockey but would find a successful career in professional wrestling. Due to his small size, Roth decided not to wrestle but instead be a manager.
He went under different names during his early years in the business at the Detroit territory but would find initial success as "Abdullah Farouk" manager for The Original Sheik. Due to his protege being a crazy mad man, Farouk was the sort of "care taker" of The Sheik, and together they were a terrorizing duo!
As Abdullah Farouk, Roth managed to popularized the heel tactic of managers interfering on the matches on behalf of their clients, these rarely happened during those times and to this day, this very tactic is still being used!
In the 1970's, Roth began working for the WWWF. He now transitioned from his Abdullah Farouk gimmick and became "The Grand Wizard of Wrestling." A colorful and flamboyant heel manager, The Wizard was one of the most successful managers during his time and was a part of the "Three Wise Men" trio with Lou Albano and Freddie Blassie.
He managed the team of Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka in both of their lengthy WWWF World Tag-Team Championship reigns. As well as managing Stan Stasiak and "Superstar" Billy Graham into winning the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship, with the latter being his most well known client.
The Wizard also managed the first and second Intercontinental Champions: Pat Patterson and Ken Patera respectively. Other notable clients included Sgt. Slaughter,Ernie Ladd,Don Muraco,Greg Valentine,and Ox Baker.
On October 12,1983 The Wizard passed away due to a heart attack. It was revealed after his death that he was a homosexual and only those close to him knew this. He was posthumously inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995 by one of his clients: Sgt. Slaughter.
I only know The Grand Wizard through the limited footage that is available online but from what I've seen, he was truly a man perfect for his era. With his colorful outfits and flamboyant style, plus with great mic skills to back things up, then you got one of the greatest managers of all time!
Sadly he is often overlooked by many because he passed away just before the WWF could make it big in the worldwide scene with Hulkamania becoming a pop culture phenomenon. He was easily one of the greats though and was certainly a trailblazer for all managers that came after him, unlike Blassie and Albano, Wizard was really all about putting over his clients first before himself.
Although he was a closeted homosexual, in a way, Wizard was still a trailblazer for members of the LGBT community in the world of professional wrestling. Taken from this world way too soon, it would have been interesting to see what Grand Wizard could have been around the WrestleMania era of the 80's and beyond.
Thanks For Reading.