If “The Destroyer” Dick Beyer isn’t the greatest masked man ever from the United States, well, who is? But it was his stardom in Japan that made him so iconic. And loved — just read our stories!
THE DESTROYER STORIES
- Mar. 7, 2019: The Destroyer Dick Beyer dies
- July 28, 2014: The Destroyer goes over the edge for charity
- July 19, 2013: Park golf suits The Destroyer to a tee
- June 22, 2013: Sensational, intelligent Destroyer proves it at school talk
- Oct. 21, 2012: Compelling story keeps Destroyer’s book moving
- Jan. 11, 2012: Destroyer’s book has many sides to it
- May 17, 2000: Jumbo, Baba and The Destroyer
- May 1, 2000: The Destroyer lifts the mask
- July 9, 2023: Vince Evans, author of Destroyer’s autobiography, passes
THE DESTROYER LINKS
MEMORIES OF THE DESTROYER
The Destroyer I remember going to the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles in the early 60s with my Grandpa Leonard. The Destroyer was one of the top three wrestler at the time and would pack the house each week. Along with Classy Freddy Blassie and Pedro Morales–they ruled wrestling in Los Angeles.
I remember watching The Destroyer on TV in Los Angeles in the early 60s. He used the “figure four leglock” to defeat everyone, and no one could get his mask off. My friends and I all practiced the leglock on one another. It was impossible to get out of.
Oh yes! The Destroyer was simply one of the best! His matches with Freddie Blassie were legendary. The closest I ever saw him to loosing the mask was against Cowboy Bob Ellis, I believe in the mid 60’s. I can still remember old Dick Lane calling the action. I think Dick Lane was as good as Gordon Solie in his day.
The promoters back then, Gene and Mike LaBell along with Jules Strongbow gave the fans wonderful cards back then. I can remember, Bobo Brazil, John Tolos, Mil Mascares, some real young kid named Roddy Piper and another named Terry Funk. As the years went by into the early 70’s, the Olympic began to fade away but not before Rocky Johnson, Tony Atlas, Bearcat Wright, Bull Ramos, Black Gordman and Haystacks Calhoon. The Olympic was a real dump–but it was MY dump and I will never forget those wonderful memories.
Anybody remember the name of the announcer who used to promote ‘Lou’s Garage”?
As for The Destroyer, I also remember one hell of a match he had in 1963 against Giant Baba. Lasted almost 1 1/2 hours.
One of the greatest wrestling legends of all time has to be Dick “the Destroyer” Beyer. He has held numerous belts and titles around the world and was a legend in the All Japan Wrestling Promotion. In addition, Dick Beyer is also actively involved in the Ilio DiPaulo foundation in Western New York that awards a scholarship to the best high school wrestler in the area. His greatest matches had to be with Angelo Poffo (Randy Savage’s father) in Buffalo in 1959.
In conclusion, if there ever was a man that has given back to his community, it has to be Dick Beyer!
One of my all time favorites. Living in LA during the 50’s and 60’s, I had the opportunity to see a title match between the Destroyer and Fred Blassie at the Olympic (18th and Grand). For weeks before the match, Blassie would file his teeth on the interviews with Dick Lane and state that he would chew off the Destroyer’s mask. As for the match, it was one of the best I have ever seen. In the end Blassie bit through the mask and tore it off only to find another mask underneath it. He eventually bit through it too and unmasked the Destroyer, who grabbed a towel and ran from the ring. Never saw his face. Blassie won the title that night.
I remember the Destroyer as being one of the best wrestlers to evolve in Québec during the 80’s, in the heyday of the Frank Valois promotion. He was hated first and was teased about his “Duck walk”, but when he attacked a hated British wrestler called Billy Robinson on the air, he won the hearts of every fan. He’s the number one master of the figure four leglock…all federations included…
Claude Leduc, Montréal, Qc, email@example.com
Can anyone tell me the name of The Destroyer’s tag-team partner in Los Angeles? He had an Armenian last name and was short and stocky and used the backbreaker as his submission hold. The two were teamed together for a number of months (in the early or mid 60’s).
Dick “The Destroyer” Beyers is now my swimming coach in Akron NY. It is pretty cool having a legend as your teacher.
I just read your page about my father, The Destroyer. I just wanted to say “thanks” for having his bio covered on your site and that he certainly deserves the credit of being one of the best professional wrestlers of our time!!
I believe the Destroyer’s tag team partner in the early 60s was Don Manoukian. What a time for wrestling that was! My friends and I used to go San Bernardino about ’62 through ’64 to see the matches. What a blast! Are you out there, Tom, Jim, Pat, and Dave?
The Destroyer is my favorite wrestler of all time! I can still remember the first time I saw him. I was watching wrestling from the Olympic Auditorium as I did every Wednesday night, and he came out one match too early, jumped over the top rope into the ring, walked around, and then left. From that moment on I was hooked. A friend’s father would take a car load of us kids to the arena in San Bernardino every Saturday night. We’d watch the likes of The Destroyer and Freddie Blassie. Before his matches the Destroyer would come out and lean against the wall next to the popcorn machine and watch the matches. One time I went out and asked him “Can I please have your autograph Mr. Intelligent, Sensational Destroyer?” I’ll never forget the little smirk he gave at hearing that. One night he was in a tag team match. It was the Destroyer and Don Manoukian vs. Freddie Blassie and Don Leo Jonathan. What a match! Wrestling is just not the same these days with the big steroid produced bodies, make-up, and hype. Wrestlers like The Destroyer and Freddie Blassie created a golden period of wrestling that will never be surpassed, or even equaled!
I can remember going to watch wrestling at the Maple Leaf Gardens, something i did pretty regular with my sister Kim.
She was an autograph hound, she would seek out all the wrestlers , or one who would get all the others autographs for her.
Once near the concession stand, she saw The Destroyer and asked him for an autograph. He said “But I’m a bad guy — do you still want it?”
She of course said yes and I can still remember today seeing it signed The Destroyer, with a little thumbnail sketch of him in his mask.
I remember watching The Destroyer on Channel 5 from L.A. on Wednesday nights. He was a very scary guy with that mask on. He was a bad guy at first, always beating the good guy. I saw many matches between him and Freddie Blassie. It was the highlight of my week. My friends and I would talk about it for days. I had the opportunity to see The Destroyer wrestle on many occasions in San Bernardino on Saturday nights. My dad would load my friends and I in his station wagon and hit the freeway. As we approached the arena, the anticipation level would rise and we were very excited. The Destroyer would watch the matches by the popcorn machine. I once got up enough nerve to ask him for an autograph. I was scared stiff. I was finally standing by him. I would try to look past the mask to see his face. He looked like my Social Studies teacher. My friends and I would say that one day, our teacher would forget to take off his mask and come to class with it on. We would laugh. I remember the night he did an interview in the locker room with that guy from Lou’s Garage. He said that his son was getting beaten up at school and that he was going to change his image. From that point on, The Destroyer was a good guy. Thanks for all the great memories. You were great!!! The man with “the million dollar legs.”
My wife joined Toastmasters International in October of last year. She attended a regional competition with her cousin. When she came home, she showed me the program from the competition and asked me if I recognized any name on the program. She was thinking that I would spot the name of a lady who she used to be close friends with. Instead I let out a yell and said: DICK BEYER!!!! My poor startled wife asked me who Dick Beyer is, and I proceeded at length to run down Dick’s achievements in the wrestling business. She then told me that he’s a member of Toastmasters and gave a speech at the competition.
A few weeks back she attended another regional competition, and sat across from Dick and his wife. She mentioned that I was a big fan, and he gave her a business card with a full color picture of him in the mask to give to me.
And btw, yes, he has taken the mask off in public. My wife said he didn’t have a mask on at either event.
That “guy on KTLA” for Lou’s Garage on Wednesday Night Wrestling From the Olympic was Sam Benson…who’s still alive and well in SoCal! I too watched this show religiously when I was a kid In Los Angeles. Dick Lane invented the jargon for wrestling the same way the late, great Chick Hearn did for basketball! And to think we were fortunate to have both of ’em in the same town simultaneously!