Rod Bollenbacher, who wrestled as “Hot Stuff” Rod Bell, and later promoted in Indiana, has died. The cause of death, on June 25, 2023, is still unknown.

“I am in complete shock and heart ache hearing about the passing of someone who was so awesome from wrestling, to family and friends and I’m sure his employees at Wendy’s as well,” said Jim Blaze, a professional wrestler and owner of POWW Entertainment, in a Facebook post.

Blaze noted how he used to wrestle for Bollenbacher at ICW in Indiana and he also inducted “Hot Stuff” Bell into the POWW Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. “I will definitely miss you Rod. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends! Rest in Peace Rodney Bollenbacher I love you!”

Bollenbacher wrestled under the name “Hot Stuff” Rod Bell and made appearances as enhancement for major companies like WWE. Around Indiana and neighboring states, he was a feature performer. “Wherever they were paying some money” was where he worked, Bollenbacher quipped in 2011.

However, he wanted to do more than just perform in the ring.

During a stage in his career he was also the New Wave Association president and he opened NWA’s Hardcore Professional Wrestling School in Lake Station, Indiana, for young wrestlers. “We don’t want people here to just screw around,” Bollenbacher told The Times newspaper out of Muncie, Indiana, in 1997. “Our intent is to make them pro wrestlers.”

Rod Bollenbach in 2019.

Rod Bollenbach in 2019. Facebook photo

Other than performing and teaching the sport, Bollenbacher was also a promoter of wrestling.

Veteran wrestler Trevor Blanchard shared memories of Bollenbacher. “As far as a promoter he was fair. I was a pain in the ass to him at times,” admitted Blanchard. “I’ll never forget the time we did a show at a Catholic school, whoever I was working did a sunset flip. I had forgotten to tie my trunks and my opponent pulled my trunks down to reveal my bare ass and man did I catch heat for that from him. After that incident he would always ask, “They are tied right??”

Before pro wrestling, basketball was the game of choice for the tall Bollenbach. He grew up in Hebron, Indiana, and hooped in grade school and junior high. He played on the small-town South Adams team in 1986 which won the sectional championship. His son, Nick, was a big-time player too. Bollenbach later coached basketball.

In 1998, Bollenbach lamented some of the injuries while defending pro wrestling with (Muncie) Times columnist Al Hamnik.

“A lot of it is entertainment,” Bollenbach explained. “But myself … I’ve had six broken noses, internal bleeding, broken bones here and there. To say pro wrestling is just a joke, those people obviously haven’t been in the ring. It’s a rough business to be in.”

Away from wrestling, Bollenbach worked in many different restaurants through the years, often taking weekends off to travel. At the time of his death, he was the District Manager for Wendy’s International and franchise coach for six DMA’s at The Wendy’s Company.

His family was involved in cattle farming in Indiana. He left behind a son and daughter and their families. Funeral information is not known at this time.

— with files from Greg Oliver