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RIP, Baron Scicluna

March 21, 2010 - John Mehno

Got the word that former professional wrestling star Baron Scicluna passed away this morning from cancer. He was 80.

If you went to Gene Dargan's wrestling shows at Jaffa Mosque, you remember the Baron as a regular. He was a tall, lean guy who looked a bit like Dracula, which was even more profound when he would wear his red cape into the ring. He was often matched against Bruno Sammartino, Domenic DeNucci and the Battman. The Baron worked main events in the old WWWF in the '60s and '70s. As his career wound down, he was further down on the card until his retirement in 1984.

He always played the bad guy, but Mike Scicluna was one of the good guys. I've mentioned before that I did publicity work for Gene Dargan when I was in college. That let me get behind the curtain of the strange business of wrestling. Mike was held in high regard by his peers. He was one of the most respected people in the business. Backstage, he looked like anything but a villain. He wore glasses and was usually puffing on a pipe.

After his wrestling career ended, he took a job driving a New York Times delivery truck. A lot of the wrestlers did that to set themselves up for a pension, a luxury the wrestling business didn't provide. After Mike retired, he settled in the north suburbs of Pittsburgh. He did a few public appearances at fan conventions in recent years.

He was always billed as from the Isle of Malta, and he really was from there. He maintained a home there and regularly visited.

A fond farewell to one of the nicest guys in a rough and tumble business.

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