New Japan Pro-Wrestling Legend Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco Dies at Age 69

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

British wrestling star Mark "Rollerball" Rocco died Thursday at the age of 69, according to Ben Hendry of The Press and Journal.

WWE confirmed Rocco's death Friday, noting he was "known as a pioneer of today's modern cruiserweight style and a legend of British wrestling."

NXT general manager and longtime WWE Superstar William Regal remembered Rocco in a series of tweets:

Rocco is perhaps best known to American wrestling fans as Black Tiger. Wrestling under a mask, Rocco beat Tiger Mask for the WWE Junior Heavyweight Championship in 1982.

He dropped the title back to Tiger Mask less than one month later, and the WWE Junior Heavyweight Championship was deactivated in 1985 once WWE's working relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling ended.

Rocco enjoyed success in NJPW and was also a big star in his native England and competed in All Star Wrestling. Rocco most notably faced the Dynamite Kid in a series of highly regarded matches.

During his time in All Star Wrestling, Rocco held the World Heavy Middleweight Championship three times, the British Heavy Middleweight Championship twice and the British Light Heavyweight Championship once.

Rocco was also a fixture on World of Sport, which aired on ITV from 1965-1985 in the United Kingdom.

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