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Johnny Barend (1929 - 2011)


Real NameJohn R. Behrend
Lifespan -3/27/1929 - 9/20/2011
??? - Rochester, NY

Athletic Background - Wrestling

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - n/a

Aliases - none

Peak Years - 1960s

Place in HistoryBuddy Rogers was known for (or notorious for, depending on who is talking), surrounding himself with some of the best talent in the business, talent that was loyal to him and made sure he got over and stayed over.  Some of these individuals went on to become some of the biggest legends of pro-wrestling such as Johnny Valentine, Ray Stevens and Ernie Roth (the Grand Wizard).  Many went on to very successful careers and were key players in numerous territories.  "Handsome" Johnny Barend would likely rank on that second-tier.  He was an excellent worker by the standards of the day and excelled as both a babyface and a heel.  He was not, however, a top drawing star, save his run in Hawaii.  Johnny Barend broke into the business in Upstate New York in the late 1940s and proved to be a natural.  Only a few years in, Barend was working in Chicago on the nationally televised show from that market.  Although that exposure should have catapulted his career as it did many others, Barend spent most of the 1950s as a journeyman who worked up and down cards across the US.  Columbus, Ohio was a major market during that period and Barend worked into a top slot and found the favor of Rogers who was the booker there.  As part of Rogers' troupe, Barend frequently teamed with Magnificent Maurice and the two became one of the best heel tag teams of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  They worked as a top heel pair in Ohio, New York and throughout the Midwest.  Barend was really at the peak of his abilities when he ended up in Hawaii in 1966.  The promotion was hitting its peak as everyone wanted to work there and Barend ended up being one of their most iconic stars.  He frequently partnered with Ripper Collins and Curtis Iaukea as the Riot Squad, he had memorable feud with Jim Hady and had several babyface runs, one even included his wedding to a local which drew a huge house.  It was during this era that Hawaii's TV show became noted for the incredible promos and Johnny Barend with his cigar-puffing and psychotic rambling was one of their best.  Following a big show at the HIC where he challenged NWA World Champion, Johnny Barend left and left on top.