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"Jumping" Joe Savoldi (1908-1974)

Real NameJoseph Anthony Savoldi, Jr. (born “Giuseppe Savoldi”)
Lifespan - 5/5/1908 - 1/25/1974
5’11” 212 lbs. - Milan, Italy

Athletic BackgroundFootball [Notre Dame]

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - n/a

Aliases - none

Peak Years1930s

Place in HistoryThe dropkick seems like it has been a staple of pro-wrestling as long as the sport has actually been a spectacle.  While the real creator of the dropkick may be in doubt, it is without question that Joe Savoldi popularized it.  If you watch the footage, “Jumping” Joe’s dropkick might not look as polished and fluid as men like Jim Brunzell, Curt Hennig and AJ Styles, Savoldi’s version had a certain realism combined with height and force that got over with fans.  Joe Savoldi is much more than a dropkick though.  The Italian-born grappler first gained national attention as “Galloping Joe” on the gridiron as an All-American fullback for Notre Dame.  A secret marriage may have shortened that career, but he joined the Chicago Bears.  Pro-wrestling promoters were entranced with the athletic attributes of Savoldi and within a few years, he was going over top star Jim Londos (in a controversial double-cross) and main eventing in several big markets.  “Jumping Joe” like Bronko Nagurski, Gus Sonnenburg and Big Wayne Munn had a mainstream notoriety that translated well to the box office.  In fact, his 1934 rematch with Londos in Chicago drew over 20,000.  Savoldi was an adventurous sort and toured the world and earning a great living as a pro-wrestler.  He returned to the US to market a soft drink, fittingly called “Drop Kick,” although the war rationing would irreparably hurt the venture.  World War II presented another chapter in Savoldi’s life as he served in the European theater as a secret agent in his native Italy.  Following the war, Savoldi went back to wrestling, both competing in the ring and promoting for a few years before retiring.  Joe Savoldi went back to school and became a science teacher in Kentucky for the remainder of his life.