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The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello, Ray Heffernan & Don Kent)

   

Al Costello
Real Name - Giacomo Costa
Lifespan - 12/14/1919 - 1/22/2000
5'9" 235 lbs. - Lingua di Salina, Italy
Athletic Background - Boxing
Teacher(s) - Basher Bonas
Aliases - none

Ray Heffernan
Real Name - Laurence Roy Heffernan
Lifespan - 7/12/25 - 9/24/92
5'11" 212 lbs. - Lithgow, NWS, Australia
Athletic Background - Bodybuilding, Weightlifting
Teacher(s) - Laurence Heffernan; Al Costello
Aliases - none

Don Kent
Real Name - Leo Joseph "Joe" Smith, Jr.
Lifespan - 6/24/33 - 6/7/93
5'10" 250 lbs. - Battle Creek, MI
Athletic Background - Football (St. Benedict's College); Baseball (High School)
Teacher(s) - Larry Chene
Aliases - Joe Smith, Ray Kent, Doug Kent, Black Dragon, "Bulldog" Don Kent


Professional Background - Calgary(`57), New York(`57-`58), Amarillo(`58-`59), California(`59-`60), Capitol(`60-`62), Florida(`62), Los Angeles(`64), Vancouver(`64-`65), Detroit(`67), IWE(`68), Indianapolis(`70-`71), Detroit(`71), WWWF(`71), WWC(`77)

Peak Years - `60-`64

  
Place in History - To say the Fabulous Kangaroos created tag team wrestling would be inaccurate, but it's hard to image the genre without their heavy influence on it in the 1950s and 1960s.  The characters were the brainchild of Al Costello.  A veteran of the undeveloped Australian scene, Costello eventually left and toured around before coming up with the idea.  It was a simple package really - they wore slouch hats, carried boomerangs and an Australian banner to the song "Waltzing Matilda."  The entrance alone gained them great heat.  Costello, known as "The Man of a Thousand Holds," was a ring general and a natural entertainer.  He convinced another well-traveled Aussie, Roy Heffernan to partner up with him.  Heffernan was a serious type whose uncommon strength and fiery temper made him the backbone of the team.  After honing their act in Calgary, they took it to New York City and immediately found success.  Over the next eight years, the Kangaroos became the preeminent heel tag team in North America.  The act though was taken to another level when the fast-talking Wild Red Berry joined them.  The three men were wildly successful and caused riots all over.  In 1965, Heffernan returned to Australia to do some promoting and training, Costello remained in the States.   Eventually, he was determined to recapture the magic and initiated Briton Tinker Todd (wrestling as "Ray St. Clair") and the two enjoyed a good six-month run.  A short while later, he proposed bringing back the Kangaroos in Detroit.  The Sheik turned the idea down, so and his new partner, Don Kent, tried it out in elsewhere.  It was very successful and after a year they were booked back into Detroit and added "Crybaby" Cannon as their manager.  Kent, also a fine entertainer became the workhorse of the team, while the nearly 60 year old Costello got by on ring savvy and psychology.  The duo traveled down to Tennesee and Puerto Rico a few times and always found success.  They did reunite a few more times in the 1970s, but Costello shifted into managing.  That run allowed Kent to remain a regular in the area for another fifteen years.  Oddly enough, Costello was brought into Puerto Rico to manage Don Kent and Bruno Bekkar in a new version of the Kangaroos.  The run was successful and the Australian gimmick worked twenty-five years after its debut and allowed Kent to become a booker on the island for a while.  Costello known for his good health, which he attributed to his vegetarian diet, let him continue working another ten years.  Forever forming new versions of the Kangaroos with everyone from Beautiful Bruce Swayze and Tony Charles to Mickey Doyle and a fresh-faced Al Snow, sometimes wrestling himself, sometimes just managing.  







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