More sad news from a pro wrestling world that’s already lost Mean Gene Okerlund, Pedro Morales, and King Kong Bundy this year as Buffalo’s iconic masked wrestler Dick Beyer, better known as The Destroyer, has died. He was 88 years old.
Beyer competed in over 8,000 matches in the United States and Japan over his 40-year career, becoming the first American wrestler to sign with a Japanese company when he signed with All Japan Pro Wrestling. He reached the top of the wrestling world in 1968, winning the AWA World Heavyweight Championship under the identity of the dreaded Dr. X
The Buffalo News shared the news of his passing:
In a Facebook post, [his son] Kurt wrote, “It is with a very heavy heart to let you know that Dad — aka The Destroyer, aka Doctor X, aka Dick Beyer, aka Coach — passed away shortly past noon today. He was in bed at home, and was surrounded by all of his children and wife as he slipped peacefully away. I will have more to share later, but wanted you to hear this sad news from me first. Thoughts and prayers are most welcome at this time. Peace.”
Beyer is regarded by many as the greatest masked professional wrestler of all time — he famously fashioned his first mask out of a girdle — and was a four-time world champion, among many other titles.
If you’d like to instantly love The Destroyer, here’s a picture of him surfing in full gimmick.
The phrase “often imitated, never duplicated” comes up a lot when you talk about famous wrestlers, but it was never truer than with The Destroyer. You know you’ve had a full wrestling life when you’ve famously feuded with Mil Mascaras in Mexico, been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, and still find time to run a golf course. Rest in peace, Destroyer.
Here are a few videos to help familiarize you with his work.