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|Birth name||Richard John Beyer|
|Born||July 11, 1930|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 7, 2019 (aged 88)|
Akron, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
|Children||4; Including Kurt|
|Family||Billy Red Lyons (brother-in-law)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Dick Beyer|
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|Debut||December 29, 1954|
|Retired||July 29, 1993|
Richard John Beyer (July 11, 1930 – March 7, 2019) was an American professional wrestler who is best known by his ring names, The Destroyer and Doctor X. Among other places, he worked extensively in Japan and in 2017 he was awarded one of the country's highest honors, the Order of the Rising Sun.
As an athlete at Syracuse University, Beyer was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams. He played in the 1953 Orange Bowl for Syracuse. He graduated with a Masters Degree in education and was a member of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta's Syracuse Chapter, as well as an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He was a schoolteacher and swim coach in New York until he began his wrestling career.
Professional wrestling career
Worldwide Wrestling Associates
Beyer began as a babyface wrestler in the mid-1950s. His career as a masked wrestler, The Destroyer, began in 1962 in Los Angeles. He used the figure four leg lock on his way to the Worldwide Wrestling Associates (WWA) championship on July 27, 1962 in a win over Freddie Blassie, who convinced him that the mask gimmick would give him a large push. He defended the championship for ten months.
In early 1963, Beyer wrestled three sold-out matches against Giant Baba at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. In May 1963, he traveled to Japan for the first time, to wrestle Rikidōzan in a match watched by 70 million TV viewers. In June 1964, he returned to Los Angeles and beat Dick the Bruiser for another WWA championship run, losing it to Bob Ellis in September, regaining it in November, and finally dropping it in March 1965 to Pedro Morales.
American Wrestling Association
Between 1966 and 1972, Beyer wrestled as Doctor X while in Minneapolis. He had matches with many of the top names in the business including his real brother-in-law Billy Red Lyons, who handed him his first American Wrestling Association (AWA) defeat on Minneapolis television, with a figure-four leglock. In August 1970, he took a chance at revenge against his former partner Black Jack Lanza. He stood in the center of the ring with announcer Marty O'Neill, who told the fans that Doctor X was a former coach from Syracuse University. Doctor X then removed his mask, handed it to promoter Eddie Williams, and wrestled the match as Dick Beyer.
In other AWA cities, Beyer was unmasked by Lanza or Paul Diamond. In these matches, his name was said to be Bruce Marshall. He wanted to lose the mask because he and his family were set to go to Japan, where he would be The Destroyer again. During 1972, he had several battles with "Crippler" Ray Stevens. Their last match saw him written out of the AWA with a purported broken leg.
Return to Japan
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From 1973 to 1979, Beyer wrestled in Japan on a deal with Giant Baba and NTV of Tokyo. Here he feuded with Mil Máscaras in a series of seven matches. He also helped promote All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) for Baba and established himself as a gaijin tarento in a late-night TV show called Uwasa No Channel. He held the PWF United States Championship until 1979, when he left AJPW and the championship was abandoned.
Later life and death
Beyer went into semi-retirement in Akron, New York, in 1984. Until 1995, he taught physical education in the Central School District, and coached football, wrestling and swimming. He served on the Board of Directors of the Cauliflower Alley Club, which holds annual reunions in Las Vegas. He was a member of Toastmasters International, a public speaking club, and carried the club designation of Certified Toastmaster. He inducted Gorgeous George into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 27, 2010.
On August 27, 2011, Beyer, along with his son, returned to Japan to take part in All Together, a charity event copromoted by AJPW, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah. Appearing under his Destroyer mask, he hosted the Destroyer Cup and presented a trophy to its winner, Kentaro Shiga. In 2013, he opened Destroyer Park Golf in Akron, the first park golf course in the United States.
On November 4, 2017, the Japanese government awarded Beyer the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, for "a lifetime spent promoting goodwill and bi-cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States".
Championships and accomplishments
- 50th State Big Time Wrestling
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- All Asia Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- PWF United States Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- January 2 Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (1979)
- January 3 Korakuen Hall Battle Royal (1975)
- Champion Carnival Technical Award (1977)
- Champion Carnival Fighting Spirit Award (1979)
- American Wrestling Alliance
- AWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- American Wrestling Association
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Iron Mike Mazurki Award (1996)
- Central States Wrestling
- George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2002
- Lutte Internationale
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Los Angeles
- NWA International Television Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles version) (1 time) - with Don Manoukian
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- Class of 2005
- New York State Award (2003)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Stanley Wetson Award (2017)
- Ring Around The Northwest Newsletter
- Tokyo Sports
- World Wrestling Alliance (San Francisco)
- WWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Billy Red Lyons
- Worldwide Wrestling Associates
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- "Observer Radio, Interview with Dick Beyer, June 2, 2010".
- "東日本大震災復興支援チャリティープロレス All Together". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Slam! Wrestling News/Rumours". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. 2017-11-03. Archived from the original on 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
- "The Destroyer Dick Beyer dies". canoe.com.
- Wolf, Jason (March 7, 2019). "Legendary Buffalo pro wrestler Dick 'The Destroyer' Beyer dies at 88".
- "Misc. All Japan Events". www.prowrestlinghistory.com.
- "AJPW New Year Giant Series 1975 - Tag 1 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- "Champion Carnival 1977 « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- "Champion Carnival 1979 « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
- Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2000). "Texas: NWA World Tag Team Title [Siegel, Boesch and McLemore]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2017-01-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Rodgers, Mike (2004). "Regional Territories: PNW #16". KayfabeMemories.com.
- 東京スポーツ プロレス大賞. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- Tenay, Mike. "Dick "the Destroyer" Beyer". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-03-18.