I Knew Him as Tinker Todd.
I remembered a better-than-average “jobber” in the Jim Crockett rings today and started to research and see if I could find ANY information on him at all. What I found was a delight
- Born in 1928 as Ramon Daniel Napolitano in London England.
- At age 18 he used many different names in Singapore wrestling rings while serving in the British Army, to protect his amateur boxing status in the Army.
- While laboring on ships at age 24, he became an illegal resident in New York City as he left the ship saying he was going to the dry cleaners, and hid in the bathroom of a bus station.
- With $60 to his name, Texas for some unknown reason was his goal but sickness anchored him in a hospital in Charlotte, NC. He charmed his nurse and married her under his new false name of Danny Knapp while looking over his shoulder because of his illegal status.
- In Charlotte he met Abe Jacobs who led him to being contracted by Jim Crockett Sr. After his visa problem was eliminated, his professional career began. He traveled the world but would always return to the Carolinas habitually.
- He wrestled as Oliver Winrush in Los Angeles, Ramon Napolitano in Canada and Great Britain, and as Tinker Todd in USA and Canada.
- NOW FOR THOSE WHO MADE IT THIS FAR-here is your possible winning lottery ticket: He wrestled in obscurity under those names, but for a few months he is known as one of the greatest tag-team wrestlers of all time. Tinker Todd is ALSO Ray St. Clair of the famed Fabulous Kangaroos, arguably one of the top 10 tag teams of all time. They were the first tag team ever inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.
- Roy Hefferman left to be a good guy in Australia while Al Costello chose to stay in the USA. Add Tinker Todd as Ray St. Clair and manager George “Crybaby” Cannon and the Fabulous Kangaroos were off and running once again as one of the most dominant tag teams world-wide.
- After only a couple months they became World Champs again by winning the Detroit version of the NWA World Tag Team Championships and even wrestled in the old Madison Square Garden. They continued to cause riots like the originals; like the night in Cincinnati they spat in Bobo Brazil’s eye. The largely Afro-American crowd headed to the ring to get vengence. “Fortunately” someone fell or got pushed from the balcony, and this distraction was enough for the tag team to escape. To make a long story short, this top tag team spent the entire night in a dumpster outside the auditorium. (What a glamorous life!)
- We will never know how far Todd could have climbed Fame’s ladder, as a knee injury ended this specific chapter of the Fabulous Kangaroos after only about 6 months. Don Kent stepped in and solidified the team’s place in Pro Wrestling history.
- He hobbled through a few more years while mainly wrestling near his North Carolina home. He was one of a couple vets that worked with Ric Flair when he first entered the Carolinas. There is one line he wished he could take back concerning Flair; he told vet Johnny Heidemann, “This guy’s never gonna make it in this business.”
This research has been very satisfying.
By Terry Kent
As unique content strictly for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society