It has been reported that British wrestling legend Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco has passed away at the age of 69. All Star Wrestling made the announcement on their Facebook page.
“It is with the greatest of sadness that we have to announce the passing of the one and only MARK ROLLERBALL ROCCO, after suffering for the past few months – our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very sad time.”
Rocco was an innovator as a junior heavyweight wrestler. Many would know him as the original Black Tiger, one of the great rivals of ‘Tiger Mask’ Satoru Sayama. Rocco made his debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1982.
Many in the business attribute today’s fast-paced junior heavyweight style to Rocco’s influence.
A number of stars in the industry took to Twitter to pay tribute to Rocco.
Whether you know him as the original Black Tiger, “Rollerball” or simply by his name, Mark Rocco left an indelible imprint on our industry.
Whether it’s versus Sayama, Fujinami, Dynamite, Marty Jones- do yourself a favor & watch a match of his today. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/lt7LSqgzSn
— Chris Hero (Is Back) (@ChrisHero) July 31, 2020
I’ve woken to the terrible news that my friend and colleague Mark “ Rollerball” Rocco has passed away. Mark was so ahead of his time and wether as himself or the original “Black Tiger” in @njpwglobal, he, along with Marty Jones were the…
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) July 31, 2020
Just heard the news that Marc Rollerball Rocco has passed away. One of the best to step in the ring and truly a British wrestling legend.
My thoughts go out to his family
— Danny Burch🇬🇧 (@strongstylebrit) July 31, 2020
“The definition of art has to shift whenever an innovator appears”
RIP “Rollerball” Mark Rocco pic.twitter.com/PdGYBOVmK2
— DRAKE MAVERICK (@WWEMaverick) July 31, 2020
We just lost one of our absolute best. Mark Rollerball Rocco was a true pioneer and so ahead of his time. I was so privileged to get to spend some time with him in 2012, hear his advice and amazing stories. One of the nicest men I've ever met. Truly a game changer. #ripmarkrocco pic.twitter.com/xAterCLOx4
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) July 31, 2020
Rest In Peace Rollerball Rocco. Thank you for changing the game.
— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) July 31, 2020
From all of us here at WrestleTalk, we extend our deepest condolences to all of the family, friends, and fans of the great Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco.