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Spiros Arion

  

Real NameAndres Labrakis (sometimes cited as “Andreas Lambrakis”)
Birthdate?/?/40
6’4” 245 lbs. - Athens, Greece

Athletic Background

Teacher(s)Andre Bollet

Professional BackgroundFrance(`61-`64), England(`64), Australia(`64-`78), WWWF(`66-`78), Toronto(`67), San Francisco(`70), Montreal(`77), England(`79)

AliasesArion Manousakis, Spyros Arion

Groups - The People’s Army, Blassie’s Army

Peak Years`66-`74

Place in HistoryIn the United States, Spiros Arion is most commonly remembered as a treacherous heel who turned on Chief Jay Strongbow and Bruno Sammartino in the mid-1970s.  The move cemented his place as a top heel in the Northeast his final few years in the business.  While he was a great draw opposite both Strongbow and Sammartino, Arion is not really remembered with the same fondness as Gorilla Monsoon, George “The Animal” Steele or Ernie Ladd.  However, in Australia, where Arion was one of the cornerstone stars for fifteen years, he is well-remembered among those who still remember World Championship Wrestling in Australia.  Arion, an authentic Greek, started his career in Europe.  While the continent had opportunities and bragged some impressive talent, most sought chances for greater fame and fortune overseas.  For Spiros Arion that break came from Down Under.  Melbourne had a significant Greek immigrant population and promoter Jim Barnett imported Arion to cater to that audience.  Like Dominic Denucci and Mario Milano, Spiros Arion become one of the biggest draw cards and quintessential babyfaces in the formative years of pro-wrestling in Australia.  Australia was for a period the hottest promotion in the world and they imported top talent, so Arion found himself feuding with legendary heels like Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon, Waldo Von Erich and Bulldog Brower.  His most famous rivalry was with Killer Karl Kox as the two became such a hot item that Barnett used their program when going into new markets like Hong Kong and Singapore.  Arion was a top star when he first began working for the WWWF in the mid-60s, where he frequently partnered with top babyfaces including being the final US Tag title holders with Bruno.   By 1974, Australia was well past its peak years and Arion was in his prime.  He worked a famous angle with Chief Jay Strongbow, where some miscommunication led to Arion’s complete heel turn.  The “Iron Greek” aligned himself with Freddie Blassie and went after the WWWF Champion.  Spiros Arion cut methodical and angry promos with his Greek accent and Blassie did his typical ga-ga and it drew big.  For the next few years, Arion worked as a heel challenger in the WWWF and a consummate top babyface in Australia.  He wrapped up his career before the end of the decade and has largely retired into obscurity.

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