The Baron Gets a Haircut


Before the days of Pampero Firpo, Baron Gattoni was known for his curly, wild, out-of-control locks that extended as much as 12 inches from their roots.

So when he dropped in at a Syracuse hairstylist in December 1956, it was … well … news. Leroy Natanson, a reporter for The Post-Standard in Syracuse, followed Gattoni through one of his rare hair appointments in advance of a match with Killer Kowalski.

As Natanson noted, Gattoni was active from dawn till dark. At the time packing 280 pounds on his frame, he was wrestling almost every night, staying on top of his collection of cars and motorcycles, lifting weights, and perfecting English to add to his multilingual talents.

“With all these activities keeping him busy, the baron neglected his hair. Since he doesn’t go to barbers, usually, he made an appointment with Richard De Toto, Syracusan who specializes in coiffure creations.

“So last week, the baron slipped into a slat at Mr. De Toto’s downtown hair style palace and had his top mop transformed into the latest fluffy style,” Natanson wrote.

Imagine the site of Gattoni in curlers, under a hairdryer, in downtown Syracuse. It must’ve made many a disbelieving customer take a second look. “Despite the affected hair style, Baron Gattoni is all man,” Natanson cautioned.

Gattoni received an unusual amount of cheers in the match against Kowalski, who was getting a push as a national-level monster heel. Gattoni took the first fall in 12:56, while Kowalski won the second with a kneedrop in 2:53. He continued battering the Baron — and his ‘do — in the third fall when the referee stopped the match. Gattoni reportedly suffered a “serious” neck injury and underwent X-rays at St. Josephs’ Hospital. “He is not believed to be seriously hurt and is expected back in the mat wars in a few days,” the Syracuse Herald Journal reported.

There was no word about the condition of his newly flowing tresses.


Steven Johnson
August 2007