Wily Coyote

This photo is from May 1973. Out of the blue, a fellow appeared in the crowd at the wrestling matches at Jamestown (N.Y.) High School, claiming to be a wrestler. He was wearing a garish purple suit, a cowboy hat and had a tiny cigar in his cigarette holder. Best of all, he had a championship belt. My brother and I went over to investigate between matches, and he said his name was Stephan Dale Douglas Rupp, and he was The Coyote.

The Coyote

The Coyote with his belt; for what title, I do not know.

At the time, we didn’t know what a mark was. After all, we were just teenagers. People didn’t just walk down the streets with wrestling belts over their shoulders in that era; the days of Dave Millican and Rico Mann were quite a ways off. In retrospect, we should have inspected the belt, but I didn’t think of that at 15.

Not that we totally bought the story. We were savvy enough readers of wrestling magazines that “The Coyote” was an unfamiliar name. He was a little vague about where he had been wrestling—”all over” was his response, I think. But we took him more or less at face value, and tried to figure out what was next. Perhaps the NWF had created a new champion and sent him to mingle among the hoi polloi before his debut. The fed was losing momentum at that time and maybe it was looking for a new face with a new angle. The results from the card that May 31, 1973 night testify to that.

Needless to say, we never saw The Coyote in any results from the Buffalo-Cleveland-Pittsburgh area. I suspect this is the lone surviving picture of him in our territory. Maybe he tried the same work elsewhere; I don’t know. But you know—looking back 41 years, it wasn’t a half-bad gimmick.