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The Pitbulls

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The Pitbulls (sometimes written as The Pit Bulls, also known earlier in their careers as The American Bulldogs) were a professional wrestling tag team that consisted of "Pitbull #1" Gary Wolfe and "Pitbull #2" Anthony Durante. They were best known for their tenure in Extreme Championship Wrestling, where they were one time World Tag Team Champions. In addition to tag team success, both members each held the World Television Title as well.

History

World Wrestling Federation

The Pitbulls wrestled briefly in the World Wrestling Federation, losing to the Brain Busters on June 27, 1989. The Pitbulls also had a match against The Hart Foundation, which they also lost.

Extreme Championship Wrestling

Prior to forming The Pitbulls in Extreme Championship Wrestling, Gary Wolfe, who later became "Pitbull #1", won the Television Championship on April 16, 1994. In 1995, Wolfe and Anthony Durante, the latter of whom became "Pitbull #2", reformed The Pitbulls in ECW. Soon after joining the company, The Pitbulls won their first and only World Tag Team Championship on September 16, 1995 from Raven and Stevie Richards. They were soon joined by Francine, who became their manager and dubbed herself "The Beastmaster". One month later, they lost the titles back to Raven and Richards.. In 1996, The Pitbulls then moved into an intense feud with The Eliminators, which saw their manager Francine receive the Total Elimination on two different occasions. The feud culminiated at the first-ever CyberSlam in a three-on-three dog collar match, which saw Francine team with the Pitbulls against Stevie Richards with The Eliminators. The Pitbulls won the match after superbombing Richards and letting Francine pin Richards. However, The Eliminators hit the Total Elimination on Pitbull #1, Pitbull #2, and Francine after the match. After this, Pitbull #2 went on to win the ECW World Television Championship on June 1 at the Fight the Power event. However, Pitbull #2 held the belt for only 21 days before losing it to Chris Jericho at Hardcore Heaven.

On July 13, 1996 at Heat Wave, Francine turned on The Pitbulls and became the manager of Shane Douglas. The feud between Douglas and The Pitbulls culminated on April 13, 1997 at the first ECW pay-per-view Barely Legal, where Pitbull #2 faced Douglas for the World Television Championship in a losing effort.

Independent circuit

After leaving ECW, The Pitbulls began competing on the independent circuit. Pitbull #2 began a brief singles run, which included one time reigns as the MEWF Heavyweight Champion and the second-ever JAPW Heavyweight Champion, both of which ended via title vacation due to injuries. The team returned to the tag team division as they debuted in the National Wrestling Alliance's New Jersey territory, where they won the NWA United States Tag Team Championship on two occasions between 1998 and 1999 and remained the title's final champions upon the title's deactivation 2000. In 2002, the team went their separate ways as Pitbull #1 began competing under his real name along with the nickname "The Pitbull" for Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling, where he was the company's first-ever and only two time Heavyweight Champion as well as a one time Tag Team Champion with Mike Kruel.

Death of Anthony Durante

Durante died on September 25, 2003 along with his girlfriend Dianna Hulsey due to drug overdoses. A substance believed to be the painkiller oxycodone was found in the house but it was officially announced that he overdosed on the painkiller fentanyl. He and his girlfriend were found after lying in their home dead for days, all while their two small children, a 21-month-old boy and an 8-month-old girl, were apparently alone in the house among the bodies. In 2005, Wolfe appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment's first-ever One Night Stand event to introduce the "ECW Remembers" video, honoring the ECW alumni who had died, including his tag team partner Durante.

After the death of Durante, Wolfe returned to the independent circuit and began competing for Pro Wrestling Unplugged as "The Pitbull" Gary Wolfe, where he reused The Pitbull gimmick in honor of his late friend and tag team partner.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Other titles
    • GWA Tag Team Championship (1 time)

Pitbull #1

Pitbull #2

External links

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