For some of the younger fans Carlos Rocha remains an enigma of the past, a wrestler who doesn't appear to have had a lot of success outside of
Ontario or Quebec other than some short runs around the N.A scene. In Toronto Rocha would become a huge star during two separate main event runs vs The Sheik during 1972 & later in 1976.
Rocha billed as The Portuguese Champion would make his debut at MLG in Oct 1971 in the opening bout vs Don Serrano. Several more bouts would follow at the opening of the card until Feb 1972 when Rocha would receive a bout vs The Sheik
. In the booking style of the era, Rocha would face The Sheik over several consecutive cards with no decisive winner in the contests.
As evidenced in the photos accompanying this article Rocha would prove to be a huge draw at MLG bringing in the Portuguese fans as well as others from the small ethnic communities in Toronto. In the third bout on consecutive cards
former boxing champ Jack Sharkey (pictured above) would come in as guest referee but the bout would end with the popular Rocha being disqualified by Sharkey
The Sheik would take a break on the next card to battle Pampero Firpo before Rocha once again would take center stage to battle the Sheik on 2 more consecutive cards. The last of this series would
see Rocha go down in defeat to The Sheik in a Portuguese Death Match and Rocha would once again appear back down on the cards card in the preliminary bouts.
Rocha would appear on several cards before departing the area in Aug 1972. He would find some success in Quebec and appear briefly in other areas before returning to the
Toronto mat wars in June 1976. In Sept '76 Rocha would once again face The Sheik over 3 consecutive cards and once again fail (as the many others before) to unseat the Sheik from the top of the Toronto Wrestling hierarchy
Rocha would return on the 45th Anniversary show Nov 19 back in the opener vs Bobby Bass while NWA champ Terry Funk faced Dom Denucci in the main
with The Sheik finally losing his U.S. Title to Thunderbolt Patterson in the co- main.
Rocha himself would get a chance at Funk's title in Dec before dropping back down the card again. The last I show for Rocha in Ontario is a Bradford stop in June vs The Sheik, just prior to the Sheik's last appearance for Frank Tunney
in July 1977. Rocha would also spend some time in the Northeast and got a WWWF Title shot vs Superstar Graham in June '77.
Thanks to Roger Baker for supplying the fantastic photos
If you have additional info on Rocha please contact me