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 Posted: Thu Oct 28th, 2021 10:43 pm
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srossi

 

Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
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PWInsider:

PWInsider.com is sad to report that Tom Cusati, a most interesting character who worked as a manager on the Northeast independent scene as Royce C. Prophet in the 1990s and promoted events at time under the Galaxy Wrestling Federation banner, but was best known behind the scenes for his different attempts to work in and around professional wrestling, was found dead today in his home in Nevada by Sabu.

The story making the rounds is that after several days of not hearing from Cusati, Sabu went to his condo and was able to get security to give him access, where Cusati was found on the floor of his bathroom.  The belief is Cusati was 57 or 58.

Cusati, as Prophet, began popping up on the Northeastern independent scene, managing as a heel on shows promoted by Dennis Coralluzo, Afa Ano'ai, Dennis Whipwrecht and many other promoter, great and small who populated the scene at the time. He very much played a 1980s style heavyset, loudmouth manager but would occasionally wrestle as an attraction.

Over the years, Cusati would be involved in getting some name talents booked on independents, sometimes in scenarios where Cusati himself was paying the talent and would then take the side gig of managing them on the shows.   This led to a lot of rumors and legends related to Cusati, including an oft-told story had been that Cusati was using an inheritance to bankroll his journey into professional wrestling.  There have been rumors for years that Cusati once booked a group of talents for a weekend of events in the Caribbean but when they arrived, there were no shows and he had actually paid for them to hang out with him over a small vacation. 

The rumors got to the point that at one infamous NWA event promoted by Dennis Coralluzo in Yardville, NJ, as Cusati was managing at ringside, a voice was heard over the loud speaker via someone backstage.  "Tommy....this is your mommy....where's my money Tommy?"  This went on for several minutes as Cusati did his best to avoid the obvious rib and stick to managing at ringside as those who knew the story that he was allegedly using his mother's money were rolling in stitches while everyone else at the show was completely perplexed as to what the heck was going on.

"In my 30 years of being involved with professional wrestling, I don't know how many characters I ever met that were the equal to Cusati," former WWE and ECW star Mike Bucci, who worked against Cusati-managed talents on the independents during his time as Super Nova.  "To say he was one of a kind would be an understatement. If you were an East Coast indy guy in the mid-to-late 1990s or early 2000s, you know exactly what I mean.  Tom was another guy who was irreplaceable in the world of professional wrestling. Just like Bert Prentice, before him and Reggie Parks and so many others, when a person like Tom passes away, a certain piece of what made wrestling so different and fun is gone forever."

Other crazy stories that followed Cusati over the years included one tale that he allegedly booked and canceled talents so often that two talents eventually forced him to pay them a weekly stipend to cover their canceled bookings.  There was also an alleged story where the late Rockin' Rebel, upset over money owed, attacked Cusati in the back and beat him up in a locker room bathroom. 

Cusati had one of those "love him or hate him" reputations, but there were scores of talents who he used over the years who appreciated him as he was a good payday during lean times in between national runs or someone who was extremely generous towards then-up and coming independent wrestlers.  

Former WCW star Rob "Maestro" Kellum commented, "Just shocked and stunned to hear the passing of my longtime brother and friend Tom Cusati.   He was one of the nicest, funniest, and most giving human beings I've ever met. Always looked out for me. Will never forget you. Heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and condolences to his family and friends. Love and respect always my brother.  RIP"

In recent years, Cusati had relocated from the New York City area to Las Vegas, where he maintained relations with different talents and appeared on the Howard Brody-produced Ring Warriors TV series in 2018.  He recently was seen visiting the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Vegas a few weeks ago and was someone who very much wanted to be part of the business, loving the camaraderie that being in a locker room and performing brought him.

"Very saddened to hear the passing of Tom Cusati," commented former WWE developmental talent Danny Gimondo.  "I knew Tom my entire wrestling career. He brought Tommy Fierro and I out to Las Vegas. He booked me on countless shows that happened and didn't happen. I always liked Tom. He made me laugh and was one of the oddest, quirkiest, characters I've ever met in my life. He could dish it out, but that guy could take it!"

PWInsider.com sends our deepest condolences to Tom Cusati's family and friends.



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