On October 17, 1917 Con Balasis was born. Wait, was it Con Bruno? No, no, it was the Red Shadow. They're just three of the names he used during his career. To the professional fan of North America he was Con Bruno or occasionally Costas Balasis though.
Though-out the 1950's he appeared in places like the Tri-State promotion, Stampede, the Minnesota Boxer & Wrestling Club, down in Amarillo, and up in Vancouver. Con stepped in the ring with such greats as Stu Hart, Warren Bockwinkel, George Gordienko, and Ray Stevens. Although normally he was a journeyman on the losing end of thing, there were victories picked up by Con too over these stars and others.
That's just the fourth chapter of his career. Born in Greece his family immigrated to Australia and he got into wrestling there. Australia would become a real hotbed for Greek wrestlers due to large Greek communities there from the late '30's onward. Most of his time was spent there for that decade. It was here he was known as Con Balasis.
By the 1940's he was ready to tour India and other Asian countries wrestling members of the famous Singh family over there, including Dara. On one trip he lost three years of his life when he was detained by Japanese and help in prisoner of war camps, one of them was notably Changi. Once released he went back to touring Asia and became a huge star in Singapore the country he'd been captured in.
The third chapter saw him arrive in England for the promoter Atholl Oakeley in 1948. There he wrestled both as Con Balasis and under a mask as the Red Shadow. In comparison to the rest of his career England was a fairly brief stop only staying until the end of 1949 after finally being unmasked. England saw him meet top names such as Jack Pye, Count Bartelli, and Bert Asserati.
When you think about it, that's quite a career spanning three whole decades and four continents. Yet no-one has ever heard of him. Well, at least now a few more people have heard of the names Count Balasis, Con Bruno, and The Red Shadow.
By Jimmy Wheeler
As unique content strictly for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society