Thoughts & Memories on Joe Abbey
From Stephanie Abbenante (quote credit 1996 Post Gazette Story - Was 'Red Demon' and Repo Man by Douglas Heuck )
"Joe enjoyed being the bad guy and having everybody boo him, he loved it"
From Frank Durso (quote credit 1996 Post Gazette Story - Was 'Red Demon' and Repo Man by Douglas Heuck )
"He wrestled rough and he used dirty tactics. He kicked, punched and pulled hair"
from George "The Animal" Steele
Joe Abbey was a upbeat guy that just loved being part of the wrestling business. I remember Joe being introduced for battle royal at The Civic Center as Joe Abbey the Red Demon. This was when wrestling was kayfabe. I ask Joe why they gave his name while he was wearing a mask. Joe laughed and said that he needed all of the advertising he could get. Joe had told the announcer how he wanted to be announced.
from TerryWWWF (George Steele Message Board)
Seemed like Joe always had two or three jobs going at once. He was a repo man in the '70s. He'd go out on a Friday or Saturday night to wrestle on a spot show in western PA, then at 2 in the morning, he'd be repossessing a car somewhere. Dangerous work. He was shot at on more than one occasion. During the week, Joe was a salesman in a coat and tie.
There was an incident once when he was working a show for Gene Dargan at the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona. Joe was wearing the mask and he came out of the ring and saw a fan charging toward him. He couldn't see well because of the mask and just reacted, popping the fan. Turned out the fan was a mentally challenged guy who liked to jump up out of his seat and yell at the heels as they left the ring. Everybody in town knew him, and they were outraged that the Red Demon had been rough with him. Gene had to do all kinds of fast-talking to settle things down. The people who managed the building got a promise from him that he wouldn't bring the Red Demon in to wrestle anymore. So thereafter, the unmasked Killer Joe Abby worked on Gene's Altoona shows.
From Chuck Martoni (quote credit 1996 Post Gazette Story - Was 'Red Demon' and Repo Man by Douglas Heuck )
"What I liked most about him is he never gave up on things. He was a hard-working man, a busy kind of guy who always had hope for the future, that we could make things better"
From Ron Russitano
I had the honor of growing up in Scott Township right up the street from Joe Abbey's Greentree home. When I was about 12, Joe hired my dad to landscape around his new house.
I would sit for hours in his kitchen and listen to his wrestling stories and read his wrestling mags. One day when my dad was laying sod in Joe's front yard, Joe came out with his big cigar to talk to us. My 6 year old sister made a comment that for being a pro wrestler, Joe seemed smaller than my dad.
Joe immediately threw a forearm smash at my dad, stopping inches from his chest which caused my sister to cry. We all got a good laugh out of that one.