Pro Wrestler And Bodybuiler Dean Ho Passes Away
Former WWWF Tag Team Champion Dean Ho (Dean Higuchi) died on 2/20/21 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He was 80.
Ho was always in an all-around great physical shape. He won the Mr. Hawaiian Islands bodybuilding title in 1956 and came in seventh place for Mr. America later that year. His bodybuilding days inspired him to open a gym in Honolulu the following year called “Dean’s Gym”. Many pro wrestlers would stop into the gym to work out on their way back and forth to Japan.
Ho decided to become a pro wrestler after hearing many stories and suggestions from pro wrestlers. He was trained by Dick Beyer (The Destroyer) and made his debut in 1962 for Pacific Northwest Wrestling. He also worked the San Francisco and Vancouver territories.
He won the WWWF Tag Team Titles with Tony Garea by defeating Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka in November 1973. They would drop the belts to Johnny and Jimmy Valiant in May 1974. He left the WWWF in 1975 after feeling burned out from the schedule.
Ho moved on to wrestle in Georgia after the WWWF. His look and style was a big influence on Ricky Steamboat there at the time. He went back to Big Time Wrestling (San Francisco) in the late 1970s and 1980. By 1983, he was pretty much exclusively wrestling in British Columbia where he made his home. He retired in 1983 thinking pro wrestling was a “young man’s game” and he wanted to pursue other interests in life.
He held the NWA United States Title (San Francisco version) and was a tag team champion in Vancouver, Georgia, Portland, and Texas territories.