The Whirlwind
June 21, 2010

Rodolfo Calimero Pietro Antonio Carmino Faiella was born in Prezza, Aquila, Italy, on June 19, 1895.

He was the son of Luigi Faiella and Eugenia Farneti.
He came to the United States, first from Brazil, with his parents in 1903 and they settled in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
With his younger brother, Americo Alfredo Carlo Faiella, they soon found work in Mansfield's railroad yard.
Like many Italians emigrating to the Boston area at this time, the call went out for workers on the rail yards, and Mansfield was a hub.
As young men, Americo and Rodolfo would travel from town to town giving wrestling demonstrations and challenging the Italian men to matches for money.

Rodolfo rarely lost.

As one story goes, while standing in a railroad yard, Rodolfo and Americo were discussing a possible match with a group of men.
Rodolfo looked down at a cast iron train rail and said he could lift it completely off the ground all by himself.
Everyone looked at the rail.
It was a massive ' I ' beam about 30 feet long.
A few men tried to lift up one end and could barely get it a few inches off the ground.

The bets were placed.

Rodolfo grabbed one end and while squatting, slowly got the beam up on his knee.
Then grabbing the I-beam firmly, he hoisted it to his shoulder and stood up.
Slowly he walked down the rail to the center and with a mighty effort, lifted it off the ground in one quick move.

By 1916-18, the two Faiella brothers had met two young sisters from Mansfield -- the younger daughters of Ignazio & Francesca LoDico: Maria (Mary) and Giovanna (Jenny) LoDico.
Americo and Mary were married and moved into the LoDico family home on 15 Newton Street.
My Uncle Americo became a riveter in the Quincy shipyard and moved there after 1920.
My Uncle Rodolfo (Rudy) Faiella married Giovanna (Jenny) on June 15, 1919 in Mansfield.

The stories told by his brother Americo and sons Alfred and Luigi spoke of a man of great strength.
Once he got a grip on his opponent, it was all over.

Rodolfo was called the "Mansfield Strong Boy".

He would wrestle at the Sons of Italy Hall in Mansfield, which was on the second floor of the Max Fretocoff Building next to the fire station on Main Street.
Legend has it he was never defeated.

Rodolfo & Giovanna moved to Quincy soon after their marriage.
Rudy became a professional wrestler in the 1920s.
He won the South Shore wrestling championship and held the title for 12 years.

He toured the U.S. as wrestler, defeating four world's light heavy champions and was for eight years the uncrowned champion of the world.

He was known as 'The Whirlwind'.

Rodolfo Calimero Pietro Antonio Carmino Faiella "The Whirlwind"