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The "Flying Greek" Mike Pappas dies. He was born and raised in Agios Isidoros of Rhodes

Pappas is most known about the US northeast, working undercards in the WWWF — and for being agile in a land of giants.


  • 06/01/2323 19:37
  • 1 min
The "Flying Greek"  Mike Pappas dies. He was born and raised in Agios Isidoros of Rhodes

After a lengthy battle with colorectal cancer, “The Flying Greek” Mike Pappas has died. He was 81.

He had been going downhill since October 2022, when one of his two sons, Packy Savvenas, shared the news on social media that the stage 4 cancer had progressed to the point that his father’s kidneys shut down.

Pappas, being the fighter that he was, kept on — even attending another screening of the documentary on his life — before succumbing on December 31, 2022.

His real name was Emmanuel (Manolis) Savvenas (Manoli Savvenas) and he was born and raised in Agios Isidoros of Rhodes. At the age of 11, he learned the jeweler's trade. He initially went to Australia where he engaged in boxing and in 1967 he went to America in order to engage in professional boxing. He then moved to Mexico, where he engaged in wrestling and made a career. After a short time he settled in Tennessee under the pseudonym Mike Pappas and became a champion.

Manoli Savvenas learned to wrestle in Rhodes, Greece, before making a name for himself in North America as “The Flying Greek” Mike Pappas. After wrestling for a decade, starting in 1968, he retired from the ring in 1978 to focus on, well, rings. As a young man, Savvenas had picked up skills as a jeweler and, after having hung up his boots, opened a store in Springfield, Missouri, with his wife Valerie. They were married over 50 years.

Pappas is most known about the US northeast, working undercards in the WWWF — and for being agile in a land of giants.

“Not a lot of guys did the flying, aerial maneuvers that he did,” said Bill Apter in the film about Savvenas’ life, The Flying Greek, directed by Jason Braiser, and released in December 2021.”

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