TONI ROSE and DONNA CHRISTANTELLO
1st WWF Women's Tag ChampsThe tag team of Toni Rose and Donna Christantello (also written as Christanello on occasions) won the World Women's Tag team titles in 1970. Defending the belts in NWA and AWA the titles were integrated into the World Wrestling Federation (that was to become World Wrestling Entertainment.)
Originally the pair were enemies in the ring. In an 1971 article by Mike Pyrgakis it was noted that since Donna Christantello had changed her style (from a baby face to heel) and became the tag partner of Rose the pair became invincible. He recalled a time in Washington when "Donna got the upper hand in one match and used keester bumps to smash Toni into submission... The following week the girls fought again. Toni was furious at the loss and gave Donna a beating"
Donna winning against Toni was a rare feat as the heel Toni Rose would often use foul holds to secure a victory. The tag team combination eventuated as a result of a match where the usually fair Donna decided to use any tactic she could to gain the upper hand including eye rakes and closed fist punches. Since that match Donna abandoned her desire to follow the rules, whilst her rough house tactics gained her victories.
Donna then combined with former enemy Toni Rose to become the Women's Tag team champions.
Known for their rough house tactics and quick tags to wear down their opponents Rose and Christantello were twp brunettes at the top of the tag team scene for close to ten years.
In an 1971 article Mike Pyrgakis describes the match up. "Recently they defended their titles against two relative newcomers , Vickie Williams and Tippy Wells. .... The champions entered the ring dressed in black jackets with silver trim and boots. They shed their jackets and revealed white swimsuits and their championship belts. After the referees instructions the girls went to their corners to await the bell. Toni was in the ring conferring with Donna when the bell rang. Like a shot Tippy ran across the ring , grabbed the unsuspecting Toni, threw her to the mat, took her ankles, spread Toni's legs wide and body bridged into a cradle hold that forced Toni's shoulders to the mat. The referee counted a quick pin." After Toni and Donna protested that they were not ready to start the match they retaliated by beating up the referee and then their two opponents, raising their own arms in victory before being broken up by the promoter and two male wrestlers that came out to the ring.
By October 1973 Vickie Williams had gained more experience and with wrestler Joyce Grable was able to take the tag team gold away from Rose and Christantello. The blonde tag team lost the titles back to Rose and Christantello at Boston Square Garden in 1975. There second title reign was to last to February 1977 when they lost them once again to Williams / Grable.
TONI ROSE: Height: 155cm Weight: 55kg Born: Terre Haute, Indiana of Italian / German descent Career Span: started around 1965 at age 20 and wrestled into the late 1970's.
Nickname: The Terror from Terre Haute (as she was dubbed by fans)
Training: Toni Rose started with promoter Buddy Lee who was promoting in the South Carolina. Toni's debut match was against Bambi Ball who Toni said she had to endure a 30min beating from her. Toni Rose was Moolah's stable of wrestlers.
Where Toni Rose wrestled: All over America, South America, Japan and Australia.
Wrestling Style: In most of her matches the rulebook would be the first thing to be thrown out the window as Toni would annihilate most of her opponents at the start of the match. Although a vicious heel type Toni Rose was good looking and extremely talented which made her a top draw for promoters. Toni's favorite moves were brawling tactics and although she was small in statue it wasn't unheard of for Toni to lift larger opponents like Barbara Owens off the ground and over the top rope.
Achievements: Toni toured Japan and Australia as well as wrestling all around the United States. As well as her single feuds Toni Rose was also a very successful tag team wrestler. Toni tagged with Moolah (she was labeled Moolah's protégé) together the two held the world tag team titles for about eight months and then she partnered with Donna Christantello. With Donna Christantello as her partner Toni was able to win the World Women's tag title against Vicki Williams & Joyce Grable. The pair of Rose and Christantello went on to become one of the most dominant tag teams ever in women's wrestling.
Interests Outside wrestling: Toni Rose listed her interests as music, gourmet food, books and modern (in the 1970s) furniture.
In Toni's Opinion: In 1970 in an interview Toni stated she was all for mixed wrestling matches against men and women when asked if she feared getting badly beaten in such a contest Toni replied that she couldn't image that she could get any worse a beating then she could get off women like Bambi Ball, Moolah, Bette Boucher and Penny Banner.
In a 1971 interview with Robert D. Willis about women's liberation before her match against Rita Boucher in Terre Haute, Indiana Toni stated: " The only time I feel oppressed is when I'm being pinned by Penny Banner or Donna Christantello."
On Retirement: Toni always stated that she saw herself wrestling until around the age of 35 where she thought she would "settle down" and retire.
Real Name: Donna Alfonsi
HEIGHT: 165cm WEIGHT: 75kg
Career Span:1960's to late 1980's Trained: by Moolah
Donna Christantello (also written occasionally as Christanello though most magazines produced in the height of her career credit the last name with a T) achieved great success in both singles and tag team wrestling.
Christantello became interested in professional wrestling when several of her male friends entered the sport and invited her to do the same.
For the first 8 years of her career Donna Christantello was not a major star. She was often the victim of foul tactics as a baby face. (good girl) In !971 her notoriety in the ring developed, and in October of that year Donna was regularly competing against Moolah for the women's singles championship. Her singles career was at an all time high in October 1971 when she was listed in Ring Wrestling magazine as the number one female wrestler above Moolah who came in at number 2.
Achievements: Donna is known for her great success in Tag Team wrestling with Toni Rose as her partner. Toni Rose and Donna had a series of championship matches against Joyce Grable and Vicki Williams successfully becoming world champions. In the 1980's Donna wrestled for the New York based WWF. In 1985 pulled the biggest upset of the year when she cleanly pinned then WWF Ladies champion Wendi Richter in a nationally televised match. Donna Christantello was also on payperview in the the great WWF first Survivor Series classic match up that had the Jumping Bomb Angels victorious as the winners in 1987.
Donna is on Facebook.