By Jim Harris, MMWA Commissioner
In the world of independent wrestling, the name Castaldi doesn’t ring too many bells. But in 1975, that young man (then known as “The Hitman”) began his career in the Midwest. Competing under a mask, the newcomer evolved through training and added several matches to his resumé before re-inventing into Tony “Little Dynamite” Casta.
He became a decorated wrestler in the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance, which the fans in South St. Louis recognize as the MMWA at the South Broadway Athletic Club in Soulard.
Casta worked with many of the greats, including Bruiser Brody, Tojo Yamamoto, Spike Huber, Ox Baker, Buddy Roberts, Iceman King Parsons, “Crusher” Blackwell, Chris Adams, Bob Orton, Scott Casey, Gypsy Joe, Professor Toru Tanaka and Mike & Pat Kelly.
Among his many accomplishments was the opportunity to serve as referee for a match involving former World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz.
Not confined to singles competition, Casta also competed as a tag team with the legend Ed Smith, who had worked as a referee and wrestler in Sam Muchnick’s St. Louis Wrestling Club. The pair captured the MMWA Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions.
Notably, Casta held the MMWA Junior Heavyweight Title seven times. In the late 80’s, Casta suffered an AC separation that sidelined him for six months.
He retired and became the SBAC’s wrestling promoter. From 1985-2012, he teamed up with Herb Simmons, creating the partnership known as MMWA-SICW. The two had spent years in Missouri and Illinois, working with the legends from Wrestling at the Chase, as well as independent wresters such as: Giant Assassin, Big Daddy, Ron Powers, Gary Jackson, Freedom Rider, the Masked Executioners, John Blackheart, Tom Sullivan, Dr. Blood, Keith Smith, and Chaz Wesson.
Casta eventually became (and still is) the president of the South Broadway Athletic Club and a member of the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame committee. He promotes local talent and kids to keep them off the streets. His guidance led to charity events like the spaghetti wrestling fundraiser (emceed by the legendary Smash) which raised money for local children’s homes and helped bring smiles to kids who would have had nothing for the holidays.
Casta continues to lead MMWA Wrestling, filled with hungry talents who must learn to walk before they fly. The MMWA has seen everything from a young Randy Orton working his way toward WWE, to Ted DiBiase recording a taping of the history of Wrestling at the Chase in the promotion’s training annex.
From his days training in the back room of the SBAC to helping hone and showcase the talent of outstanding local wrestlers, Casta has cemented his legacy as a true Midwest legend. He has shown his big heart for local youth and special needs organizations. Tony works hard to make a difference in the community.
His wife of 38 years, Wanda, and his nephew, Anthony, are always supporting him. After all these years, the fans do too.