February 21st, 2023, Albany, NY -
On Monday, February 20, 2023, the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (IPWHF) recognized Mr. Joseph Defino of Saugerties, New York, with the Rocky “Soulman” Johnson Medal of Mettle. A reception was held for friends, family, and dignitaries at the IPWHF museum in the MVP Arena. Guests in attendance helped celebrate Joe Defino's contributions to professional wrestling, education, community building, the nonprofit Hope Rocks, coaching, and many of his other philanthropic endeavors.
Those in attendance, witnessed a special tribute to Joe Defino by his long-time friend Mick Foley who helped IPWHF President Seth Turner present the award. The entire ceremony was a rollercoaster of emotions and can be witnessed here.
The Medal of Mettle is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated great tenacity as they confront and overcome obstacles while accomplishing their goals. The recipient is chosen with the input of the Johnson Family as a means to help honor former IPWHF Trustee, Rocky Johnson.
Joe Defino, a friend and colleague of Rocky Johnson, will be forever enshrined in the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Medal of Mettle.
The International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is a registered 501-c(3) nonprofit and chartered by the NYS Dept. of Education as an educational museum. The IPWHF is an all-volunteer run organization and relies on grassroots donations from members of the community to help maintain the physical museum at the MVP Arena.