Younkins was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He often went with his father to see the World Wide Wrestling Federation at the Civic Arena and became a lifelong fan. He graduated from Steel Valley High School. He was working in Virginia as a janitor in the 1980s when a stranger suggested that he try professional wresting due to his large size. He soon contacted Dominic DeNucci after seeing a television commercial for his wrestling school, and started training under him. He worked alongside future WCW referee Brian Hildebrand and made his debut in 1990.
Two years after his debut, T. Rantula got his first "big break" working for Gino Rocco's American States Wrestling Association in Pittsburgh. He wrestled under the name "John Manson" and teamed with Chopper Davidson as The Inmates. The team won the ASWA Tag Team Championship in 1993 and held on to the belts until the promotion folded at the end of the year. He began wrestling in American Commonwealth Wrestling in early-1994. On March 26, T. Rantula defeated Rip Sawyer in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania for the promotion's heavyweight title. On July 29, 1994, T. Rantula defended the ACW Heavyweight title against Glen Osbourne in the semi-main event at "Sauconfest 1994". Standing 7' and 315 lbs., according to The Morning Call, he was billed as "one of the biggest men in the sport" on the independent circuit. Together with his wife and manager The Black Widow, T. Rantula eventually established himself as a formidable brawler and "hardcore" wrestler in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It was partly due his large size that promoters would often book him to wrestle major stars on the independent circuit such as Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.
T. Rantula joined Norm Connors' Steel City Wrestling in mid-1994. On September 24, he defeated Shane Douglas in the finals of a 4-man championship tournament in Munhall, Pennsylvania to become the promotion's first heavyweight champion. His first title reign was ended by Cactus Jack on March 19, 1995, after 5 months, in New Castle, however, he quickly regained the title at Deaf Wrestlefest 1995 three weeks later.
On October 14, T. Rantula and Johnny Gunn wrestled to a double-disqualification on American Commonwealth Wrestling's "Fall Wrestlefest '95" at the Lewistown Area High School. A week later, on October 21, T. Rantula lost the SCW Heavyweight title to Gunn at Connellsville High School. The next night in Mount Washington, Pennsylvania, he lost to Koko B. Ware via disqualification. On November 11, 1995, T. Rantula defeated "Beef Stew" Lou Marconi at St. Mary's High School; he later battled Cactus Jack in a Street Fight match.
On April 20, 1996, T. Rantula defeated Marconi at the National Guard Armory in Buckhannon, West Virginia. The following night, he teamed with Lord Zoltan and Psycho Mike defeated Cody Michaels, Dynamite Dan, and Preston Steele in a six-man tag team match at Deaf Wrestlefest 1996. On September 20, T. Rantula won a seven-man battle royal in Buckhannon; he later wrestled Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka in the main event. Two days later, T. Rantula and The Metal Maniac defeated Preston Steele and T.C. Reynolds in a tag team match at Pittsburgh's Sullivan Hall.
On October 15, 1996, T. Rantula made an appearance for Sal Conte's United States Championship Wrestling at South Fayette High School where he defeated USCW Heavyweight Champion The Iron City Warrior by countout. He had briefly traded the USCW Heavyweight Championship with The Iron Warrior in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania the previous year.
At the end of 1996, T. Rantula started wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance-affiliated Pro Wrestling eXpress run by Jim Miller. On November 23, 1996, T. Rantula lost a Falls Count Anywhere match to Leviathan at the PWX Wrestleplex in North Versailles, Pennsylvania when he was pinned on the hood of a car. T. Rantula challenged PWX Heavyweight Champion Brian Anthony at "Seasons Beatings II", on December 13, 1996, but lost via disqualification. He defeated Leviathan in a Falls Count Anywhere match the following night, pinning his opponent in the venue's bleachers, in Herminie.
On March 8, 1997, T. Rantula won the PWX Heavyweight Championship from Salvatore Sincere at North Star High School in Boswell, Pennsylvania; Sincere had previously defeated Brian Anthony for the belt less than 24 hours before in a "PWX vs. SCW" championship match, however, Sincere's SCW title was not on the line in the Sincere-T. Rantula bout. On April 5, T. Rantula defeated Leviathan in a Falls Count Anywhere match in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The following week, T. Rantula and Lord Zoltan wrestled Ron Cumberledge and Preston Steele in Barberton, Ohio. On April 25, he defeated Siva Afi at a Pro Championship Wrestling show at Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio.
In the spring of 1997, T. Rantula made his debut in World Championship Wrestling. On March 17, 1997, T. Rantula and Knuckles Nelson wrestled Lex Luger and The Giant on Monday Night Nitro. On April 1, he faced Lex Luger on WCW Saturday Night in Johnson City, Tennessee. The following week, T. Rantula teamed with Big Al to wrestle The Faces of Fear (The Barbarian and Meng). He also wrestled a singles match against Meng in Salisbury, Maryland. T. Rantula's time on WCW television greatly enhanced his profile on the independent circuit as promoters were eager to book him on their shows.
T. Rantula also had a brief stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling as a member of Raven's Nest during this period. Although he did not actively compete in the promotion, he accompanied Raven on several occasions including ECW's first pay-per-view Barely Legal. While in ECW, T. Rantula had a cameo appearance in the documentary Beyond the Mat. He was later critical of the film claiming that it unnecessarily "exposed the business" for wrestling fans and harmed smaller promotions as a result.
Back in PWX, T. Rantula continued defending the PWX Heavyweight Championship. On May 9, 1997, T. Rantula lost to PWX Television Champion Lou Marconi a non-title "I Quit" match at the Wrestleplex. Marconi has called this match, in which he was powerbombed though the particleboard-constructed entranceway, the "craziest" of his entire career. On May 24, T. Rantula pinned Marconi in a Falls Count Anywhere match at the National Guard Armory in Punxsutawney. On May 30, T. Rantula successfully defended the SCW Heavyweight Championship against The Boogie Man at the Wrestleplex. A rematch the following night at Carmichaels High School saw T. Rantula retain his title by a disqualification loss. On July 19, T. Rantula lost to ACW Heavyweight Champion Psycho Mike in a no-disqualification match in Cleveland, Ohio. On August 22, T. Rantula defeated Headshrinker Samu at the Wrestleplex. T. Rantula was also awarded the United States Wrestling League's "unified" heavyweight title which he lost to Matt Borne that same month.
On September 21, 1997, T. Rantula defeated Mad Mike in Mount Washington, Pennsylvania. A week later, he beat Scotty Blaze at a show for the West Virginia Wrestling Alliance in Weston, Virginia. On October 4, 1997, T. Rantula defeated Matty Smalls by disqualification at the Wrestleplex. He finally lost the belt to Quinn Magnum at the Wrestleplex on November 22, 1997. His eight-month championship reign lasted over 8 months and is considered the fifth longest reign in the promotion's history. For most of 1998, T. Rantula led The W.E.B.B. with The Milwaukee Mauler and DVS which feuded with Gentleman Joe Perry's Gentleman's Club (Quinn Magnum, The Playa, and Mad Mike) over control of the promotion.
A year after his WCW stint, T. Rantula appeared with one-time rival Tom Brandi in a tag team match against The Nation of Domination (Faarooq and Rocky Maivia) on the March 2nd 1998 edition of Monday Night Raw in Cleveland, Ohio. T. Rantula credited Jim Cornette, then a member of the WWF booking committee, for helping him get future appearances with the company. T. Rantula was later told by Cornette that he could have become a major star had he wrestled during the territory-era.
On March 22, T. Rantula defeated L.A. Smooth on an ACW show at Belinda's Night Club in Cleveland. That summer, T. Ranula entered a championship tournament for the vacant PWX Television Championship and lost to Quinn Magnum in the tournament finals on July 25, 1998.
On October 24, 1998, T. Rantula lost to Abdullah the Butcher (with Tony Rumble) at the NWA 50th Anniversary Show in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; both he and longtime manager The Black Widow were attacked by Abdullah, as was a ring announcer, after losing the match until Abdullah and Rumble were chased off by Harley Race. He also had a brief stint in Jason Maples' Extreme Wrestling Federation as part of a mixed tag team with Phoenix at the end of the year. On November 1, T. Rantula and Phoenix defeated Police Brutality (Police Brutality #1 and #2) at the EWF Arena in Marion, Indiana. A month later, they captured the EWF Tag Team Championship from Ace O'Reiley and Miss Stephanie on December 26, 1998.
On January 16, 1999, T. Rantula and Quinn Magnum defeated The Wrong Crowd (Paul Atlas and Brian Anthony) for the PWX Tag Team Championship in North Versailles, Pennsylvania. They held the belts for over three months before T. Rantula left the promotion on March 26, 1999.
T. Rantula briefly returned to Steel City Wrestling during its final year in operation. On May 21, 1999, he defeated Lou Marconi in a Street Fight match in Cambridge, Ohio. On July 8, T. Rantula beat Sheriff Steele at the Agricultural Fair in Derry, Pennsylvania. A month later, T. Rantula wrestled The Giant Warrior and The Playa in a Steel Cage match for the West Virginia Wrestling Alliance in Salem, West Virginia. On September 19, T. Rantula defeated Cueball Carmichael in White Oak, Pennsylvania to win the SCW Heavyweight Championship for a record third time; earlier that night his opponent had pinned promoter "Notorious" Norm Connors to win 100% control of the company. On October 9, 1999, T. Rantula defeated Tom Brandi by disqualification at SCW's annual church benefit show "Brawl at Sullivan Hall" in Mount Washington. The following night during SCW's "Uncivil War Tour '99", T. Rantula defeated Powerhouse Hughes at Forward High School in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.
T. Rantula was also one of several SCW wrestlers to appeared on "Diceman 2000", a pro wrestling memorial show held by the Allied Powers Wrestling Federation for "Diceman" Robert Hornack, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2000. T. Rantula defeated APWF 2000 Internet Champion Matt Vandal in a non-title match at the event. In one of his last appearances in SCW, T. Rantula wrestled a 3-Way Dance with Dennis Gregory and Lou Marconi in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on May 10, 2000.
Shortly after leaving PWX, T. Rantula promoted his own wrestling shows under the "Far North Wrestling" banner. One of his first events, "Return of the Monster", was held in Irwin, Pennsylvania on October 25, 2000. The show featured a number of independent stars as well as a SCW Heavyweight Championship bout between Dennis Gregory and Earl The Pearl. "Return of the Monster" also saw the debut of future WWE wrestler Phoenix who would be the promotion's only female wrestler. In the main event matches, T. Rantula wrestled Romeo Valentino for the FNW Championship while Reckless Youth, Don Montoya, and Mike Quackenbush battled each other in a 3-Way Dance for the Pittsburgh Freeweight Championship; the latter bout was called "an indy match of the year" by Fritz Capp of PWBTS.com. A second show, "Yule Tide Beatings", was held on December 12, 2000.
T. Rantula held three more FNW shows the following year. The first was in Oakland, Pennsylvania on February 18, 2001. "Breakout!" was held at Greater Latrobe High School in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on April 21. Adam Flash, "Doomsday" Danny Rose, and Dean Jablonski were among the indy stars that appeared on the show. T. Rantula wrested Brian O in a Hardcore match while Romeo Valentino wrestled "Maniac" Matt Borne in the main event. July 15's "Meltdown" in Irwin saw Phoenix wrestle Alexis Laree while FNW Champion T. Rantula took on The All-Knighters (Joey Knight and Robin Knightwing) in a handicap match. FNW Freeweight Champion Don Montoya met SCW Champion Dennis Gregory in the main event. One year later, T. Rantula held another FNW show at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. FNW Freeweight Champion Don Montoya defended his title against Doink the Clown while Crusher Hansen wrestled The Honky Tonk Man in the semi-main events.
On September 19, 2001, T. Rantula lost to Doink the Clown on a Big Time Pro Wrestling show at the Delaware County Fair. On October 12, T. Rantula lost to Brian O at an Asylum Championship Wrestling show in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; his opponent earned a spot in the main event's 4-way championship match - along with Mr. Insanity, Sebastian Dark, and Sabu - to crown the first-ever ACW Heavyweight champion. He returned to Johnstown the following month, accompanied by his valet Dominique, to wrestle Genesis.
T. Rantula made his debut in the International Wrestling Cartel on December 14, 2001, teaming with The Overboyz (Samir and Joey Corman) to defeat Sexual Harassment (JT Rodgers and Eric Xtasy) and Brian O in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. On February 20, T. Rantula joined IWC Tag Tam Champions Scottie Gash and J-Ru in another 6-man tag team match against Sexual Harassment and Troy Lords at Pittsburgh's Club Laga. On March 2, T. Rantula took on Sexual Harassment by himself in a handicap match and won. Two weeks later, he defeated Brian O at Hindman Hall in Butler, Pennsylvania. On April 26, T. Rantula defeated Seth James and Devil Bhudakhan in a 3-Way Dance in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.
T. Rantula subsequently spent the rest of the summer feuding with Devil Bhudakhan. On May 11, he defeated Bhudakhan at the White Oak Athletic Association in White Oak, Pennsylvania. T. Rantula also beat Bhudakhan in Penn Hills (June 8) and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (August 17). On September 28, T. Rantula was pinned by Dennis Gregory in a no-disqualification match after outside interference from Brian O. This was an impromtu bout when Gregory, after defeating his original oppponent J-Ru, challenged promoter Norm Conners to send out another wrestler. Later that night, T. Rantula interfered in Brian O's match by powerbombing him though a table and allowing Matt Vandal to score the pinfall. A match was quickly signed between T. Rantula and Brian O for October 19 in Canonsburg with his rival getting the better of him. Although picking up a victory over Dennis Gregory in Butler on November 16, T. Rantula again lost to Brian O in a no-diqualiification match in West Mifflin on December 6. He also suffered a defeat from Seth James on December 28, 2002.
On January 25, 2003, Rantula beat Frank Staletto in a "retro match" at Northgate High School in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. That spring, he began feuding with Seth James. On February 22, he defeated James in a Fans Bring the Weapons Match in Butler. He lost a match to James in Penn Hills the following month. The two men scored victories over each other in Munhall and Uniontown, Pennsylvania on the weekend of April 12–13, in a Lumberjack and Hardcore match respectively. On May 31, T. Rantula wrestled IWC Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Vega$ at IWC's "Fan Appreciation Day" in Monroeville but was unable to win the title. He did, however, score one last victory over James, in a Table match, at the Big Butler Fair in Prospect, Pennsylvania on June 28. Rantula received two title shots against IWC champion Dennis Gregory during the fall. On September 13, T. Rantula wrestled Gregory at IWC's "Revengeance" in West Mifflin and on October 4 at the Steel Valley High School in Munhall but failed to unseat the champion. On December 12, 2003, T. Rantula teamed with Dennis Gregory to defeat Jimmy Vega$ and Bubba the Bulldog at IWC's "A Call To Arms" in Johnstown.
On March 6, 2004, T. Rantula lost to Brock Singleton via countout at IWC's "Showdown in Turkeytown 1" in West Newton, Pennsylvania. On April 3, T. Rantula joined Dennis Gregory and Dr. Feelgood in a 6-man tag against Shirley Doe, The Patriot, and Nikolai Volkoff at "Night of Legends 1" in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Two weeks later, T. Rantula battled New Jack at "A Gangsta’s Retribution" on April 17. Over the summer, T. Rantula and Brock Singleton wrestled each other at "Showdown in Turkeytown 2" and "Showdown in Turkeytown 3" in West Newton. On July 24, T. Rantula and Dorian Deville wrestled to a double-disquaification at "Destruction in Duncansville" in Duncansville, Pennsylvania. A rematch held between T. Rantula and New Jack at "Hell Hath No Fury" on August 27 ended in a no-contest. In one of his last matches for the promotion, T. Rantula beat J-Rocc at IWC's "Youth Gone Wild" at the Steel Valley High School on November 6, 2004.
In 2003, T. Rantula began promoting Far North Wrestling full-time with Dan Polinsky in Butler, Pennsylvania. Their first regular show was held at St. Vincent College on April 26. The semi-main events featured Kamala and Jonah Adelman while T. Rantula himself defended his FNW Heavyweight Championship against Seth James. He spent much of the year defending the FNW championship in a series of "hardcore matches". On November 16, 2003, T. Rantula defeated Adam O in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On March 26, 2004, T. Rantula won a Hardcore match against Brian O in Latrobe. He also beat Brian O the following night at "Rumble In The Rox 2", an interpromotional show hosted by the Championship Wrestling Federation and Pittsburgh Professional Wrestling, in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. On September 9, T. Rantula defeated Seth James in Morgantown, West Virginia. T. Rantula also beat Leslie Leatherman in a Hardcore match on November 6, 2004.
T. Rantula's four-year reign as FNW champion came to an end on January 28, 2005, when Seth James beat him for the title in Butler, Pennsylvania. In March, T. Rantula defeated Toby Kline in Wooster, Ohio for the Mid-Ohio Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. He was stripped of the championship three months later after failing to defend the title. On April 8, T. Rantula and mystery partner The Patriot defeated Brian O and Seth James in a tables match. A week later at "Latrobe Meltdown!", T. Rantula beat Sterling James Keenan in a no-disqualification match. On June 25, T. Rantula defeated Dr. Feelgood in a Hardcore match in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. He fought Seth James in a Fans Bring the Weapons Match on July 29 but the bout ended in a no-contest. Six days later, however, T. Rantula finally regained the FNW title from Seth James in a Steel Cage match. T. Rantula successfully defended his title against Rockin' Rebel on November 4 and Seth James, in a Tables match, on December 3, 2005.
On February 17, 2006, T. Rantula defended his title against a mystery opponent from the champion's past who had been handpicked by Drew Lazario. The opponent was revealed to be Dennis Gregory who T. Rantula defeated. On April 14, T. Rantula and "The Future" Calvin McGrath lost a tag team match to Jon Bolen and Sterling James Keenan. He also successfully defended his title against Leather Man, Seth James, and Calvin McGrath during the first half of the year. On July 15, 2006, T. Rantula lost the FMW title to McGrath in a Steel Cage match.
After losing the FNW title, T. Rantula went into retirement due to a serious shoulder injury. He underwent three shoulder surgeries as well as physical therapy and weight training during the next several years. On September 26, 2009, T. Rantula was inducted into NWA East's "Circle of Respect", along with Brian Anthony, Dennis Gregory, and Boomer Payne, at the promotion's 15th anniversary show. It was the wrestler's first appearance in NWA East in over a decade.
On November 20, 2009, T. Rantula returned to the ring after a three year absence to take on Mad Man Pondo in Butler, Pennsylvania. In January 2010, Far North Wrestling was co-promoting events with a new company, Warriors Pro Wrestling, at the Ches-A-Rena in Cheswick, Pennsylvania. On January 29, 2010, T. Rantula and Josef von Schmidt, the latter billed as the "German Heavyweight Champion", wrestled to a double countout at the Ches-A-Rena. A remach the following month resulted in Schmidt defeating T. Rantula. On April 9, T. Rantula won the vacant Ches-A-Rena Championship by defeating Michael Blade, Ryan Mitchell and Samuel Elias in a 4-way match; Elias subsequently challenged T. Rantula for the title and ended up taking the belt from him. T. Rantula defeated Elias in Butler on April 30 but the champion held on to his title via disqualification.
That summer, T. Rantula won victories against Sterling James Keenan and Ashton Amherst. On September 24, T. Rantula beat FNW Heavyweight Champion Josef von Schmidt via disqualification. The following day at the Ches-A-Rena, he suffered a lost to DJ Young. On April 1, 2011, shortly before FNW's close, T. Rantula and Josef von Schmidt defeated Bobby Shields and Terry Ring.
In the summer of 2013, T. Rantula returned to Pro Wrestling eXpress as part of The Revolution with Quinn Magnum, Brandon K, Matthew Justice, The Beast, Crusher Hansen, Kato, and Morgan Rockafeller. On July 13, 2013, T. Rantula and Quinn Magnum defeated Legion (Apollyon and Robert Parker Williams) for the PWX Tag Team Championship at "PWX In Harm's Way 2013" in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. They dropped the belts to Initiative 51 (Troy Lords and A.J. Storm) in McKeesport at "PWX Summer Scorcher" on August 9. The Revolution (T. Rantula, Quinn Magnum, Matt Justice, The Beast, and Brandon K) defeated Legion (Chris LeRusso, Shane Taylor, Payton Graham, Danny Able, and Ganon Jones, Jr.) in a 10-man tag team match at the 6th annual Sean "Shocker" Evans Memorial Tournament in McKeesport on August 23. On September 7, T. Rantula and Magnum received another shot at the tag titles in a 3-Way Dance with Payton Graham and Deion Cruize at "PWX No Limits" but failed to win back the belts.
On December 12, 2013, T. Rantula was a guest on the False Finish Wrestling Radio podcast where he discussed his early career and thoughts on the wrestling industry. He was also critical of WWE using training facilities, and reality television series, as an alternative to the traditional independent and territory systems. At the time of the interview, T. Rantula was recovering from surgery but planned a return to the ring as soon as he was medically cleared to wrestle.
T. Rantula was married to Eileen Ann Ezerosky, who was his valet under the name The Black Widow. Ezerosky died on April 17, 2011 at the age of 42.Finishing moves
The Black Widow
The Magic Man
"The Giant" T. Rantula
American Commonwealth Wrestling
ACW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
American States Wrestling Association
ASWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Chopper Davidson
Atlantic Coast Championship Wrestling
ACCW Television Championship (1 time)
Extreme Wrestling Federation
EWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Phoenix
Far North Wrestling
FNW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
FNW Ches-A-Rena Championship (1 time)
Masterz of Mayhem
MOM Television Championship (1 time)
Mid-Ohio Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
NWA West Virginia/Ohio
NWA West Virginia/Ohio Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Lord Zoltan
National Wrestling Conference
NWC Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
Pro Wrestling eXpress
PWX Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
PWX Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Quinn Magnum
PWX Circle of Respect (Class of 2009)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked T. Rantula # 155 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI 500 in 1995
Steel City Wrestling
SCW Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
United States Championship Wrestling
USCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
United States Wrestling League
USWL Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
USWL Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Chopper Davidson and Grim Reaper