Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

by Rock Riddle, the Original "Mr. Wonderful" of Professional Wrestling

Scheduled Publication Date:   February 15, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Dr. Ken Ramey and the Interns, Part II:  I watched professional wrestling on television for the first time when I was fourteen years old.  The villainous bleached-blond bad-guy team of Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson were taking great delight in thrashing their “good-guy” opponents.  The fans were booing loudly.  Local police officers had their hands full keeping the unruly fans from throwing objects into the ring.  The more the crowd booed, the more Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson seemed to enjoy their match.  “These guys are having fun,” I said aloud to myself.  “They actually enjoy having fans hate them.  This is great!”  I was hooked.  From that moment on, I was a serious fan of professional wrestling.  With rare exception, I thought the bad guys were great and genuine and the sickeningly sweet “baby faces” were phonies.  “I’ll become a great bad guy,” I thought, “and I’ll be so proud.”

Although Hawk and Hanson were my all-time favorites, I also enjoyed the antics of many other “bad-guy” types:  Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard, J.C. Dykes and the Infernos, The Garvins, Dick the Bruiser and Crusher Lisowski, and, of course, Dr. Ken Ramey and his masked Interns.  Little did I know that, after I turned pro at the age of twenty, I would actually be working, traveling, and even become friends with some of these amazing people.  

I ran into Dr. Ken Ramey and the Interns at the prestigious CAC Wrestlers Reunion and Awards Dinner at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  My Hollywood-based company, APS Entertainment, had hired producer/director Peter Redford (Mindworks Entertainment) to film portions of the event.  I had the unique opportunity to be the first person who had interviewed Dr. Ramey and his Interns together in over twenty years.  First I interviewed Ken Ramey alone.  I asked him about his background and the history of his famous team.  When I discovered that his two men were there in the building, I decided to stop the interview and pick it up again with the three of them.  Dr. Ramey, however, was enjoying the sole spotlight and wanted to continue talking.  He talked about how good it was to see me again and how, if I had allowed him to manage me, he would have made me World Champion!  After a couple minutes of this mutual admiration society talk, director Peter Redford finally uttered the welcomed word “cut.”

Rather than going our separate ways or preparing to bring the Interns in for the upcoming “four-way” interview, Ken Ramey and I remained in front of the camera and continued talking.  After a few minutes, I realized that what we were discussing would make a fascinating on-camera interview.  Our director of photography had walked away from the camera.  I looked towards one of the ladies who had been standing nearby observing.  “Would you be so kind, Mam,” I asked, “as to tell Robert’s cousin to return to his camera?”  She did.  Peter Redford returned, spent about fifteen seconds setting up, and, once again said, “rolling.”

“Excellent,” I began.  I looked at Dr. Ramey.  “What you just said to me off-camera was so fascinating and relevant that I wanted to get it recorded for posterity.”  I looked into the camera and continued, “Dr. Ken Ramey was saying that the guys who are coming into the wrestling business now are not really in the business at all.  It’s not the same.  It’s not what it used to be.”  “It’s not,” Dr. Ramey responded.  “We used to have promoters come in.  And if you’d do some of the stuff they’re doing today, you’d go back in the dressing room, and you’d get your rear end chewed out.  Because they’d tell you real quick that on that card and on our TV advertisement, we were advertising WRESTLING.”  “That’s right,” I chimed in.  “We were not advertising boxing,” Dr. Ramey continued.  “We were not advertising acrobatics.  We were advertising wrestling.  And you went out and worked in that ring.  You could draw money [wrestling].  We drew record crowds.  And the basics that we had, especially with the Interns, is that we wrestled!  We wrestled with holds.  We did high spots and stuff, but basically the whole object of our success was that we were wrestlers.  And, we tried to let the people know, first of all, that it was a wrestling match.  The people [wrestlers] that they’ve got coming up today, they’re not there anymore.

I interrupted.  “Today, some of them don’t even know how to wrestle!”  Ken nodded his head in agreement and continued:  “Well it’s a soap opera.  It’s a continual soap opera.  They’re not trying [to wrestle.]  It’s an ongoing situation.  Now, I’m not knocking them for the money.   I wish I’d made the money that they’re making.”  Ken looked sad and shook his head before he continued.  “There are times that I’ll go someplace and I don’t even want anybody to even know that I was ever in the wrestling business.  Because they’ll come up and make some sort of smart remarks, because they don’t realize that back in the seventies you’d have matches that would go an hour.  And, they would be all holds!  And, when you wrestled Lou Thesz, it was a wrestling match!”  “Yes,” I interjected, “I wrestled Lou many times.”  Ken continued, “You didn’t do all this flip-flopping around and stuff with Lou.  You got down on the mat and you wrestled with Lou.  That’s what it was like with him.  He was the World’s Wrestling Champion.  That’s what it was when he stepped into that ring.  It was a wrestling match.  And it’s a crying shame that the business has gotten to where it is today.”

“I was talking to my friend Pat Patterson a few years ago,” I said to Dr. Ramey.  “A Great talent!” Ken interjected.  “Oh, yes,” I continued.  “What a beautiful man.  To work with him was just amazing.”  “A beautiful man,” Ken repeated.  “In fact,” I continued, “Pat introduced me to several people here at the Cauliflower Alley Convention whom I had not met before.  And he said, ‘This is Rock Riddle.  This is the original Mr. Wonderful.  I had some of the best matches of my career with this man.’  That was one of the most wonderful compliments I’ve ever had.  And working with someone on that level was just poetry in motion.  And, on your level – just amazing.”  “Well,” Dr. Ramey said, “there’s something I’ve got to say here, so let me interrupt you.  You were a credit to our business, too.”  That was a wonderful thing for me to hear.  “Thank you!” I said.  “No,” Dr. Ramey continued, “I mean you were.  You were.  You were a credit to the business because you did not do all the b.s. that’s on there now.  You kept the business as a business.  And, you projected yourself out to the public as what you were.  You were a wrestler.  That’s what our business was.  You were a credit to our business.”  I thanked him again.  “Well,” Dr. Ramey continued, “you were.  There were a lot of them who weren’t.  If you go through a bushel of apples, you’re going to find one or two that are bad.  And you were one of the good ones.  I’m proud and happy to be able to say that I’ve known you over the years.”  I thanked him once again.  We will conclude his interview with next week’s column.  Until then, keep those e-mails coming.

This column welcomes your wrestling-related questions.  You may contact the author via email: RockRiddle@hotmail.com or Rock@HollywoodSuccess.com.  Be sure to put "Wrestling Question" in the subject line.

About the author:  Rock Riddle wrestled professionally for over 8½ years and helped sell out major arenas all over the country.  He held numerous titles including the Americas Tag Team Championship (with John Tolos) and the East Coast Tag Team Championship (with Rocky Montana.)  At the height of his career, he was given top billing over the heavyweight championship of the world.  He is extremely well-connected in the world of professional wrestling and knows the business exceptionally well.  His fascinating biography, complete with over 100 photos and lots of additional information, is available at www.HollywoodSuccess.com – just click on "Rock Riddle Bio."    If you have missed any of Rock’s columns, they are all available on the website by clicking "Wrestling Revue."

© 2007 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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