Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Scheduled Publication Date:   February 8, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Some of the best known personalities in the history of professional wrestling were not wrestlers; they were managers.  An exceptionally good wrestler who was able to do only a mediocre job on the microphone would very rarely attain or sustain main-event status.  A great manager, on the other hand, could take on an average wrestler, speak for him, and turn that wrestler into a major international star.  Great managers were like magicians; they could perform magic with the careers of wrestlers.  Of the great managers the world of professional wrestling has known, only a very few attained “legend” status.  Those legendary managers include Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, J.C. Dykes, Sir Oliver Humperdink, Captain Lou Albano, J.J. Dillon, Jimmy Hart, The Grand Wizard, Classy Freddie Blassie, Percy Pringle aka “Paul Bearer”, Playboy Gary Hart, and, of course, the amazing Dr. Ken Ramey. 

I watched Dr. Ken Ramey and his famous Interns on television for many months before I ever stepped into the squared circle.  Even as a fan, I realized that I was witnessing greatness when I watched these men in action.  Little did I know that only a few years later, I would be wrestling on the same cards, sharing dressing rooms, and even riding from town to town with three of my wrestling “heroes,” Dr. Ken Ramey and his masked Interns.  At the prestigious yearly CAC Wrestlers Reunion and Awards Dinner at the Riviera Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the opportunity to conduct an on-camera interview with my friend Dr. Ken Ramey.  Being the masterful stick-man that he is (that means he’s brilliantly talented on the microphone), Dr. Ramey heard the word “rolling.”  He began the conversation even before I had a chance to introduce him. 

“We’re right back here again [in front of the cameras],” Ken began, “and it certainly is great to see you!”  “Well, it’s certainly good to see you!” I responded.  I looked into the camera and began my introduction.  “This is Dr. Ken Ramey.  He is a living legend in the world of professional wrestling.”  Ken seemed pleased as I directed my attention back to him.  “Tell the people who you managed,” I suggested, “and what you did in the business, please, Ken.”  Ken raised an eyebrow slightly and answered, “What I didn’t do would be closer to it and take up less time, because I did everything.  I refereed.  I managed.  I booked.  I promoted towns, put up posters.  I put up the ring.  You name it.  Whatever was done in the business, at some time or other, I participated in it.”

I knew that Ken had done everything there was to do in the wrestling business.  I also knew that he was internationally known, not for setting up rings but for managing, so I asked, “You were most famous as a manager of whom?”  “Of the Interns” was Ken’s swift reply, “although, for short periods of time, I did manage some other people – Paul Demarco, Playboy Buddy Rose, and, down in Mobile, I managed the Monroes for a while.”   I had wrestled for about a year and a half out of Mobile, Alabama, and I knew the Monroes.   “Sputnik [Monroe] and …” I began.  “No,” Ken corrected, “not Sputnik.  It was Flash and Rocket [Monroe], two great guys.”

“I have been very fortunate,” Dr. Ramey continued, “in this business.  When I was managing, I managed some good guys!”  “You did, indeed,” I added.  “I mean,” Ken explained, “there were guys who were very good and very good in the ring.  But Tom and Jim – Tom Andrews and Jim Starr – they were the Interns.  They really didn’t start out as the Interns.  We had Billy Garret as the first one.  Billy got out of the business and I thought that the team would be gone.  And Jim called me up and said, ‘No, I’ve got somebody to replace Billy.’  He said, ‘Tom Andrews.’  I had heard of Tom Andrews, but I’d never met him.  But, what a man!  I mean, between the two of them – and I’ve seen tag teams and a lot of people – but, between the two of them I thought (and maybe I’m a little biased and, of course, I am,) I thought they were the best that I’d ever seen.  They worked together in the ring as good as anybody I have ever seen.  And for a long period of time!  There have been a lot of tag teams, and they would team up on one day as a tag team and then they’d go on about their ways, working in single matches here, working in single matches there.  We worked strictly as a tag team the whole time, close to ten years.  That was the way that we did.  And, they’re both here with me.”

That last statement threw me.  “They are here today?” I asked with a look of slight astonishment on my face.  “They are here for the weekend,” Ken confirmed.  I interrupted him with the excitement of a fan and said, “Oh, we’ve got to get them on camera!”  “It’s the first time the three of us have been together in over twenty years,” Ken proudly said.  “We stepped out of the business in the late seventies.  And we have not worked together or anything since then.  The three of us are here together – The two Interns and Dr. Ken Ramey.”  “Oh, this is fantastic,” I interjected.  “I’ll tell you what, Ken.  Let’s continue this with everybody – you and your two boys.”  I wanted to continue the interview later with all four of us on camera.

Dr. Ramey wasn’t quite ready to conclude this portion of the interview.  He looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s good to see you again.”  I reciprocated with “It’s good to see you!”  “You know something,” Dr. Ramey continued, “If you had ever let me manage you; if I’d ever gotten you under my wing, I would’ve made you World Champion!”  “That’s right,” I said, “and I should have been!”  Dr. Ramey laughed.  “No,” I continued, “because I was brilliant.  I was wonderful!  I had everything going for me that was necessary.  The ONLY thing that possibly could have been missing was the greatest wrestling manager the planet has ever seen, and that, of course, is Dr. Ken Ramey!”  As I was saying that last line, Ken reached over and kissed me on the cheek.  “Okay,” I thought, “Great improvisation on Ken’s part.  I hope the audience understands the humor here.”  I looked into the camera and ended the segment (what else could I do?) with “And there you have it, folks.  A kiss from Dr. Ken Ramey.  What can I tell you?  Thank you very much.”  I looked at Peter Redford, our director of photography.  “And, Mr. Redford,” I said in a subdued tone, “you can say ‘cut’ anytime.  “Cut.”  “Thank you!”

Next week, I will share the unexpected additional videotaped interview with Dr. Ramey and the planned interview with him and his Interns.  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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