Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Original Publication Date:   March 8, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

In column #50, I wrote about a fascinating and seemingly contradictory aspect of our sport -- that being the fact that some of the best known personalities in professional wrestling were not wrestlers; they were managers.  I paid homage to the best of the best:  Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, J.C. Dykes, Sir Oliver Humperdink, Captain Lou Albano, Jimmy Cornette, J.J. Dillon, Jimmy Hart, The Grand Wizard, Classy Freddie Blassie, Percy Pringle (aka “Paul Bearer”), Playboy Gary Hart, and Dr. Ken Ramey. 

I was a wrestling aficionado from the age of fourteen.  I was a big fan of most of these managers for years before I personally entered the professional wrestling business.  I watched Bobby Heenan, J.C. Dykes, Gary Hart, Classy Freddie Blassie and Dr. Ken Ramey regularly on "live" televised wrestling shows.  Before cable TV was available in my little hometown of Burlington, North Carolina, I erected the highest and most powerful television antenna the county had ever seen.  I would precisely aim that enormous aerial toward far-away stations and bring in wrestling shows that my fellow Burlingtonians (or whatever they called themselves) didn’t even know existed.  As a fourteen-year-old wrestling fan, I fantasized about someday actually meeting my TV heroes.  Little did I know that within less than seven years, I would not only meet these amazing stars, but I would also share dressing rooms, travel, work in the ring and even do occasional televised interviews with them.  One such gentleman was the amazing Dr. Ken Ramey.

Ken Ramey has done just about everything there is to do in the wrestling business.  He achieved international star status, however, as the manager of the masked Interns, a brilliantly talented top main-event tag-team for ten years.  Recently, I ran into Dr. Ramey at the yearly CAC Wrestlers Reunion and Awards Dinner in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Because my Hollywood-based company, APS Entertainment, is developing a feature film based on late 1970s/early 1980s professional wrestling, our director of photography, Peter Redford, was there at the event filming.  I had the opportunity to interview several of my wrestling heroes-turned-“coworkers”-turned-friends.  One of those on-camera interviews was with my friend Dr. Ken Ramey.  Ken and I talked about the “good old days,” the camaraderie and sense of family that existed in the wrestling business, and how sad it was that the sport we knew and loved has been replaced with “sports entertainment.”  We reminisced, joked, and revealed our “mutual admiration society” respect for one another.  “If you had ever allowed me to manage you,” Dr. Ramey said, “I would have made you World Champion.”  I wholeheartedly agreed with him.  “And, I should have been!” I said, nodding my head in agreement.  I had everything going for me … except the world’s greatest manager.”  Ken smiled broadly.

We spoke of his amazing team, the world-famous Interns.  Beneath their white masks, they were two amazingly talented wrestlers and great gentlemen, Tom Andrews and Jim Starr.  During the interview, Dr. Ramey said, “They’re both here.”  “You’re kidding,” I responded.  “You don’t mean to tell me that the Interns are both here in Vegas in this building right now?”  “They are indeed,” was Ken’s proud response.  “Could we get them on camera?  Could I continue the interview with you and the Interns?” I asked excitedly.  “Why, absolutely,” was Ken’s welcome reply.  I was going to be the first person in over twenty years to interview the team together – Dr. Ken Ramey and both of his Interns!  Three of my wrestling heroes-turned-coworkers-turned-friends, on camera with me!  This was going to be great!

In case you missed any of my original interviews with Dr. Ramey, they are reprinted on my website: 
www.HollywoodSuccess.com.  Just click on the “Wrestling Revue” link in the upper left-hand section.  Dr. Ramey’s interviews were featured in columns #50 and #51.  But, now we continue with … The Dr. Ken Ramey & The Interns Interview:  Part III:

The camera was rolling.  Dr. Ken Ramey and I had been talking about the wrestling business and how dramatically it has changed over the years.  We were talking about Pat Patterson, the former United States Heavyweight Champion and Vice President of Vince McMahon’s monolithic WWE “sports entertainment” business.  “When I was talking with Pat,” I continued, “I asked him, ‘Is it still fun?  Is the wrestling business still fun?’  Until that time, he was really smiling and happy.  But, when I asked him that question, he looked at me as though he were in deep thought, and there was sadness in his eyes.  He said, ‘No, it’s not what it used to be, Rock.  There’s very big money now, but it’s not what it used to be.’  I hesitated and thought for a moment.  Then, with a twinkle in my eye, I said, ‘Pat, let’s get back in the ring again!’  Although I could tell he would love to compete again, Pat said, ‘No.  Maybe you, but not me.’  As you know, Ken, wrestling is in our blood.  Every ex-wrestler wants to wrestle again.  It’s always in our blood and always will be.”  Dr. Ramey said, “I’ve been in the ring from the 50s all the way up to 2000.  I just received an award in Mobile, the Pioneer’s Award.  And, I told them, ‘If there’s any way possible, in 2010 I’m going to get back in that ring.’  Then I can say I worked in that ring for seven decades, from the 50s all the way through 2010."

I was impressed with Ken’s goal, commitment, and passion.  “I want to see that happen,” I said.  “And, I also made a decision recently.  I’m going to climb back into the ring one more time.”  I smiled.  “I have something in mind for later this year which will be a big surprise for a lot of people.  The wrestling is in my blood, and this is a great excuse to get back into shape.”  Ken understood.  “Just like printer's ink is with the newspaper people,” he explained, “Once it gets in the blood, it’s there for life.”  “Absolutely,” I added.  “There’s not a wrestler alive, no matter how far past his prime, who doesn’t dream of being in the ring again.”

I looked into Dr. Ramey’s eyes and then spoke to the camera.  “Our film is going to show people all over the world what our business was, what the camaraderie was, what that strong sense of family and commitment and purpose was.  We’re going to take the audience inside the world of professional wrestling – professional wrestling as it was in the ‘good old days.’”  Dr. Ramey nodded his head with a smile on his face.  Although not verbalized, his face very clearly said, “Thank you.”

Until next week, 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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