Category: Pro Wrestling

Rob Schamberger Wrestled with How to Make a Career in Art

Robert Schamberger wanted to be a comic book artist but wasn’t setting the world on fire.  So he decided to branch out into other types of art — especially painting.  Despite making gallery sales, he still hadn’t found his niche.

After some thought Schamberger decided to combine his love of art with his love of professional wrestling.  He started doing paintings of professional wrestlers.  A successful Kickstarter followed.  Then within a year, the WWE contacted Schamberger and brought him on board as their resident artist.  Schamberger’s story is an inspiring one in that he worked to figure out how to make his love of art become his career.

Source: Syfy.

The “Dark Side of the Ring” Trailer is Here!

The Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 episode series airing on Viceland and premieres April 10th.

From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality. From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

From The Rock to Dave Bautista, Here’s the 10 Best Wrestlers-Turned-Actors

Bradley Russell’s From The Rock to Dave Bautista, Here’s the 10 Best Wrestlers-Turned-Actors piece for GamesRadar was a fun read and it got me to thinking…

  • Shouldn’t Stone Cold Steve Austin have been rated higher than 10?

  • Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin both had their best performances in a Stallone movie!

  • Did you catch Kevin Nash’s cameo in John Wick?

  • Does anyone besides Bradley Russell think that Jesse Ventura’s best move was The Running Man?  Ventura was in Predator!

  • Dwayne The Rock Johnson is #1 and should be.  I also want to see for the record that Johnson’s crime film Faster is very under-rated.

While Russell’s list is a good one, there has been a major oversight.  Terry Funk was left off!

How could any list of Professional Wrestlers Turned Actors omit the man who played Franky the Thumper?

Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses

Odds are, pro wrestling fan or not, you know that the photo above is of the “styling-and-profiling, limousine-riding, jet-flying, Rolex-wearing, champagne-drinking, kiss-stealing, wheeling-‘n-dealing, dirtiest player in the game,” Ric Flair.

Yahoo Sports!, Dan Wetzel has written an excellent profile – Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses – and it is well worth a read.

RIP – Bobby Heenan

Bobby Heenan passed away today surrounded by his family.  My guess is even if you’re not a fan of professional wrestling, you know of Bobby Heenan.

Bobby Heenan was a WWE Hall of Famer, but he transcended the sport.  Of course when you’re considered to be the greatest manager of all time as well as the best color commentator to ever call a match your popularity shouldn’t be surprising.

Heenan spent over 40 years in the world of pro wrestling. He wasn’t your typical wrestler. He wasn’t gigantic. He wasn’t musclebound. He didn’t fly through the air [unless being thrown by Dick the Bruiser or some other good guy].  Bobby Heenan started out as manager “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan.  He was a heel.  As a little kid, Heenan was the first person to make me root for the “bad” guy.

Fans loved or hated him, but no one was neutral about Bobby Heenan. Sometimes Heenan would even get involved in matches [usually against his will].   He could “rassle” with anyone and make them look better.  No one could work a crowd like “the Brain.”  And Bobby Heenan was witty. His one-liners and off-the-cuff comments were at times more entertaining than the matches themselves.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bobby Heenan’s family, friends and fans.

10 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter’s Cult Classic “They Live”

Cheryl Eddy and io9 present 10 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter’s Cult Classic They Live.  Here are three of my favorites…

1) Before they met, Carpenter was a Piper fan, but Piper had never heard of the director, even though his filmography at the time included such high-profile works as Halloween, Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China.

2) The greatest fight scene in movie history runs five minutes and 20 seconds long. It took three days to film, but a month and a half of rehearsing in the backyard behind Carpenter’s office in the San Fernando Valley. According to interviews on the They Live Blu-ray, Carpenter drew inspiration for the clash from a similarly memorable brawl in The Quiet Man, a 1952 John Ford film in which John Wayne plays a retired boxer.

10) “Frank Armitage,” credited as They Live’s screenwriter, is actually a Carpenter pseudonym. It’s a shout-out to H.P. Lovecraft creation Henry Armitage; Carpenter would later pay further tribute to the author with the filmIn the Mouth of Madness. (“Frank Armitage” is also the name of David’s character in the film.)

20 Surprising Facts About Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson presents 20 Surprising Facts About Dwayne The Rock Johnson.  Here are three of my favorites…

He wasn’t always known as “The Rock” in the ring. 
Successful wrestling gimmicks rarely happen right out of the gate. Even The Rock wasn’t exempt from that rule of thumb. He started his pro wrestling career as “Flex Kavana,” followed by “Rocky Maivia” (a blend of his father and grandfather’s ring names) before landing on the name that would help make him a superstar. I think we can all agree that it’s hard to imagine his persona as anything other than “The Rock” in the ring.

His Scorpion King paycheck was a record-breaker
Back in 2002, The Rock made his leading-role debut in The Scorpion King, and he was paid $5.5 million to do it. For a first-time above-the-title name, that sum was the most ever paid – a testament to The Rock’s fame before he started starring in films

He Doesn’t Want to be Called The Rock
In a 2006 interview with Entertainment Magazine, Dwayne Johnson says “I no longer am a wrestler, I am now pursuing a future as an actor and someday as a director. I am not the Rock. I am Dwayne Johnson.” It sounds like people are a little slow to come around to that fact, but it seems to be happening, slowly but surely.

R.I.P. Roderick Tombs aka “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

I was shocked and saddened to ready that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away from a heart attack at just 61 years of age.

Wrestling and movie fans appreciated Mr. Piper’s skills before a camera.  What I liked even more were the things Rowdy Roddy did when the camera was off and he was back to being Roderick Tombs.

By all accounts he was a humble, family man who was gracious with everyone he met.  Funny that most of his wrestling career he played a heel.  Mark Evanier wrote a nice tribute to Roderick Tombs aka Roddy Pipper that will show you the kind of person he was.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Roderick Tombs family, friends and fans.

R.I.P. Virgil Riley Runnels Jr. aka Dusty Rhodes

Virgil Riley Runnels Jr. passed away today.  Perhaps you knew him better as Dusty Rhodes aka  The American Dream.

Pro Wrestling fan or not, I’ll bet you knew of him.

Dusty began his career in 1968 in the AWA as a bad guy.  That’s when I first saw him wrestle on late night tv.  Dusty was a bad guy and partnered with Dirty Dick Murdock.  They were a couple of cowboys chasing the tag team title.

I was a kid living deep in WWA territory that was run by Dick the Bruiser and we considered the AWA a lesser organization.  I knew who Dusty was but since I never saw him in “my” territory, going against my champs, I didn’t give him much thought.

In 1973, I moved to Florida and into NWA territory.  Remember this was when pro wrestling wasn run by several smaller organizations with no national company like the WWE Dusty showed up as a singles wrestler.  He was still a cowboy but definitely a more modern man of the people.

Given the mic, Dusty shined.  He didn’t look like the typical champion, but once he dropped his atomic elbow and did a little victory dance, he became the people’s champ.  Dusty’s career flourished and he went on to great success not only in the NWA, but also Vince McMahon’s WWF (later the WWE), the WCW and ECW.

Dusty Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 31, 2007 and continued to be a force behind the scenes as a writer and creative director.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dusty Rhodes’ family, friends and fans.

Oral History of Pro Wrestling’s 1995 Historic Excursion into North Korea

In 1995, Muhammad Ali joined Ric Flair, Eric Bishoff and other WCW superstars to journey to North Korea to take part in the “International Sports and Cultural Festival for Peace.”

The trip had highs (wrestling before the largest crowds in professional wrestling history – a record that still stands, traveling with Muhammad Ali) and lows (tapped phones, terrible food and US pro wrestlers getting into a real fight) but remains largely unknown to fans who haven’t read… Dan Greene and Sports Illustrated’s an Oral History of Pro Wrestling’s 1995 Historic Excursion into North Korea.

Mick Foley’s Countdown to Lockdown

Did you know that Mick Foley has a new blog?  Well, he does.  He calls it Countdown to Lockdown and if you’re still reading this, then you should be interested enough to check it out.

We all know that Mick’s an excellent pro wrestler, has mad mic skills, and is a best-selling author [Have a Good Day] so my guess is that his blog is going to be a blast.  [And I’d have said that even if Mick didn’t hook me up at Heroes Con.]

RIP – Randall Poffo aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage

Randall Poffo aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage, a true professional wrestling superstar, died today following a car accident.  TMZ reported that, according to Lanny Poffo [Savage’s brother and a former wrestling superstar in his own right], Savage had a heart attack that led to him losing control of his vehicle and crashing.  Savage’s wife, who was traveling with him survived with minor injuries.

Randall Poffo was a true athlete.  He almost had a career as a professional baseball player, but luckily for fans of professional wrestling, opted to follow in his father, Angelo Poffo’s footsteps.  Rather than use his father’s famous name, Randall opted to take on the persona of Randy “Macho Man” Savage.  His success is evidenced by the fact that both professional wrestling fans and those who hate the sport, all know The Macho ManRandall was one of the first superstars to cross-over to the main media and could be seen in movies, tv shows and commercials.

I had the great fortune to meet and spend some time with his brother, Lanny Poffo [a professional wrestling superstar in his own right],  Lanny shared some stories and history with me, but what I remember most from talking with him (other than what a truly decent human being he is) was his love for his father and brother.  Lanny made sure to tell me what a great man he thought Randall was and not because of the things that he did in the ring, but more importantly because of the things that Randall did outside of the ring that no one knew about.   I was truly touched.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Lanny Poffo.

The Greatest Pro Wrestlers of All Time

Recently UGO listed their choices for The Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time.  Using just their list, here is my top ten:

  1. Hulk Hogan – Without a doubt one of the worst “wrestlers” to make the list, but also without a doubt one of the most popular of all time.  Hogan at the top of his game could sell out any arena no matter who he was wrestling.  Everyone knew who Hulk Hogan was and he was one of the first wrestlers to successfully move into movies.
  2. Ric Flair – The “jet-flying, limo-riding, kiss-stealing, dirtiest player in the game.”  Flair wrestled for so long, for so many organizations and always at the top of the card that he became a fan favorite despite his bad guy image.
  3. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – came in and changed the face of wrestling at a time when it was fading.  Austin had “tried” other personas with limited success, but his no-nonsense, take no guff from the boss attitude struck a chord with fans.  Austin has made the transition to movies.
  4. Bruno Sammartino – one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.  Because of his popularity, Bruno held the title for over ten years in two runs [something unheard of in the last few decades] and at one time held the record [perhaps still does?] for selling out Madison Square Garden.
  5. Dusty Rhodes – After a run in the midwest as part of a “bad guy” tag team, Dusty came south and became a literal Superstar.
  6. Mick Foley – has had more wrestling personas than most, but it’s Mick Foley the fans love.  His “hell in the cell” match with the Undertaker made him a legend.
  7. The Undertaker – Biker or Spawn of Hell?  “It doesn’t matter!” said in the best Rock voice.  The fans love him.
  8. The Rock – had the Rock stuck with wrestling he’d be higher on the list.  Actually I’m glad he didn’t since I dig most of his movies.
  9. Andre the Giant – a living legend.  Fans came to see Andre.  It didn’t matter who or how many wrestlers he was wrestling.
  10. Superstar Billy Graham – Paved the way for Hulk Hogan and all the musclebound, roided wrestlers of the 80’s and on…

UGO’s list is very limited.  Where was Dick the Bruiser [my personal choice for #1], Mil Mascaras, Blackjack Mulligan, Wilbur Snyder, and so many others.  And yes. Andy, I did see Moose Cholak wrestle many times, but he wouldn’t have made my top 50.  Sorry Moose.