Saturday May 25, friends and family paid their final respects and said goodbyes to Ronnie West.
Jimmy Powell and Bobby Simmons officiated the service. Bill Dundee gave a heart felt tribute. Brent and Rodney West did a fine job of putting together a video montage of their Dad’s life that played throughout. I believe Ronnie would have been happy and proud of the turnout.
Bobby relayed a story when he questioned Ron about transitioning from wrestling to the circus and his reply was he’s going from “promoting fat men to promoting fat elephants!” I have no doubt Ronnie felt right at home and showed Cole Brothers a better, efficient way of running their show…There was plenty representation from the wrestling and circus world. While it’s nice to see some old friends and acquaintances I wish it could be under different circumstances.
There are 2 Brad Armstrong Memorial shows coming up with the proceeds going to his daughter’s trust fund. I’m looking forward to participating on both events.
The first will be June 8 in Milton FL at the Milton Community Center. Bell time is 8 PM. The second is June 16 in Knoxville TN at Chilhowee Park and will feature over 55 wrestlers coming in from across the country to pay tribute and honor Brad.
Details for both events are listed under the Appearances tab.
Football players in wrestling is nothing new. In the territory days a lot of football players supplemented their income during the off season. Two of my favorites were Wahoo McDaniel and Ernie Ladd.
Wahoo was a Choctaw Indian from Oklahoma who started wrestling in the off season but became full time once his grid iron days were over. He became a huge box office attraction wherever he went. I remember watching Wahoo and Johnny Valentine brutalize each other many Friday nights in the Sam Houston Coliseum years ago.
Wahoo had a heavy hand and was known for his “tomahawk chop.” Professor Boris Malenko and Wahoo had a series of matches that caused promoter Paul Boesch to crown Wahoo the king of the box office in Houston. Paul had a wooden Indian placed in his office with a plaque proclaiming Wahoo McDaniel as the first Superstar of Houston Wrestling. It was evident Wahoo had passion, charisma and natural ability in the ring. Epic battles between Wahoo and Ric Flair were legendary in the Carolinas.
Like Wahoo, Ernie Ladd was a main eventer everywhere he went. Finally settling down in Louisiana, Ernie wrestled and booked for Bill Watts. He became a mentor for younger wrestlers and continued to help even after his active days were over.
The idea of athletes from other sports joining pro wrestling/sports entertainment has been around for a long time. They can be successful.
Professional wrestling is opinion. It’s all about “different flavors” if you will. I feel whoever decides to get into the business should have passion and dedicate themselves to learning and being the best they can be. I’ve trained football, baseball and basketball players. I’ve trained power lifters, body builders and amateur wrestlers. Some got it; others didn’t.
There’s no doubt a pro football player is tough and used to long grueling practices. I don’t have an issue with them being able to hang with some of the best once they understand what they’re doing. But make no mistake about it…football and wrestling are two different animals.
I think it’s different these days as many NFL players and staff are WWE fans and a lot more accepting of sports entertainment. I can’t rush to judgement on anyone who excelled in one sport and now looking to convert to WWE. There’s a great possibility they might find their true calling and the business will benefit.
I have my opinion and feelings on how anyone who walks through WWE’s developmental system should be treated and trained. I found those who loved the business before they got there did much better than those who were told “Hey, you’re a big guy, why don’t you try out with WWE?” I understand the need for new blood and they have to find it somewhere.
I got some interesting emails and texts last week asking my thoughts on various things. I answered the emails instead of addressing them in my blog. Feel free to email me at email@example.com with any questions and I might just answer them here next week.
Thanks for reading.