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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

Saturday Night RAW

Solie's Exclusive!
An Interview with Bob Blackburn: Part 1

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

Volume 3, Issue 281 - February 21, 1998

The Hartley Interviews Preview

An Interview with Bob Blackurn

Part 1

This is a Special Preview of a series of interviews conducted by Jeremy Hartley for the TWC Online Radio Program. The rest of this interview will be published later this week in a Special Edition of the newsletter. I wanted to run this one first because the subject is a former wrestler and current business manager of Arn Anderson and Ted Dibiasi. As such, Bob Blackburn is also publishing Arn's memoir, "Arn Anderson 4 Ever: A Look Behind the Curtain" which, I am hoping, I can help to publicize by giving Mr. Blackburn this exposure. The interview was conducted in late January and can currently be accessed on the TWC Online web site, a link to which you will find at the end of this segment. I have transcribed the interview personally from th original RealAudio broadcast. It is an edited transcript, meaning that I omitted non-essential exclaimations and such, but it very much reflects the substance of the interview.

Jeremy Hartley: I'm kind of curious, I don't really know that much about your wrestling business background..

Bob Blackburn: I was the "Drill Instructor" for the CWF back in '87 - '88 and prior to that I worked for the ICW which was owned and operated by Angelo and Mario Savoldi up in the North East, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticutt, Long Island, you know...that area. They had a pretty good syndicated television show back in the mid eighties. I worked there as Irish Bobby O'Brian and I was World Light-Heavyweight Champion then. When I started in the Carolinas for what was then the NWA, actually Gene Anderson and Nelson Royal trained me.

Jeremy: Wow! Thats quite the company there...

Bob Blackburn: And they needed someone to come in at the time when Nikita Koloff had just become a babyface, they needed someone to work with Ivan as his partner...

Jeremy: So this was about '86 - '87..?

Bob Blackburn: 1986, within about 35 days from when Magnum TA had his auto accident. They turned Nikita babyface in Atlanta, I believe, and shortly after that they needed this deal done, so they hyped it and I went in as Vladimir and Ivan's partner, the "Big Red Machine" I was called - that was bingity-bang-boom and I was done - basically Nikita just took my head off...

Jeremy: (laughs)

Bob Blackburn: At the time we were also operating some gyms down in that area, myself and Gene Ligon, the former wrestler and Gene and Nikita were partners. I believe Nikita still has some gyms although I haven't seen or talked to him in years. I am going to see him very soon, as I understand because we're going to be involved in a fan fair wrestling show in Wheeling West Virginia coming up in May.

Jeremy: Oh...

Bob Blackburn: I'm just waiting to hear back from the promoters, actually it's Wyman Ministries. That's a story all in itself which I think you might want to get involved in, and to be honest with you I'm not even sure how I'm going to be involved in it. I may be handling the merchandise end of it and possibly handling the Internet end of it, finding somebody to kind of publicize this concept. Basically all the Christian wrestlers, Tully Blanchard, Nikita, Ted Dibiasi, Meng, Hector Guerrero and George South are going to be part of this program in Wheeling in May. The concept is to try to go do one of these a month somewhere in the United States. Obviously they want to take advantage of the wrestling, not so much from the wrestling point of view but as a family affair cause the business has gotten away from the family. Of course the one thing the kids always want to do is meet their heroes. So it's a good opportunity to do that and to get a good message out. Kind of let people know how the wrestlers have been involved with their religion, if you can deliver some good wrestling and also a good message then there's no harm no foul.

Jeremy: Sure...

Bob Blackburn: So that's the last I heard from Nikita. After that I went up to Stu Hart's for about a month - that was brutal...

Jeremy: (laughs)

Bob Blackburn: ...$65 a week to stay in the St.Regis Hotel which was a place where you had to across the hall to piss and there was a bathtub in your room...the most ridiculous thing I've ever been involved in in my life...

Jeremy: You wrestled up there..?

Bob Blackburn: Yeah, they were very gracious to me. I got a chance to experience the hands of Stu Hart, as I was being stretched on the kitchen floor with my head next to the cat litter box...

Jeremy: (laughs)

Bob Blackburn: From there Robert Fuller booked me into Alabama and Florida. Then Eddie Gilbert came in and took over the book - he was helping the promoter who had the Channel 20 program in Montgomery so that was a flag ship deal. I worked with Watermelon Willie, Willie B. Hurt and with Pez Watley and a number of others. Randy Collie was Moon Dog Rex...

Jeremy: Oh yeah...

Bob Blackburn: ...and the original Demolition...

Jeremy: Wasn't he the Nightmare..?

Bob Blackburn: He was the Nightmare and he was also one of the Masked Assassins with Billy Hammel but Randy and I tagged together and were the Champions there and then we wrestled with Sid Eudy, who became Psycho Sid. Also there was Sika (of the Wild Samoans) and Rodney, who of course was Kokina at the time and became Yokozuna. Shane Douglas came with us and the Armstrongs. Stevie and Tracy Smothers were the Wild Eyed Southern Boys, and Danny Davis, the Nightmare Danny Davis, Kenny Wayne...we had a pretty good little group there...

Jeremy: Wow! I should say so...

Bob Blackburn: We pumped the thing, you know...pumped the territory, started to make a little money...then as usual somebody decided they weren't getting paid thing you know someone else came in and they asked me if I was going to stay. I said "No" my loyalty was to Eddie Gilbert - he had given me a start...

Jeremy: Now who did you wrestle as at that point..?

Bob Blackburn: Oh, still the Drill Instructor - D.I. Bob Carter...

Jeremy: Oh, okay...

Bob Blackburn: ...and I had a guy by the name of Mark Pyle, Private Pyle as my valet, who just happened to be Chief Jay Strongbow's son. So that was an experience all unto itself as Mark was equally green and equally as soft - it was a full time gig just to keep up with him.

Jeremy: Okay, well now at the end of the month there's going to be the Eddie Gilbert memorial Brawl here...

Bob Blackburn: Funny, I hadn't heard about that...I'm out of the loop in that really for the last ten years I really haven't had anything to do with the business directly other than being fortunate enough to have been invited to a number of celebrity golf tournaments...if I'm lucky maybe seven people in the United States remember watching me wrestle - I've been able to parlay that into a lot of really good golf in a lot of nice places. I haven't really kept in touch with many of the boys except for Arn Anderson because I've been managing his business affairs during the ten years I've been out of the wrestling business...or I guess its been 8 1/2 - 9 years that I've been out of the business. I've tried to get in touch with the organizers because I'd like to go up and pay my respects in regards to Eddie...

Jeremy: Sure...

Bob Blackburn: Sometimes I really wonder what they're doing in the sense that are they just using Eddie's name to draw a crowd but...

Jeremy: Yeah...

Bob Blackburn: ...but I don't know. Then again I admire the fact that they at leat memorialize him in some fashion.

Jeremy: Of course with the whole internet scene... some things tend to get blown out of proportion. What I would like to know would be what was it like to work with an Eddie Gilbert..?

Bob Blackburn: Eddie was a consumate businessman when it came to the wrestling business. He was a second generation wrestler, his dad Tommy had been around for a long time. I got a chance to work with Tommy in Memphis for a short time - he was doing the Freddie Kruger gimick...I forget what what it was called...

Jeremy: Oh yeah...Tommy and Doug both used that gimick and they moved it over to Japan at one point...

Bob Blackburn: Yeah, Doug was actually my tag team partner in Memphis. It was after I left Alabama - Eddie was instrumental in booking me into Memphis. Anyway to work for Eddie's dad was a treat, especially because I was very green at the time. I don't think I'd been in the business two or three years...actually I think when I went to work for Eddie I was only in the business maybe eighteen months. He saw something in me - Robert Fuller saw it and Eddie developed it. They were very very good to me - to work with Eddie know his mind was going a hundred miles an hour.

Jeremy: (laughs)

Bob Blackburn: I have a memory of being in a hotel room somewhere in Panama City, Florida with Eddie and Paul E, myself and Randy Collie - it was late, it was after the matches and we were talking about angles and talking about how we were going to get more people to come and see what we were doing because we really had a heck of a show, we put on a great TV show and Eddie developed my character in a sense. We brought along this Mark Young, as he was called then - we shaved his head in the ring and I had Allen Martin as the Barber, all dressed up - and it was a good gig. Eddie is one of those people who I will always think of fondly.

This segment constitutes approximately 1/3rd of the complete interview, the remainder of which will appear Wednesday in a Special Edition of the Newsletter. It is the first of several interviews of wrestling personalities which will be featured here in the coming months. Some of the other subjects include: Lou Thesz, Bob Ryder, Les Thatcher, Scott Teal, Buddy Landel and myself.

Jeremy Hartley is a good friend of Solie's an occasional contributor to Solie's Newsletter. His RealAudio Interviews (including this one) can be heard in the The Wrestling Channel Radio Network section of the TWC Online web site.

"Arn Anderson 4 Ever: A Look Behind the Curtain" is available for order through Scoops Central. The first 1000 copies of the book will be sold as collectors items, each one personally inscribed to the purchaser by Arn Anderson.

Saturday Night RAW

It's interesting that they are still showing clips of Ahmed Johnson in the opening credits, he walked out on this taping on Monday night and it looks like he won't be back.

RAW is on tape from the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. Jim Ross tells us that Degeneration-X is contemplating a lawsuit against Steve Austin for putting the Stunner on Chynna.

Road Warriors vs. The Quebecers - this could be a good match - both these teams are a bit past it but both are fine teams none-the-less. Jacque stops to show-off with a couple of nip-ups after a successful exchange and gets clotheslined out of his boots by Hawk. Pierre faces Animal and seems to fare better for a while but the Canadians have to double team in order to get ahead of the game. Meanwhile the New Age Outlaws appear on the ramp with a dumpster. They start bringing it down to ringside. Once there they attack Hawk and then dump him into the dumpster and close the lid. In the ring the Animal is suffering under a two-on-one assault. As Hawk is trying to kick through the plastic lid of the dumpster, Animal is making his comeback in the ring. Hawk finally gets out and joins his partner in chasing the Outlaws away from the ring area - and get counted out in the bargain. The WWF Attitude spot featuring Ahmed is shown. Cut to commercial.

We get a re-iteration of the DX lawsuit story then a tribute video about Chynna as we return.

Ken Sharock vs. Sniper - we get some clips of the Recon/Jackyl confrontation from last week. Jackyl joins the broadcast team for the match. In the ring Shamrock is outwrestling his opponent who is said to be wrestling his first singles match since entering the WWF. Recon has to interfere before Sniper makes any headway. Shamrock is dragged out and creamed. Back in the ring Sniper has the advantage for the first time in the match. Jackyl continues to prattle incoherently at ringside. Meanwhile Shamrock makes his move and soon ends the contest with an ankle lock submission. Recon comes in and gets suplexed as well before Shamrock splits. Jackyl chews out both of his proteges then slaps Sniper. Sniper yells back then leaves in disgust. Cut to commercial.

Back in the dressing room, Recon and Sniper are arguing about what just happened. Sniper is all for parting company with their manager.

Clips of Marc Mero humiliating Sable are followed by the couple themselves coming to the ring for an interview with the King. Mero starts by saying that he is tired of being painted as "the bad man" (the Badd man?) He clains that Sable is trying to steal his spotlight, he criticizes her mode of dress and then asserts that he has her under his thumb. She looks incredulous through this. The King reminds Mero that Sable shoved him to the mat the last time they appeared in public. Towards the end of his rant a bouquet is delivered to Sable in the ring. She takes the flowers, tells Mero that it's nice to have someone thinking of her for a change and walks out, ignoring his calls for her to stop. He trails her up the ramp and catches up but she just shrugs off his restraining hand and continues on her way (damn, she didn't hit him again...) Cut to commercial.

Jim Cornette rants about his NWA crowd. He tells us that veteran NWA official Tommy Young will referee the NWA Tag Team Title match tonight.

The Rock & Roll Express vs. The Headbangers - NWA Tag Team Title match - Ricky and Robert seem to be in over their head from the get-go. They finally employ their legendary teamwork to gain the upper hand. They also seem to have developed the ability to cheat as well. Good, thing because they've really slowed down. In fact they would have lost the titles but for the fact that Thrasher threw Robert over the top rope thus earning a DQ under NWA rules. Cut to commercial.

Steve Austin makes his first appearance at the beginning of the second hour for an interview with Jim Ross. Ross wants to know why Austin put the Stunner on Chynna last week. Austin rants about Michaels, Tyson and WrestleMania. I heard again today that HBK might have to go in for back surgery and miss WrestleMania so my prediction of two weeks ago may yet come to pass. If Michaels forfeits the title rather then lose it to Austin it will make the score 8 out of 10 times that he has done so with a major title in the WWF.

Jeff Jarrett (w/R&R Express/Barry Windham/Jim Cornette) vs. Owen Hart - European Title match - Jarrett brings down the entire NWA entourage for this one which puts the odds severly in his favor. Until the referee orders his thugs to depart the ring area. Owen goes right to work on his opponent until Cornette gets involved to turn the tables. The match see-saws and Cornette gets involved again and ends up in the ring. Jarrette uses the distraction to slip in a DDT. Owen is down but not out however and soon reverses the field once more. Owen upsets a Thesz Press attempt then slaps on an Inseguri and then the Sharpshooter. Cornette comes in with the racket and earns his man DQ. Cornette then gets the Sharpshooter put on him as well. Cut to commercial.

A video of Dok Hendrix's alter ego, Freebird Michael PS Hayes. Then the real McCoy comes to the ring in a muscle shirt. He starts to introduce the next match but the lights go out. Hendrix looks a little squeamish but removes his boot and stands his ground with it cocked and ready for action. He hits Kane with it twice but to no avail. He is chokeslammed then Tombstoned. For a few moments we have two veterans of the Dallas (WCCW) wrestling wars in the ring (Paul Bearer was Percy Pringle in the Texas promotion of Fritz Von Erich). Cut to commercial.

Sunny slinks to the ring to announce the next match. Hope Kane doesn't show up again :-)

Brian Christopher/Pireta Morgan vs. Taka Michinoku/Aguila - Morgan and Aguila start things off. Morgan is flung to the outside to be comforted by his partner. Aguila throws a corkscrew planche onto both of them. Now its Taka and Christopher - again the bad guys are on the receiving end until Christopher manages to Sunset Flip his opponent off the apron to the floor (ouch!!) Back in the ring Christopher continues to hold the upperhand. He tags in his partner who does a little better with his opponent already warn down. But Taka turns it around and the match see-saws. Things get a little confused as all four men come into the ring. In the melee, Taka gets his Michinoku Driver on Christopher and the pin. Cut too commercial.

Faarooq (w/NOD) vs. Steve Blackman - the "Rock" makes a presentation before the match. He denies that there is any problems within the NOD. He presents a Rolex each to Kama, D'Lo and Mark Henry. He concedes the leadership of the NOD to Faarooq then hands him a large flat package. It turns out to be a poster of himself which Faarooq tosses aside. The thugs on the outside create a distraction so Faarooq can pound on his opponent. At ringside Maivia is displaying his poster and consequently hiding Faarooq from the camera. Faarooq grabs the poster away and is ready to hit Blackman when Maivia grabs it out of his hands. Faarooq is rolled up and pinned. Afterward the "Rock" and Faarooq have a set-to, and Faarooq takes out his frustration on the poster. Cut to commercial.

Video review of what just happened. Michael Cole is backstage trying to get an interview. D'Lo comes out and tries to tell us everything is fine while we hear crashing sounds coming from behind the door.

Goldust/Marc Mero (w/Luna) vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie - Funks chainsaw scares their opponents out of the ring before the match. As the match begins, Funk pounds Goldust into the corner. Mero comes in and uses his boxing skills to turn the tables. It doesn't last - Funk and Foley are outwrestling their opponents. As the bad guys are making their comeback, Sable appears with her bouquet. She and her husband start arguing - meanwhile Luna is destroying the bouquet (how did I know that was going to happen?) Ther referee and Goldust get distracted by the dust-up at ringside thus giving Cactus Jack the opportunity to brain Goldust with a chair. Charlie gets the pin but the real fight is between Luna and Sable with Mero trying to keep them apart. They end up in the ring and its clear that Sable's outfit isn't made for action. It appeared that her left breast popped right out of its restraints but it was pretty hard to see because she was all over the ring.

At least that's the way I saw it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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