Wrestlers Who Saved Their Money….

Wrestlers Who Saved Their Money…. And Those Who Didn’t

Written by Justin Murphy

 Why do some wrestlers know when to quit real early and invest their money in real estate? Or retire to enjoy the rest of their lives. Yet some others either blow their money on drugs and alcohol. Or partying and end up wrestling in some high school gym or local every weekend. Or every month wrestling into their fifties and sixties. It is a question that boggles the minds of many fans and has for years. And after Mickey Rourke’s riveting portrayal of Randy ”The Ram” Robinson in the Oscar nominated film The Wrestler, more people have grown curious. 

To avoid any controversy with those in the wrestling business and fans alike, the individuals at the center of the article will not be named. Instead they will be referred to as ”Wrestler A” and ”Wrestler B”. They both came out of the same era of wrestling and were stars in the same regional territory. Yet at different times. One is an example of a wrestler who saved his money and left when he started slowing down and showed signs of age. While the other had no regard for money at all and is still wrestling thirty years past his prime.

 

Wrestler A worked as a deputy sheriff in Houston County, Alabama. He came into wrestling knowing it was for the money and treated it like any other job. He wrestle d one of his first matches against Danny Hodge. Then going on to feud with Cowboy Bob Kelly and Ken Lucas. He then wrestled one of his final matches against a young rookie named Terry ‘’The Hulk’‘ Boulder (later became Hulk Hogan, a huge star worldwide). He saved his money from his wrestling days and left the business around the age of forty.

 

Other than the annual Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunions in Mobile, Alabama or the occasional legends show in Dothan, he has not had much to do with wrestling in over thirty years. There was a time in the mid to late nineteen eighties where he broke his son into the business. Yet it did not work out and his son left the business after a personal falling out between the two of them. He learned his lesson. In fact, he barely ever talks about the wrestling business around family and friends. To him, it is a thing of the past.

 

On the rare occasion he did mention the business, it was often the local Dothan-Panama City wrestlers on WTVY and at The Houston County Farm Center such as Dick Dunn, Mario Galento, and Greg Peterson. No mention of feuds with Bob Kelly or Ken Lucas. No mentions of Mobile-Pensacola or Mississippi. No mention of Lee Fields or the Gulf Coast. Nor was there any mention of other wrestlers he feuded with, much less the other territories he wrestled in during his career.

 

 

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Wrestler B worked as a fireman in Marietta, Georgia. He thought he was going to be the biggest deal in the wrestling business since Gorgeous George. So he quit the day job to wrestle ”full time” and became such a big star all over The Southeast. He even received national exposure by appearing on Georgia Championship Wrestling that aired on TBS. In fact, he also booked matches and feuds in the Georgia territory and for Ron Fuller’s Southeastern/Continental territory He also worked further behind the scenes as a locker room enforcer for both territories was later a WCW Road Agent.

 

All four of his sons later became wrestlers. The oldest three are best known for being solid lower level talent in WCW for over a decade. Yet his youngest son became a huge star in WWE as one of The New Age Outlaws. However, years of forsaking a day job that provides health insurance and a retirement plan has come back to haunt their father. Over two decades after the old territories in The Southeast have dried up, he is still wrestling near the age of seventy. He now makes his home at high school gyms and local fairgrounds in front of just a few hundred people and earning a small fee each month.

 

He is looked at as a hero and a role model by those in locker room. Many rookies on the independent scene in The Southeast. In addition to many veteran wrestlers in the are a whom he took under his wing over the years. While Wrestler A on the other hand often discourages young hopefuls from entering the wrestling business. Often reminding them of how all those years of wrestling in the ring screwed up his body and his family life.

 

A couple months ago at the end of May, both of the aforementioned wrestlers appeared at a legends show. It took place at The Civic Center in Dothan, Alabama. Wrestler A appeared in a brief segment after the first match. He discussed how growing up in Malone, Florida, he came from nothing and wrestling gave him everything, such as land and a home to live in for the rest of his life. It was also mentioned how he saved his money and left the business. He did the smart thing by just doing a segment near the start of the show and collecting his appearance fee on the way out.

 

However, Wrestler B was in the main event, it was all about him. This night was dubbed his ”retirement show”. Video tributes aired on a big screen and wrestling legends came out to honor him throughout the night. Of course, he was the big attraction on the last match of the card. All this hoopla for a guy who did not save his money and stayed in the business well past his prime? He has since tried to make a buck on a couple more independent shows in Andalusia and a couple other towns in and around Southeast Alabama. The main lesson here is to save your money and know when to quit.

  • Rodney

    Yes I’ve always wondered this.. Poor Bullet he just needs to walk away but he won’t. He’ll be one to die in the ring while The Pro clearly made the right choice.

  • Justin Murphy

    Thank you for the comment! I agree it’s too bad Bullet Bob Armstrong thinks the world revolves around him. ”The Wrestling Pro” Leon Baxter on the other hand told everyone in the business to bend over and kiss his ass years ago.

  • http://buddywayne.net BW

    He doesn’t need the money he loves this business. Why not just show up out of shape, not tan or gear, like the rest of the new generation killing wrestling. His wife was a career military women who wanted him to do what he wanted. And that was make good money, raise 4 great guys, and do what he wanted. Guys 40 years younger don’t get as many shows, or make the money, he still does. He sold the 14 acre house to his son Road Dogg, and moved to a condo on the beach. All so his grandkids would grow up with what his kids had. He still has the duplexes and no stress. Look at the rest of the guys on that show. They were either 60 and looked 70 or 30 and looked like they should have been in the crowd with a ticket. Why “walk away” when your still getting called?

  • Justin Murphy

    That’s a hell of a note when your wife is wearing the pants in the family and supporting you when you’re blowing money being a wrestler. He had a good job as a fireman that could have provided for his family, with or without his wife’s job. If he kept the day job without having an ego and running his mouth, he could have retired in the late 70′s and led a much more comfortable lifestyle.

    Here’s an e-mail from someone about how much of a jackass Bob Armstrong really is:

    It is sad about Bob, he was the real deal in the south. I had heard from some of the Fields clan (who booked him in the Gulf Coast for a short stint, years before becoming a main draw in Southeastern) that he just couldn’t keep his mouth in check around the decision makers. I also heard he caused some grief for his sons. Brad had a legit shoot at the new ECW announcer spot when Styles left and Bob came in and ran his mouth and blew it for him.

    You see, the main lesson in The Wrestler is that if you blow your money and get too hung up on ”loving” the business, you’ll spend middle and old age tanning, gearing, and staying in shape until you’re 70. Long past the age where they should have retired years ago and saved up enough money to enjoy their retirement years. Maybe Bob Armstrong should have taken heed of that warning when he was younger instead of running quitting his day job and telling promoters (who were paying him what little money he blew) about being a big star, he would not be in the mess he’s in now.

    Of course, The Fields made money running an actual territory stretching the Gulf Coast drawing thousands of people while these so called ”local indies” can’t draw a fly in a flea market in comparison to the crowds they drew years earlier. Long before Bullet Bob started working guys in the indies about how much of a ”star” or a ”legend” he was and thinks he still is. Check your facts with other guys from that era who do know Bob for how he really was and still is, before you run your mouth at your wrestling school and on the indie scene about how great he appears to be.

  • AJ

    When your doing what you love does it matter about money. Also look at Bob Armstrong now going into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Why do you talk bad about a man who did help many of the other people who did make it to the top of the wrestling business and had a major impact on it.