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Highspots Shoot Interview with Ranger Ross

This was filmed in September 2004

The host is Michael Bochicchio

It runs at two hours long

 

Ross talks about how he was an amateur wrestler in high school and in the Army. He talks about being really small in high school and that he wrestled in the 98 lbs weight class and finished at 140 lbs.

 

He talks about wanting to be a pro wrestler since he was a kid and his favorite wrestler was Les Thornton because he had a 1,000 holds gimmick and he also loved Dick Slater and Mr. Wrestling II.

 

On being an Army Ranger, Ross talks about the school is 74 hours a day and you get one meal per day and about two hours of sleep at night as he walked around the mountains of Georgia with a 70lbs bag on your back and lived in the swamps for three weeks. Ross said he lost 25 lbs after the training.

 

Ross said he served for eight years and has served in combat three times. He confirms that he was at Grenada then said one of his missions, the Iran Contra, is still classified and he cannot discuss that. Ross also fought in El Salvador and talks about how they lost nine guys on the mission. He said Oliver North was his boss as Ross said he respected him a lot and that he was “harder than Superman’s kneecaps.” Ross then goes into how those in Delta Force who are killed in action are not listed in the final death toll and the number of men lost at Grenada was greater than reported.

 

He talks about how veterans and how they needed to be treated better but adds they are at least improving that today. Ross then goes into how freedom has a price then when asked about Iraq today, he said that an “ounce of prevention is better than a pound of solution” as he said they did the right thing by invading the country but that the plan they had was poor.

 

Back to wrestling, Ross said he tried out for the Army team and was thinking about going into the Olympics but the USA protested it that year. After that, Ross went down to Georgia and asked Pez Whatley how to break into wrestling and was referred to Thunderbolt Patterson. Ross said he took a 30 day leave from the Army as he had eight years in and took a break to decide whether or not to re-enlist. Ross said that Patterson had hip surgery at the end and could no longer train so he met with Ted Allen and finished training with him. Ross said he worked out a bit with Todd Champion and Nelson Royal was there and said Ross was ready. However, Ross said that JJ Dillon told him they (NWA) already had a black guy there were using in Joe Coltrane so they passed on using him. When asked, Ross said this was his first experience with racism in wrestling as Ross said he did not experience it in the military and said there was no time for that while part of the Army Rangers.

 

He recalls the exact date of his first wrestling match on 8/10/86 for Jody Hamilton’s promotion in Georgia as he defeated The Nightmare. He said the main event was Ken Timbs vs. Mr. Wrestling II in a Lumberjack Match. Ross puts over The Nightmare and Mr. Wrestling II for helping him out.

 

Ross adds that he was told by someone that Bob Orton told them his son Randy was not ready to be a champion yet but could be one in a couple of years when he was talking about watching Tommy Rich as a young kid in Georgia.

 

On how he got into WCW, Ross said he worked for Jerry Blackwell and heard the Crockett’s sold the company to Turner and thought maybe they would welcome more than one black guy in the company so he called them up and spoke with Hamilton then met with George Scott, who had plans for him. However, Scott was fired a month later.

 

He laughs when asked about The Ding Dongs and said he had no idea what Jim Herd was thinking about and felt sorry for the guys in the gimmick and said it was the worst thing he had seen in wrestling. Ross claims Hamilton tried to talk Herd out of doing that but to no avail.

 

Ross said a lot of guys had big egos and refused to dress with the others but said Sting was really nice to him. When asked who was negative, Ross said he does not like to speak negatively of others. Ross laughs when asked about Ric Flair and everyone mocked him when he said “I swear on my children” as he never kept his word.

 

He traveled with Shane Douglas, Ron Simmons, Johnny Ace, Junkyard Dog, Sting, Scott Hall, and The Steiners. He is still shocked to find out Ace is high up in the WWE ranks as he saw no leadership potential in him while on the road but said he did like to have fun. He used to room with Scott Hall but switched with Shane Douglas as Ace and Hall liked to party as Ross said he never drank or used drugs.

 

Ross also recalls Catcus Jack starting out and doing elbow drops to the floor and how one night, Arn Anderson approached Jack and asked why he was taking these risks as he wouldn’t last a month at that rate as Jack said he was starving and needed to make some money. He also thought the Undertaker would always end up as a star as he could work.

 

He says that Jack Victory was a great worker and his favorite to be in the ring with then adds that Victory was not “The Terrorist” at the Clash of the Champions #7 like rumored as that was played by Doug Gilbert.

 

On coming down from the ceiling at the Superdome before facing the Iron Sheik, Ross said that he came up with him and did it himself as he had experience with this stuff in the Army and talked the company into doing it as they were hesitant regarding the cost. Ross also said the company took out a $1 million dollar insurance policy on him and a few of his Army buddies were paid by WCW and came to the building the day before to set everything up.

 

Ross liked working in Japan as he said they treat you like a superstar and get picked up by the bus in front of the hotel. Abdullah the Butcher got him a job over there and even wrestled Giant Baba a few times.

 

Back to WCW, Ross said the company was going through a transition at that time and had wrestlers putting together their own matches only designed to get themselves over. Ross then says the company did not use his own gimmick properly, calling it a “shoot” gimmick and they could have used it to get him over. Ross said he never gave the company and trouble or used drugs but still got pushed aside. Ross said at that time, the guys on the booking committee all partied too. He still does not hold any bitterness to them and doesnt know why they did not push him more.

 

We get a story about how he wrestled the Iron Sheik in Dayton, OH. Sheik loaded himself up with baby oil so much to the point Ross gave him a hip toss and Sheik slipped off and landed on his head as after the match, Sheik told everyone Ross was a jabroni.

 

Ross said it was his decision to use the super kick as a finish and got it from self-defense training in the Army and called it the Combat Kick, thinking it was a catchy name. The interviewer mentions how he spoke with George South, who said the Combat Kick was always performed safely as Ross says he never potatoed anyone in his life.

 

His contract with WCW ended before he left for Japan then he came back after a six month deal but did not do much of anything and was used the same way. Ross also had to get shoulder surgery. He also said that Jim Herd wanted him to come down from the CNN Center but it ended up getting called off. He thinks this gimmick was the only reason they brought him back as he mainly did personal appearance but sat home and was barely on the road.

 

He recalls meeting with Dusty Rhodes, who wanted him to train Ron Simmons and film him coaching Simmons through an obstacle course as his mentor but that also never came to fruition.

 

Ross also tells us he recorded a rap album and had an idea to become a rapper. He told Dusty about the idea and they never used it and later on PN News was created and given the gimmick.

 

After leaving WCW, Ross became a private investigator. He said he sunk a lot of money into the company then went through a nasty divorce with a bitter child custody battle. Ross said he went broke and became extremely depressed and said his “foolish pride” kicked in and instead of asking for help from friends or families, he decided to rob a bank. Ross said that cost him eight years of his life. He thought up the plan three days before it happened.

 

He then talks about going to prison probably saved his life and prevented him from going to hell. He got out and studied Theology and is now an ordained minister. Ross then pleads with people going through a tough time not to end up in prison like he did and whatever is happening in your life, talk to someone instead of getting yourself in trouble.

 

Ross talks about prison and said about 25% of the prisoners tried to make the best of the situation and wanted to get out while the rest are going in and out of prison. He also talks about he could have gotten out after 16 months but the State of Georgia wanted him to stay in there for 8 years as he scored high as a prisoner due to no prior arrests and an educational background. He said if the prisons went by the gridsheet guideline set by the state, 70% of the prisoners would be released and mentions that the state would save money as they always complain about the budget. Ross says the parole board essentially has more power than the legislature as they are the ones who make the decision and do not go by the guidelines that are set.

 

When asked about the rumor that he tried to burn down the police station before he was detained, he says that was not true and was working part-time as a probation officer and was embezzling money so he burned a file draw that contained some records and got charged with second degree arson. This all happened at the same time of the robbery.

 

On today’s wrestling business, Ross says all you need to be a wrestler is to get a pair of wrestling boots. He talks about how guys today are not telling a story of painting a picture as they are more concerned with doing highspots, which Ross says has a place in wrestling but needs to have a story behind what they are doing.

 

He closes the interview by putting over the Highspots website and how much great stuff they have to offer as the interview takes place in the company’s office.

 

The Highspots Network version of this shoot features the 5/30/90 All-Japan Pro Wrestling Tag Team match of Ross & Abdullah the Butcher vs. Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura

 

Final Thoughts: Overall, I liked this interview. Ross is an interesting guy for sure, with his experience in the military and spending 8 years in prison to go along with his time in pro wrestling. Ross was not bitter at all and certainly preached here to think before you act. His thoughts on the prison system were certainly interesting.

It was also telling to me how Ross said the first time he experienced real racism was in WCW, which certainly tells us the narrative by many African-Americans that it was a bad place for them in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

This was an interesting interview and with a better host (Sean Oliver comes to mind as he is the best in the shoot interview game) you could really have something great. Even still, I do recommend this as it holds your attention throughout the entire two hours.

 

You can purchase the DVD for $9.99 or download a digital copy for $5 here

Also, those subscribed to the Highspots Network can watch it for free.