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Tuesday, March 04, 2014
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with wrestling historian and author Mike Chapman and Raul Ramirez of the Catch Wrestling Alliance about the announcement Monday that catch wrestling legend Billy Robinson has passed away at age 75. We spoke with them by phone Monday afternoon.
Even though in recent years he had to use a cane to walk and could not get on the mat himself, Billy Robinson continued to train people in catch wrestling.
"He knew the moves so well that he could pretty much talk you through it," said Raul Ramirez, who had been trained by him. "Even if it was a new move you had never seen before, just the description itself was enough for you to understand. And then he would just drill it until you did it right."
Trained at the legendary Riley's Gym in Wigan, England, by Billy Riley himself, Billy Robinson knew freestyle wrestling, catch wrestling, and the worked pro wrestling. Even in the latter, he was known for exhibiting his many holds and moves.
Mike Chapman recalled the time when Billy Robinson's name came up for consideration for induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, of which he was founder. The panel making the selections included many who were proficient in real styles of wrestling, including at the time of Billy's nomination, Lou Thesz, Danny Hodge, Verne Gagne, Brad Rheingans, and Jim "Baron von" Raschke.
When Billy Robinson's name came up, Mike said, several people exclaimed, "He needs to go in immediately. That's all I have to say." And he went in unanimously, in the class of 2003.
We discussed the present rebirth of catch wrestling and the Catch Wrestling Alliance International Invitational: The Rebirth. This event will be held Saturday, June 7, in Collins Court in the John Wooden Center on the campus of UCLA, at 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, California 90095-1612.
On No Holds Barred, Mike Chapman announced that he will be attending this event, including having many books and wrestling items on display. In addition, Mike will be at the annual WIN Memorabilia Show at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, March 20-22, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
We also discussed what is needed to be done to rebuild catch wrestling and to continue the legacy of Billy Robinson, and much, much more.
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