Back in the early 90s a friend of mine was taking pictures at Circle City Wrestling in Indianapolis and he introduced me to Mike Samples who was promoting the CCW shows. Samples allowed me unrestricted access to all things CCW, I was writing a sheet at the time and was putting over CCW because they were drawing while running in a rundown old city garage and people like Sabu and Rob Van Dam were coming in to work.
I became the ring announcer and also did TV play-by-play for CCW and it was at this time I met “Hustler” Rip Rogers who I remembered from GCW and being a tag team champion with Ted Oates and the feud they had with Ronnie Garvin and Jerry Oates. I am not sure why but Rip took me under his wing and helped me with my TV and interviews, he schooled me and introduced me to a side of wrestling I had not known nor understood.
Rip Rogers took me along to a show in Illinois so that I could meet one of my favorite workers Paul Christy and I also got to meet and discuss the business with George Weingeroff that night. Something that made that night even more special is Rip had me go to ringside with him as his manager and from there Jerry “The Worm” was born. I would go on to work with Rip at Ohio Valley Wrestling for a couple of years and learn even more about the business but most importantly I would learn about Rip Rogers.
There were times I would be traveling with Rip and suddenly Mark Sciarra would be talking and would give a glimpse into who he really was. I got to know “Hustler” Rip Rogers as well as getting to know Mark Sciarra and they are two different but yet similar people.
Highspots.com sat down with Rip to talk about his career and his life in wrestling in a 90 minute interview that at the end left a lot to be desired. The interview covered his career beginnings, his time in Canada and his time working for ICW and being part owner there and of course briefly covered his stints across the country and abroad. There were some awkward moments of course such as when Rip was called a “journeyman” and when Rip questioned what “on top” really meant. Another brief moment when the topic of former wife Brenda Britton came up and Rip did not want to discuss her but did say she was ahead of her time in the entertainment business (Britton passed away in 2007).
I will not say that because I know Rip Rogers and I have spoken to him a number of times over the years that I am being unfairly critical of the interview but there was so much more than could have been talked about in this interview. Rogers has worked with the best in the business, he has trained a number of top stars, he worked in almost every territory over his career and he has stories about it all. I was hoping for so much more from this shoot and I was left somewhat disappointed but perhaps that is simply because I have heard some of the stories and I know there is so much more to Rip Rogers and Mark Sciarra that could have been brought out.
If you do not know Rip Rogers or only know of him then this is a good interview to introduce you to one of the best workers who never really made his mark on a “major” level. What Rogers meant on a number of local levels and what he means to today’s wrestling, whether he watches it or not, he is part of it, is unheralded. Highspots.com always produce interesting shoots and this one is no exception though I wanted more only because I know there is so much more that could be had.
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