Huksie Howard Interviews Ripper Blackhart
Ripper: No problem Huskie, I am well. How about yourself?
Huskie: I’m great! I heard a rumor about you.
Ripper: There are so many, so you have to narrow it down.
Huskie: I hear you are a huge KISS fan.
Ripper: Have the Gene Simmons tattoo to prove it.
Huskie: You have a Gene Simmons tattoo?
Ripper: Sure do! I have his make-up symbol on my left arm. The man is a marketing GOD!
Huskie: Then I would say that you are a HUGE fan.
Ripper: My love started before I was in school. I got a Love Gun album for Christmas one year and it’s been my favorite band ever since. They were like Rock -N- Roll super hero’s to me
Huskie: Have you ever used a Kiss song for entrance music?
Ripper: As a matter of fact when I managed the Old School Empire towards the end we came out to Love it Loud, but don’t tell Gene!
Huskie: Before we dive into the wrestling business. I also heard that you used to write comics.
Huskie: What inspired you to create your own comics?
Ripper: I’ve ALWAYS loved super heroes and comic books. I’ve been creating my own characters since before I got my first Kiss album (laughs). So I was at the Mid-Ohio con one year and came across Illusion Studios at the time and I thought hey I could do this. Put together a crew of seven, the rest is history.
Huskie: Was your comics a success?
Ripper: Depends on how your measure success? We had kind of a cult following more so in Pittsburg than here in Ohio. I was happy with it.
Huskie: Are you still doing your own comics?
Ripper: I write some stuff here and there but haven’t really finished anything. I still create. Wrestling has kind of taken over the time I once used for the comic book.
Huskie: What is your favorite comic ever?
Ripper: My favorite character hands down is the Dark Knight himself Batman. As far as comic wise Kingdom Come I could read over and over again.
Huskie: Alright now onto wrestling. How long have you been in the wrestling business and how did you get your start?
Huskie: What all have you done in wrestling?
Ripper: Well I started off doing a little in the ring interview segment called Ripper’s Rant. From there I’d do ring announcing from time to time. Then I did the color commentary for the TV and DVD since then. I’m currently managing. I’ve also played the commissioner role for a couple promotions as well.
Huskie: When you were a ring announcer did you ever call someone the wrong name?
Ripper: I don’t think so, but I have screwed up in ring promos more than once.
Huskie: Out of everything you have done in the business. Which one is your favorite to do?
Ripper: It’s a toss-up between managing and doing the storylines and coming up with gimmicks. I love interacting with the crowds and I love watching storylines and gimmicks come together and seeing the fans reactions to them.
Huskie: Have you ever presented someone with a gimmick and they refused to do it?
Ripper: When it comes to gimmicks, I only offer them to guys that ask. If I think of something for someone I’ll pass it along to them. If they like it they’ll ask for more details, if they aren’t interested it’s not a big deal to me. It’s not like they are all winners. If one hits me I’ll share it and that’s about the extent of it.
Ripper: OH WOW!!! I knew this was coming and I still don’t know how to narrow it down. As managers go Jim Cornette and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan; I draw from. Wrestler wise the Four Horsemen, the Road warriors, pretty much any of the old school NWA guys. On the Indy scene pretty much all the guys I work with influence me one way or another.
Huskie: In your opinion who is the greatest manager of all time?
Ripper: Another tough one. I think over all I’d probably have to go with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. How many other managers have ever gotten their own DVD?
Huskie: What does it take to be a successful manager?
Ripper: I don’t know am I successful? I just do what is best for the guys I come out with. If they need that guy to cut promos for them then be that guy. If they want to incorporate you in the match then be that guy. If they just need you for fan interaction then be that guy. Above all else remember YOU ARE A MANAGER!!!! You are not the star. You are the guy that is there to help get something over. Whether it’s the match, the story, a gimmick or even the wrestler. You don’t need a T-shirt; you don’t need your own music. I mean come on how many kids did you see wearing a Jimmy Hart shirt back in the day?
Huskie: Why do you think we don’t see that many managers now days?
Ripper: I wish I knew because I see a lot of guys on TV today that really could use a mouth piece. I mean they are amazing in the ring but then they cut the most lack luster promos. Maybe Vince hates managers ever more than he hates tag team wrestling.
Ripper: On the big stage I like CM Punk, HHH, Santino kills me. No TNA guys come to mind. On the Indy level Jeremy Madrox, Jock Samson, Sami Callihan and Vinny from Jersey.
Huskie: Who cut the best promos of all time?
Ripper: In my mind Arn Anderson. Most of the great Horsemen tag lines came from him.
Huskie: What is your favorite match of all time?
Ripper: Now that’s an easy one Steamboat vs. Savage at WrestleMania 3.
Huskie: What is your favorite Indy match that you have seen?
Ripper: Dusty Dillinger vs. “Sweet” Stevie Lee in a steel cage match. That was another easy one.
Huskie: Out of everyone you have managed who was the most fun to work with?
Ripper: OH WOW!!! They are ALL fun. I mean the guys in the Old School Empire were great, that group consisted of Mr. Old School, Mr. Main Event, Jock Samson, Jeff Cannon, and Jeremy Madrox. I’ve managed Dusty Dillinger which we always came up with something. Mitchell Taylor over in Ft. Wayne. Hell I’ve even managed Brutus Beefcake in a match one but right now I’m having a blast with Sherman Tank and Chris Hall aka Badd Company.
Ripper: I knew he was on the show but I was set to manage another team. When they didn’t show up the promoter’s put me with Kid Fabulous and Beefcake. It was kind of surreal at the time. He spent most of his time in the back telling any of the boys that wanted to hear old Hogan and war stories. During intermission we went over everything and that was that. I mean it’s a pretty cool thing to get to say to people that aren’t in the business but know wrestling.
Huskie: I head that you got your hair cut in the ring once. Was Beefcake responsible for that?
Ripper: (Laughs) No, that was at the hands of my arch enemy at the time, “Metal Head” Steve Stone. Man, did that guy ever get me over.
Huskie: Since I brought up embarrassing moments. I heard you were de-pantsed in the ring.
Ripper: Once again that was by the hands of Steve Stone. Wardrobe malfunctions were all the craze that year thanks to me. Instead of just seeing my Mr. Bubbles boxers they got a full moon.
Huskie: If you could manage anyone in the world past or present, who would it be?
Ripper: Man, I would have loved to had been with the Four Horsemen back in the day. To me they are the original stable. Without them there wouldn’t have been any N.W.O or DX.
Huskie: You are correct my friend! What are your thoughts on Indy wrestling in Ohio?
Huskie: Do you think eventually the Indy scene will thin out and it will be just the better promotions standing?
Ripper: I would like to think that but I’m a realist and I don’t see it happening in my life time. It comes to things like the commission doing their job which I haven’t really seen since I’ve been doing this. When they “try” all they do is try to put rules in place that actually hurt the good promotions.
Huskie: You have worked for different feds in Ohio. In your opinion what are a few of the best feds in the state?
Ripper: Well in Ohio I work for WAR mainly. I’ve worked a couple OCW shows and Whiplash wayyyyyyyy back in the day. I’ve been to several other shows in Ohio and have seen their product, but you know this is going to sound a little bias and I am to a degree but WAR to me is the best. OCW is right up there as well. I haven’t seen them but from what I read and hear the boys at RCW are pretty good.
Huskie: You have seen a lot of talent in your career. Who are some of the guys that you feel should have a contract with WWE or TNA?
Ripper: Well, I truly believe that the tag team I manage now Badd Company would hang with any tag team those two promotions put together. It kills me to say this because I bust his ball all the time but Matt Mason should be doing this for a living, he has the making of a star. Krimson is another one, the real one not the Goldberg lite TNA is trying to push. The Scabronies I really like. Man I can go on and on but those are just a few.
Ripper: Wow, there are so many. Getting to introduce Jake “The Snake” Roberts as a special ref. Calling the action at a Pillman tribute show and managing the WAR tag team champs Badd Company would all be in a 3 way tie for 1st.
Huskie: What else you would like to accomplish in the wrestling world?
Ripper: All I would really want is someday, somewhere, when some of these fans have kids of their own and they are telling them stories about back in their day, when they would go to the wrestling shows, that my name get mentioned and that all the boys know I have the up most respect for all the them and thank them every day for being a part of the great business they have built.
Huskie: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and your haters?
Ripper: Yes I am never, ever, ever, ever leaving! (laughs)
Huskie: Is that a promise or a threat?
Ripper: A little bit of both, everyone can take it as they will.
Huskie: What companies do you currently work for?
Ripper: WAR in Lima, Ohio, and Federation of Elite Wrestlers and Destruction Pro Wrestling both are in Indiana.
Ripper: Because I’ll do pretty much anything they need. I am entertaining and come on fans love to interact with the bad guys and I let them do that.
Huskie: Every fed has their crazy fans that take stuff to far. Have you ever had any confrontations with crazy fans?
Ripper: Oh Yeah! I’ve had them come at me, get right in my face but that’s about it. I haven’t gotten hit yet. Although, I’ve been on shows where some of the wrestlers were hit or attempted to be hit by fans. Crazy stuff!!!!
Huskie: Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the wrestling business?
Ripper: Get trained by people who know what they are doing, shut your mouth and listen. Do as you are told and have a backup plan. Because for every CM Punk and Daniel Bryan there are a million guys like me.
Huskie: Are there any trainers that you would recommend?
Ripper: In Ohio you have Jeff Cannon and his Big Guns Academy and Cody Hawk at Rockstar Pro. Truth Martini over in Michigan.
Huskie: Well man that is all the time we have for today. It’s been fun and I’d like to once again thank you for your time.
Ripper: No problem man it was a good time.
Huskie: Wrestling fans make sure you get to a show near you so you can BOO this man! Until next time, you’ve been Hanging with Huskie!