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Rip Hawk - A Class Act

By Frank Dusek

I grew up on the road. By the time I was 3 years old, I had been Rip Hawkin 32 states and three foreign countries. But when I reached the age to start school, all that stopped and we "settled down" in my mom's hometown of Charlotte, NC. My Dad "retired" from the ring after 35 years and began what would be a 28-year career as a road agent for Jim Crockett Promotions.

In spite of school, I still got to travel a lot with my Dad. After all, I was making a pretty good living (as much as $300 a week in the mid-1960s) selling programs, setting up the rings and performing all the many other tasks (ushering, announcing, keeping time, etc.) that are necessary to run a wrestling show.

I tell you this so you'll understand that during this time, I saw a lot of Rip Hawk; even before he and Johnny Weaver took over the booking from George Becker. The team of Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson was equal in ring work and drawing power to Gene and Ole Anderson.

When my ring career first started, Rip Hawk was one of the wrestlers whose style I kept in the back of my mind every time I went to the ring.

So it’s safe to say I was excited when Joe Blanchard booked me with Rip Hawk in a match at the Seaside Coliseum in Corpus Christi, TX. Even though I had only been wrestling for about six months, I had watched Rip for so many years (meaning he had watched me grow up), and I really wanted to show him what I had learned.

When it came time for our "finish", Joe said to "go Broadway", in other words, make it a time limit draw. Even though Joe had plans for me, this finish was a "tip of the hat" to Rip for his many years in the business. Joe just wasn’t going to ask Rip to do a job.

To his credit, this legend of the sport immediately spoke up. He asked Joe if they had any plans for me. Joe answered "yes". "Then he should get his hand raised," Rip said. He set about outlining a finish for me that ended with my taking the fall with his own hold, the "swinging neck breaker".

Now that’s a class act!

Frank Dusek is a second-generation wrestler from one of the most famous wrestling families ever. He had a solid career as a wrestler and later managed several wrestlers to major titles. He also spent time as a broadcaster, promoter and matchmaker. His first memories of the wrestling business are selling programs for his father when he was 4 years old.

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1999 Content: Frank Dusek, Mark Nulty
1999 Design: Jan Herod
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