Friday, July 29, 2011

"Pretty Boy" Ripper Collins, Greenwood, Ms. TV, What Could Go Wrong?

L-R Superstar and "Pretty Boy"
So far I have talked on the serious side about the background of ICW Wrestling and given my opinion, for what it's worth, on a few folks and a couple of promotions, and I want you to know that anything I write about will be from my own personal experiences and not from the many things I have heard or know of. That being said, I am going to switch to the lighter side of behind-the-scenes incidents that can and do happen in the wrestling business which the fans never see, or, in this case, lots of folks in the Greenwood, Mississippi TV viewing area DID see! If you were one of those lucky ones, you will never forget. I surely will not! True Story - "Pretty Boy" + Johnny Cascio + Channel 6 + General Manager on the phone + Christmas Time + Decorations = A Night To Remember! Let me tell you, if you did not know and had not been around "Ripper" Collins, or were not there at the TV studio that night, there is no way you can fully appreciate the scene, but I will do my best to give you an idea of the chaos!
Johnny Cascio was the sports commentator for Channel 6 TV in the Greenwood/Greenville area. When we started filming our weekly ICW Wrestling Show live from the Sportatorium each Friday night in Greenwood, we had recruited Johnny to be "the voice of ICW", calling the matches from the commentary position. Johnny was a natural! He called the matches with excitement and enthusiasm in a very serious manner, such as the Jim Ross of today. Excellent at what he did!
"Pretty Boy" Ripper Collins was one of the wrestlers we brought in during that time who had been around different areas but not really known to the fans in the South. Well, it did not take him long to get their attention and realize that this was a wrestler that was "outrageous, flamboyant and, very unpredictable! His wardrobe was usually very bright and  outlandish and especially for Friday "TV" nights, he would go get his hair 'done', nails polished, and usually a bit of make-up. Now here is what happened this particular night; It was after our live TV taping at the Sportatorium and we were at the Channel 6 Studio to cut interviews. It was at Christmas time. We were waiting for Johnny to finish his late broadcast. During this "waiting", Pretty Boy had been wandering around the set out of view and had come across their Christmas Decorations. Nobody had really paid any attention to what he was doing because he was always into something! Johnny was wrapping up his broadcast and, to Ripper's defense, I guess it did seem like it was over when Johnny said "goodnight". Well, about the time the words got out of his mouth, here comes...(you have to try to picture this in your mind) "Pretty Boy" - dancing, prancing and skipping onto the the set, with all sorts of ornaments and garland in his hair and pinned on his outfit, throwing glitter and whatever into the air, singing "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas" in a high pitched voice, then at Johnny's side at the chair with a piece of mistletoe in his hand, held it over Johnny's head (who was still looking straight ahead), then leaned over and gave Johnny a big kiss on the cheek! It was hilarious! Camera crew was cracking up, Johnny turned red in the face and then - Here comes the problem! The cameras were still rolling! The phone is ringing - for Johnny - and it is the General Manager of Channel 6! He not only demanded to know what was going on and Who was that, but also WHAT In The Hell WAS that?!! By then the rest of us realized what was happening. Johnny was still red, still on the phone with the boss, somewhat speechless, our Booker Frankie Cain, The Great Mephisto was chewing Ripper up and down, and as far as I remember, I was standing there speechless like Johnny, but at the same time trying to hold back the laughter! The rest of the crew at the station were still rolling on the floor. Needless to say it took a bit of talking and a cooling off period for the General Manager. So, I never will forget the night that "Pretty Boy" Ripper Collins, the big dancing Christmas Ornament, invaded Channel 6 TV in Greenwood, Mississippi! I could write a book about this man! There were so many more "incidents" with him! Felt like strangling him sometimes but yet, couldn't help but love the guy - Never a dull moment!! Great memories! Thanks for reading and, Stay Tuned!

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