THE WAY IT WAS
by Percival A. Friend
(The EPITOME of Wrestling Managers)
Percival's Photo Of The Week
Percival's grandparents, Jacob Leroy (Roy) and Laura E. Friend, dated February 24, 1918
This past week, we lost another great in-ring personality in Randy "Don't call me Pee Wee" Anderson. He was one of the most respected referees in WCW up until it left the airwaves. His in-ring persona will never be duplicated, and his friendship will always be remembered, most of all because he cared for what he was doing.
Usually, when a wrestler decides it is too rough for him to continue on actively in the ring because of health or age, he puts on a striped shirt and becomes the third man in the squared circle, trying to bring law, order and justice to the event that is taking place inside the ring.
Sometimes, retired boxers take up the task of bringing a special glow in the center of a huge match that has become heated up enough that the usual referee can not handle it. They are brought in sometimes on a silver platter, so to speak. They are given special treatment that lets the fans know that they are different in every respect of the word. They are there to let every body know that they are in charge of the situation.
Men like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Archie Moore, Rocky Marciano, Max Baer, Primo Carnera, Mike Tyson and James "Buster" Douglas have all been a third man in the squared circle at one time or another. They were brought in to stop any unfair decisions, and they were to call it right down the line as far as the dedicated fan was concerned.
In some cases, former World Heavyweight Champions were donning the striped shirt because of their reputations of being tough guys in the ring. Men like Dick "The Bruiser", Pat O'Connor, Bobby Managoff, Verne Gagne, Ed Don George, Bobo Brazil, Everett Marshall, Jimmy Londos, Dick Hutton, Gene Kiniski, Dory Funk Jr., Lou Thesz, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and I could name more, made their presence, very hard to not agree with, in the center of the ring.
In the earlier years of my own career, I wore a striped shirt on special occasions when not wrestling. Some of the toughest matches I was involved in were the bitter, bloody and unruly wars between The Original Sheik and Bobo Brazil, The Miller Brothers (Dan & Ed) against the Fabulous Kangaroos (Costello & Heffernan), The Love Brothers against Cowboy Frankie Laine & Chief White Owl, Tex McKenzie and Pampero Firpo, and. of course. Wild Bull Curry against The Sheik.
There were many times when I ended up worse for wear in these altercations. Sometimes, I would get the clothes literally torn from my body while trying to maintain law and order between the ropes. Sometimes, I left the ring in a bloody mess from the guys involved in the match. There have been a few times that I have left the ring being carried out on a stretcher as a result of not calling something right.
There were many times when I would be applauded for my efforts to finally bring Law, Order and Justice to a feud. A couple of times, I was carried out of the ring on the shoulders of happy fans. The job of being a wrestling referee is a thankless position in most cases because everyone had their own favorites and they wanted them to win. Sometimes they cheered for the rough style, but most of the time they wanted the crowd favorites to come out the winners.
There are not too many guys actively involved with the business in the capacity of today's wrestling that could hold a candle to Randy Anderson's ability and movements. I say this because he called things straight down the line and moved very well in the ring. He didn't change his mind once he made a call. He respected the talents and lives of the men and women that were involved in the battles and tried to keep their images in your minds while doing his job inside the ropes.
Randy was a gentle person in a crowd of ruffians. Unlike most of the matches in the past, he leaves a tremendous amount of his memories on tapes that are available in most video shops. His legacy and triumphs will be hard to copy. Hopefully, the wrestling profession will never allow anyone else to become "Pee Wee" and ruin the greatness that Randy brought to the nickname.
Rest in Peace, Randy.
Percival A. Friend, Retired
David Ring and Penny Banner, sharing a special moment at the 2002 CAC. Penny was selling raffle tickets for the Championship Belt she was wearing at the time the picture was taken.
NOTE: A new video that has just been released about Penny Banner includes footage of a handwritten note from Elvis Presley sent to her when she wrestled in Memphis and some new matches not before seen of her in action. The cost is only $20 Money Order .....and you can get yours by sending to:
(MIDI Musical Selection: "The Devil Went Down To Georgia")
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