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Steve Rickard

Steve RickardI started wrestling back in Napier in the 1940ís. I started off as an amateur wrestler and then finally I used to train the wrestlers and get some place or another where you could put a mat down. I even started building a building to teach the young amateur wrestlers and the conditions generally were not very good at all.

I first started wrestling with Ricky Walsh. He was the one who talked me in to turning pro but probably in those days the NZ wrestling association was run by Burt Steel. He was promoting then. Before that were the Bill McCreadies and all the old names in wrestling in NZ. Al Hobman was also starting out then and I wrestled for him but since then there were rookie promoters from around the world.

As an amateur you paid your own way to go anywhere and I wrestled in the national championships New Zealand wide.

As a professional I wrestled throughout the world, I would say in more countries than anyone else has ever wrestled. My first overseas trip was to Australia. I was talked into going there by Ricky Wallace then New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii then throughout the USA, Canada. I have never wrestled in England but have wrestled in Greece, India and Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia Ė just about name a country and Iíve been there.

My toughest opponents were names such as Karl Kotch and Harley Race, Ric Flair, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jnr  -all NWA Champions, Andre the Giant, King Kong - the great King Kong that is. He was known as the uncrowned Heavyweight Champion of the World. There were many, many names after that such as Abe Jacobs and The Destroyer. You say the toughest but it could be the most scientific. There were all types of wrestlers who wrestled throughout the world and they may not be the toughest but there was Russel Scows and as far as science was concerned he was good.

Steve RickardThe best memories of my era were the best and worst memories. They are hard to put together in so much as my first fond memories could also be my worst memories but you have to take the good with the bad. I have some great memories and probably some of my greatest were watching my sons break into the wrestling and become what they are or what they were as they are retired now.

But my greatest memories are seeing what you achieved with people you bred and when I say that - itís my sons of course and with the best and the worst you have to add those two together because Iíve had some bad ones. I was on a train in India when they blew it up. I was in Greece when they closed it up because they were having problems with Turkey and in the end you couldnít even get a plane out of there. You had to say how am I going to get out of here? They had to be some of the worst but when you think back, the day on the day can be the worst and on the other hand it can be the best.

I think if you want to get into the wrestling world then you have to give it your all. Of course if you can't wrestle donít get into it or if you cant learn to wrestle donít get into it. But whatever you do, give it your all.  Iím retired now and my wrestling days have all gone but Iím living here in Wellington as you can see and am quite happy to sit back and be retired.

July 2007