AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBBIE ELLIS
1.How long have you been wrestling for? I broke into pro wrestling in 1967.  Yeah, really.

2. Where did you get your training? Who trained you? I was in Boston for the day to see my girlfriend Annette, later my wife, and just happened to walk by the Boston Arena Annex which had a sign, “Learn to be a professional wrestler and it read like a personal invitation to me! It was the gym and office of promoter Tony Santos, whose heyday had already been pretty much long past, but what did I know?  Anyway, I was the only student.  It cost me $300. The teacher was a cop from the area named Billy Graham, no relation to the Superstar.  I drove to Boston from Maine every Sunday morning for about 5 weeks for the workout in a real ring  and had my first match in public, which, as you can imagine, was a disaster.  During the next twenty years I had a total of 6 matches because it wasn’t my life, I was very small, and I didn’t really have time for more.  And then, years later, some pretty great shit hit the fan.  I got a call to wrestle in my hometown of Portland;  but by that time Annette and I were running a somewhat high end art gallery and we hadn’t ever told anyone but our very closest friends about the pro wrestling.  I turned the booking down.  But, when I told Annette, she said, “Why not?  No one will know or care.” So I changed my mind and called back.  The morning after the match, a huge article and picture of me in what looked liked my underwear, my  fist in the air, a prone body of another wrestler in front of me, almost the full size of the front page, appeared in the local paper with the headline “Do You Know This Wrestler?”   (My extended family is  a well known one here in Maine in politics, charities, and sports. My Dad was one of the best amateur athletes Maine has ever produced.)  That story hit Sports Illustrated a short time later and then it never really stopped.  I was an Osgood File on CBS, a 4-minute news item on ABC World News (yes, we timed it), The Today Show later in 1996 (another 4 minutes, which is a lot of time on national tv).  In fact every network eventually did the story, and of course several of the mark magazines.
3. Who or what influenced you to get into the wrestling business? Television.  The Fifties were a golden age.  There was wrestling on late night t.v. on Saturday and Sunday every week. Ray Gunkel, Verne Gagne, Whipper Billy Watson, Rickie Starr, Hans Schmidt — all the great names.  It seemed like everyone was watching “Texas Rasslin”. Every kid I knew back  then wanted to be a superhero; and pro wrestling “good guys” (fans didn’t know any carny talk back then) were about as close as you could get to being one.
4.  What feds have you worked for? Who are you currently working for? International Championship Wrestling was my ‘big break’.  It could have been “number three” today.  In those days, it televised most of its shows and it was syndicated just about everywhere. I actually got fan mail on  occasion from  overseas! The quality really wasn’t very good, but a lot of big names on their way up (and on their way down) climbed through ICW ropes.  Later, Slam Wrestling, Yankee Pro Wrestling, Universal Championship Wrestling (maybe the best in New England south of Maine), New England Championship Wrestling, Green Mountain Pro Wrestling, Eastern Wrestling Alliance, Maine Event Wrestling, Grand Prix (Montreal), Midwest Pro  Wrestling (Minneapolis, a well-run promotion I’ve returned to twice and plan to go back again), and Chikara Pro Wrestling down in Allentown (This great group with a leader and teacher who is now a cult favorite and, I’m happy to say, a close friend, Mike Quackenbush, who’s put a shine on my name overseas; so Brussels might be my next great gig.  He gets gigs all over the world in Europe and Mexico.  A great teacher and a great athlete). Today I’m wrestling most often in  a young group, New Wrestling Horizons NWH, because it’s good and because Maine is its home base. (I am a Maine native and have always lived here other than during college days and a brief stint in New York City during the first big east coast blackout in 1965.)
5. Have you held any titles,and if so, which ones? Who has been your toughest match? Lightweight or cruiserweight champion of ICW on and off for years and the same for a number of the indies in New England at one time or other and currently I hold that title for NWH.
6. Who has been your toughest match? Brian Walsh, probably, long ago. More recently, Legio Cage, Rain, and Travis Funk, for sure.  Walsh had it all.  He was a wrestler way ahead of his time and was doing back  in the 80’s what nearly everyone else is doing today.  He had style and charisma, a great technician, always in  great shape, and hard to put down.  In some ways, my toughest match was recently against Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  What a good guy!   And he was great to work with. But “work” I did!
7. Who are your biggest rivals in wrestling?   Well, through the years there have a lot, for sure.  Phil Apollo, Eric Sbraccia, Brian Walsh, Pink Assassin.  More recently there have been Derik Destiny, Cameron Mathews, KIDD USA, Italian Stallion, Hardware, Legion Cage, Travis Funk, and Gary Gold.
8. What are your favorite kind of matches (straight up,tag team,ladder,hardcore,etc....): straight up, one on one, anything goes.  I wrestled in college (ed. note: Amherst College in Massachusetts) and I coach my old high school (we had a national champion this year), so I’m a pretty good amateur wrestler.  Even though I’m smaller than a lot of today’s guys, I’m not afraid to mix it up with anyone.
9. If you could have a match with any wrestler, past or present, who would you wrestle? Anyone who doesn’t answer the question with Flair, Angle or Benoit isn’t a professional wrestler. But I’ll go with Angle.  I was a fan from before the Olympics where he won the gold.   The head wrestling coach at the high school where I help out and I go to to  the NCAA tournaments every year, and we followed Angle’s career for a long time. It would be an incredible honor to wrestle him on a mat or in the ring.  He’s too big but this is a fantasy question and I’m giving a fantasy answer. I was really moved when he won the gold medal.  And, for all its entertainment value, I still find his work exciting on all levels.  Of  course, I’d whip his ass.
10. How would you best describe your wrestling  style? I cheat.  It’s the only way to go.  But I like to mix in a little lucha stuff, some of which I learned from Quackenbush; but I’ve been using a tilt-a-whirl (head scissors tornado to some) for many years.  I’m still learning.  You never stop learning or never should.  I did a Frankensteiner for the first time down at Chikara (against Quackenbush, actually) and have been using it ever since. Though for some reason, without Quack, I seem to land on my head more often than I should. I also throw in some mat wrestling because amateur wrestling is where I started.  By the way, my experience at Chikara this was second to none. I wrote a lot about it because I was so taken with the whole concept, the great guys in the group and,  of course, by Mike himself.  I really recommend anyone interested in pro wrestling at all to hit the link to the story  I wrote about it on my home page. http://www.robbieellis.com
  FOR MORE INFO ON ROBBIE ELLIS...CLICK HERE AND CHECK OUT HIS GREAT WEBSITE:
                              
Hosted by www.Geocities.ws

1