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Literary Ventriloquism At Its Finest!

Robert Brenner

Robert Brenner
Location
New York, New York, USA
Birthday
March 30
Bio
Robert Brenner is a humorist, critic, and ventriloquist. His work has been published in New York Magazine, the Huffington Post, Grin & Tonic, and Happy. He has been interviewed on LeMorningShow, the first Twitter talk show. He is a proud graduate of André Aciman’s Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center at CUNY. He lives in New York City with his child bride and two (imaginary) cats. Email: rabrenner@prodigy.net

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FEBRUARY 7, 2009 3:45PM

Whatever Happened To Randy "The Ram" Robinson?

Rate: 10 Flag

Sure I remember the Randy “the Ram” Robinson. I saw him wrestle the Ayatollah  at the Garden twenty years ago. Man, that was a great match. Fans like me still talk about it. That was back in the eighties, before everything started to suck. Reagan was President, we defeated the Evil Empire, and you could still chant “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” without feelin’ like a moron.

What’s he doing now? Still wrestlin’—mostly third-rate matches in high school gyms on the weekends. You know how it is—these jabronis stay in the show long after they should hang up their trunks. His body’s fallin’ apart—all that’s keepin’ it together is Ace bandages, ice packs, and drugs—but he don’t know what else to do with himself.  The only time he really feels alive is when he’s in the ring. During the week, he works in a deli slicin’ ham, which is—whatdoyacallit?—ironic, ‘cause he says he feels like an “old piece of meat.”

He lives in a trailer park in Jersey—when he’s not gettin’ locked out for the back rent. I been over to his crib once. It’s like a friggin’ time warp: it’s filled with forgotten wrestlin’ action figures, discontinued video games, and eight track cassettes.  He should eBay all that junk, but he just can’t let go of the past, know what I mean? The local kids treat him like a retarded older brother—a nice guy, but a little slow upstairs.

He’s got a hot girlfriend—sort of. She’s a stripper over at Cheeks. Not a bad looking broad—kinda looks like Marisa Tomei, that chick from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. (I can’t believe that fat bastard Philip Seymour Hoffman got to nail her. I mean, I can believe Ethan Hawke, but Hoffman?) Sure she’s hot—I had a lap dance from her, didn’t I?  A little over-the-hill, like the Ram, but still got a smokin’ bod. Anyway, it’s—whatdoyacallit?—paradoxical that the dude’s fallin’ for her. She’s in the business of sellin’ the illusion of sex, and he’s in the business of sellin’ the illusion of masculinity. Sad thing is, they probably would be good together if they could see through each other’s illusions. But they’re too stuck playin’ their parts to get really close.

The Ram’s—whatdoyacallit?—estranged from his grown daughter, who kinda looks like Evan Rachel Wood, that chick from Across the Universe. Not surprising. Let’s face it: wrestlers make terrible Dads. On the road most of the year. Never there when you need ‘em. You only see ‘em on TV gettin’ their brains beat out with steel chairs. I hear he wants to patch things up with her, but he’s not the most articulate guy outside the ring. (Inside the ring, he’s great: nobody says “I’m gonna tear your head off!” better than the Ram. He should get an Oscar.)  He’s kinda like Bobby De Niro in Raging Bull, know what I mean? Don’t talk so good, but you can see a lifetime of pain and sufferin’ etched on his face and body. Anyway, I hear she’s a lesbo…not that there’s anythin’ wrong with that.

I also hear the Ram had a heart attack after a hardcore match in Philly.  Jabronis went after each other with chairs, ladders, broken glass, barbed wire, thumb tacks, even a staple gun. It was friggin’ sick! Sure I was there!  It was friggin’ sick, but it was also friggin’ awesome! Like, how much punishment can these jabronis take to entertain us? Doctors say he should retire, but you know how it is—what, and give  up showbiz?

They say he resembles that actor—what’s his name? the guy from 91/2 Weeks and Angel Heart?—oh yeah, Mickey Rourke. Rourke dropped out of the movies to pursue a boxing career in France, if you can believe that. Face looks like an old bag of potatoes now—apparently he lost more than he won. But he could sure act, back in the day. Wonder whatever happened to him?

You know who the Ram really resembles? Jake “the Snake” Roberts. That’s right. You remember the Snake. He was a big-time wrestler like the Ram back in the eighties. Fought Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, all those guys.  You see him in that documentary a couple of years ago—what was it called?—oh yeah, Beyond The Mat?   Now in reality he’s a broken down crackhead wrestlin’ third-rate matches to support his habit.  And he’s estranged from his grown daughter—who happens to be a lesbo.  But he don’t have no stripper girlfriend.

Wrestlin’s always been a dirty game.  You ever seen that wrestlin’ movie—no, not that No Holds Barred crap with Hulk Hogan! No, not They Live with Rowdy Roddy Piper, although actually that one’s pretty good. But that’s a sci-fi flick, not a wrestlin’ movie. I’m talkin’ about Night and the City, which was made way back in 1950. It’s about this sleazy promoter, played by Richard Widmark, trying to fix a match so he can score a big payday. See, even back in the stone age, when dinosaurs like Gorgeous George roamed the Earth, they knew wrestlin’ was fixed.  Night and the City also stars real life pro wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko—no relation to Larry Zbyszko. You should Netflix it one of these days.

People ask me all that time is professional wrestlin’ for real, or what? I say, what is reality, know what I mean? Wrestlers get injured all the time in the ring. Sometimes they get killed, like Owen Hart. Sometimes they OD outside of the ring, like Ravishing Rick Rude. Sometimes even worse things happen: There was that nutjob Chris Benoit, the Canadian Crippler, last year, killed his wife and kid, then hung himself. Know what they found out when they autopsied him? Had a brain like an eighty-year old Alzheimer’s patient from all the flyin’ headbutts he delivered from the top turnbuckle. All us wrestlin’ fans are—whatdoyacallit?—complicit in a way, know what I mean? But that don’t stop us from watchin’.

Anyway, of course the Ram’s got one last shot at redemption: a grudge match against his old nemesis, the Ayatollah, in Vegas. It’s a corny gimmick, but that’s what wrestlin’s all about: fairytales for grown men. (Only don’t call ‘em fairies.) There’s no feud like an ol’ feud, I always say. Just hope he don’t drop dead in the middle of the friggin’ ring.

 Of course I’m gonna be there.  It’s gonna be friggin’ awesome.  You gotta see this.

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Comments

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If this writing is a put on, is genius stuff. Flat out. If you're you're really blogging old time wrestling, its priceless stuff. Either way, thumbs way up.

regards
RH
Nice.

Sadly, "all that’s keepin’ it together is Ace bandages, ice packs, and drugs" is true for even those at the top of their game. It just gets worse after they stop and all the old injuries come runnin' back.
Hey Robert, Awesome post - the way you speak, I feel like I know you. Thanks for writing.
Great post. It works on so many levels. It's a deconstructionist's dream! But even as a fictional, first person narrative interpretation of the movie, it's poignant and adds to the movie experience. Wonderful.
This was very well done. Very creative and expansive on a lot of sub-topics.

Was the movie really loosely based on the life of Jake the Snake Roberts???? I din't know that. Well done.
BTW... I grew up in the Bronx and my birthday is one day off of yours. Just an observation.
During my seven years of strange wrestling, I met so many guys like this. I really did and most of them never even wrestled The Ayatollah at the Garden or came anywhere close to it. Maybe the undercard on an under-attended AWA show at the Cow Palace. Maybe. Thanks for sending it. Rated.
Bob, thanks for the comment and the rating. I appreciate it coming from somebody who was in the biz. Like you, I am fascinated by the sociological meaning of professional wrestling, as well as being a big fan.
I love this Damon Runyonesque kind of stuff. Well done.
Emma, thanks for the comparison I love Damon Runyonesque stuff too--as well as reruns of the Avengers.