Monday, November 14, 2011

Wild Red Berry

Ralph "Wild Red" Berry was a colorful wrestler and a holder of the World Jr. Heavyweight title a number of times. Since he operated out of Hollywood during these many reigns, he was likewise a regular in Arizona during the 1940s, with special emphasis on the Phoenix Madison Square Garden.

One of Berry's main Phoenix opponents was Gorilla Ramos out of Juarez, with whom he swapped the belt numerous times. He and Ramos had some bloody brawls that got so out of hand, some fans actually left the building sick to their stomachs from the gore.

Berry knew how to irritate a crowd. Even before the days of television boom, he was able to milk an audience with radio interviews and talks with newspaper reporters. The same held true for actions on the mike at the  shows. Using mufti-syllable words that only a college professor could understand, he slammed everyone in sight. At times he would quote Shakespeare, Dante or even from the Bible to make a point. Articulate far beyond most of his audience, they listeners were not always sure of what he was saying, but knew whatever it was, they didn't like it.

After retiring as a wrestler, Berry became a prominent manager, handling The Kangaroos, Gorilla Monsoon Hans & Max Mortier and others.

When he quit doing that also, he settled down in his native Kansas, where he became prominent in area politics and in the Masons.

He died after a round of golf, when he sat on his porch drinking milk.  .

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