Fred Rubenstein (aka Fred Richards, Senior Official of the NWA) has credentials in the pro wrestling business that most people wish they had. Starting as a beat writer covering pro wrestling show results LONG before there was an internet, Fred worked as a referee for many years, before becoming part of the group that has now taken over the National Wrestling Alliance, a once prestigious organization that has lost some of its lustre, particularly over the past 10-12 years.
John House & Phil Varlese share this interview with Fred, not to talk about his accomplishments in wrestling, but to get to the issues that face the National Wrestling Alliance today, as they attempt to gain respect in the ranks of current indy pro wrestling. We asked many questions that were sent to us, not only by fans, but by critics as well.
On the heels of last week’s show, where The Wrestling Guys discussed what they saw right & wrong with the NWA, as usual, they get right to the heart of the matter by bringing one of the top three men from the new Board of Governors.
On the heels of the longest running promotion in the US crowning a brand new World Heavyweight Champion, Phil & John discuss the National Wrestling Alliance, their interaction with them from when they first went on the air in 1996, the changes that have taken place since the 50th Anniversary of the NWA in 1998, and where they think the NWA resides right now in terms of its place in pro wrestling.
This is part 1 of a multi part series. Part 2 will air next week, and will include an interview with NWA Board of Governors member Fred Richards (Rubenstein), who has promised to answer any questions that the fans may remain unanswered with regard to the NEW NWA, and what their plans are for the future.
If anyone has questions for Fred, you can send them to us at TheWrestlingguys@yahoo.com. The deadline for any questions will be Monday morning (11/12) at 8 am. Listen to this podcast, then get your questions ready!!! In the meantime, enjoy the show……….
NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion Tokyo Monster Kahagas
Let’s go back 11 years, to the year 2001. For ECW, it was a time of reckoning, at least financially. They had assets of around $1.5 million, but owed over $8 million. Stars were leaving the company, and somehow, Paul Heyman kept on finding new talent that fans loved (and sometimes hated). Stars like Chilly Willy, Steve Corino, Simon Diamond, Jerry Lynn, Tajiri and others held the company together during this time of financial crisis.
Another one of those workers was David Cash, aka Kid Kash. For him, it was also a time of reckoning, deciding whether to stay with ECW, or move on with his career. Kash had won the ECW World Television Championship, defeating Rhino on August 26, 2000, only to have Rhino win it back from him several weeks later. On October 1 at Anarchy Rulz, Kash pinned EZ Money in a singles match. At November to Remember, Kash defeat C. W. Anderson. On December 3 at Massacre on 34th Street, he and Super Crazy were defeated by The Unholy Alliance (Yoshihiro Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck) in a tag team match. At Guilty as Charged, he and Super Crazy and F.B.I. (Little Guido and Tony Mamaluke) were both defeated by The Unholy Alliance in a three way dance tag team match. After Guilty as Charged, the promotion went defunct in 2001.
Kid Kash then – ECW
I was also at a crossroads with the radio/internet show. My radio partner for almost 5 years, John House, had left “The SMACK” show and our website to take a position as both commentator & creative staff member at CZW’s “Fake You” TV show. I was without a partner, and began to have thoughts about taking the show in a different direction. The show to that point had always been kind of light, and the element of kayfabe was a theme for both John and I. A new direction for the show was in order. We’d always covered the big promotions, and gave some press to some of our friends to promote indy shows in the tri state area (NY, NJ, and PA), but I wanted to accomplish 2 things. First, expand our indy wrestling coverage, which I did by setting up a network of reporters from all over the country, who weren’t really reporters, but wrestlers, managers, announcers, and other people in the business who could could give us weekly updates about indy happenings in their areas. It even featured the reporting debut of former WCW star April Hunter, as well as the reporter who ended up taking over the radio show & website, the very dynamic Michael Tuffer. We also wanted to do more serious, shoot type interviews with our guests, moving further from kayfabe and discussing more of the business and how it affected them, the fans, and the listeners of the interviews.
Kid Kash was one of those interviews, and I was really fortunate to be able to spend the time I did with him. I had heard through the grapevine that he was a difficult guy, and I expected a really short interview, figuring that I’d say something that would set him off and end the interview. Quite the contrary, he was one of the most candid and friendly guests that I’d ever had on the show. Remember, this was one of my earliest interviews without John there to be my comic relief, and I was nervous. He set me right at ease, setting the stage for some of my more in depth interviews like the show with the late Road Warrior Hawk. This interview was a turning point for me, and I went on to do another 14 months of shows before turning the reins to Tuffer.
Enjoy the interview with current TNA star Kid Kash from 2001.
In the Golden Years of pro wrestling in the 1950′s, the name Karl Von Hess sparked an incredible amount of hatred. Coming to the ring in full Nazi gear (keep in mind this was right after World War II), Von Hess would turn to the crowd and give the German “Seig Heil” salute to the audience. His mere presence at pro wrestling shows was enough to incite the crowd to near riot.
His real name was Frank Faketty, and while he used the Nazi gimmick to enhance his character, he was actually a great patriot, having served aboard the USS Montpelier in World War II, where he was a part of the Underwater Demolition Corps, the forerunner of the Navy SEALs.
After the war, he tried his hand at pro wrestling, and after trying a few different characters that just didn’t get him over as a villain, Faketty came up with the Karl Von Hess persona, and the rest is history. Karl became an immediate sensation as an out-and-out Nazi, and was a key player in the talent movement between the Carolinas and Vincent J. McMahon’s Washington office on the East Coast.
The Karl Von Hess that The Wrestling Guys interviewed was completely different than the character that most fans of the 50′s were familiar with. He was a family man, a gentle man who could flip the switch and get tough if need be, but a man who LOVED his wife Lenore, who was at Karl’s side until her death in 2005 (they were married for 53 years.)
Von Hess, and his wife Lenore.
We were fortunate to get this interview, which we believe was the only one he granted, as he’d become increasingly wary of the business in his later years. Von Hess went into seclusion after the death of his wife, ultimately moving in with his son and daughter in law, and passed on in 2009 due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.
This is a must listen, for anyone who wants to understand or learn about the legacy of pro wrestling, but more important, a study of the character of a great man. The Wrestling Guys proudly present to you, Karl Von Hess, who was in our studio along with former WWF star Wolfgang Von Heller and the great Les Morgan.