It absolutely didn’t amount to Randy Colley if he was cutting face paint, abaft a mask, or chewing on a bone.
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All that mattered was that he was accomplishing the affair he admired most.
And that’s “rasslin.”
Colley, who anesthetized abroad on Dec. 14 at the age of 69, served as a journeyman, a accomplished artisan who went from breadth to territory, alteration gimmicks at the bead of a hat.
“If I could do it all over again, I’d do it alike quicker. It’s a abashment that everybody has to abound up someday,” said Colley in a 2013 interview.
His account of gimmicks and monikers over a 25-year career could ample a affiliate in a book.
Randy Colley anesthetized abroad beforehand this ages at age 69. Provided/WWE
Among them: one bisected of The Assassins alternating with Jody Hamilton and others, a Dalton brother, a founding affiliate of Demolition, Deadeye Dick with Black Bart and Dutch Mantel as The Desperados, Uvalde Slim, Detroit Demolition and Randy The Mountaineer.
He captivated the North American appellation for Cowboy Bill Watts as The Nightmare and The Champion, was one of the abounding Black Scorpions in WCW, and went beneath a awning as a affiliate of The Medics and The Executioners.
And there were affluence more.
Perhaps his best memorable persona, though, was as Moondog Rex.
With Moondog King (Sailor Moran) and afterwards Moondog Spot (Larry Booker), Colley accomplished success throughout the country during the 1980s as allotment of one of wrestling’s best camp and hardcore duos.
Colley anesthetized abroad one anniversary afterwards anaplasty to amputate his appropriate leg aloft the knee.
Colley bankrupt into the business in the aboriginal ‘70s in Atlanta. Al Velasco, who formed for Gunkel Enterprises at the time, took him beneath his wing.
“I was aloof animadversion on everybody’s aperture aggravating to acquisition out how to get into the business. I assuredly begin out breadth he lived and went to his house,” Colley recalled.
Velasco told Colley that he would admonition him out — if he could exhausted him.
“Here I am,” Colley responded. “Al was a nice guy. He helped me out an abominable lot.”
But not afore putting Colley in a amoroso authority (an old bolt angry move, fabricated somewhat acclaimed by Stu Hart, that can account the victim ample discomfort).
“I anesthetized out. They guy who was with me left,” said Colley.
Colley was able to achieve his composure, accomplish the 45-minute drive aback home and go to his friend’s house.
“I woke up, got out of my car and fabricated it aback to his house. I was still affectionate of humdrum.”
Upon seeing Colley, his afraid acquaintance exclaimed, “I anticipation you were asleep … I didn’t apperceive what to do!”
Colley said he didn’t alpha absorption his bearings until the abutting day.
“And afresh I thought: I don’t accept that guy did that to me.”
The affliction connected at the abutting session. But on Colley’s third visit, it was a altered story.
“At the end of that session, he said, ‘Let’s aloof accept some orange juice.’ He had put me out two times, so I assumption he was afraid aback I came aback again.”
A full-fledged barb at that point, the 23-year-old Colley began his two-decade expedition beyond the country and about the world, alive in all 50 states and touring a cardinal of adopted countries during his career.
He was what he consistently capital to be. A rassler.
Randy Colley with his signature Moondog bone. Provided
During the ‘70s Colley formed in a cardinal of territories.
“I went from Atlanta to Puerto Rico, Montgomery, Tampa, Tennessee,” he said.
The aboriginal moniker of abounding that Colley would use was “Golden Boy” Randy Jones.
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“They couldn’t say Colley bottomward in Puerto Rico, so the guy said Jones. I didn’t care. They could alarm me whatever they capital to,” said Colley, who absolute his albino for the gimmick.
His abutting stop was Montgomery, Ala.
“They asked me if I absent alteration my name. Actuality we go again. They had Jim Dalton advancing in, so I was Jack Dalton of the Dalton Brothers. It (the town) didn’t die completely, but it was appealing abundant gone aback we got there. We gave it a little boost,” said Colley, who with his new accomplice captured the Gulf Coast tag-team belts from Eddie Sullivan and Rip Tyler.
While alive in the Knoxville area, Colley was asked if he’d like to be one of the Masked Assassins.
A big fan of the aboriginal duo (Tom Renesto and Jody Hamilton), Colley jumped at the befalling aback the two went their abstracted ways. He wore the awning in Knoxville, Atlanta, Pensacola and Memphis, breadth they feuded with Robert Fuller and Bill Dundee over the AWA Southern tag-team belts.
“I never anticipation I would accept been in that situation,” he said. “When the guy asked me about it, I said, ‘You’ve got to be joking.’ He said he wasn’t, and I wasn’t activity to canyon that up.”
He alike got to aggregation with Hamilton beneath the hoods in Atlanta in 1979, and the two captivated the Georgia tag-team belts on two altered occasions, already arduous Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood for the NWA apple tag-team appellation at the Omni.
Colley was so bugged by Hamilton, he said, that he would generally acquisition himself watching, instead of participating, in the match.
“I had the best bench in the house. He’d alpha to tag me sometimes, and I’d go, “No, no, wait!’”
Colley said he thoroughly enjoyed his run with Hamilton.
“We had some abundant matches with Mr. Angry No. 1 and 2. They were unreal.”
Colley had teamed with Roger Smith as The Assassins in the Knoxville breadth breadth they captivated the Southern tag-team appellation on several occasions.
“He looked aloof like Jody,” Colley said of Smith. “I saw him in Atlanta one night, and he came in and started accepting dressed. And Jody was accepting dressed. I anticipation he was activity to adapt me.”
Colley said he was on his way out aback Charlie Fulton chock-full him.
“Hey, they’re attractive for you aback here,” Fulton told Colley.
“Tell them you can’t acquisition me,” Colley attempt back.
“That’s aback Charlie said they were absolutely attractive for me. I had my bag in my duke and I absolved aback there and they took me aside.”
“We’ve got article we’re activity to do tonight,” they told Colley.
“And that was the night I was Uvalde Slim. Alive with Ole Anderson at the Omni as Uvalde Slim … now that was something.”
A ages afterwards Colley begin himself in New York.
He was attractive over his booking breadth aback he asked Angelo Savoldi what “MSG” meant.
It was, of course, Madison Square Garden, and Colley was appointed to action there.
He fabricated the Garden in alone his fourth or fifth appearance in the territory. As he looked out over the massive crowd, one anticipation came to mind.
“It didn’t attending any altered from the Omni,” he recalled. “The Omni was affectionate of like the pinnacle. I had consistently been bottomward South, and it was like, if you could accomplish it at the Omni, you could accomplish it anywhere. Madison Square Garden was the place, but to me the Omni was aloof special.”
Colley, who formed in New York in 1979 and 1980, alien himself to Vince McMahon Sr. and asked the adept apostle if they ability accept a name for him.
“What about Ripper Hawkins?” McMahon asked.
Colley, who had appeared beneath worse names, told McMahon that he could alive with that moniker, at atomic until article bigger came up.
In the meantime, a cardinal of association were acquainted Colley’s affinity to Oregon-based brilliant “Moondog” Lonnie Mayne, and they were advertence it to McMahon.
Colley had alone met the agrarian and capricious Mayne already in Texas, and alone in passing.
Before he knew it, he was actuality asked by McMahon if he absent alteration his name to The Moondog.
Like always, Colley didn’t absolutely apperception what promoters alleged him, as connected as he got paid.
“I didn’t care. I’ll get a cartilage and abrasion absolute dejected jeans,” Colley told McMahon, who anticipation it was a abundant idea.
The abstraction eventually broadcast to a brace of Moondogs.
“We charge addition cartilage and addition brace of jeans. We’re activity to accomplish him a Moondog,” McMahon said of Colley’s new partner, a bright Newfoundlander by the name of Ed “Sailor” White.
“That’s how The Moondogs was born,” said Colley.
In 1981, the two brawlers with disconnected jeans and chewed-up bones, now repackaged as Moondogs Rex and King, would win the WWWF tag-team appellation from Tony Garea and Rick Martel.
Randy Colley already teamed with Joe Hamilton as The Masked Assassins. Provided/Chris Swisher
When White was arrested and denied re-entry to the United States at the Canadian border, the WWWF replaced him with a cardinal of substitutes including Stan Hansen, Sgt. Slaughter, Lou Albano and alike Hulk Hogan.
White would afterwards affirmation that a bound altercation complex a battling angry apostle alerting the authorities to his bent past.
For whatever reason, White was not accustomed to appear aback beyond the bound from Canada.
“It ability accept been his alluring personality,” Colley said, with a adumbration of sarcasm. “They wouldn’t let him aback in the states.”
The WWWF fabricated the advertisement that Moondog King (White) had been hit by a car to explain his departure.
“Sailor was an alright guy,” said Colley. “He was from Newfoundland, and I was from Alabama. There was annihilation amiss with Sailor. He was bad about drinking, and I didn’t appetite to be a babysitter. I ambition I could accept done article different. I hated that. But we aloof didn’t click.”
Larry Booker, bigger accepted as Larry Latham, was brought in from Louisiana to booty White’s place. Andre The Giant had apparent Booker assignment in that territory, and appropriate him for the job.
“This guy will accomplish you a acceptable Moondog,” Andre told Colley.
“Larry was from Tennessee. We aloof got alternating a lot better.”
The gimmick took off immediately. With his furry beard and agrarian eyes, Booker was a natural.
“I anticipation we’d accept to attempt with it, and anybody would be allurement breadth King was. But it was aloof like he’d consistently been there. We went alternating with it.”
Vince Sr. came up with the name Moondog Spot for Booker.
The two were in New York for a year afore activity to Johannesburg, South Africa, and Puerto Rico, breadth they won the North American tag-team belts from Eddie and Tommy Gilbert, the Caribbean tag straps from Super Gladiator and The Invader, and the apple tag appellation from Pierre Martel and Invader 1.
Colley and Booker alternate to the States in backward 1982. They went to Georgia, the Carolinas and Louisiana.
“I got an accommodation in Atlanta and was never there. It seems like we were activity everywhere,” said Colley.
Then they went to Memphis. That’s breadth they hit pay dirt.
“We had such acceptable guys to assignment with. Guys like The Fabulous Ones, Stan Lane and Steve Keirn, who had Jackie Fargo advancing in. It was aloof unreal.”
Booker had enjoyed success in that breadth in a “previous life,” actualization as Larry Latham and teaming with Wayne Ferris (the closing Honky Tonk Man) as The Albino Bombers, with administrator Danny Davis.
The Moondogs’ aboriginal run in Memphis lasted about a year and a half. They went aback to New York in 1983, but were in and out of Memphis.
When The Moondogs alternate to New York, it was different. They were placed in programs with teams whose associates didn’t get along.
“It was an odd situation,” said Colley. “Tony Album and Rocky Johnson were the champs and almost speaking. They took the belts off them and put them on Dickie Murdoch and Adrian Adonis. That was an odd couple, and they didn’t get along.”
The Moondogs were bent accurately dab in the middle.
George Scott, meanwhile, had been brought in as booker.
“I’ve got a absolute blend here,” Scott said.
Nonetheless, says Colley, it was adamantine to exhausted New York money.
“If you formed there, you were activity to accomplish $2,500 a week. Anywhere else, be blessed with what you got or else. Maybe $1,500 a anniversary and busting your hump. It was affectionate of like a joyride there for a brace of years,” said Colley, who had the befalling to face Hogan for the WWF apple appellation in 1984.
The Moondogs, Spot (left, Larry Booker) and Rex (Randy Colley). Provided/WWE
Colley and Booker, the best remembered of the assorted Moondogs tag teams, connected to draw big crowds, decidedly in Tennessee, with their agrarian and blood-soaked brawls.
Wearing blow jeans and accustomed colossal basic to the ring, The Moondogs, with their scraggly beard and beards, were unorthodox, hardcore brawlers who threw chairs as readily as they did punches.
But in the closing allotment of 1986, Colley came up with the abstraction for addition gimmick. This one would acquire huge assets but, abominably for Colley, it wouldn’t accommodate him.
The name of the aggregation would be Demolition. Adept brilliant Bill Eadie would appear in as Ax, while Colley would comedy the Smash character. Alone botheration was that in their aboriginal night out, at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, there was a accidental of admirers chanting ‘Moondog! Moondog! Moondog!’ They, of course, had accustomed him from his canicule as Moondog Rex, and alike the face acrylic couldn’t admonition adumbrate his identity.
Colley was unceremoniously replaced, the role was accustomed to Barry Darsow (who had been angry in the NWA as Krusher Khruschev), and the aggregation went on to abundant success.
Colley anguish bottomward his in-ring career accomplishing a Detroit Demolition gimmick in Alabama with Eddie Gilbert.
“We weren’t accepting rich, but everybody was accepting a acceptable time,” says Colley. “When that assuredly played out, I aloof went aback and alternating from Germany and England for a while. The Moondogs were appealing accepted over there. It was affectionate of based on accomplished reputation.”
His aftermost alive year in the arena was in 1995. Twenty-five years in the business, 50 states and 30 countries. And a accomplished lot of aches and pains.
Other jobs followed including electrical work, abode adjustment and a band bond company.
Nothing, however, would anytime booty the abode of wrestling.
“I admired it … I absolutely did,” said Colley, who was a built-in of Alexander City, Ala.
His longtime partner, Larry Booker, aka Moondog Spot, died in 2003 during a legends bout at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis.
Booker, 51, suffered a affection advance during a Saturday night appearance that had been answer as a altogether back-bite for Jerry Lawler. Booker, who was reprising his Moondog Spot role with a new accomplice billed as Moondog Puppy Love, burst in the average of a four-team concession-stand action aristocratic that had included The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson).
The bout went to an actual accomplishment aback the participants accomplished that Booker, who had angled over in a corner, appeared to be unresponsive.
Medical cadre were summoned to the arena as the anchorperson explained to admirers that the surreal arena wasn’t allotment of the show. Booker never regained alertness and was arresting asleep on accession at a bounded hospital. A coroner appear that his afterlife was from a massive affection advance “due to complications from diabetes.” The accompaniment of Tennessee did not crave wrestlers to abide concrete examinations afore performing.
Colley was heartbroken, but was beholden for the circumstances.
“Larry admired Memphis. He admired that boondocks added than anything,” said Colley.
Jerry Lawler, who helped adapt the event, had asked Colley to assignment the legends show.
“I had aloof had affection anaplasty and I couldn’t accomplish it,” said Colley. “But Larry was chomping at the bit to go.”
Booker seemed to adore his adapt ego and kept the Moondog persona until the actual end, dying accomplishing what he admired best. That it happened in a angry ring, at the Mid-South Coliseum, in a concession-stand brawl, is apparently best larboard to Memphis angry lore.
“If it had to happen, that was the way to go,” said Colley. “It was his admired boondocks in his admired territory. And he was alive with The Rock ’N Roll Express.”
A accomplished electrician who eventually became an advancing minister, Colley was broadly admired in the angry business.
“I had the amusement of working, traveling, bedlam and actuality with Randy during the aboriginal ‘90s. A accurate admirer and a chic act all about … A massive accident to wrestling,” tweeted NXT drillmaster and mat adept Robby Brookside.
Former pro wrestler Bob Blackburn, accepted at the time as D.I. Bob Carter, was one of abounding who accustomed Colley with allowance him breach into the business.
“In 1988 I had the befalling to be teamed with Randy who was alive as the Detroit Demolition. I was accepted as The DI. I anticipate at aboriginal he was cerebration ‘What the heck … they are giving me this about greenhorn,’ and I was. But due to Randy’s tutelage, we became a abundant aggregation appealing quickly,” said Blackburn, who aggregate the Continental Angry tag appellation with Colley.
“We fabricated our way all about Alabama, Mississippi, the Florida Panhandle and genitalia of Tennessee, and not with a map or album (there were no cellphones or GPS). We acclimated airheaded of BBQ joints. We fabricated every day an adventure.
“Randy Colley was, aboriginal and foremost, a man’s man … and, aback pushed, was a handful. I’m beholden he and I remained accompany for what marks 31 years. I am beholden to accept gotten a adventitious for my oldest son to accommodated Randy a brace years aback afore he got absolute sick. I am afflicted that I didn’t absorb added time or allocution added regularly, but we consistently bent up and got on with it as chatting and baby allocution was never Randy’s top 10 things to do.”
Veteran pro wrestler and apostle Jack Lord aboriginal met Colley in 1987 while aggravating to get his bottom in the aperture with the Continental Angry Association (formerly Southeast Championship Wrestling).
“Randy was angry beneath the moniker of Detroit Demolition. As the aboriginal Smash of the WWF tag aggregation Demolition, he still had all the accessory from there. In the ring, he was as alarming as they came, but abaft the scenes you would be hard-pressed to acquisition a nicer man. The admonition he gave me, the admonition he aggregate and the accord he showed to a adolescent guy aloof absent to accomplish will break with me forever. He was clumsily acceptable at arise your aback aback in abode too. He was a acceptable man in a adamantine business, and never let his successes change him from who he was.”
The cutting accord on Randy Colley was reflected in his obituary: “Randy was feared by abounding in his career but admired by all.”
Reach Mike Mooneyham at [email protected], or chase him on Twitter at @ByMikeMooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham. His latest book — “Final Bell” — is now accessible at https://evepostbooks.com and on Amazon.com
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