Rip Taylor wrestling

The REAL Rip Taylor #13: Celebrated Luchadore

2:04:00 PMPaul

After a successful few spots on The Monkee's TV series, Rip decided to travel with the band for thier 1968 World Tour. The band performed in 108 cities in America, and was headed to Mexico for a 2 show performance in Mexico City, when the group arrived ahead of schedule to take in the sights.

One fateful night Rip was drinking at a local dive bar near the hotel with Monkee's stand out Mike Nesmith. They were enjoying a bottle of Pinot Grigio and discussing costume ideas for the next leg of the show. The locals allegedly, did not like the fact that two foreigners were drinking wine in their bar (unknown to them the custom was drinking the locally made Tequilla)

When confronted, Rip unfettered, snorted "Do you know why Jesus wasn't born in Mexico?"

Nesmith played along by asking "Why?"

the lethal G6 confetti
Rip then looked the men straight in the eye and sneered, "Because they couldn't find a virgin, or three wise men." During the punchline Rip grabbed a handful of his then experimental G6 grade confetti and threw it in the air, causing a delightful distraction. Rip and Mike initiated a violent confrontation with the local troublemakers, clearing out the bar very quickly.

As Rip was choking the final signs of life from the last attacker, he heard a slow steady applause from the other end of the bar. It was here where Rip first met legendary Mexican wrestling promoter Salvador Lutteroth. Salvador offered both men entry level contracts for his Mexican national league. Nesmith declined wanting to pursue his fame and fortune as a rock star. Rip agreed to a try out a match to experiment his physical limitations.

Rip as FISHMAN 1971
His first match was in 1969 just after he recorded the first season of "Here comes the Grump", Rip flew to Mexico to face Feo Hombre de Mascaras. Rip wrestled under the alias "Fishman" an offcolor joke him and Dayv Jones shared that was never explained. During the first match (non televised) Rip took Feo Hombre de Mascaras from bell to bell, exhibiting so much brutality that the match was called after 4 minutes. Rip attacked with so much brutality that he injured two ribs,and broke the collarbone of his opponent, mercifully holding back.

Not knowing the etiquette of professional wrestling, Rip was facing litigation from the Feo Hombre family. To avoid legal action Salvador intervened, and ended up committing Rip for a 5 year limited commitment for his promotion in an exchange for an out of court settlement in favor of the Feo Hombre family. Rip was now entangled in a wrestling contract he could not break, so he started to train.

El Marquez after match 1972
Between voice acting for Sigmund and the Seamonsters, Rip would drive to Mexico intermittently to compete under his Fishman monacre. He became a well respected Rudo going 15-1 over the period of 5 years defeating no name opponents, and working a small program with El Marquez.

Rip developed a love for the squared circle and re-upped his contract for 3 more years. Realizing his commitment for the sport, Mr. Lutteroth decided to give Rip a championship run, with a long feud with El Marquez who gave Rip his only blemish on his career. Rip won the Mexican Welterweight Title in 1974 from El Marquez in a match that involved Rip sitting on his face making Marquez submit.

Rip would win defend the title successfully four more times defeating such luminaries as Alberto Munoz, Blue Demon, and the wily Kung Fu in a hair vs hair match.

Rip's Hollywood responsibilities caught up to him making him abandon the title due to major scheduling conflicts, and no contract renewal on the horizon over money negotiations. Rip went on to do the best work of his life with The Brady Bunch Hour, Happy Hooker goes to Washington, and a guest spot on Scooby Doo goes to Hollywood. Work kept piling in for Rip, but nothing equaled the thrill of wrestling for him.

Rip signed a 4 year contract with the UWA wrestling company based out of Mexico City in 1981 for a few limited high profile bouts against the company's top guys. Rip captured the Lightweight title four times in three years.

promotional poster
His last title reign involved Villaino III the top Rudo of the company. Rip and Villiano III were in a storyline that involved Villiano's valet El Mamacita Blanco, and the very public abuse Villiano subjected her to after his matches. During a particular brutal slap across Mamacita's face, Rip came from backstage and defended her honor beating Villiano with his belt.

It was that event that lead to what would become Rip's greatest series of matches in his career. Rip and Villiano III were put in a best of three tournament for the title. The first match being a strap match which ended in double disqualification, second a cage, and the final bout was Mexico's first ever inferno match. Rip won the tournament and title, in a match that won the affections of El Mamacita Blanco.

After that match, Rip stepped away from wrestling with the strenuous road schedule, and physical demands of the sport. In 1984 Rip (48) hung up his tights for good leaving nothing but a legacy of excellence behind him, winning a total of 10 Lightheavyweight Titles all over Mexico. It was a time he looks back fondly, but knowing his true love is reserved for the big screen.

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