Rip Morgan

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Rip Morgan
Birth name Mike Morgan
Born 1957
Wellington, New Zealand[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) The Crusher
Mike Morgan
The Thing
Bigfoot
The Real Thing
Rip Morgan
Ripper Morgan
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Billed weight 275 lb (125 kg)
Billed from Wellington, New Zealand
Debut 1983

Mike Morgan[1] is a former professional wrestler from New Zealand who competed in the National Wrestling Alliance, World Championship Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling best known as Rip Morgan. Best known as one half of the New Zealand Militia in WCW with Jack Victory. Morgan also wrestled in the NAWA/SAPW with Jack Victory as "The Royal Family". He was the last flag bearer for the original New Zealand Sheepherders. He is now the CEO of Wellington-based professional wrestling promotion Kiwi Pro Wrestling.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Mike Morgan made his professional wrestling debut in 1983 under the Ring name Rip Morgan working in his native New Zealand. On 8 September 1983 he won the NWA New Zealand Heavyweight Championship but records are not clear on who he defeated to win the championship, nor who he later on lost the championship to. In 1984 he travelled to the United States of America where he was paired up with The Sheepherders (Luke Williams and Butch Miller), working as their "Flag Bearer", someone who would wave the New Zealand flag during their introductions and help them cheat during their matches. Morgan worked with the two to continue his wrestling training as Williams and Miller taught him aspects of professional wrestling outside of the actual wrestling moves. In 1985 he had a brief run in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as a masked wrestler known as "Bigfoot".

The Sheepherders (1985–1986)[edit]

After his brief WWF run Morgan teamed up with Jonathan Boyd to form a new version of the Sheepherders, using the name "The Kiwi Sheepherders". Boyd and Morgan quickly made their name known in the Continental Wrestling Association, based out of Memphis, Tennessee by defeating CWA's most popular team The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) for AWA Southern Tag Team Championship on 17 June 1985.[2][3] The team was soon stripped of the titles due to excessive cheating but had the titles returned to them when Boyd and Morgan threatened to sue CWA management.[2][3] Instead of taking the titles from the Sheepherders by stripping them the Fabulous Ones took the Southern tag team titles from them the old fashioned way – 4 times in a row between 5 September and 12 October.[2][3] After the series of violent matches with the Fabulous Ones came to an end the Sheepherders came face to face with another team that would turn out to be a constant thorn in their side The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers). Jonathan Boyd reunited with the Sheepherders in the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. In the winter of 1985 the Kiwi Sheepherders and the Fantastics traded wins back and forth[4][5] with no side gaining a clear advantage in their feud. In January 1986 the Kiwi Sheepherders defeated the teams of Koko Ware and Rick Casey[6] and also the team of Tojo Yamamoto and Dirty Rhodes[7] to reach the finals of a tournament to crown new Southern Tag Team Champions, but in the finals they fell to the Fantastics.[8] The loss to the Fantastics only intensified the Sheepherders' anger bringing the feud to its high point as the two teams clashed in a "No DQ Loser Leaves Town" match on 20 January 1986. The Kiwi Sheepherders lost and left Memphis while the Fantastics rode a wave of popularity thanks to the feud. In late November the Kiwi Sheepherders returned to the CWA for a brief run. Boyd and Morgan (now billed as "Bigfoot") cut through the competition[9][10] and won a 4th Southern Tag Team championship when they beat Jeff Jarrett and Billy Joe Travis in a tournament to crown new tag team champions.[11] Their run with the titles was brief as Jarrett and Travis won the titles a week later and then ran the Kiwi Sheepherders out of the area in a "Loser Leaves Town" match a week after beating them for the title.[2][3]

The Thing, Rip Morgan (1987–1988)[edit]

Following the dissolution of the Sheepherders Morgan ended up worked for Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas under the ring name "The Ting" and later on "The Real Thing". In Texas he lost to Kerry Von Erich on WCCW's "Thanksgiving Star Wars" show in 1987.[12] Later on Morgan joined Jim Crockett Promotions, later known as World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He worked the 1998 Great American Bash tour facing Bugsy McGraw on several stops of the tour. Later on Morgan and Jonathan Holliday teamed up to challenge for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship but lost to The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers.[13][14] At the fifth Clash of the Champions special event Rip Morgan lost to Rick Steiner.[15] Two months later he challenged Sting for the NWA World Television Championship at Clash of the Champions six "Ragin' Cajun" but again was unsuccessful in his efforts.[16]

Teaming with Jack Victory (1989–1993)[edit]

In 1989 the bookers of World Championship Wrestling decided to put Rip Morgan together with another former flagbearer of the Sheepherders, Jack Victory, creating a tag team known as the "New Zealand Militia", billing Jack Victory as a native of New Zealand despite being born in the United States. The two made their in-ring debut on 14 June 1989 where they took part in a tournament for the vacant NWA World Tag Team Championship. The team faced and lost to The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace, also a former flag bearer for the Sheepherders).[17] Following the tournament loss the Militia found themselves frequently facing off against the Dynamic Dudes over the summer and fall of 1989. In 1990 WCW gave Morgan and Victory a new image, re-introducing them as "The Royal Family", naming them Ripper Morgan and Jack O'Victory and adding the manager Lord Littlebrook to the group. The Royal Family were billed as descendants of British Royalty. The Royal Family family was one of eight teams entered in a tournament for the vacant WCW United States Tag Team Championship. The group lost in the first round to eventual tournament winners Flyin' Brian and "Z-Man" Tom Zenk.[14] WCW held the "Pat O'Connor International Tag Team Tournament" as part of the 1990 Starrcade with eight teams representing various countries. The storyline was that the Royal Family had won a tournament in Australia to earn the rights to represent Australian and New Zealand, in reality none of the teams had won qualifying tournaments. Victory and Morgan lost to "Team Japan" (Masa Saito and The Great Muta) in the first round of the tournament.[18] The Royal Family's last significant appearance with WCW was on 28 April 1991 where they teamed up with Black Bart as they unsuccessfully challenged the team of the Junkyard Dog, Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich for the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.[19] In 1991 Victory and Morgan made their way to the Global Wrestling Federation in Dallas TX this time as The Maulers. The duo competed in the tournament for the first ever GWF Tag Team Championship. In the first round they defeated "Wet'n'Wild" (Steve Ray and Sunny Beach), followed by a victory over Chaz and Terry Garvin. In the third round, the semi-finals of the tournament the Maulers lost to eventual tournament winners Chris Walker and Steve Simpson.[19] The Maulers did not stay in the GWF after the tournament, instead moved on to Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW) in Tennessee. They competed in a tournament to determine the first ever SMW Tag Team Champion. In the first round the Maulers defeated the Rich Brothers (Davey Rich and Johnny Rich), but lost to The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Jackie Fulton) in the second round to be eliminated from the tournament.[19] Their short lived run in SMW was the last time Morgan and Victory teamed together on a regular basis.

Retirement and Kiwi Pro Wrestling CEO[edit]

In the late 1990s Rip Morgan retired from full-time wrestling and returned to his native New Zealand and began promoting wrestling. He later became the CEO of the Wellington-based professional wrestling promotion Kiwi Pro Wrestling.[20]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rip Morgan Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Australasia, New Zealand: NWA New Zealand Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Puroresu Dojo (2003). "NWA (Mid-America) / AWA Southern Tag Team Title". Puroresu Dojo. Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  4. ^ "Mid-South Coliseum Results 1985". 2 December 1985. The Fantastics beat The Kiwi Sheepherders 
  5. ^ "Mid-South Coliseum Results 1985". 9 December 1985. The Kiwi Sheepherders beat The Fantastics 
  6. ^ "Mid-South Coliseum Results 1986". 13 January 1986. The Sheepherders beat Koko Ware & Rick Casey 
  7. ^ "Mid-South Coliseum Results 1986". 13 January 1986. The Sheepherders beat Tojo Yamamoto & Dirty Rhodes 
  8. ^ "Mid-South Coliseum Results 1986". 13 January 1986. The Fantastics beat The Sheepherders to win the vacant Southern Tag Title 
  9. ^ "Mid South Coliseum Shows (1986)". 10 November 1986. The Sheepherders (Boyd & Bigfoot) beat Paul DeMann & Ric McCord 
  10. ^ "Mid South Coliseum Shows (1986)". 10 November 1986. The Sheepherders (Boyd & Bigfoot) drew Jerry Lawler & Tommy Rich 
  11. ^ "Mid South Coliseum Shows (1986)". 10 November 1986. The Sheepherders (Boyd & Bigfoot) beat Jeff Jarrett & Billy Joe Travis to win the vacant Southern Tag Title 
  12. ^ "Thanksgiving Star Wars 1987". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Clash of Champions Results (VII)". 
  14. ^ a b Will, Gary; Royal Duncan (1994). "United States: 19th century & widely defended titles – NWA, WWF, AWA, IWA, ECW, NWA". Wrestling Title Histories (3 ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 23. ISBN 0-9698161-1-1. 
  15. ^ "Clash of Champions Results (V)". 
  16. ^ "Clash of Champions Results (VI)". 
  17. ^ "NWA World Tag Team Championship Title History (1975–)". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Solie's Title History. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  18. ^ Adamson, Matt (17 February 2008). "Going Old School: Starrcade '90". 411mania. Retrieved 28 May 2008. 
  19. ^ a b c Duncan, Royal and Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  20. ^ "Kiwi Pro Wrestling Mission Statement". Kiwi Pro Wrestling. 
  21. ^ Puroresu Dojo. "New Zealand Heavyweight Title". NWA New Zealand. Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 – 1992". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  23. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Ohio: Western Ohio Wrestling Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.