10 More Great Professional Wrestlers From Texas
With the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend in Wichita Falls, we’re taking a look at 10 more pro wrestlers from Texas.
Like the last time we covered professional wrestlers from the Lone Star State, we will be including wrestlers who were either born in Texas or are known for their connection to Texas. But unlike the last time, now we are including wrestling personalities who were managers. And this time around, we’re including a hometown wrestler, and even two wrestlers he trained.
Jimmy Wehba’s alter-ego, the villainous Skandor Akbar, was a staple of pro wrestling television across the country, appearing on television shows for the WWWF (precursor to the WWF/WWE), World Class Championship Wrestling out of Dallas, and the Universal Wrestling Federation in Oklahoma. Wehba, born in Wichita Falls, came from Arabic parents, hence his persona as Skandor Akbar. Retiring from in-ring work in 1977, Akbar went on to manage a long list of future whose-who stars in professional wrestling including The Undertaker, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, just to name a few. Apart from his wrestling manager duties. Wehba ran a wrestling school, training two other wrestlers on this list. Wehba passed away in 2010 from cancer and ways laid to rest in Wichita Falls, his funeral attended by wrestling legends, including long-time friend and wrestling broadcaster Jim Ross.
Born in Garland, TX in 1988, Adrienne Reese was turned onto pro wrestling by her grandfather, and ended up beginning her training at the age of 19 with Wichita Falls’ Skandor Akbar. She continued her training with Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray at their wrestling school in Houston and made her debut for their promotion under the name “Trouble” in 2007. Spending 8 years on the independent circuit under the name “Athena”, Reese developed a reputation as one of the top female wrestlers not signed to WWE. In 2015, Reese signed with the WWE under their NXT development brand and was renamed “Ember Moon”. She has since become one of NXT’s top draws, but a recent shoulder injury has sidelined her for a few months.
Merced Solis was born in Mission, TX and went to college at West Texas State, playing on the football team. The team’s quarterback and original member of the Four Horseman, Tully Blanchard, is the one who introduced Solis to pro wrestling. Adopting the name Tito Santana, Solis wrestled in Florida and Georgia before arriving in the WWF, becoming one of the company’s most popular babyfaces (good guy) and one of the early Intercontinental Champions. After leaving the company for a few years, Santana returned to WWF and was rebranded “El Matador”, coming to the ring dressed as a bull fighter. During this time, WWF was planning on expanding south into Mexico and Latin America, and Santana was eyed as a future WWF World Champion to help with the company’s appeal in those markets. When the decision was made to expand north instead, Santana’s main event push was then given to Canadian wrestler Bret Hart. After leaving the company in 1993, Santana continued to wrestle on the independent circuit, returning to WWF as a Spanish commentator in the late 90s, before settling in New Jersey and taking a job as a high school Spanish teacher and basketball coach.
Another wrestler from this list trained by Wichita Falls’ Skandor Akbar, Jacqueline Moore was the only woman in Akbar’s Dallas wrestling school in 1988. After training at Akbar’s school, Moore started with World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas, but also worked in Japan and some female-only federations across the country. Moore moved up to Memphis, getting regular work with the USWA, and then received national attention when she signed with WCW, ultimately managing fellow-Texans, Harlem Heat. Moore’s biggest success came when she jumped to WWF and remained there for six years, winning the Women’s Championship twice and becoming the only woman to hold the Cruiserweight championship under the WWF brand (two women held the title when it was a WCW title). Moore returned to the WWE in 2016 when she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in her hometown of Dallas.
Kenneth Johnson began his career as a wrestling manager in Texas All-Star Wrestling, but it was his moving to Central States Wrestling where he adopted his most famous persona, “The Doctor of Style” Slick. in 1988, Slick joined the WWF and quickly became one of the company’s top managers, managing Akeem, The Big Boss Man, Rick Martel, The Warlord, and the Iron Sheik. In 1991, Slick returned to WWF after an extended absence and rebranded as The Reverend Slick, mirroring Johnson’s own religious beliefs and standing. After leaving WWF, Johnson went back to school and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and became and ordained minister. Johnson has made regular guest appearances for Texas Stampede Wrestling and WWE, appearing in April 2016 to induct The Big Boss Man into the Hall of Fame. A few months later, Johnson joined the class action lawsuit against the WWE for traumatic brain injuries sustained while working for the company.
Born in Dallas, Wendi Richter began her wrestling career training under the Fabulous Moolah. After wrestling for the NWA, Richter arrived in the WWF and became their most popular female wrestler. Richter was a featured character in the WWE’s cartoon ‘Hulk Hogan’s Rock n Wrestling’ and a major player in the WWF/MTV Rock n’ Wrestling partnership, teaming with pop star Cyndi Lauper and feuding with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Richter had a falling out with Vince McMahon and the WWF in 1985 when, during a contract dispute, McMahon and Moolah orchestrated a screwjob where Moolah, wearing a mask, would pin Richter without Richter’s prior knowledge, taking the title from her. Richter would speak negatively about the WWF/WWE for many years after until they buried the hatchet in 2010 and Richter was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Robert Windham was born in Sweetwater, TX and went to school in El Paso, playing football for University of Texas at El Paso. After training in Corpus Christi, Windham began a long career wrestling across the country for the WWWF, NWA, AWA, and WWF, against major names like Ric Flair and Andre the Giant. Windham found his biggest success as part of the Blackjacks tag team with Blackjack Lanza. After retiring from the ring, Windham ran into several legal troubles. In 1990, Windham and his son Kendall were arrested by the Secret Service for counterfeiting after the pair were discovered with half a million dollars in fake 20s, and spent two years in prison after reaching a plea deal. Though he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, Windham was sued by the WWE in 2015 when he told the company he planned to sue them for concussion-based injuries. Windham passed away 2016, leaving behind a wrestling family that includes sons Barry and Kendall Windham, son-in-law Mike Rotunda (better known as “Irwin R Schyster”) and grandsons Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.
Nickla Roberts was born in Lubbock, TX into a wrestling family, working various jobs for her parents’ wrestling events as a child and befriending members of the Hart family and the Von Erichs. While in High School, Roberts participated in athletics and set several records in Shot Put. Roberts began her career in the Dallas-based WCCW as the valet for Gino Hernandez. Remaining with WCCW for a short time, Roberts then moved to the NWA and debuted as “The Perfect 10″ Baby Doll, the valet for Tully Blanchard. Roberts remained with Blanchard until Blancard turned on her and formed the Four Horsemen. Roberts then went on to manage Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. in their battles against the Horsemen, and even feuded with manager Jim Cornette. Unfortunately, NWA officials disapproved of Roberts marrying a fellow wrestler and released her when her husband began wrestling for the WWF in 1988. Since leaving the NWA, Roberts has worked various non-wrestling jobs while making occasionally appearances on the independent circuit.
Frank Goodish was born in Detroit, the only member of this list not born in Texas, but made a name for himself, like many other wrestlers, while playing football for West Texas State. After college, Goodish remained in Texas and worked as a sportswriter, and then trained for wrestling under Fritz Von Erich. Over the course of his career, Goodish wrestled all over the country, never staying in one territory for too long, due in part to his attitude and habit of being difficult to do business with. While wrestling in Puerto Rico in 1988, Goodish was asked into the showers by booker (boss) Jose Gonzalez to discuss business. A few minutes later, wrestlers were drawn into the showers by the sounds of Goodish screaming, finding him with multiple stab wounds to his stomach and Gonzalez holding a bloody knife. Due to the crowded nature of the area, it took paramedics over an hour to reach Goodish, and he later died from the stab wounds.
Bruce Prichard began his wrestling career at the age of 10, working for Paul Boesch’s Houston Wrestling. Starting off selling posters at events, Prichard moved up to ring announcing by the time he was 12. When Boesch sold his territory to the WWF in the mid-80s, the now-adult Prichard was brought on to shadow Vince McMahon and become a major match-maker and producer behind the scenes. In 1988, using an evangelical preacher character he did to entertain people behind-the-scenes, Prichard made his on-screen debut as Brother Love. Initially running an interview segment called “The Brother Love Show”, Prichard became the first manager of The Undertaker. After being released from the company in 1991 following a controversial segment involving the healing of a blind and paralyzed man, Prichard returned to WWF in 1993 and remained with the company as an executive until 2008. Since his departure, Prichard has worked with TNA wrestling, returning there earlier this year as an on-air talent and adviser behind the scenes. He also recently started a highly successful podcast on MLW.com called “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard”. Unlike other podcasts with rotating guests, each episode features Prichard being interviewed by host Conrad Thompson about a topic voted on the previous week by the listeners.