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 - Eric Westlund

In the late summer of 1982, Randy Savage still controlled the ICW World Title with a solid grasp as he had for the past three years.  He was finishing a feud with Ox Baker who had defeated Randy many times in non-title challenges, but was unsuccessful in stripping the champ of the gold in title contests.  The promotion needed to follow this scenario with an equally interesting contender to be pitted against Mr. Savage. 

Randy had been defending the belt against both faces and heels for a time frame after his self-imposed short retirement earlier in the summer.  Some frequent matches for the world title were against the likes of John Ruffin, El Bracero, and big Boy Williams.  But his next angle would be one which fans of the promotion still talk about today as a classic viewing.  

When a new entry to a promotion arrives part of the promoters challenge is how to present this wrestler to the viewing fans.  Especially if he is a new character this can be difficult with no past reputation to build upon sometimes creativity is required.  

Bill Howard was a solid worker with a reasonably formidable body who had traveled the circuit performing throughout the U.S. and Japan.  He signed on with promoter Angelo Poffo in August of 1982 and a gimmick of great proportions was utilized for his entry.  

Howard wrestled as the man Ratamyas for the promotion for the next seven months.  His entry was publicized in late nightspots Angelo ran throughout the territory.  Howard was bestowed face paint and a green tongue, plus the ability to eat fire.  The commercials touting “Ratamyas is Coming, Ratamyas is Coming”, were vocalized by a raspy Ox Baker during late night movies after 11:30 p.m.  I saw several of these promos myself, and the visualization portrayed by Howard had to strike fear in to many of the southern Baptists in the viewing area.  These commercials went on for several weeks before he ever appeared on the show, which led to his dramatic introduction. 

One of his early hell raising incidents immediately got the goat of the wrestling public.  A match was scheduled at ICW TV studio with implications on the upcoming rookie of the year announcements.  Tony Falk who was extremely popular as a scientific grappler was slated to go against newcomer Ron Sexton.  The two put on a highly enjoyable ten-minute clean bout with no man claiming a big advantage.  Suddenly Ratamyas stormed the ring clubbing Sexton with an overhand forearm to the back of the neck.  He then turned his attention to Falk and promptly tossed him through the ropes into the crowd.  This was a scary scenario in and of itself as the seats at the TV studio literally were right up against the ring apron. 

Next the crazed villain rushed the two TV announcers who sat about 15 feet from the corner of one ring post.  Tim Tyler and Edgar Wallace looked like they had seen a ghost as the 6’4” Ratamyas bum rushed the duo sending them scurrying behind the curtain.  Promoter George Weingeroff came out yelling something at Ratamyas about him not being allowed at the TV studio.  I am not sure if this was an official declaration or if Weingeroff came up with this off the cuff.  The two were face to face when Ratamyas spewed a green liquid out of his mouth and into the eyes of the already visually impaired Weingeroff.  He then went back to the ring to work on the two match contestants but quickly left the studio area.  

This incident certainly sealed Ratamyas as a solid performer for the promotions coming bouts.  He had a series of single bouts with Weingeroff followed by Leaping Lanny in early September of the year.  These were interspersed with handicapped matches against two or three foes who were always over matched against Ratamyas.  In addition to a blatant disregard to use any scientific holds, Ratamyas borrowed the sheik’s propensity to bring plastic utensils inside the ring to assist his effort.  For some reason the competent ICW officials had a difficult time catching him in the act of using these foreign objects.  More...

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