Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
Ritchie Magnett, Polynesian Pro-Wrestling
Rookie of the Year, had been by trained by "Soulman" Rocky
Johnson in Portland, Oregon. After being trained by Rocky he moved to
Honolulu, to work for Rockyís mother-in-law, Lia Maivia.
Rocky and his family had come to Hawaii in preparation for the Peter Maivia Memorial Show at Aloha Stadium. One day while working out, Ritchie asked me if I could buy tobacco at the PX on base. I told him yes. I also asked him why. He told me that he had told Rocky about the guy he was working out with and training. Rocky was a big Copenhagen "dipper" and wanted to know if I could buy him a roll.
I enthusiastically told him yes. I had grown up in the Delta of Arkansas, and remembered vividly watching Rocky Johnson on television from Memphis. One match I remember in particular about the "Soulman" was a boxer versus wrestler match against "The King" Jerry Lawler. The promotion had gotten in trouble with the fire department because so many people jam packed the Mid-South Coliseum. So I was tickled to death to get his tobacco.
After, eagerly anticipating meeting my childhood idol, the day finally came. Ritchie and I had finished working out, we went to where Rocky was staying. Ritchie knocked on the door, Rocky answered the door. I was awe struck.
I sat down at the table across from Rocky, he propped his arm up on the table. His arms were massive, bigger than the average manís thighs. His chest was so massive that while standing erect he could set a 12 ounce can on it and it would sit like it was on a table. I was nervous, to me he was like a freak of nature. I kind of think he sensed it, as later on he would "pull a lot of ribs" on me. He asked me how much he owed me. (His wife, Ata, pulled out a wad of money that would choke an elephant. I told him nothing. I didnít tell him, but here I was sitting at a table across from one of my childhood idols, with him calling me by first name. I thought a roll of Copenhagen was a mighty cheap price to pay for a "trip to fantasy island."
We had been over at Rockyís about a half hour or so, when the door opened up, and in walked a rather large man and another average size man. What I thought were two men turned out to be two teenage boys. The two being Dwayne Johnson and his friend from Connecticut. The future "Rock" stood way over 6 feet (closer to 6í3") and weighed over 200 lbs. Along with Dwayne being so big in stature for his age, he was extremely mature.
It was getting kind of late so we chatted a few more minutes. Rocky asked when we were going to work out again, so he could come watch and work out with us. Damn, I thought, could life get any better.More...