1935-1996 (Age 60)

Ray Stevens, a wrestler who career was bookended through two periods when rings aired on network TV and whose body of job-related was only outshined by his tremendous zest because that living.

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Stevens began wrestling during the era the the legendary blond “Gorgeous” George and ended his career throughout the heyday of one more legendary blond—Hulk Hogan.

A blond legend in his very own right, Stevens deserve a reputation amongst fans and his fellow wrestlers as one of the industry’s finest talkers and workers. One of wrestling’s most incredible personalities, it’s small surprise Stevens showed up in the movie The Wrestler (1974) and Paradise Alley (1978).


Ray Stevens appeared in the 1974 film, The Wrestler.

Born Carl beam Stevens, the male who would certainly become much better known as “The blond hair Bomber” beam Stevens and also Ray “The Crippler” Stevens gotten in the human being on September 5, 1935.

After wrestling as an amateur in the YMCA, Stevens gotten in the pro ranks at age 15, debuting in 1950. Through “Nature Boy” buddy Rogers mentoring him, Stevens excelled in the ring, win a variety of titles at an early stage in his career, simply a couple of of the numerous belts he’d ultimately capture.

Stevens married mrs wrestler Theresa Theis in 1952, and credited Theis with helping him more his skills.

A golden Boy in the golden e of Wrestling

It didn’t take it Stevens lengthy to reach the top.

By 17, he was main eventing, working with “Gorgeous” George, one of the greatest names in the sector at the moment (if not the biggest). Nicknamed “The blond Bomber,” Stevens’ finisher to be a knee drop off the optimal turnbuckle which became known together “The Bombs Away” knee drop. That would win Stevens numerous matches and become the emphasis of among the region era’s many despicable acts.

“The blond hair Bomber’s” career couldn’t have come in ~ a far better time together he wrestled when experienced wrestling was everywhere the United claims thanks to its popular on network television. Stevens would make together a surname for himself together a hated heel that even when wrestling’s nationwide popularity waned, his career was made.

In enhancement to singles matches, Stevens branched out into tag team wrestling, forming a fictitious brothers team with Don Fargo and also later, Roy Shire. Stevens’ team through Shire would lead to one of the many successful periods after that in his career when Shire started booking his own promotion.

The mountain Francisco Threat

In 1961, Stevens started working in Roy Shire’s big Time Wrestling, a territory located in san Francisco, California. Stevens quickly got over together a heel many thanks to his vicious insults that fans, opponents, and the gold Gate City. However, Stevens’ insults to be nothing contrasted to the injury he would certainly inflict top top the promotion’s lovely babyface, Pepper Gomez.

Promoters play upon Pepper Gomez’ background as a bodybuilder to construct him up together “the male with the actors iron stomach,” a wrestler whose abdominal muscle muscles to be seemingly impervious come pain. Enemies who punched or kicked Pepper had no effect on the man’s strength abdomen, regularly hurting us in the process. Just to construct up Pepper’s an effective six-pack, Shire had actually Gomez perform an amazing screen in the ring, one with tragic consequences for Gomez.

Gomez invited wrestlers to rise a ladder and jump turn off it top top his stomach. Number of tried, but with Pepper laughing off your blows. Beam Stevens no impressed and argued the the wrestlers weren’t trying tough enough.

“The blond Bomber” said Gomez would feel it if Stevens was allowed to jump turn off the optimal of the ladder. Gomez agreed and Stevens jumped turn off the top. To everyone’s amazement, Pepper was unharmed. Stevens asked because that one an ext try, and also the confident babyface agreed. Stevens climbed the ladder, however this time that dove off the ladder, delivering his “Bombs Away” knee drop to Gomez’ throat. Gomez offered the attack, coughing up blood and also selling it prefer he’d to be trampled by one elephant.

Stevens became the most-hated man in wrestling as huge Time Wrestling made it well-known Gomez could never wrestle again. Naturally, that did return, resulting in a sell-out the the area’s Cow royal residence Arena, breaking an attendance record previously collection by Elvis Presley.


According come Dave Meltzer’s book Tributes, promoter Shire plan to host the rematch in ~ Candlestick Park, hoping to set an all at once attendance record for experienced wrestling. Unfortunately, ray Stevens’ famous daredevil adventures experienced him sidelined through a broken ankle because that eight months following a go-cart race accident.

The blond hair Bombers

Stevens would continue working in mountain Francisco, teaming with Pat Patterson as the blond hair Bombers, among the many respected tag groups of the 1960s.

Stevens and also Patterson recorded the san Francisco variation of the NWA human being Tag Team Championship three times, battling teams such as The Destroyer and Billy Red Lyons, Ciclón Negro and the Mongolian Stomper, and also Pepper Gomez and Pedro Morales.

The blond hair Bombers reunited in the American Wrestling association (AWA in the 1970s), capturing the AWA people Tag Team Championship indigenous the High Flyers (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and also Greg Gagne).

Stevens to be a fixture in the AWA during the 1970s, developing a championship sign team through Nick Bockwinkel, through Bobby Heenan guiding your careers.

Here There and Everywhere

Ray Stevens’ incredible capacity to talk fans right into buying tickets to check out him gain what to be coming to him, merged with his uncanny ability to sell for adversaries put that in high demand around the globe.

The guy who would certainly later end up being known together “The Crippler” (earning this nickname after breaking the leg of wrestler Dr. X in the AWA), operated in a range of territories, including large Time Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, the AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions, and also Australia’s civilization Class Championship Wrestling.

Stevens functioned in the AWA, the nationwide Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and the WWWF/WWF. He hosted a variety of titles consisting of the WWWF’s United says Championship, WCW’s IWA world Heavyweight Champion, JCP’s NWA people Tag Team Championship, and huge Time Wrestling’s United says Heavyweight Championship.

A perform of Stevens’ top adversaries is past the scope of this article, however he was known for his dream match against Bruno Sammartino in the 1960s (a complement Stevens winner by count-out), his feud v Pat Patterson, his routine with Bobo Brazil in the WWWF, his surprise babyface turn in the AWA wherein he feuded v Nick Bockwinkel in 1977, and his brutal attack on Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka in 1982, an edge which brought about Snuka’s babyface turn.

Living the good Life

Ray Stevens’ capacity to do an foe look choose a champion would lead to later comparisons v “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The two blonds were also alike in your love the life, which consisted of a enthusiasm for hard-drinking nights and the ladies.

In addition to his popular propensity for booze and also the ladies, Stevens’ love for daredevil antics external the ring would save him the end of the ring because that at the very least two major programs (the previously mentioned Pepper Gomez feud and a later on feud through Pat Patterson).

Stevens emerged the relocate where an adversary threw him right into the corner and also he flipped over the top, a move later on used through Ric Flair and also Shawn Michaels.

According to Dave Meltzer’s might 13, 1996 Wrestling Observer Newsletter obituary that Stevens, “The blond hair Bomber” to be the first wrestler to continuously hit a move off the optimal rope.

To some, Stevens to be a kid at heart. Large Time wrestles announcer Walt Harris claimed of Stevens:

“He was constantly a small boy who never prospered up. He never ever paid taxes for years. For years Verne Gagne had actually wanted him however he didn’t want to go. Gagne available him a big amount the money if he’d come occupational there and he’d take care of every his earnings tax problems and also the offer was too an excellent to rotate down.”

Longtime rival Pepper Gomez would comment, “The man made a most money in wrestling and threw far a the majority of money and ended up with shit.”

Jim Cornette would comment on Stevens’ wild life:

“He had made millions of dollars, and also should have actually made millions more, yet very little if any of it was still in his possession. He was when the center of attention everywhere he went and lived in opulent surroundings, now he was in a dark apartment in a town no one also knew he to be living in. But that man had probably had an ext fun in his lifetime than you, and me, and also any various other ten human being we recognize put together. That? that couldn’t possibly, ever be taken away from him.”

Ray Stevens retirement in 1992, later appearing at WCW’s 1994 Slamboree pay-per-view.

Undaunted to the End

Despite his financial difficulties, Stevens continued living together he chose, also after a quadruple bypass surgery around a year prior to his death.

Like Flair, Stevens’ later on health troubles didn’t it seems ~ to host him down, and despite financial problems, Stevens never ever seemed to worry around tomorrow.

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Ray Stevens died in his sleep on might 3, 1996. He was 60 years old at the time of his passing. Stevens was endured by his kids Timothy, Roy, Laura, Kelly, and also Carl.