American professional wrestler best known by his ring name, Rip Hawk. He began his wrestling career in the Mid-Western United States before joining Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) in the early 1960s. In the company, he teamed with fellow wrestler Swede Hanson as the “Blond Bombers,” and the duo held several championships. In the 1970s, he worked as a booker in JCP.
Hawk moved to North Carolina in the early 1960s, where he began competing for Jim Crockett Promotions, an organization run by Jim Crockett, Sr. that promoted events in the Carolinas. He met fellow wrestler Swede Hanson and approached Crockett about forming a tag team with Hanson. Crockett agreed to the idea, and Hawk and Hanson began competing as the “Blond Bombers“, named after their matching blond hair and their strength in the ring. While competing in Australia, Hawk met manager Gary Hart. He approached Crockett and convinced him to bring Hart to the Carolinas to manage Hawk and Hanson.
The team competed as heels (villains) and was unique for wearing suits to their matches, as most wrestlers did not worry about dressing like professionals outside of the ring. They aroused anger from many spectators, some of whom threw acid or threatened the team with knives and guns. They also had a following among some fans, and a fan club was formed for them at one point. During interviews, Hawk spoke for the team while Hanson stood silently; Hawk occasionally insulted Hanson in the interviews, but Hanson did not respond. The team competed in the Carolinas and Virginia, as well as touring overseas in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Hawk wrestled in other territories, including Texas, where he held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship and the Texas version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship (the latter while teaming with Rock Hunter). Nine of his championships came as a member of the Blond Bombers, however. Hawk and Hanson were booked in an angle to win their first title together, the Florida version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship, on August 3, 1965. They combined to hold the NWA Atlantic Coast Tag Team Championship on four occasions, which was the center of their feud with Johnny Weaver and George Becker. They were also booked to win the IWA World Tag Team Championship on a wrestling tour of Tasmania.
The Blond Bombers were involved in a series of unusual matches in Jim Crockett Promotions; they faced other heel tag teams, which was a rarity at the time because most promoters stuck to good versus evil storylines. They competed against such teams as Aldo Bogni and Bronko Lubich, Gene and Ole Anderson, and Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard. Hawk, along with Johnny Weaver, was also involved in booking, or scheduling, events in Jim Crockett Promotions, a task he took on in the early 1970s. He also collaborated with Johnny Ringo to design the National Wrestling Alliance logo.
In 1971, Hanson suffered a heart attack and had to take time off of wrestling. Hawk competed as a singles wrestler and feuded with the Brisco brothers (Jack and Jerry). During this rivalry, Hawk held the NWA Eastern States Heavyweight Championship four times. He was then paired with Ric Flair, who was billed as his nephew. On July 4, 1974, Hawk and Flair were booked the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship.
Hanson returned to wrestling but soon became a face (fan favorite) and feuded with Hawk. The former partners faced each other in tag team matches in which Hanson teamed with Tiger Conway, Jr. and Hawk teamed with Flair. Eventually, the partners were dropped and the two faced each other in a series of singles matches. Hawk left Jim Crockett Promotions permanently in 1975 due to differences with booker George Scott.
- June, 06, 1930
- December, 22, 2012
Cause of Death
- cardiac problems