‘The Ripper’ calls for revival of professional wrestling
RETIRED wrestler Allan “The Ripper” Mpofu has called for concerted efforts to revive professional wrestling in the country.
Professional wrestling has been dormant in the country, with only amateur wrestling coming to life towards the African Games and the Olympics.
Mpofu became Zimbabwe’s youngest professional wrestler at the age of 18 after being incorporated under the wings of Chris Diamond Ncube, whom he deems a wrestling legend in the country.
Mpofu never tasted defeat in his career as a professional wrestler until he retired.
The wrestling legend, who also represented the country at the 1995 All-Africa Games, said the first step towards resuscitating professional wrestling was to create a board through ministerial appointment.
“It’s so painful that the sport which started on a big note in the country with the likes of the late Big Mike Tshuma, Maxwell “Moon Dog” Kutsanzira, Paul “Bad News” Ngozo, Vivian “Honolulu” Masuku and Robbie Kapora, has died.
“Currently there’s no board to keep tabs on the sport, making me wonder how some wrestlers even fight when licences are issued by the board. That’s the starting point if we are to revive wrestling,” said Mpofu.
“Personally, I think the biggest setback in this sport was in 1995 during the All-Africa Games when people wanted to fast track the sport into an amateur set up so that we participate in the Games.
“That was the time when the then minister appointed his office orderly to be the secretarygeneral. As a result, he started having misunderstandings with the professionals and things went off the rail”.
Wrestling was once a popular sport in the country with some wrestlers from the United Kingdom such as Jim Hogan, Tarantula, Big Daddy and Giant Haystack visiting Zimbabwe.
The wrestling legend also reflected on his first match against Robbie Luonde in Zvishavane and other wrestling legends.
“It’s so sad to know that all these guys who played an important role in the development of the sport have passed away. Sitting back as a young guy, I ask myself why I am here and wonder how the sport would be if those guys were alive.
“After their passing away, I personally lost passion for the sport because as young as I was, it was painful burying those guys.
“I am now an old man and the best I can do is to consult and help in the revival of the sport. I would be more than happy to assist in the development of wrestling. Chris Diamond Ncube is also around and he is more than willing to help in the revival of wrestling,” Mpofu said — @khumzallen.