Pro Wrestling Legend of the Week Rockin Robin
By Christopher Annino
All of her life Robin Smith aka Rockin Robin has been surrounded by professional wrestling. Her father Grizzly Smith and both of her brothers were wrestled under the name Sam Houston and Jake the Snake Roberts. “To me our door bell should have had that circus music every time it rang. Every time we turned around we had giants, midgets you name it. It was very interesting no one else in school had a father that did the same thing we did, it was hard for other kids to understand,” said Robin.
When she was a little girl, Robin was interested in Broadway and acting, so she took dance lessons, wrestling was not in her plans. “When I told the family that I wanted to go into pro wrestling it was a total surprise to everyone. When started training I began to love it. I feel it’s the ultimate form of theater and athleticism merged together. I went up to North Carolina and began training with Nelson Royal and we trained for 6 months” explained Robin.
She wrestled under the name Rockin’ Robin in Wild West Wrestling, and the name stuck. There she was worked against two legends in women’s pro wrestling, Debbie Combs and Sue Green. After that she was booked on a few matches against the Sensational Sherrie for WWE. Needless to say in the beginning her matches were not going very well. “Going into the WWE, you want to demonstrate your best but if someone isn’t excited with working with you a lot of things can happen. I was doing all these high risk maneuvers. The matches were bad and I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Slick, one of the former WWE managers at the time were watching my matches and pulled me to the side and said “listen; let me tell ya what to do. I know your trying to do all these high spots but you gotta keep it on the ground. You are giving up too much control”.
That complement may have saved Robin’s career with the WWE. When asked how would you describe Sensational Sherrie as a person Robin quickly responded with “UNPREDICTABLE !!!!!” Robin later added “very unpredictable but that was part of her spark. You never got too close but you never got too far from her either. We had a good healthy working relationship as well as respect for each other.” On October 7, 1988, she defeated Sensational Sherri, who had held the title for fifteen months prior, for the Women’s Championship in Paris, France.
After WWE Hiro Matsuda famed pro wrestler and trainer selected Robin to tour for his promotion All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling. There she was teamed up Luna Vachon and the both of them were greatly respected amongst the Japanese audience. Robin wrestled a little more until her retirement in 1992. A few of her awards during and after her career are Cauliflower Alley Club Women’s Wrestling Award (2011), Great Lakes Wrestling Association GLWA Women’s Championship (1 time, first), Ladies Major League Wrestling LMLW International Championship (1 time), and the Universal Wrestling Federation UWF Women’s World Championship (1 time). Since her retirement from pro wrestling, Robin has become a successful business woman in real estate.
After the interview I had asked Robin her thoughts on people claiming wrestling is not real. I made the argument that many are closet wrestling fans. Robin’s response was “I feel a lot of doubters are wrestling fans and feel ashamed. Somehow it makes them feel better. If they are forced to ask the question, is pro wrestling fake then it must be real. There is always that question as to why they have to ask the question in the first place. It seems like a snowball effect, if one person doesn’t like it everyone else has to agree, but there is a wrestling fan in everyone’s family. I in our society it’s a lot better to accept failure then success, I have seen it happen with a lot of people. The only time you fail is when you quit trying.”
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