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Wild Red Berry (1906 - 1973)

Real Name - Ralph L. Berry
Lifespan - 11/20/1906 - 7/28/1973
5'8" ??? lbs. - Pittsburg, KS

Athletic Background - Boxing, Judo

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - n/a

Aliases - none

Peak Years - `37 - `52
Place in HistoryWhile there are a great number of managers whose time as a mouthpiece followed a career in the ring, but probably only Freddie Blassie excelled more in both realms than Wild Red Berry.  His athletic career began as a boxer winning a state title in his weight class before injuries forced him to shift careers.  In pro-wrestling, he found immediate success in lighter weight classes.  Berry frequently swapped around the NWA World Light Heavyweight title with Leroy McGuirk, Danny McShain and others.  He toured throughout the Southwest from Houston to Phoenix to Los Angeles and worked some of the best 200 pounders of the day.  He was slowed down by injuries by the 1950s, but continued to find success in the Midwest.  Eventually the so-called “Mayor of Pittsburg” headed to New York City to begin managing.  His first and most famous charges were the Fabulous Kangaroos.  The trio were heat magnets and established him being a top heel manager alongside Bobby Davis in New York.  Berry would antagonize Bruno Sammartino and introduced a series of challengers that helped build the champion.  Men like Hans Mortier and Gorilla Monsoon were among Bruno’s favorite opponents and it established a formula that Vince McMahon Sr. kept for the next twenty years and his son largely continued with into the 1980s.  Red Berry looked like a typical fellow off the street, but once he got going, his rap was amazing in a era where people had rarely heard something like that before.  He helped set the stage not only for the success of the WWWF and their champion Bruno Sammartino, but other managers like the Grand Wizard, Lou Albano and Freddie Blassie who would follow.  Later in life, Berry devoted himself to the Shriners and Freemasonry, giving so much to others, in stark contrast to his arrogant, self-centered "Wild Red" persona.  Due to the lack of surviving video and word of mouth, Wild Red Berry might not be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest managers, but just like the Fabulous Kangaroos forever changed tag team wrestling, he changed the art of managing.