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Ricky Romero (1931-2006)

Real NameEnrique Gregory Romero

Lifespan - 5/24/1931 - 1/15/2006

6’ 245 lbs. - Amarillo, TX

Athletic BackgroundBaseball (Semi-Pro)

Teacher(s) - n/a

AliasesEnrique Romero, Rick Romero, Mexico Grande, Jay Youngblood Sr.

Peak Years - `60-`72

Place in HistoryWhen people remember the Amarillo territory, they always think of the Funks, who owned the operation and headlined in West Texas for years, but the next name on that list should be “Rapid” Ricky Romero.  The perfect babyface according to many that worked with him, Romero got over with the Hispanic and Native American demographics to such an extent that once he settled in West Texas, he never left.  Originally from San Bernardino, California, Ricky Romero made his start working for the Los Angeles office in the early 1950s.  He was tall and good-looking and learned his craft while working around some of the best.  Unfortunately, opportunities were limited for him as this was the time when a promotion might only feature one Latino, similar to their stance of other minorities.  Although Ricky Romero was able to team with the likes of Pedro Morales, Pepper Gomez and Luis Martinez as he ventured around, he even traveled to New York to partner with veteran luchador Rito Romero.  In 1960, Dory Funk Sr. brought Romero back to the Amarillo territory.  The sprawling territory included towns in West Texas, New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  The area had a significant Hispanic population and Ricky Romero was the ideal person to draw in that crowd.  The Spanish-speaking crowd chanted “rapido” as he worked his fiery comeback with exciting highspots.  The promotion even made changes in accordance with Romero’s drawing power in Lubbock, Pueblo and especially Albuquerque by making him the perennial Rocky Mountain Champion.  Based on this success, Romero homesteaded and raised his family in Amarillo.  Ricky Romero was hot enough in the market that although he left for a run in Arizona, a few shots in Houston and Dallas or a tour of Japan, he could always come back.  Two of Ricky’s brothers and three of his son pursued pro-wrestling as well.  Steven (Jay Youngblood) was tremendously successful for a short time playing up his Native American ancestry rather than his Mexican ancestry.  After his untimely death in 1985, Ricky Romero retired from the ring.  Chris and Mark worked as a tag team and had some success but never to the extent of Jay.  Diabetes and depression took their toll on Ricky Romero before his death in 2006.  Due to the racial politics of pro-wrestling, only a select few minorities achieved the level of success of Ricky Romero.  While he might not have toured as widely as Enrique Torres or Mil Mascaras or headlined in the top promotions like Pedro Morales and Pepper Gomez, Ricky Romero was every bit as talented as any of those men and was one of the top stars in his home territory for twenty years.  That is a feat few minorities can claim and it is because Ricky Romero was not simply a great “Mexican babyface,” but rather because he was a great babyface - period.