Fighting

Former Olympian Bob Roop talks CWF Legends Fanfest, Bob Orton Jr., Saddam Hussein and more

Bob Roop is one of the top amateur wrestlers in U.S. history to transition successfully — very successfully — into the pro ranks.

Roop, as a heavyweight, competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics for Team USA in Mexico. He placed seventh in Greco Roman wrestling, being defeated by Russia’s Anatoly Roshchin. Even though the United States and the Soviet Union clashed politically, Roop noted how respectful and sincere the Russians conducted themselves toward him and other wrestlers.

Hailing from Michigan, Roop won a high school state title in wrestling and earned a football scholarship to Michigan State University in East Lansing. Football was not his primary sport, but that was his in. He also planned to wrestle for the college, but after 1 1/2 years with the Spartans, he joined the Army, where he received paratrooper training and worked with Special Forces medical.

Roop talks high school wrestling, football, Michigan State, Michigan and more.

While in the service, Roop wrestled for the All-Army wrestling team and later the All-Services wrestling team, meeting and training with fellow heavyweight Jim Raschke, who later became pro wrestler Baron Von Raschke.

Roop excelled at AAU events, earning four National AAU All-American honors and a national AAU championship.

Because of that success, Southern Illinois University offered him a wrestling scholarship. He went 66-18, including a 16-3 mark his senior year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. During that time, he made the U.S. Olympic team.

Rook talks college, Army, amateur wrestling, Baron Von Raschke, 1968 Olympics and more.

After college, Roop longed to travel and see the world on his own. When he learned his friend Larry Heiniemi (aka Lars Anderson) became a pro wrestler, competing internationally, Roop knew his next move. He met with legendary promoter Sam Muchnick, who told him with his amateur wrestling background to either train with Verne Gagne in Minnesota or Eddie Graham in Florida.

Rook talks pro wrestling start, Lars Anderson, Sam Muchnick, travel and more.

Roop chose Florida because of the warm weather, and Championship Wrestling from Florida served as his pro wrestling beginnings in 1969. He excelled in CWF with a hot feud against Steve Keirn (which featured Keirn’s father POW Col. Richard Keirn). Roop formed a tremendous tag team with Bob Orton Jr. and later portrayed the bizarre Maha Singh in Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness.

Inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006, Roop also did commentary, booked shows and trained wrestlers, including Lex Luger at a school in Davie.

Roop talks Bob Orton Jr., Jack and Jerry Brisco, Coach John Heath, Lex Luger, and more.

Throughout his 20-year in-ring career, Roop wrestled throughout the world, including Iraq against Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie in front of Saddam Hussein, which is the inspiration for Roop’s upcoming book “Wrestling for Saddam.”

Roop talks book “Wrestling for Saddam,” Iraq, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey, Andre the Giant, and more.

Roop talks Bob Orton Sr., Bob Orton Jr., Dr. Red Roberts, PTSD, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and more.

Meet Bob Roop at CWF Legends FanFest

Roop, 77, is one of the special guests of the CWF Legends Fanfest 5 (Battle for the Belts) on Saturday, June 15 at the Residence Inn by Marriott Tampa Suncoast Parkway at NorthPointe Village, 2101 Northpointe Parkway in Lutz, near Tampa.

Also part of the extravaganza is Roop’s long-time tag team partner Bob Orton Jr. as well as Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, Larry Zbyszko, Rip The Crippler” Oliver, The Gladiator Ricky Hunter, Scott Casey, Barry Horowitz, Referee Bruce Owens (and his illustrious belt collection), Cuban Assassin Fidel Sierra, Ricky Santana, Al Perez and more.

Roop talks CWF Legends Fanfest, Ricky Steamboat, The Gladiator, and more.

Roop talks teaching after wrestling, his kids, freedom, fans, Bob Orton Jr., Randy Orton, and more.

Roop talks Steve Keirn feud, POW Col. Keirn, Eddie Graham, Jodi Hamilton, Jim Barnett, and more.

For more info on the CWF Legends Fanfest, click these links.

Tickets: CWFLegendsFanfestTickets

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CwfFanfest?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1947090162191178/

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Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Spanning four decades, he currently covers WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, WOW, AEW and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA -- mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) -- sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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