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Kassius Ohno remembers Big Daddy Rog Cox



Kassius Ohno on Facebook:

Wrote a bit over on FB about the man who gave me my first match, Big Daddy Rog Cox. RIP friend…

Friday night I had a host of messages informing me that Dayton, Ohio area wrestler and promoter “Big Daddy” Rog Cox passed away. I haven’t spoken to Roger in a few years but he literally gave me my first shot in the world of professional wrestling. He was always kind to me and I feel for his family, friends and fans.

The year was 1998 and I was a senior in high school. As the school year was finishing up, I found myself on Northmont’s Volleyball Club. Some of my best friends (even to this day) were on the squad and I thought it would be fun to learn how to play. My friends were all excellent players and we managed to make it all the way to the State Championship in Columbus. That was a thrill but, uhhh, ‘what does this have to do with anything’ I’m sure you’re asking yourself. Well, we played our last game and shortly thereafter we organized a gathering to commemorate the season. That’s when I heard my friend and teammate Bill Yarnall mention something about a friend of his having a ‘wrestling’ match coming up.

“Huh?!”

I immediately asked one hundred questions. A few weeks later, with my then-girlfriend Brooke and one of my best friends Andy in tow, I found myself in the Ervin J. Nutter Center parking lot (home of 1993′s King of the Ring… the Center, not the parking lot) watching Heartthrob Halsey (who was my teammate Bill’s friend) and Tommy Knock Out square off on my first independent wrestling show: a Rog Cox promoted event for Unified Championship Wrestling. I sat, in awe, at what I was watching. Could I actually do this?

Hell yeah I could!

I then proceeded to ask one thousand questions. How do I do this? Where do I train? When can I start? Surely I was a pest; I just *had* to give this a whirl. I was hooked. After talking with Halsey and Logan Caine, I found out there was a gym in Middletown, Ohio where people trained. Gary Goffinet had a local promotion called OCWA and a damn fine wrestling ring. I started to train immediately. So every Tuesday and Thursday my friend Adam and I made the hour-ish trek to Gary’s garage. After three months of quite literally learning the ropes, I was scheduled for an OCWA show in Troy, Ohio. There’s a point to this. I swear…

A few weeks before that show I was walking around the now defunct Salem Mall. I glanced over and was awestruck. In the distance I could see Big Daddy himself, Roger Cox, and a boisterous entourage. I had seen him wrestle at the UCW show (possibly in an angle with area disc jockey “Mo Bounce”) and I knew he was the head honcho. I walked up, introduced myself and told him I had been training to be a wrestler. He asked if I was busy on September 12th which happened to be the Saturday before the OCWA show. I told him that I was free and just like that I was booked for my first match.

I would wrestle fellow Northmont graduate Heartthrob Halsey at the Heartland Flea Market in Xenia, Ohio (Gummo?) for Unified Championship Wrestling. Roger had nothing to gain by booking me on the show but for whatever reason, he decided to give me this 18-year-old kid an opportunity. I found him after the event to thank him and he reached into his pocket and handed me some wadded up cash.

“Wait, I can get paid for this too?!” That thought hadn’t even entered my mind at this point.. Rog had gone out of his way to let me know he appreciated me and I’ll never forget that.

I would continue working shows pretty regularly for Rog. I met folks that would become a very big part of my life in the coming years. I even wrestled “Big Daddy” on a Saturday morning in Huber Heights. The place was called the Great Escape and he led this nervous Wife Beater kid through the match. To be honest, I can’t think of a time when he didn’t treat me superbly well. He would go on to work for ECW’s Atlas Security and you can spot him on some of their later pay per views. I would run into Rog occasionally, most recently at a Ring of Honor show in Dayton. He was always complimentary and supportive of what I had gone one to do in wrestling. I don’t think I ever properly thanked him for giving me my first shot.

I have so many vivid memories of those first few years in wrestling. Roger Cox was an important fixture in the local scene and he gave me an opportunity to do what I love. I’m sad for his family. I’m sad for his friends. That said, I feel fortunate to have known him personally and professionally. I could really go for a big ol’ Rog Cox Bear Hug right now and I’m certain I’m one of many. Thank you for everything, Rog. May you rest in paradise, friend.

-Chris/WB



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2 Responses

  1. James "Killerbee" Berry says:

    From my Facebook page:

    Back around the turn of the 21st century, there was a little independent professional wrestling organization called Unified Championship Wrestling (UCW). UCW put on wrestling shows in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and generally the entire Ohio Valley.

    UCW was the brain child of a big old black softy named Roger Cox. “Big Daddy” Rog’ Cox was the promoter, and often either World Champion or one half of the Tag-Team Champions with his best friend The Giant BoBo.

    UCW operated a toll free wrestling hotline where they would access their inside sources (the internet) to break the latest backstage pro wrestling news and rumors.

    As a big time wrestling fan, I called that hotline everyday. They allowed the callers to leave voice mail messages after their report. Me, with my colorful personality would cut promos on the hotline several times a day, hoping for a shout-out on their next report, which often happened (since there were usually only about 2 dozen or so callers a day, early on).

    So Big Daddy decided one day to add some talent to his hotline. He started using one of his up-and-coming indy wrestlers named “Moondog” Terrance Mooney and his manager Slick Willy F to offer hotline commentaries as well.

    After a few months, as UCW starting seeing some success around the indie circuit, they opened up positions for new reporters towards their callers. Since I was an avid caller, I was a shoe-in! I later found out that Roger wanted me to do it all along.

    I got to create a new persona for myself. I became “The Baron” Barry Jameson! I started out doing most of the hotline duties, and filmed their shows for them. I still have stacks of notes that I used for my hotline reports. And a few tapes too.

    Roger eventually brought me up to the big show as color commentator with my play-by-play guy Cam Collins; who was also an avid caller and made the cut when I did. We even got to do a live call-in show on access television, which was pretty embarrassing if I can recall. I hope no one has a tape of that!

    UCW got pretty big in our area, and even did several cross-promoted shows with ECW at the time. Workers like Sabu, New Jack, The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer, and Francine all made appearances at UCW events. One of our local boys here in Ohio is Al Snow (WWF/E, ECW, TNA, SMW wrestler), and his younger brother; (I forget his ring name) was one of our best UCW talents. Their parents would come to almost every show, wearing their “Job Squad” tee-shirts.

    Well, “Big Daddy” Rog’ Cox passed away at the age of 42 yesterday. He was a pretty cool guy as far as I’m concerned.

  2. James "Killerbee" Berry says:

    Now, to address your statement (and mine again too to a degree).

    Logan Caine is Al Snow’s brother, thanks for reminding me of his name! And I forgot all about Tommy “TKO” Knockout! I was at that Nutter Center show that you mentioned, in fact, I filmed it for Rog! I also commentated at the Heartland Flea Market for Rog. Those were awesome (and drunken ass) days for me. Rog always took us to the Marriott for the WCW after parties, so I got to rub shoulders and hear stories from most of the greatest wrestlers of our era. And once ECW started coming to Dayton, it was on! I got to party with all of those guys too… well not New Jack thanks god, lol…

    So as a fellow Daytonian, I just want to say that I am proud that you have paid respect to our local wrestling hero. He wasn’t known world wide, but it’s nice to know that someone that IS world wide still cares about the little people. So thanks Chris, you’re my Hero!

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