Kassius Ohno remembers Big Daddy Rog Cox
Jun 9, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
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.
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.