At the end of last year I received an email from my friend Brian Kelley of the website Missouri Wrestling Revival, whom I’ve done some work with for a little while now. He asked if I would do an illustration of Bob Geigel for another project, and I of course said yes. Bob is a wrestler from the bad-assed old school days. He was a tag team champion with Dory Funk Sr and Bulldog Bob Brown, the president of the National Wrestling Alliance (a big mf’ing deal, meaning he ran wrestling for most of the USA, parts of Mexico, Canada, and Japan), and most importantly to us, one of the owners of the Central States territory for the NWA, along with Harley Race and Pat O’Connor. He gave starts to the likes of Jesse Ventura, Marty Jannetty, Shawn Michaels, and a host of others. Running the shows at Memorial Hall, they would get amazing touring wrestlers like Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. My step-father met his first wife going to these shows. It was an integral part of Kansas City’s history.
Bob’s also a tough son of a bitch. He grew up on an Iowa farm, saw heavy combat in the Pacific theater of WWII, and almost played professional football (he turned that down because the team only offered him $4000 a year, which he could make in a month or two as a wrestler!). Even in his senior years, he has that air about him.
I’ve been to Bob’s house to interview him for a book I was working on, and he and his wife were gracious hosts and amazing people to meet. Bob’s daughter was my mother-in-law’s college roommate, so we were treated almost as family. His basement walls are covered in framed pictures of wrestlers that Bob worked with throughout his career, from Ed ‘Strangler’ Lewis (the first wrestler involved in a ‘worked’ match, where the ending was pre-determined) on down through history. Amazing experience, folks!
So shit yeah, I’d draw a picture of Bob. Well, Brian then follows that up asking if it would be cool if my illustration was used on a plaque that he was going to present to Bob as a Lifetime Achievement Award. No. That’s not cool. That’s REALLY cool.