WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk Jr. sent us this statement regarding Billy Robinson, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 74:
I was terribly shocked and saddened to hear the news yesterday of the passing of Billy Robinson. Following is only 1 of many experiences with Billy Robinson.
Calgary Stampede July of 1969 NWA World Championship Match Myself and Billy Robinson – We rode in the parade, Billy, His Wife and I on the back of an open Cadillac Convertible with the top down. Would you have thought it unusual for 2 professional wrestlers going to face each other for the World Championship riding through the streets of Calgary in a parade together?
The credibility of Billy Robinson and his wrestling skills made it the natural thing to do. In front of us was the ring being pulled by a tractor with all the rest of the wrestlers in the ring. Of course right in front of the grandstand, the ring did break down holding up the entire parade. The convertible easily made its’ way around the ring full of wrestlers and to the finish line.
It was totally acceptable to the wrestling fans for Billy and I to be together even though we were wrestling against each other that week in the Main Event.
I was in the Calgary Territory (Promoter Stu Hart) for 8 days. I wrestled Billy Friday to a 1 hour draw in Calgary to set up the return for the following Friday. (Billy and Myself) Saturday in Edmonton we wrestled to a 1 hour draw and the same in Regina, Saskatoon, Lethbridge and somewhere else on Thursday and back in Calgary for the return match for the NWA World Championship Friday and yes you guessed it a 1 hour time limit draw. All matches drew capacity houses.
I will never forget the trip from Saskatoon back to Calgary. Billy and I made the trip in the booker Dave Rhule’s car. He had a clogged fuel filter and Dave’s car would speed up to 80 miles per hour and back down to 20 miles an hour then back to 60 and back to 30. Dave had a case of Canadian Beer and one cassette tape that he played over and over, Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee. We arrived in Calgary at 9:00am with a show that night.
That week with Billy Robinson was a learning experience in a different style of wrestling. Not amateur style but shoot style, Billy was for real mentally and physically as tough as they come, like a champion should be and that helped me tremendously through my next 4 years as NWA World Champion.
My thanks and appreciation to Billy Robinson, a friend I will remember and cherish the time we were able to spend together.
My condolences to the family of Billy Robinson.