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Bob Roop

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Bob Roop (born 1942) is a retired amateur and professional wrestler whose career has spanned high school, college, Army, amateur and professional wrestling. He was an American Heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Amateur career

Robert Roop began wrestling in the eighth grade in East Lansing, Michigan. In High School, Roop was varsity heavyweight as a freshman, with an inauspicious 0-22-1 record. With the guidance of coach Joe Dibello, his record improved in ensuing years, with a 27-0-0 record his senior year, in which he also took State Championship.

He entered Michigan State University on a football scholarship. After a year and a half, he left school to join the Army. He received paratrooper training, and signed on to become a Special Forces medic. He competed on the All-Army wrestling team and, later, the All-Services wrestling team. There was one other heavyweight on the All-Services team, Jim Rasher, who had won a bronze medal as the U.S. Greco-Roman Heavyweight at the World Games prior to entering the Army. Rasher was influential in Roop's decision to pursue an amateur wrestling.

After his three-year stint in the service, he entered Southern Illinois University, and began pursuing amateur wrestling. He attended from 1965 through 1969, majoring in political science, and was a collegiate wrestling standout with a win-loss record of 66-18, including a 16-3 record during his senior year.

While in college he won four National Amateur Athletic Union All-American rankings, earned by placing in the top four spots in the national tournament, and an NAAU Championship as a light-heavyweight. During his last year of college, his coach at Southern Illinois convinced him to train down to a lighter weight of 220 pounds. "That spring, I entered my last national tournament before turning pro, the national AAU at Greco-Roman at 220, and I won that one. It was the first one I even won. I had taken second and third a couple of times," Roop said. In 1968, Roop won a position on the U.S. Olympic team as Greco-Roman heavyweight.

Roop was 25 years old, 6'2" tall, and weighed 270 pounds entering the Games in Mexico City in 1968. The team was coached by legendary wrestling coach Henry Wittenberg. Roop finished in seventh place in Mexico City, losing to Anatoli Roschin, who went on to win the silver medal.

Professional career

After the Olympics, Roop turned to professional wrestling. He began his professional career in 1969 and wrestled until 1988, when a car accident damaged his neck.

In 1976, Bob Roop received a possible career ending knee injury while wrestling Eddie Graham. The move which supposedly caused the injury, the figure-four, was banned as a crippling hold. While Roop was supposedly recovering, a new wrestler, The Gladiator, appeared on the Florida wrestling scene. The masked Gladiator used the shoulderbreaker, Roop's signature finishing move, and crowds shouted Roop's name when he appeared in the ring. During a Gladiator match on the Championship Wrestling from Florida TV program, Eddie and Mike Graham ran in on the match and removed the mask. The Gladiator was revealed as Roop. This incident is listed as number 24 in the CWF's "The Twenty-Five Greatest Angles In CWF History." After the unmasking, the figure-four was reinstated.This angle was used in 1977 in Roy Shire San Francisco NWA territory as Roop was "injured" by Kevin Sullivan and then a masked wrestler named The Star Warrior showed up around the same time Roop was injured; later, Sullivan unmasked Star Warrior, who was Roop.

It should also be noted that Roop wrestled for a time in Mid-South Wrestling and is credited for being the man who created the reversal to the figure four leg lock, the hold that "injured" him in Florida. Until then, getting to the ropes was the only way to break the hold other than tapping out.

Roop later became part of the The Army of Darkness stable which included Kevin Sullivan, Purple Haze, Luna Vachon and Lock, Kharma/Molokai and Fallen Angel. Roop adopted the ring name Maha Singh, shaving off the hair and beard on half his head and putting face paint on the shaved side.

He made a cameo appearance in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.

Roop trained Lex Luger in the basics of professional wrestling shortly after meeting him. He then turned over training duties to Hiro Matsuda.

On July 15, 2006, Bob Roop was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum then in Newton, Iowa (now in Waterloo, Iowa).

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

Amateur wrestling

Professional wrestling

  • Gulf Coast/CAC Honoree (2003)
  • PWI ranked him # 342 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003

Published books

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