Fans of the 1980’s NWA and its territories have had a rough year with the passing of many legends and personalities. On Thursday night, former Pacific Northwest icon “The Crippler” Rip Oliver, passed away after a short stay in hospice due to chronic heart problems. He was 67 years old.
Pacific Northwest legendary wrestler Rip Oliver went to be with the Lord today at 4 p.m (Eastern Standard Time). May the good Lord comfort his widow and three children, family & close friends. Rip is no longer suffering but we are deeply saddened by this news pic.twitter.com/sFfAZJ9A30
— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) March 5, 2020
Originally hailing from Tampa, he started in the Florida territory with Championship Wrestling From Florida in 1975 and expanded with Georgia Championship Wrestling, Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and Verne Gagne‘s American Wrestling Association (AWA). But once he shifted to the Pacific Northwest, he went from a solid journeyman to an absolute star.
In 1980 he joined Don Owen‘s NWA Pacific Northwest territory. The Pacific Northwest was a unique territory, combining West Coast, Hawaii, and Western Canadian wrestling into a hybrid that kept the region vibrant for decades. Stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Billy Jack Haynes, Tully Blanchard, and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka had tremendous success in the PNW before becoming full-fledged superstars.
With all the talent that went through the PNW, none shone brighter than Rip Oliver. He was a 12x NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Champion and a 16x NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Champion, that both remained records until the promotion folded in 1997. He had a brief two-month stint with the WWF in 1987 but was sadly used more as an enhancement.
The LWOPW staff offers our sincerest condolences to Rip Oliver’s family, friends, and peers during this time.
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