by Evan Ginzburg
From Wrestling- Then & Now Issue #150 June 2003
EVAN GINZBURG: We interviewed you a few years back. Update us on what's been going on since then.
LOUIE RAMOS: I'm trying to get back and elevate death matches to where they should be--that is, once a show on every show.
EG: You've been having some really wild, bloody, hardcore matches for USA Pro in New York. Tell us about them.
LR: Well, those are basically the kind of matches I always want to have, and it is a dream come true at the Elks Lodge, because it has the mystique of being the "Madhouse of Extreme." [Editor's note: former New York home of ECW.] Plus, it's in New York where I'm originally from, and I can take the train. (laughs)
EG: There's been some really wild moments in your matches, including your stapling a condom to your opponent's face. Tell us where you get your ideas from.
LR: I sit on the toilet bowl and think of the craziest thing I can do during a match, and I go out and execute it. Some things are just too far-fetched to be done, though.
EG: Having been there in person when you stapled the condom on J.C. The Damager's face, I would honestly say that most of the audience thought it was great, laughed, and enjoyed it. But others thought it had nothing at all to do with wrestling. What do you say to your critics?
LR: Everyone in this business has a detractor, from Hulk Hogan to Ric Flair to Joe Schmoe to Lowlife Louie. Therefore, I care less what my detractors say, because I let their words bounce like water off my back.
EG: It almost seems like there's no middle ground when watching a Louie Ramos hardcore match. The fans either love it--and really pop for all the wild spots and blood--or they're just turned off to it.
LR: Well, always there is no gray area with Louie Ramos in the ring or out of the ring, and I'm glad that 90% of them enjoy it. I'm getting a great response on the USA Pro message boards and in other wrestling venues as well.
EG: You told me once you have a 166 IQ. So in a sense, you're really using your imagination to come up with some of the wild things you do in the ring. For example, what gave you the idea to have a board full of fluorescent light bulbs spell out your name? And what did that mean to you?
LR: Again, I use my intelligence in my death matches. The light tube idea has been used in Big Japan but never has a name been spelled out. The barbed wire dildo and the board are just figments of my imagination, and I come up with sick ideas for my death matches.
EG: So some might think it's a form of creative genius while you yourself use the word "sick." Where exactly does this fall under?
LR: This falls under entertainment. I am a real life horror movie that people can enjoy and cheer. That's not to say I can't wrestle, because I can, but I choose to do this as my entertainment, because it is what I love.
EG: A few years back we did an interview with you and Julio Torres and Tiger Khan that we ran, and they seemed to feel that when a wrestler goes to such extremes as yourself, it shows some kind of disregard for yourself. You mentioned to me once that you would be willing to end up in a wheelchair for this sport.
LR: One hundred percent correct. I would do anything for this sport. This sport has been my life. It has given me joys beyond my wildest dreams. The words they used were that I "was killing the business." I disagree. I am killing myself. And the last few shows are proof. So if there's a spot for me, there's a spot for everyone else. Not everyone cheers what I do, or the lucha, or strong style, so there's something for everything. There's people who watch lucha and say "Fuck this. I want to see Homicide and Low Ki and Christopher Daniels wrestle." There's something for everyone. That's why they make colors. That's why they make flavors.
EG: But my point, as a friend, is I don't see any reason why you need to end up crippled. You can still give them their money's worth without destroying your own body.
LR: If you watch Japanese tapes from seven years ago, you see that they were ahead of their time in hardcore wrestling. Almost everything has been done. So it's up to me to up the ante with every single match that passes. I raise the bar just a little bit each time out. And whether it hurts me in the end or something really bad happens to me, I can't worry about that, because it'll make me lose my nerve, and I just can't afford to do that.
EG: Okay. So you're willing to do anything for the fans in spite of whatever harm it may do to you. So what is the responsibility of the promoter? Shouldn't he be paying you more for your sacrifices?
LR: All promoters do as they please. I just do what I do and whoever hires me. What I make is nobody's business but my own and the promoters.
EG: But at what point is it exploitation? If you're leaving, as you told me, a piece of your hand at ringside, shouldn't you at least be compensated as well as the main eventers?
LR: First off, it's not exploitation if I'm willing to do it. This is what I love to do if you call it crazy or not. And the danger in this business isn't just in my matches. They can be crippled or paralyzed from a German suplex or piledriver moreso than from a chair. I have actually walked away more sore and in pain from a regular wrestling match than from a barbed wire match. Look at all the guys in the WWE that are requiring neck surgery recently because of the style. So you can't just say that it's because of hardcore. Wrestling in general will damage your body. You only do this if you want to do this.
EG: But what about being typecast as a hardcore wrestler? I've seen you many times at the old Dog House have good, solid wrestling matches. But the fans in general tend to think of you as hardcore. And a good friend of yours, Homicide, has recently made great advances in his career, going to Japan and headlining top indy shows nationwide since he's wrestled more traditional or strong style as opposed to hardcore.
LR: While you are 100% correct again I just came off doing a wrestling match two nights ago against Christopher Street Connection in which I didn't swing a chair, didn't bleed--I went out there and wrestled. The point I'm trying to make is I can wrestle. I have wrestled Homicide, Low Ki, Monster Mack, The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz, Grim Reefer, Christopher Street Connection, and other great wrestlers in wrestling matches. As a wrestler, I am just an average, normal wrestler. But what makes me stick out is my death match style.
EG: What's your opinion on a guy like Onita who took pride in having over 1,000 stitches? Is this a sign of a brave warrior or a masochist? Or a little of both?
LR: You know me well for many years. You know Onita is one of my heroes. To me, Onita is a pioneer and legend, and it would be my honor to have as many stitches as he has, but I don't like to take stitches, so I let wounds heel on their own.
EG: My cousin from England was just in, and he told me to ask you about your famous Christmas Death Match.
LR: Again, my brainchild. Me and Homicide put on a hardcore exhibition that is still spoken about to this day, and it was one of the most original matches ever. The tinsel on the tree was barbed wire. One of the gifts under the tree was a machete. And the Christmas ornaments were full of thumbtacks.
EG: People say there's a thin line between genius and madness. Maybe you're just 20 years ahead of your time like John Waters and Russ Meyers were.
LR: Actually, I feel that I was born 10 years too late, because I would have loved to have wrestled Onita in his prime in Japan. As far as a thin line between genius and madness, I'm standing on that line.
EG: This interview is going to be published in the 150th issue of my newsletter, and I thought very carefully about who I wanted to put in this issue.
LR: It is an honor for me to be in this issue.
EG: How would you figure an old school fan like myself who grew up on Bruno and Superstar and Koloff and Kowalksi, would enjoy hardcore matches like you put on? I know that when I watch your matches, part of me is concerned for your safety, while another part of me just gets into the wild stuff that you do in the ring.
LR: Things change. None of us were the same 10 years ago. The styles change. What you saw 25 years ago would not get a good response today. So you always have to keep changing the style. Everybody changes for better or worse. I did not invent hardcore wrestling. I just want to be the best at it.
EG: Speaking of changes, I have a lot of respect and appreciation for guys like Red, Homicide, Low Ki, Hit Squad, and guys who can legitimately wrestle. At the same time, I find on many indy cards, there's just too many guys, too many matches, too many high spots, and if you put $1,000 cash in front of me at the end of the night, I couldn't remember half the results. What do you say about this observation?
LR: Again, there's something for everybody on indy shows. And you have to bring in as many fans as you can. Hey, man. Homicide trained me. He didn't teach me how to blade and run into barb wire. He taught me how to mat wrestle. How to take bumps. I wasn't trained for this--I was chosen for this.
EG: You told me recently you want to be remembered as having the sickest run in the history of wrestling. Can you elaborate?
LR: It may be difficult because of all the rules and politicians and commission out there to duplicate what was done in Japan during the Onita time, but I will try my damnedest and best to put on the most brutal, hardcore matches of all time. And I think that for that, I would need to wrestle Wifebeater from CZW one on one, and me and him can redefine hardcore wrestling.
EG: I should say for my readers who don't know you personally, you're a likable kind of guy--fun, always laughing and having a good time. So it's interesting that you do have this violent side to you, because if somebody didn't know you from wrestling, it wouldn't be apparent.
LR: I do this style because I love it. In my life, I'm a comedian, down to earth, and I love to keep it real. I am that way until I walk through the curtain. Once I walk through the curtain, all bets are off.
EG: What responsibility do you have towards your opponent in a hardcore match as far as keeping him safe? For example, barbed wire can, of course, cut an artery.
LR: Just like with every wrestling match, your safety is in your opponent's hands, and before every death match you take as many precautions as possible. Tape up. But like with every single wrestling match, you just don't know what will happen. Accidents will happen in any kind of match.
EG: A guy like Mikey Whipwreck who wouldn't be classified as a hardcore wrestler, but who clearly sacrificed his body for the sport, made an impression on millions of TV fans worldwide. But at the same time, he did an autograph signing in New York a year or so ago, and maybe 40 people showed up. Which again makes me question whether having a small piece of history is worth sacrificing your body. Do the fan really remember, and are they worth it?
LR: Whipwreck is a class act in and out of the ring, and I take pride that I know him. He has trained some of the best out there. And he has lived out a dream. I can not speak for him, but I'm sure he's happy with what he has accomplished. My opinion on the fans is this. They want to be entertained, it doesn't matter who does it. We are interchangeable. Those who were entertained by one guy five years ago are now entertained by someone else. That's why I do what I do. And the day that I become boring and day that fans don't cheer my name like they do, I will disappear into the sunset.
EG: That sounds like a fitting enough ending. Is there anything at all else you want to say to our worldwide readership?
LR: I want to thank you for having me on and thinking highly enough of me to have in your issue. I want to thank Homicide and Laithon for training me when I had no talent. I want to thank Monster Mack, Mace, Buffy, and Low Ki, and Michael Zevon, and Frank Goodman for standing by me since day one. And I want to thank all the fans who ever chanted my name. And I want to thank every one of the boys I ever stepped in the ring with. This could not have happened without you. And I'm single! (laughs)
Evan Ginzburg is manager of Johnny Valiant and Nicole Bass. Johnny Valiant appears in "An Evening With Johnny Valiant" at the Darress Theatre 615 Main St. Boonton, NJ on July 11 at 8PM. www.darresstheater.com and www.johnnyvaliant.net. Johnny Valiant's Vaudeville Review comes to the Polish Community Hall- 630 Jersey Ave. in Jersey City, NJ on Sat. July 26 at 7PM.