02-16 rickey long

Pictured, wrestler Rickey Long celebrates after being crowned the champion of the second annual Chris Dalton Memorial Battle Royale. Prior to the fight, he was inducted into the KCW Hall of Fame.

For 33 years, Rickey Long has delighted professional wrestling fans throughout Northeast Texas and beyond. This past weekend, he was recognized for his long and successful career in the ring by being inducted into the Knuckleheads Championship Wrestling Hall of Fame at the second annual Chris Dalton Battle Royale.

Honoring his long and successful career in the regional wrestling scene, KCW — which regularly hosts events in Paris and elsewhere throughout the Red River Valley — inducted Long into its Hall of Fame.

“It was a huge honor for me; it took my breath away,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years and no one ever did anything like this for me before. But a promoter called and asked if I wanted to come to a KCW Hall of Fame event. I just thought I was going to wrestle, and I didn’t think anything of the Hall of Fame.”

To put the cherry on top of an already-memorable night, Long then went on to win the match immediately afterwards.

Several wrestlers entered the ring, but only one could remain. In the end, it came down to Long and another fan favorite who goes by the stage name Rage, but Long was able to outlast his opponent and be crowned the victor.

Long became enamored with wrestling at a young age, and he said he remembers watching professional wrestling on TV and knowing that’s what he wanted to do.

“I saw all the fans screaming and asking for autographs and all that and I just thought, ‘Wow,’” Long said.

As he took a liking to the sport, he noticed that much of the professional wrestling scene was dominated by wrestlers following in the footsteps of their parents and sometimes even grandparents who wrestled before.

“There were a bunch of wrestling families, but no one in my family had ever done it before,” he said. “I thought maybe I could do it and make a name for myself. I wanted to show that I could do something on my own.”

After impressing at some local wrestling events, Long earned a spot at the wrestling school hosted by renowned wrestler Chris Adams in Dallas, where he learned the ins and outs of the game along with names such as Stone Cold Steve Austin.

“We learned all the throws and other things, and we learned how to wrestle so we wouldn’t get hurt or hurt the people we were wrestling against.” he said.

Eventually, Long was able to test his mettle in a number of circuits, such as the Global Wrestling Federation, Texas All-Stars Wrestling, Knuckleheads Championship Wrestling and more.

As his size and strength helped him garner wins in the ring, his charming persona of The Great Rickey Long helped him win over the hearts of fans.

“I’m the hero; the one that people cheer for,” he said. “When you hear people chanting your name and cheering for you, there’s nothing like it. You feed off the crowd.”

Over the years, Long has picked up several big wins in the ring. However, two in particular hold a special place in his heart.

One of the most memorable moments of his career came in 1993, when he won his first title by being named the brass knuckle champion at Mid-South Wrestling in Louisiana.

“I’d been in many title matches by that point, but I’ll always remember that as being my first title I won,” he said.

Another of his most memorable wins came much more recently, in 2018 at the Texas Independent Professional Wrestling Championship. He was blessed, he said. To be able to win it with his family and friends watching in the audience.

Looking ahead to the future, Long said he’ll be back in the Red River Valley, first on March 19 for another KCW event, and then the next night in Detroit for a match hosted by Four Corners Wrestling.

“Doing this has been amazing,” Long said. “If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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