Legendary referee Charles Robinson is the guest this week on Ryan Satin's "Out of Character" podcast. Some transcribed highlights are below and scroll down for the full interview.
Charles Robinson describing when he first became a fan of Ric Flair:
"Back in the 70s, that's when I first started watching wrestling. It was Jim Crockett promotions, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. I flipped on the channel, and the very, very first person I saw was Ric Flair, and from that moment, I was hooked. You know, I just loved everything about the Nature Boy."
On how he became a referee:
"We had a small wrestling promotion here in Charlotte. It was run by George South, which everyone knows George South, and The Italian Stallion. It was called the PWF, Professional Wrestling Federation. Another one on my collateral duties just to make this make sense, I was a photographer as well. So I went to them and said, ‘Hey, I was a photographer in the military. How would you like me to take photos for you?' They said, 'That would be a fantastic idea.' So I started doing photos. I sent them into the wrestling magazines when we used to have wrestling magazines, you know, PWInsider, Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler. I would send photos in and get those published.”
“One week, I think we were in Lincolnton, North Carolina, and there was a match and they said, 'Charles, would you do us a favor? We want to work you into a storyline and bring you back as a special guest referee just to try to get a little talk.' So I had a camera with a flash on it. I took the picture. The heel was blinded. He rolled back. The baby face rolled him up. The heel lost of course. He got mad at me, came out, beat me up, and threw my head into the post. I got color. I was bleeding which was incredible. First time I ever got color. I cut a little promo. I came back the next week as a referee and they said, 'Charles, you did pretty good.' I said, 'Well, I've been watching Tommy Young my entire life, you know, learning from the best.' ‘How would you like to come back next week and we'll give you a hot dog and a Coca Cola to work for us', and I was in. So I started doing that on weekends. I did that for maybe a year, year and a half.”
“I would send in videotapes or send letters to Terry Taylor, who was head of talent relations I guess with WCW at the time because I was a big NWA wrestling fan. That's what I grew up with. I bothered him so much. They showed up in Charlotte for Nitro. I think it was September 17, 1997. I saw him and I said, 'Hey Terry, how are you doing? You've been getting my tapes, been getting my letters?' He goes, 'Oh man. Charles Robinson. Alright Charles, do you have your gear?' I said, 'I have my gear.' They gave me a tryout and it was with Chris Adams and Kendall Windham and I got hired from that. They said, 'Hey, show up in Orlando, the Universal tapings’, and that's how it all started, but Terry Taylor is the man that got me in the door.”
On becoming Little Naitch:
"Kevin Nash came to me. He's the one that came up with this idea. He came to me and said, 'Hey Charles, what do you think if we bring you in and you wrestle, and you get beat by a girl? We'll give you a robe. We'll give you boots. We'll give you tights and we'll pay you $10,000.' I said, 'I'm in. Let's do it.' So that's where the whole little Nature Boy persona came from, even though I was a little nature boy way, way before that. In junior high school, that's the first time that my hair, which is naturally blonde, that's the first time I bleached it and I used to wear warm up jackets with Nature Boy on the back with all the rhinestones and all the sequins."
On meeting the Rock for the first time in WWE:
You had Jack Doan, you had Chad Patton, who are fantastic. They actually taped me up. This is actually pretty good. They tape me up and they had one of my fingers, I'm not going to do it here because I don't know if I'm allowed to, but it was pointing up. Then they put a sign on me. Guess what the sign said? ‘The Rock who?’ So they tape ‘The Rock who’ on my chest, and they push me in a chair, and introduce me to Dwayne The Rock Johnson. So that was my introduction to The Rock.