The Submission Radio Podcast recently interviewed “Judo” Gene LeBell, who shared a story of what late former WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper told him before his recent passing, Ronda Rousey potentially going into pro wrestling and more. Below are some highlights.
LeBell on his talk with Piper two dies before he passed away: “Well Roddy Piper, he’s good. I mean, when I say good, I don’t take that lightly. He would have made a fortune off MMA, but he was making a fortune doing Piper’s Pit. And every time he got in a bad mood he’d call me up ‘come on, we’re going down to the gym and wrestle’. And he spent a lot of time on an airplane, going from town to town. He had a little radio program here I was on, and two days before he passed, I was with him and he said he wants to come down on Monday to the dojo and workout. And I said ‘no problem’. I says ‘how do you feel’? He says ‘I’m tired. Gene, I’m really tired’. And you burn the candle at both ends, it’s gonna come up and get you in the middle. So anyway, he at 61, he passed. And I used to – I have a terrible memory. But I used to tell him, every year his birthday was April 17th and 1954. And I said ‘oh, it’s you’re birthday’, you know and he always asks ‘how do you remember?’. Well I do things through association. I won Judo nationals through that date for the US on April 17th 1954. So you know, now I am 104 and going up, but he was a good guy.”
LeBell on Ronda Rousey possibly going into pro wrestling: “She could become one and she would be very good, but why? Because she wouldn’t go on the road, and drive from one town to the next to make things. She might do a spot-show once in a while, but it’s better to do movies. ‘Cause in movies, if they play it again, even if you have a small part – like you talk about Rocky. I get residuals. I must have gotten thousands of dollars in residuals from that, and in dollars, American dollars. And once you do wrestling, that’s it. Plus I got life time insurance, which is very important and for me and my family, and that’s a good thing. I love pro wrestling. I wrestled pro on-and-off for 20 years. I love it. It was the way of life. But I think she’s better off doing movies, and I personally would like to see her retire while she’s on top. And if you think of Joe Louis, he fought too long. Muhammad Ali fought too long. You know, everybody eventually will get beat. There’s a tougher guy that comes along, and you’re not that tough anymore. You think you are in your head: ‘I think I can beat the world’. And then I go out and I stumble on the mat and look for my glasses to see where my opponent is. In other words – of course I’m teasing – but there’s a time to retire. And she said ‘when I’ll retire, you’ll never hear from me again’. She’s gonna become a beach bum and just surf.”