"Dirty" Dick Raines - NZ Wrestling

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03/3/2005 12:00am
The following article was originally published in "International Wrestling News" and appears here with the permission of author Dave Cameron. He was known as "Dirty" Dick, or "Filthy" Richard, or "Cowboy" Dick Raines, but one thing was for certain. The mean, tough Texan was one of our biggest ever villains. Some of the advance publicity which proceeded Dick's visits to Australia and New Zealand announced: "Mothers! Hide your children! You tough hombres had better quit town! Real trouble is looming. "Dirty" Dick Raines is on the rampage, and hes heading this way!". Matdom's most feared opponent, because of his devastating back-breaker hold, "Dirty" Dick spent some four years in the army as a judo instructor, teaching soldiers the neatest and latest methods of breaking someone's arm, leg or neck. He never won the world crown, but he got a win over Bronko Nagurski with the dreaded back-breaker, and he forced Orville Brown to a drawn decision. He beat former World Champion Dean Detton to win the Hawaiian title, and he won many State titles, as well as the Australian crown. His matches in Australia are legend, and his wild brawls at Sydney Stadium with Chief Little Wolf are still talked about today. He met the best in the world. Jim Londos, Bobby Mangaroff, Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz and Earl, McCready. In Honolulu, he secured a win over our own Lofty Blomfield. When Lofty's clamp refused to come undone, the referee awarded the match to Raines - but was the first to make it public that the New Zealander was not to blame. (Editor's note: A wrestler can be disqualified for applying a hold which cannot be released. Lofty successfully released his "Octopus Clamp" on almost every occasion, this being a very rare exception). Dick was the most popular "unpopular" wrestler ever to visit New Zealand. He was, to quote the Dominion of New Zealand Wrestling Union's annual report, "with Earl McCready, the biggest drawcard of the 1949 wrestling season. He only won four of his twenty matches, mainly due to the risks he would take to give the fans plenty of excitement, and he was almost always disqualified for his unruly tactics. Dick first came to New Zealand in 1938. He again came here in 1940, 1949 and 1951. He loved New Zealand and Australia. On his first visit here, he introduced the back-breaker, the "tornado twist", and the "bulldozin' headlock" to New Zealand. He liked his wrestling tough, and spent the greater part of his time in the ring, with one eye on the referee. In his later years, Dick was a leading Texas referee for Paul Boesch's promotions, and was a well-respected "third man". Dick Raines died a few years back in Texas, but New Zealand history would not be complete without mention of the man who perfected the dreaded back-breaker hold.