It’s characteristic of pro wrestling that the hated bad guys are remembered oh so fondly by the fans of the day. In the case of “Apache” Bull Ramos, who died early Sunday morning, May 27, 2006, he was about an unforgettable as they come.
When SLAM! Wrestling ran a story on Ramos a couple of years back [“Apache” Bull Ramos still battling, Oct. 13 2004] detailing his health issues, we were able to pass on many messages to the great native warrior.
Houston’s Art Nelson wrote in. “He deserves as much recognition as possible for the years of entertainment he’s brought, and I’m always glad to see him get his due,” wrote Nelson, also recalling a feature article by Oregon Journal sportswriter Dwight Jaynes, who rode with Ramos for a few days. “Dwight kept kayfabe, and also came back with a great respect for pro wrestlers in general, but especially Bull in particular.”
Rich from New Jersey recalled being at the final show on January 29, 1968 at the previous incarnation of Madison Square Garden, which featured Ramos beating Antonio Pugliese (Tony Parisi). “Bull during his stint in the WWWF with Col.O’Dell was one of my favorites,” he shared.
Another reader thanked Bull for the many memories. “Please send him my best and say THANKS to him for all he did for the biz, and our entertainment. Also if you could, tell him there is a thirteen year old boy that he scared the BeJesus out of, and a forty year old man who has nothing but respect for him!! Both are me of course!!” wrote Steve Tenney. “I have a picture of him pinning Mando Guerrero, with Roddy Piper doing the count and it is the only decoration on my bedroom wall. Please let him know that he is in my thoughts, and that I still think he was in the top ten heels of all time. A true great.”
Ramos’ peers certainly agree with his ranking as one of the best bad guys ever.
In fact, frequent opponent Dutch Savage said he was the best he ever saw. “Ramos had this thing about him. It was like all you had to do was show up and he’d get the heat for you. It was such a refreshing thing in the ring where you didn’t have to do anything, he did it for you,” said Savage. “It was just instantaneous, he had that charisma.”
Wrestling World wrote about Ramos in its Spring 1970 issue, in an article by Ernie Salvatore entitled “Bull Ramos: Smoke Signals on the Horizon.” The story said that Bull’s real name was Sperdito Negro, and that he was born in “an adobe hut on the San Carlo, New Mexico, Indian reservation.” He was 6-foot-1, 315-pounds of “redskinned dynamite, dressed in an Indian vest and wearing an Indian headhand.”
He was a fan growing up in Houston, attending matches with his uncle and father. They’d settle for the cheap seats — $2 a ticket — in the rafters and watch the likes of Duke Keomuka, Ricky Romero, Black Guzman, French Angel, Ray Gunkel and Louie Tillet.
Around 1964, he got into pro wrestling himself, training with Houston mainstay Danny McShain, Cyclone Anaya, and David Weinstein.
In an interview in the April 2006 of Mike Rodgers’ Ring Around The Northwest newsletter, Ramos was asking whether he would have fared as well in today’s wrestling as he did in his heyday of the 1970s. “I do because of my gimmick. I started wrestling as Bull Ramos at first. People loved Indians in one way and they hate a dirty Indian and that’s what made me. Yes I think I would make it and make it twice good because the money is twice as good and I would probably work twice as hard.”
In the same interview, he talked about his world travels — 15 trips to Japan, Korea three times, twice to Australia. “They loved me in Japan. I used to go with King Curtis. He and I went quite a few times together. We had fantastic matches there. That was the best territory I ever went to. Australia was like America but just a little behind. Japan was the best I ever had. The money was good, the way the people treated you was fantastic. You were respected. Everyone where you went the people just loved you to death because you were in their country. I always respected them.”
After he quit wrestling in the 1980s, Ramos ran a wrecking service in Houston, learning how to do it first from former wrestler Nick Kozak.
The last number of years were very trying for Ramos, his dedicated wife Brenda, and his family. Blinded by diabetes and battling countless other health issues, his end on May 27, 2006 was not unexpected.
Funeral information is not available at this time.