Posted June 1st, 2015 by jshannon

Ringside Remembrances: Tommy Rogers

Jay Shannon draws upon five decades as a devout wrestling fan to look at the past, present and future of professional wrestling.

Monday was a rather sad day for me. I spent the morning and early afternoon paying my final respects to a dear old friend, “Wild” Bill Peterson. Bill was the oldest member of our church family and an honored veteran of the Korean War. I came up from that and found a note from my “brother”, Joe, letting me know that Tommy Rogers was gone. Tommy was a great performer and I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about this Fantastic man (pun completely and fully intended.

Tommy Rogers began his career in 1980. Born Thomas Crouch, Rogers was thrown in the ring as a replacement for Charlie Cook. His first opponent was Eddy Mansfield. He didn’t fare too well but a love of performing was born. Tommy didn’t have any formal training before his first match but he learned from some of the best, over the years.

Tommy toured the country before ending up in Memphis. It was there he met his best friend and long-time partner, Bobby Fulton. Jerry Jarrett shared Fulton and Rogers with Bill Watts’ Mid-South organization. The duo was given the name “The Fantastics”. They were seen by many fans as a new version of the Rock and Roll Express. In fact, their first feud was against the Midnight Express (old foes of the Rock and Roll Express). Rogers then headed to Dallas (which is where I first met the young man). He was a very nice young man who showed massive respect to the fans. The feud with the Midnight Express would go from Mid-South, through Dallas, and into Jim Crockett’s Mid-Atlantic/Georgia promotion. Rogers even did a brief run on the WWE in 1997. Rogers debuted a move, the Tomakaze, that would later be adopted by Christian (The Buzzkill/Unprettier). In the late 80s and early 90s, Tommy and Bobby did numerous independent shows.

Rogers worked in Puerto Rico and ECW, both in singles and tag team matches. Rogers was one of the few men to work almost every major federation of the Expansion Era (WCW, World Class, WWF/E, ECW, Puerto Rico, Japan, etc…). Tommy Rogers retired in 2005. Last year, Rogers made a return appearance at the Mid-South Reunion show in New Orleans. He admitted to the crowd that he was struggling with some serious health issues. I got to actually meet him after finishing a discussion with Jim Cornette and his lovely wife at the Mid-South event. I thanked him for all his years of great performing and he smiled, a bit weakly. He shared with me that he had gone all over the world and done a lot of things but the one thing that always made it worth it was knowing that someone liked what he and Bobby had done. Tommy shook my hand and went to sit down. He was nearly exhausted from meeting with the fans but the smile never left his face.

Tommy had moved to Hawaii, recently. His roommate found him on Monday morning. There have been so many great wrestlers that I never got to meet. I am honored to say that I got to meet one of my heroes and made him smile. God Bless, Tommy. May your rest be a peaceful and glorious one. And please give “Wild” Bill a hug from me. He was a big fan of wrestling and enjoyed your work, too. He went to be with Heavenly Father just a few days before you and I’m sure seeing you will bring a smile to his face like you brought to all of ours.


–Jay Shannon

Comments are closed.