Steve Rackman, Actor, Gym Operator, and Australian
Wrestling Legend - 25th
Tingle sits down with Steve Rackman at Beach
Fitness Gym at Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia,
and discussed wrestling, fitness acting and the media
"Crusher" Rackman is a true legend of the
Australian and international wrestling business, wrestled
the late, great Andre The Giant (in a cage), appeared
in all 3 Crocodile Dundee movies, 40 feature films
and over 30 advertisements in Australia and aboard.
he runs a gym with Body Building legends, Paul and
Caroline Graham, and is comfortably semi-retired.
What's your background?
I was in England in 1964 doing weight training, boxing
and so on, and doing some bouncing at some bars in
the rough part of town around So Ho, when I was 22.
I was into weights at an early age. I then got into
boxing and started working the doors at the most notorious
clubs in England. A few of the fellas said I looked
like a young, strong, big fella, and that I might
like to join them for wrestling lessons. Keep in mind
I was already a champion boxer, so I took on the challenge.
The wrestler's were both amateur and professionals.
It kind of started from there.
long did you train for before you had your first professional
trained for 12 months with the amateur wrestlers who
were also pros. With the boxing, all 77 bouts in pro
and amateur, I was well prepared.
has the media been both good and bad to you?
they have mainly been quite good to me. They helped
me good press coverage that helped me get movie parts
and advertisements. They helped promote the shows,
you see. Don't get me wrong, they didn't always get
it right, and you'd know that. They didn't always
print what I said and stuff, but overall pretty good.
I also had some good agents.
us about the movie roles and advertisements?
A lot of people don't know this, but during and after
wrestling, I was in many movies and advertisements.
Over 40 feature films and 30 advertisements. Some
of the films and advertisements were not showed in
Australia, but the Crocodile
Dundee movie sure was. I was in all 3 of the
series. Crocodile Dundee, the original, was and still
is one of the most successful movies of all time.
My agent said to me, "send me a tape or show
reel and your CV of the ugliest, loud mouthed, mongrel
looking wrestlers to audition for a role of a character
called "Donk" in Crocodile Dundee, staring
Paul Hogan. I did, and
before I knew it, I was in all the movies. With Dundee,
I was either perfect for the role, or just plain lucky
of the advertisements include the Commonwealth Bank..this
one achieved a FACTS (advertising industry award),
Holster Beer (Canada), Tiger Beer and ABC Stout (Singapore),
NRMA's equivalent in New Zealand. There were many
of the other movies included Bullamakanka,
Last of the Knucklemen, The Howling III, Kick Fighter
and the list goes on. I was usually cast as "the
bad guy" or a shifty kind of copper (policeman).
I was involved in 4 martial type films.
was Crocodile Dundee filmed?
were all over the place...7 weeks at Byron Bay, time
at Cakadu, Darwin, Sydney, and with Crocodile Dundee
III we spend 7 weeks on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
did you secure these deals?
had good agents and an excellent reputation. I even
had a high profile Hollywood agent, and moved to LA
(Los Angeles) for 12 months. I did voice training
television programs have you appeared on?
of the Channel 9 World Championship
Wrestling shows from 1973 to 1978, that were
taped in the Channel 9 studios,
Melbourne's Festival Hall, Sydney Stadium and
then there was Where are they
now, presented by Peter
Luck. There is a lot of stuff out there you
have had good dealings with Peter before. How
many people attended the old Channel 9 studio to watch
there used to get a few thousand. That's all that
would fit in. They would be lined up back to the old
wrestlers did you have to really keep an eye on in
there..you know, the ones that had difficulty distinguishing
reality from theatrics and the like?
for a few seconds)...Bulldog Browler. He was kinda
nuts. He seemed to have a great deal of difficulty
distinguishing wrestling from the real world.
was the most dangerous and exciting situations you
I wrestled the late Andre The
Giant in a steel cage cage in front of 10,000
people at Melbourne's Festival Hall. They turned away
about 3000 fans for that match. The fans were after
Andre must have been amazing. Who else did you have
memorable battles with?
Negro was always spirited and competitive. We wrestled
dozens of times.
any of the wrestling matches ever say, get way out
of hand, where you and the opponent would be really
watching out for yourselves. I think you know what
Put it this way, there were times when the amateur
background came in very handy.
were some of the big name wrestlers back then?
Negro of course, Bulldog Browler, Andre, Mark Lewin,
King Kurtis, Mario Milano and Spiros Arion. Many of
the old timers...there dead now.
is one of the wrestling promos your known for?
I taught you everything you know about wrestling,
but I didn't teach you all I know.
Championship Wrestling was operated by Jim Barnett
in Australia between 1964 to 1974. What was he like
as a promoter and a person?
Barnett was a very astute businessman. He was more
than just another wrestling promoter. Kind of like
Vince McMahon Jr. He was pretty eccentric and of course
everyone knows he is gay.
announcers were calling the action back then?
Little was the most famous. Then there was Mike Clearly,
Paul Jennings and Wayne Kirby.
did the Australian World Championship Wrestling stop?
around 1978 Jim Barnet realised that WCW in Australia
was past it's "used by" date. Something
has to give. The ceasing of WCW made way for World
Series Cricket which was developed by John Corwel
and Paul Hogan.
have been involved with a number of wrestling promotions
and events in Australia haven't you?
For many years I operated Main
Event Promotions. We ran mainly clubs and shopping
centres. For 15 years we did a show at Revesby Worker's
Club every month for 15 years. We also did Manly Leagues
Club, Mount Pritchard (where we just did our 25th
year) and Penrith Panthers.
are you doing with yourself these days?
strongly focussed on the successful operation of my
new gym at Coogee Beach.
did that come about?
relationship with Paul Graham goes back 30 years.
He used to be a big name in body building. I met him
at Channel 9 studios back at a WCW taping in 1973.
used to have another Gym also didn't you?
That was at Coogee also, under the Holiday Inn. I
had that for 9 years, and we had over 3000 members
through there. Some pretty high profile members also,
including the NSW State of Origin
team. We still have them. Beach Fitness has many high
level footballers and even some Olympians.
some more customers now. I better let you go. Can
I pop in again soon?
and I'll let you check out the show reel.
to an interview with Steve Rackman - May 2003
Rackman interview - 13th November 2003
Rackman interview - 24th March 2004
Man Australia, Greg Tingle, interviews Phil Piccaso
Man Australia, Greg Tingle, interviews Ric Drasin
Rackman unofficial website (by Greg Tingle)
(have covered WWE wrestlers training methods)
World Wrestling Entertainment
Internet Movie Database (including a Steve Rackman
Biting! Big Chief Little Wolf: folklore, folkheroes
and professional wrestling in Australia - NLA
the media have said about wrestling over the years
The Great Aussie Promoters
more information contact Greg Tingle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitness, cnr Arden & Carr Streets, Coogee, Sydney,
Australia Ph 02 9665 4058
Rackman and Greg Tingle at Coogee Beach
Man Australia "Putting your name out there!"