An article by Mike Mooneyham
(Published April 16, 2000)
They say good things come in small packages.
You don’t have to convince Buck Blevins.
Blevins, known in professional wrestling circles as Bad Boy Buck or Tadpole Buck (depending on whether he’s playing the heel or babyface role), is 4 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. And while he might be a little guy by normal standards, he never saw why his height should stop him from anything.
Including a professional wrestling career.
Although only 25 years old, Blevins has been wrestling for 11 of those, and by the time he was 15, he was on the road with the World Wrestling Federation, performing under a clown mask.
“I’ve been a big fan all of my life – back to the Ric Flair and Black Jack Mulligan days,” said the Virginia native and current resident of Or lando, Fla. “Flair’s my all-time favorite. Ever since Starrcade ’83, Ric Flair’s been the man.”
Blevins fondly recalls the old Mid-Atlantic days and Crockett Promotions.
“It was my first exposure to the little people (midget wrestlers). I said I could do it if they could. I had a big dream.”
The wrestling bug struck early. One of Blevins’ most vivid recollections centers around “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]“I was about six or seven years old and I was watching Jimmy Valiant on television. I asked my mama what she would do if Jimmy Valiant came over to the house one day and ate dinner with us. She told me not to get my hopes up because it would probably never happen.”
Several years later, while with his girlfriend at the local skating rink, Blevins’ mother ran over to tell him that Valiant was in town signing autographs.
“I didn’t even tell the girl bye or anything,” said Blevins. “I took off with my skates over to see Jimmy, and he was one of the nicest men I ever met. I was only 13 then, but I told him that I really wanted to break into the business.”
Valiant, however, told his young fan that he should wait until he was 18 before he got into the ring. That didn’t deter Blevins, who helped Valiant sell his pictures at a local Wal-Mart and later accompanied him to the show. It was a highlight for Blevins.
“I walked him up to the ring. I was in seventh heaven.”
Valiant told Blevins that he would return in about a month, and he was true to his word.
“I thought he was just telling me to keep my hopes up,” said Blevins. “But a month to the day, Jimmy Valiant pulled up in a big stretch limo at my house.”
Blevins’ dream had come true. Valiant invited him to his wrestling camp.
“Boogie treated me just like one of the boys,” said Blevins. “I was very green. Valiant told Lord Littlebrook about me, and he offered to help train me and teach me the midget spots.”
Littlebrook, a midgets world champion during the ’60s and ’70s, wanted Blevins to come to Missouri for training, but the youngster was just starting high school.
“I didn’t want to leave because I had four more years with my buddies. I didn’t want to leave that school and go to a different school for four years.”
The two, however, worked out a deal where Blevins, with his teacher’s consent and abiding by the provision that he keep his grades up, skipped school on Fridays and flew out every weekend for eight weeks. He had turned 14 that summer when he got a call from a local promoter.
“I told him I was green. The promoter picked me up and drove me to the show. I kicked it off and wrestled Mighty Moses in my very first match. You talk about nervous. Boogie was at the show, and I was trying my best to impress him.”
Blevins impressed more than just Valiant and the promoter. The WWF came calling soon after and enlisted Blevins for a rare angle involving midgets. Blevins, eager to grab a piece of the spotlight, donned a clown’s mask and appeared as Wink in a Doink (Matt Borne)-led stable that included Dink (Tiger Jackson) and Pink. They had a series of six-man matches against a trio billed as Cheesy, Sleazy and Queasy.
“It was a dream come true,” Blevins said. “I got to do Raws and pay- per-views. I was 18 for a while before I ever turned 18. But Vince McMahon was a very nice man to work for.”
All good things must come to an end, and Blevins eventually returned to school and graduated. That summer, however, he was back on the road touring the country and working with other midget wrestlers such as Haiti Kid, The Karate Kid and Little Leprechaun.
Blevins was performing for the now-defunct Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion when he got the opportunity to hook up with two more of his favorites from the Crockett days.
“I had another dream come true when The Rock ‘N Roll Express – Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson – sat down and ate breakfast with me at my house,” said Blevins, who began traveling with Morton and even serving as his manager for some matches. Occasionally, he said, he would work as a heel and manage against Morton.
“Whatever it took to keep me in the business, I did it.”
Blevins found his schedule increasing, and the demand often kept him on the road for six and sometimes seven days a week.
“I’d come home for a few hours to say hi to Mom and Dad. Then I’d get back in the car and head back out.”
Blevins said his parents supported him in whatever he set his mind to. His father was a 38-year veteran of the music business, having been a road manager and producer and drummer for such country acts as Marty Robbins, George Jones and Mel Street. “He helped start (country music band) Little Texas,” Blevins added.
Blevins said his father never pushed him to follow in his footsteps.
“In a way he wanted me to go into the music business, but he never pushed me. He wanted me to do what I wanted to do. He actually wanted me to be the next Little Jimmy Dickens. But I didn’t want to,” said Blevins, whose musical activity is limited to playing the drums and bass with a few of his buddies and jamming with them whenever he gets back home.
Blevins adopted his current ring persona after his WWF stint as Wink and later using the monicker Dink on the independent circuit. He eventually dropped the clown gimmick.
Although the promoters needed babyfaces, Blevins said, “I had a vision to be a bad guy and come out on the tricycle with full leather and have the little pom-pom things on the tricycle and come out to `Bad to the Bone.'” Blevins said he went to the heel gimmick when he started running his own shows, and two years ago got another idea when he met up with a Raleigh-based wrestler known as Toad (most recently billed as Frog in WCW).
“He gave me the gimmick of Tadpole,” said Blevins. “It’s like Raven’s Flock, but it’s comedy. He’s the leader and I’m the enforcer. I take care of the flunkies under us. They’re all regular size. They’ll start doing something stupid and I’ll slap them in the face.”
Blevins, who said he hopes to land a job in WCW, laments the decline of midget wrestling, which was a staple in the ’60s and ’70s and produced such legendary characters as Little Beaver, Sky Low Low and Fuzzy Cupid.
“Fans always remember the midget wrestling matches. That’s the No. 1 thing they’ll remember. It used to be hot. Women and midgets were two of the hottest gimmicks in the business. What’s ruined the American midgets is the Mexican midgets (minis). They’re doing all that high-flying stuff. I was taught old school. We do a lot of comedy.”
Blevins got an opportunity to match styles with his Mexican counterparts when he worked with Max Mini in Johnson City, Tenn.
“That was the hardest match I ever worked in my life. He didn’t know a bit of English. The cameraman outside the ring was calling out spots. He could understand English, but he couldn’t speak it.”
Blevins regularly attends the Little People of America conventions, although he usually doesn’t broadcast the fact that he’s a wrestler, and a “midget” wrestler at that.
“I went to every meeting they had,” Blevins said of last year’s LPA conference, which is an organization for dwarfs. “I kept my mouth hushed that I was a wrestler. But some of them knew. They were downing midgets, saying that we shouldn’t be called midgets, and midgets shouldn’t be wrestling. I stood up in my chair and raised my hand. I told them I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything, but that was their opinion. I was making good money in the WWF. I told them that if they could pay me that much a week, I wouldn’t say a word about midgets and I’d help in any way I could. I’d even pick up the trash. But this is my profession and this is how I make my money.”
Blevins, whose mother is 4 feet tall and father is 6 feet tall, said he may not be politically correct, but the word “midget” does not bother him. Most people with dwarfism prefer the terms “dwarf,” “short-statured,” “little person” and the abbreviation “LP.” Many take offense to the word “midget.”
“Ricky Morton and I joke about me being a midget,” he said. “When he walks by me, he’ll go, `Duck clothesline,’ and he’ll throw the clothesline and it’s like four feet over my head.
“The only thing that bothers me about the midget word is when adults pull their kids aside and say, `Hey, look at this midget.’ Kids don’t know any better. They’re looking and laughing and scared. I’ll say, `Give me five, little man,’ just to try to get myself over to let them know that it’s OK. That’s just how I’ve been raised.”
Blevins points out that there are many different types of disproportionate dwarfism.
“Midget and dwarf is not the same thing. Doctors have told me there’s no such thing as a midget. A midget means a short person under five feet tall. So if a lady is 4-8 and has a regular structure, she’s a midget. There are 10 different builds for dwarfs. I’m in the middle. I have a trunk just like you guys. My arms and legs are proportioned. Some of them have short trunks but have long arms and legs.”
Blevins met his future wife at a Little People of America convention last year in Portland, Ore. The two live in Orlando, where Blevins works as an attractions specialist at Disney Quest in downtown Disney World.
“My wife has a little girl, and she’s deaf. I call her my daughter. She’s the smartest person I’ve ever known. She knows Spanish, English and sign language, and she’s only 4 years old.”
Blevins of late has taken his gimmick to an extreme and has incorporated hard-core matches into his act. He has been working with Joe Kidd, Short Dogg and Ripley Von Slam, and recently had a weapons match with Kidd in Mount Airy, N.C., in which Blevins went through three tables and was gushing blood by the end of the bout.
“We had the promoters with their mouths wide open. They didn’t believe the blood was real.”
Blevins also has worked for Extreme Championship Wrestling where he impersonated ECW world champ Tazz in a match with Half Pint Dudley (doing a Dudleys gimmick).
Blevins’ philosophy is simple.
“If you don’t have fun in this business, you might as well not be in it.”