Rockin' Robin Smith Discusses the Dark Side of the Ring Experience, WWE Women's Title Run, & more

Posted By James Walsh on 06/08/21


Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Rockin' Robin
Date: 06/09/2021
Your Host: James Walsh

Sometimes being persistent, a pest in other words, yields positive results. A number of years ago, I happened across a post on Facebook commented on by Robin Smith who I knew right away to be wrestler Rockin' Robin. Because I've been doing this wrestling talk show thing for more than half my life, I asked her if she wanted to come on and talk wrestling. She politely declined but stated that if the time ever came that she had something new to talk about, she would do it. We stayed in contact and I, on occasion, dropped hints and requests here and there as I knew the result of our chat would be great stuff. Finally, as she took part in the VICE TV series Dark side of the Ring courageously discussing her trials and tribulations with father Grizzly Smith and confirmed the often rumored and talked about sexual abuse she endured, we asked her to do it again and she agreed. Though we were fans before it aired, we know how much courage it took to go on air with her story and gained even more respect for her and her family, the wrestling siblings of whom we've interviewed previously.

This is an exclusive 2021 interview with Rockin' Robin Smith talking about the Dark Side experience, her time in the WWF and how much or little the girl matches were valued or how much or little thought went into booking said matches, her UWF run, and beyond. She also discusses her complicated relationship, a tad, with Sam Houston and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. And, she introduces the "Bullshit Flag", a new item she is bringing out to merchandise like a football penalty flag to pull out whenever someone says something that isn't true. Boy, there better be a lot of flags around for the amount of BS I see each day!

Oh! And a fun tidbit. We are presenting this 30 years to the day of her winning the UWF Women's World Title at the infamous Herb Abrams UWF Beach Brawl PPV. How cool is that?

Genuinely honored to present this interview. Check out www.WrestlingEpicenter.com for more interviews like this. Like and subscribe!



On her feelings on the finished product of Dark Side of the Ring:
"I probably couldn't be more pleased. I'll give you the backstory. I had been asked a couple of times before I finally agreed to do the show. I didn't want to just come out and do a so-called hit job on the family or our father - anything like that. But, after we talked a little bit, the guys who created this and run that show, they're incredible! They're even more incredible than I thought in the beginning. After they approached me, I said, "Well, let me think about it." Then, I watched a couple of episodes on other families and other subjects, when I saw how respectful they were - They were never out to do a hit job on anybody. They handled every subject with a lot of respect and a lot of care. They seemed to put a lot of care into not ticking somebody off which would be really easy to do. It is called the Dark Side of the Ring because it really covers the dark side of things. It would be really easy for them to embarrass people or really humiliate people and that isn't what they do. That is what made me decide to go ahead and do it."

On if it was difficult to tackle her sexual abuse as it was rumored for so long:
"To answer honestly, no, not really! I'm 56... Lets say I'm 56 or 57. Somewhere in there. My age or years gone by doesn't make it any less traumatic. It really doesn't. But, it is something that happened to me. It is something that has happened, I'm sure, to a lot more children than we could ever fathom. But, as I said in the piece, I decided that could no longer be a part of what guides my life. There were actually quite a few things that I guess they couldn't fit in. But, I said there was a point where I stopped seeing my father as my father and started seeing him just as a human being - A very flawed human being with this very bad problem. But, once I disassociated... What really messes with your mind is this is a parent. This is someone who is supposed to take care of you and make sure you're safe. He did the complete opposite of that. So, the only way I could reconcile this was to disassociate him as my father. A father doesn't do that. So, when I stopped and re-evaluated him as a human being, and I didn't spend a lot of time doing that either, I say that this is a person with a very bad problem. I don't know if doctors would call it an illness? I really don't know. But, if the world could be rid of something like that, it would be a better world."

n if her dealings with her family caused trust issues:
"Oh yeah, I'm sure! I can't think of any examples off the top of my head. But, I'm sure if you called 10people who know me, they would be able to call examples off like that - With the snap of a finger. I mean, how could it not? Unfortunately, I really don't have any advice for someone dealing with that. It is like I said on the episode, he (Grizzly Smith) ruined my childhood. I'll be damned if I'm going to let him ruin the erst of my life."

On her finding her way:
"It was actually me ruining the rest of my life. It was on me for not pulling it together. But, I said it was time for me to pull myself into who I think I am or want to be. Leave that trash behind! I know, it is easier said and done. But, you know, James? One of the hardest things the child has to deal with is the amount of guilt that you carry. When a pedophile is grooming you, they have a way of getting you involved like you're accepting of all of this. Whether it be buying you presents you wouldn't normally get or taking you to a store and letting you pick out anything you want - In a way, they're making you a part of that. I was guilty of accepting of that. For instance, our father used to let us drink alcohol at a very early age. He would even provide the alcohol! He'd let us smoke pot at a very early age! He would come and say, "I confiscated a little bit from the boys!" (laughs) "Here you go." And, he would give it to me and my friends... We were maybe 14, 15.... Probably younger than that."

On the reaction from the wrestling world including The Rock to the Dark Side episode:
"I think it is all kind of still settling in. I'm not on Twitter or any other form of social media except Facebook. I'm just... technology is not my forte. But, I got a couple messages that Mr. Johnson put something out on twitter. It floored me! I was very happy about it. I guess honored that he would say something. From what I understand, he received a copy of it about a week before it aired and he had commented to the Dark Side team that it was a profound episode. So, when you stop and think... The Rock was watching me! (laughs) That's pretty cool!"

On what she thinks of women's wrestling now versus the "80's Ladies" era:
"Great question! They call it a division now. And, it is great that there is a division because at least you know that is where you're headed. Back in our era, I love the term "80's ladies", if you go back and remember, there were no girls with really big gimmicks. Look at Jake, Jake with the snake. British Bulldogs with the bulldogs. You had all these great gimmicks going on. But, the women really didn't have gimmicks. We were the gimmick. We were the gimmick match. On top of having no gimmicks, we also had no angles to work. Someone would literally just open the door and say, "10 minute Broadway, Sherri's going over" Or, "Robin's going over." It didn't really matter to anyone what we did... Just as long as we went at least 10 minutes. To be honest, we would go way over that! (laughs) We wanted to get something going! And, most of the time, we actually would! But, it never really led into anything. Most of the time, the girls were really on the fly."

On still having the original WWF Women's Title Belt:
"It is fairly common knowledge, and sometimes when I do signings, I still have the WWF Women's Title Belt. After the women were over and done in the WWF and weren't around, I spoke with someone, I think it was Pat Patterson, he told me I could no longer say I was the WWF Women's Champion. I had to say former champion - Yada, yada, yada. So, I said, "I have the belt. What do you want me to do with it?" He said, "Keep it! No one's asked for it. It is yours." I was like, "Oh! OK! Cool!" And, I've still got it!"

On if the WWE ever invited her back in the mid 90's when the women's division returned:
"They sure didn't. After they shut that thing down, I never really heard anything from them (WWE). "

On almost losing the title in Hurricane Katrina:
"I was living in New Orleans. I had lived there for almost 12 years. Actually, my house was less than 2 miles from where the first levy breached. I had a few boxes in the attic. It is probably just as well because the whole house.... The water reached probably within a foot or two of the ceiling. That is how high the water line was. But, I opened the boxes and low and behold, I had the WWF belt, the UWF belt - I no longer have that. A belt collector has that now, wink wink. (laughs) And, I had a pair of boots with Rockin' Robin on them. That is actually it. All of the outfits... All of the ring gear... Nothing else made t."

On not answering many interview requests:
"I get them sporadically. I can almost tell when the WWE Network, is that still around? I can tell if they run an old match of mine, maybe against Sherri or an old girls match, the requests pick up. Believe it or not, I even get fan mail at my house. It is kind of crazy. All of a sudden I'll get like 10 pieces of mail, I'm not talking tons, asking for autographed pictures. I'll be like, "Well, I guess they must have shown another match!" That's when that happens."

On why they chose the odd place of Paris for her to capture the WWF Women's Title from Sherri:
"I really don't have an answer to that. There was not really a rhyme or reason for a lot of what happened. What I do remember is it was filmed in Paris but didn't air here for almost 3 months. So, every night for 3 months Sherri and I would wrestle and she would have the belt. I was like, "Come on! Oh man! I want to wear it! It is time!" hten, when it finally aired, Sherri and I made our rounds and I think that lasted for over a year. Just her and I, every night. There were so few girls to draw to. There seemed to be just so few girls coming in. I don't know if there just weren't enough girls out there or if they just didn't have any interest in us other than us being what they call a popcorn match."

On the current women's wrestling scene:
"I think they're incredible. And, I'm so glad that there is a division and there is some thought that goes into what they do. There are angles. If I'm being totally honest, I don't watch a whole lot. But, I'm glad it is getting so much more exposure than we ever did."

On if she hates the song Rockin' Robin after all these years:
(laughs) No, I still dance around to it. The funny thing is, I'm never really recognized anymore as Rockin' Robin from wrestling 35 years ago. Occasionally, it is kind of funny, I'll be out at a restaurant with a few friends where you can request music, and someone will play Rockin' Robin and we'll all have a big laugh. But, the WWF never used that song. There was never an intro song for me. That was another difference. The girls never got intro songs."

On her impressions of Herb Abrams when she worked UWF Beach Brawl 30 years ago today:
"(laughs) You know, I don't think I ever even met the man. I worked the show against Candi Divine. They said "Robin, you're going over." I won the championship. It was an honor, of course. But, I don't think I ever met Herb Abrams. And, I won the belt and don't think we did anything other than that one taping."

On if she was brought in to the GWF to partner with Sam Houston in '92:
"No. I don't think so. I think a lot of that was, "Hey, we're putting together a card. Lets have a girls match!" I don't think that much thought went into planning that."

On if she is resentful of the lack of opportunities for women back then:
"It may sound like I'm complaining. Please! I'm not at all. It is just the way it was. You didn't ask for a lot and you didn't really question anything. You're supposed to be happy to be there and we certainly were. I tell you, today in my life I'm very fortunate that I do pretty well for myself. In fact, much better than I ever did wrestling! (laughs) I'm pretty happy about that fact."

On what she does now:
"For the past 18 years, lets round up to 20, I've ran my own appraisal company where I appraisal people's houses. I go to people's houses. And, I'm just waiting for the time, and it is going to happen now that the Dark Side episode has aired, taht I'll show up and someone is going to say, "Didn't I just see you on...." (laughs) That hasn't really happened! Twice in the 18 years, someone's eyes got wide and their jaw dropped because I was standing at the door."

On if the Dark Side could result in a family reunion:
"A family reunion might be a little ambitious. I will say that Jake called me yesterday and floated the idea of he and I doing an autograph signing together where we would be together instead of just being in the same room not even knowing the other is there. Instead, be side by side and maybe have a chance to take pictures together. Honestly, there is only one person that has a picture of Jake and I together and that is an actor by the name of Scotty Schwartz, a friend of mine. He was the little boy in the movie The Toy with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. I was an extra in that movie. Scotty became a really big wrestling fan. So, many, many years later here he was knocking at my door. But, back then, he was a huge child actor in this huge movie. So, he saw Jake and I standing side by side and he knew exactly what he was doing. He asked us to turn and smile and we did. So, he's got one of the only pictures of us together. You really can't find a picture of us together anywhere else. So, Jake has this idea of us doing some stuff together."

On if Sam Houston would be invited to partake in those signings:
"I'm not sure. I'm just... It is a tough one. I wish I could go into a little more detail. The only thing I will really say is I wish him just the very best that he can get out of life. I love him and hope that he winds up where he wants to be. And, um, yeah."

On her problem with claims about her mother made during the Dark Side episode:
"I lost her in 2010. We were very close. Just to clarify, I still do have a problem with claims made about her and Jake. I have a bullshit flag, OK? (laughs) It is like a penalty flag in football. But, it has bullshit on it. And, I threw that bullshit flag several times while we were taping that day. The flag was thrown! I'll put it that way. I know they couldn't fit everything in but I was actually disappointed because I thought that (bullshit flag) was one of my very best moments. (laughs) I will be selling them. I've been asked about them when I bring them out. So, at upcoming signings and soon, you can get your bullshit flags! The great thing is you don't have to say a word. Like, when you go on Facebook and you see someone with the mental capacity of a crayon and you know they're full of it, you can just pull out your bullshit flag... You know, offsides. Throw the bullshit flag like they throw the penalty flag in football. You can throw it and walk away and that just tells somebody everything they need to know. (laughs)"