Bang Your Head!
The Real Story of The Missing Link
Dewey "The Missing Link" Robertson and Meredith Renwick
Synopsis: The life story of one of wrestling's more bizarre gimmicks.
"I don't know, that might be difficult," she mused. "He doesn't like to be given orders on how to behave. In fact, he doesn't even like having his picture taken. She thought a bit longer. "I know!" she said. "I'll whisper something to him and when he gets upset, you be ready to take a picture, quick." They focused their cameras as she leaned over and spoke into The Link's ear, something only he could hear. He came to life immediately. His head snapped up, his head went to the back of his head, he leaned back and opened his eyes and mouth wide and let out the roar that other wrestlers had learned to fear. The photographers had their picture.
The "Mat Mania!" issue of Sports Illustrated hit the newsstands on April 29, 1985. Hulk Hogan was on the cover, but The Missing Link's picture was the centerfold. A couple of weeks later, The Link was on his way to New York and the World Wrestling Federation.
I first got a decent look at The Missing Link in the early 2000's. It was at an independent show not five minutes away from my parent's house; I wasn't planning on attending the show and truth be told, I snuck in halfway through the event and selected an empty seat. Link wasn't in a match but he did some sort of run in. I was taken not only by how old he was at that point, but his strange appearance - even by wrestling standards.
The truth of the matter is, not many people know all that much about The Missing Link (which is why an autobiography like Bang Your Head! is so interesting). He was in the WWF for a very, very brief spell and appeared on the cover of The Wrestling Album. Beyond that run, he was more of a regional attraction that competed in World Class Championship Wrestling and other territories, and received coverage mostly because of the green face paint and unusual hairstyle.
The book gets you far beyond his Missing Link gimmick. He'd already enjoyed decent success competing as Dewey Robertson in his native Canada and the United States and collided with many top stars from the 60s and 70s, before the bookers in World Class sought a career-making gimmick change.
The new persona went extremely well at first and as we saw from the excerpt, it even led him to a job with the WWF. During his brief time there, he was managed by Bobby The Brain Heenan and then "traded" to Jimmy Hart (in Bobby Heenan's first autobiography, he mentions how Link lived his gimmick 24 hours a day).
But Link's story is an all-too-familiar one, as he deals with personal demons that ultimately destroyed his life and took him out of the business. In fact, the only major complaint I have about the book is his constant referrals to "marijuana and alcohol" as if it needed to be spelled out each and every time it's referenced. You could probably have a drinking game if you did a shot every time he said the words.... okay, poor choice of comparisons, but you see my point. It gets very repetitive.
Like many wrestling stories, Link managed to turn life around for him, his long-suffering wife and his children (who both went into wrestling to some degree) and ends up lecturing children on the dangers of addiction, particularly "marijuana and alcohol" (sigh).
Unfortunately, The Missing Link passed away in 2007, shortly after the book came out, robbing younger generations of seeing The Link holding his head in his hand and roaring. It was ultimately a battle with cancer - not drugs - that did him in, putting a sad end to what was really an inspirational story.
Rating: Transitional Champion. If you're a wrestling fan and want to read about a different character from the "same old, same old", this is definitely worth tracking down. It's well written and tells a unique story. Having said that, the references are a bit local and/or dated to be applicable to everyone.