Notoriety: Local wrestler gains fame after recent match

Rodney Bayes of Newton portrays The RODFATHER in his wrestling matches. Wendy Nugent/HC Now

By Wendy Nugent, HC Now

NEWTON—The RODFATHER makes his home in Newton and because of his recent match with one of the top professional wrestlers today, he’s gained notoriety and is known throughout the country now.

The RODFATHER, whose real name is Rodney Bayes, called out wrestler Flex Reed to a match on a recent July weekend and they had their match at Bayes Bash, which he puts on in Larned, usually every August.

The RODFATHER lost the match but gained something even more—his name out there and respect from the fans.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,” he said. “It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

He said he’s received much praise for his fight.

Bayes called Flex Reed a “multi-time legit champion,” who was taller than Bayes and outweighed him by 70 pounds.

That was Bayes’ first professional wrestling match and said he trained for a couple of hours before the match, at which he was knocked out cold in the ring.

“Wrestling is real,” Bayes said about the particular kind of wrestling he does. “There’s nothing fake.”

He said that from that match, he got a contusion, has handprints all over him and injured ribs.

Bayes said he started back yard wrestling more than 20 years ago and got into scuffles.

“I was like, ‘I’d like to put on tights and fight somebody,’” he said.

So, he attended wrestling school about 14 years ago, learning some wrestling/stunt moves.

In his professional wrestling type, Bayes said the person hitting another has to make a noise when they hit and that the ring is made of thick wood, metal beams and a ½-inch of padding.

“I thought I had plenty of training,” said the man who was introduced to the match as “the 150-pound beefcake that makes the ladies’ hearts ache.” “I still got manhandled.”

The match was over in a minute and a half.

“All the defense I tried to use in the match was not effective,” he said. “I do respect the world of wrestling more now than I ever did.”

Bayes said he had so many fans there—people from Oklahoma, Newton, Hillsboro and Las Vegas.

“I got friends everywhere,” he said. “The most awesome thing was my mom sitting in the front row.”

When Bayes enters the match area, he throws American flag bandanas to the crowd and his mom got one.

The Rodfather is almost 45.

“Middle-aged and crazy and my new thing,” said Bayes, who dresses in America-themed clothing as The RODFATHER.

Bayes has several reasons for doing this.

“If I can get kids excited about wrestling and off their tablets for a minute and if I can bring some wholesome family entertainment,” he said. “When you go see a show, you want to have a good time. I just want to give people that wrestling experience. I don’t care if I even win or lose, as long as I entertain kids.”

He got that wrestling fan experience as a kid. When he was growing up, Bayes looked up to such wrestlers as Macho Man Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior and the Honky Tonk Man.

“The characters made me feel good about wrestling,” Bayes said.

His great-great-grandfather used to watch wrestling with him and Bayes said he still has mint-condition posters of Gorgeous George.

“I want to keep wrestling relevant,” he said. “I think one or two shows a year here in Newton would be good. We don’t have enough entertainment here in Newton.”

He provided that on the Fourth of July, walking up and down Main Street dressed as The RODFATHER and carrying an American flag. He said people reacted–whooping and hollering.

Bayes is a free agent and hasn’t signed with a company.

“I want to bring real wrestling to Newton,” he said.

This is the first year there’s been wrestling at Bayes Bash, which usually has bands playing.

“I’ve had so many doubters in life,” he said, adding people doubted he’d get back in the ring. “I’ve got this reputation as The RODFATHER in wrestling and real life. All the RODFATHER is, when I go behind the curtain, I’m turning it up 10 notches. A lot of people have that in them—a little bit of fire and sparkiness. They’re just afraid to let it shine.”

He said he’s working to get quality wrestling to Newton and that he told the kids he was going into the ring. He kept his word.

“I became an overnight sensation,” he said. “It’s insane.”

Now, his merchandise is selling like hotcakes, he said.

“The site just went up yesterday and we’re already out of certain items.”

Items can be purchased at tinyurl.com/Rodfatherversace.

Bayes also will be on the Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ podcast, which is a Versace Stoner podcast. He’ll be one of the top 10 rising wrestling stars in the country.

“That ass-kicking got me notoriety and I was so thankful for that,” Bayes said.

 

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