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This profile was last updated on 8/9/09  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

Web References
Nickla Roberts, as 'Baby Doll,' ...
www.postandcourier.com, 9 Aug 2009 [cached]
Nickla Roberts, as 'Baby Doll,' was one of the most popular pro wrestling valets of the '80s. Best known for her heyday as Tully Blanchard's 'Perfect 10,' Roberts left the business more than two decades ago, but has resurfaced in recent years and has reconnected with her large legion of fans. Now in her late 40s and living in Fayetteville, N.C., Roberts says she enjoys 'being Baby Doll on weekends.'
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Professional wrestling was in Nickla Roberts' blood.
The daughter of women's wrestling star Lorraine Johnson and veteran grappler and promoter Nick Roberts, Nickla grew up around the business, selling programs and doing whatever it took to make things run smoothly at her dad's weekly shows in Lubbock, Texas.
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Following a self-imposed hiatus of more than two decades, Roberts now finds herself in demand at independent wrestling shows and fan conventions throughout the country. And she's loving every minute of it.
Her comeback, she jokes, has been longer than her actual career.
"It's amazing. It really is. What's so cool now is that people know who I am from 20 years ago," says Roberts, who will make a special appearance as part of Family Fun Day 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Miles Road Baptist Church in Summerville.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature three old-school wrestling matches. Also included will be jump castles, games, food courts, car shows and assorted exhibits.
Roberts, as Baby Doll, will manage The Barbarian against George South in an Exodus Wrestling Alliance title match.
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Like her famous alter ego, Roberts, now 47, prides herself on being an independent woman. Since leaving the wrestling business, she has worked at a number of jobs, including handling baggage on a US Air tarmac and climbing poles to install cable television lines. She currently works overnight security at a Wal-Mart in Fayetteville, N.C.
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And knowing that my dad could beat up anyone else out there and back it up ... that was cool," says Roberts, who lived the life of a wrestling daughter traveling up and down the circuit.
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As years went by, however, Roberts wanted to play a bigger part of the show. One of the reasons, she laughs, is because she had a huge crush on Texas wrestling heartthrob Gino Hernandez.
"I just thought he was dreamy," says Roberts.
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"He told me that everybody loved the idea, but there were two questions that had to be answered, says Roberts.
"When can you start, and who's going to tell your dad?"
Roberts had a boyfriend at the time, and the two had planned to go on a school-related ski trip to Colorado.
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Roberts, 22 at the time, quit school and headed for San Antonio for her first show.
It was a sellout, and more than 10,000 fans packed the Freeman Coliseum, she says.
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That's when Roberts says she realized just how much planning went into the booking of a bout.
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They told Roberts that she was exactly what they were looking for, and asked her if she could start up in North Carolina in February.
The first order of business was christening her with a name that would become her trademark - Baby Doll.
"Baby Doll was the name of Tully's favorite strip club in San Antonio," Roberts reveals. "Because my first name is Nickla, a lot of people just don't get that right. A lot of the guys were calling me Baby Doll anyway, so it just kind of fit."
Roberts, who held school records at her high school for shotput, loves the name to this day.
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Andrea The Lady Giant wasn't very feminine or girly," says Roberts, who wore her hair in a punk rock style, along with leather pants and jacket, metal-studded belts, and spiked dog collar and wristbands.
Roberts and Blanchard, at the time one of the cockiest young heels in the business, were a hit throughout 1985 in the Mid-Atlantic area.
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Nickla Roberts loved the wrestling business, but the schedule was grueling. She had only 15 days off the entire first year she worked with Blanchard.
Constantly on the road, with no real boyfriends or girlfriends, the inevitable was bound to happen. The fact that it happened with a mid-carder on the Crockett roster by the name of Sam Houston (Michael Smith) would only spell trouble for Roberts.
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The son of Grizzly Smith (Aurelian Smith), one of wrestling's top stars of the '60s, and brother of Jake "The Snake" Roberts (Aurelian Smith Jr.) and Rockin' Robin (Robin Smith), the second-generation wrestler had the pedigree, but still wasn't at the level of his girlfriend.
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"They got mad because we fell in love," says Roberts.
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"That was about it," laments Roberts.
In hindsight, she says, she understands the reasoning behind the demotion and eventual firing.
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"It broke my heart," says Roberts. "Of all the people ... I had worked with her a little bit in UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) with Bill Watts. God bless her ... but she was just dumb. You could just see that look in her face that she just didn't get it at all. She was like the start of girls who should not be in the business."
Roberts left the NWA in 1987 and joined the Oklahoma-based UWF alongside her husband. Upon leaving the UWF, she began appearing on the independent circuit with Houston.
Roberts returned to Crockett Promotions in 1988 to manage Zbyszko during his feud with Barry Windham over the NWA Western States Heritage Championship.
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Roberts recently came across the original envelope during a move from Missouri to North Carolina.
"I still have the envelope," says Roberts, who adds that she might use it for a photo-op with Rhodes at future shows.
With her wrestling career at a standstill, Roberts made the decision to move on with her life.
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Houston asked Roberts to marry him on Halloween night 1985.
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"Once I got pregnant with our oldest daughter, Sam just changed," says Roberts.
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"He called me and said all the things that I wanted to hear," says Roberts.
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Roberts says she then had the unenviable task of confronting her parents and breaking the news to them.
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Roberts says she feels sorry for the dysfunctional family and the tragedy they have endured in their lives. The three lost their homes and most of their possessions during Hurricane Katrina.
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Roberts saw her ex-husband for the first time in 11 years at last year's Fanfest in Charlotte.
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Roberts says as big as Mid-Atlantic wrestling was, it could have been bigger.
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"The only thing that really killed us was the merchandising," says Roberts.
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Roberts also thinks that Magnum T.A. (Terry Allen) could have been a bigger star than Hulk Hogan had it not been for his career-ending car accident in 1986 in Charlotte.
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Roberts says she'll never forget the rare privilege of being part of something so special.
And she's sure she'll never witness anything like The Four Horsemen again.
"Whatever you think it was like ... whatever you can possibly imagine ... it was more. There's no other way to put it," she says.
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Roberts has been back in the Mid-Atlantic area for several years now, and she thinks the area is ripe for a Crockett-like organization to come in and do well.
"There's some awesome talent around here. It's ready to go."
Roberts says she still watches wrestling with innocent eyes, and believes that all fans should suspend their disbelief to truly appreciate the product.
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Roberts, who moved from Missouri to Fayetteville, N.C., several years ago, has worked a number of odd jobs over the years, and she's done them well. But she says she always wants to learn more.
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The 5-11 Roberts also installed cable television lines at one time.
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Roberts even had a clothing business where she would do many of the ring jackets and attire for wrestlers.
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Roberts, who jokingly refers to herself as "the queen of the cougars," has never remarried.
"A couple of boyfriends, but that's about it. I just took care of my girls," she says.
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Roberts says having fans come over and tell her things such as, "You don't know what memories you bring back," are very special to her.
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