Robbie Rage Finds Mercy
By Will Dawson
The 700 Club
Robbie Rage… a name befitting a man once regarded as one of the most physical wrestlers in the ring.
He grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he was simply known as Rob Knapik. A gifted athlete, he played everything from baseball to soccer to hockey. On the field, Rob appeared to be a typical kid, but when he came home, he was emotionally and physically abused by his father.
Rob tells The 700 Club, “I remember feeling so dirty as a child, wondering what was wrong with me that my father hated me. As a child, you desire that fatherly love. You desire to please your father. Love to me was literally a slap in the face.”
Rob worked out to relieve the stress. He says, “I was tired of being beat up by my dad, being abused physically, mentally, emotionally day in and day out. Being woken up in the middle of the night and hit and thrown around the room for something that I didn’t even do.”
When he was 18, Rob began taking steroids.
“My way at getting back at my father was to build my body up at any cost. Whatever it takes. If it takes injecting needles to popping pills, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
He tried college after high school, but it just didn’t pan out. Then a friend invited Rob to a live wrestling event in Florida.
“I can remember just being so intrigued by the whole thing,” he recalls. “It’s like watching a movie and also watching athletic ability at its finest. I’m going to do this! I remember for a couple of weeks just pounding the phone calling promotions, calling people, and to make a long story short, I ended up at the WCW tryout.”
World Championship Wrestling offered him a contract and Rob Knapik became “Robbie Rage”. Rage was more than just his wrestling persona.
“Kenny looked at me and says, ‘You’re name is Rage! I’ve never met anyone as angry and physical and aggressive that could handle the pain that you put yourself through to train to be in this business as you do.’”
In 1995, Rob moved to Atlanta and joined with “Kenny Chaos” to form the tag team High Voltage. They were featured on Monday Nitro, the highest rated program on cable television at the time. Success was immediate in the ring as well as out of it. Rob made up to $20,000 a month.
“It wasn’t a thing for me to purchase a 6500-square-foot home and have a home in Florida and have a couple different vehicles.”
Despite his success, Rob’s body was taking a pounding day after day in the ring. Years of steroid use caught up to him, and after nearly five years of pro wrestling, Rob was forced out of the ring.
“I had reconstructive shoulder surgery on my right shoulder,” he says. “I could not even move my right arm for seven months. My arm was strapped to my body.”
Rob became depressed. He couldn’t use physical activity to cope as he did before. He developed an addiction to pain pills and ecstasy, which was affecting his mind.
“I was so low that I was a prisoner in my own home. I was afraid of the bed to go to sleep at night, because I was so addicted to these drugs. I didn’t leave my house at one time for six months. I would stop eating so I could get high on drugs.”
Rob’s injury kept him out of the ring, and the WCW pulled his contract. He says, “That six-figure-a-year contract, I lost. Lost the house, those cars and the house in Florida. I had lost everything. In those six months, it was just the most grueling, soul-searching, gut-wrenching self-examination of my life that, if I died right now, I knew I would go to hell.”
Afraid to leave his home, addicted to drugs and without a job, Rob cried out to God.
“So He removed all those things from me. He ripped the rug out from under me and caused me to look up. I had no avenue. None, whatsoever, but to fling myself at the Son of God for mercy, to cry out for mercy. He showed me my true self, my true sinful self and that’s when I repented of my sins.”
Rob gave his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized. Over the next two years, he dedicated his time to knowing God.
“The Lord blessed that time as a foundation to teach me about himself,” he says. “The God that I hated, the God that I spat in His face, rejected His Gospel, and it took Him to turn my world upside down to get my attention.”
Today, Rob is a personal trainer. He shares his testimony everywhere he goes. The wound of a past filled with pain has been healed.
“[Jesus is] more precious than my life, than anything this world could offer: fame, fortune, money. Salvation is a love affair, and the love letter is the Bible.”
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