Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

by Rock Riddle, the Original "Mr. Wonderful" of Professional Wrestling

Initial Publication Date:   August 16, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

On my sixteenth birthday, after a great deal of serious thought, I made the decision to become a professional wrestler.  I understood that my new “contract with myself and my future” was a serious commitment.  I also knew that in order to become successful, first and foremost, I would have to approach and treat the wrestling profession as a business.  “Let’s face it,” I remember thinking, “All professional sports are businesses.  Any time money is involved, they are businesses first.  The ‘sports’ part is just a tool of the business, and ‘profit’ is the name of the game.”  If I were going to become a professional wrestler, I was going to live up to my definition of “professional.”  Professionalism, in my estimation, went far above the common belief of “if you’re paid for it, you’re professional.”  Professionalism involves being the very best that you can be, dressing professionally, respecting the business and those who “paved the way,” always being prepared, and always showing up early.  I latched onto the following expression early in my career:  “To be early is to be on time.  To be on time is to be late.  To be late is unforgivable and costs you major success ‘main event’ status.”

Seven years later, as I was sitting in a very large dressing room in the Dothan, Alabama arena, I reflected back on my sixteenth birthday commitment.  My valet Ms. Pamela and I were the first people in the dressing room.  I faced the large mirrored wall.  I raised my arms just above my head with my palms facing upward, cocked my head slightly to the side, and announced “Mister Wonderful is in the house.”  Pamela cut her eyes toward me with a look that said, “Rock, you’re not on camera now.  Give it a rest.”  I loved the character I had created, and oftentimes, to a degree, the character I had become.  I wasn’t projecting the Mr. Wonderful image for the benefit of a camera; I was entertaining myself.  “Yes,” I continued in my deep announcer voice, “it is Rock ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Riddle, the Diamond Ring and Cadillac Man, the Man Who Possesses the Body That Men Fear and Women Love …”  I gave the “double biceps” pose and “bounced” my pec muscles.  “Look at this muscular coordination, definition, and control!  I truly am the woman’s dream and the man’s nightmare!”  I paused for a moment. “Once again,” I continued, “I am the first wrestler in the dressing room.  Who is the most professional of them all?”  Pamela wasn’t giving me her full attention.  She half-heartedly answered, “We are.”  “We?” I asked with my right eyebrow raised.  “We???”  “No, it’s you,” she corrected.  “It’s you.  You are the most professional of them all.”  I noticed a young wrestler standing outside of the opened dressing room door, staring at me.  “Aha!” I thought.  “Now, this will be more fun.  Now I have an audience.”  I looked at Ms. Pamela, this time totally in character.  “And, who am I?” I asked.  “You are,” she responded, “Mister Wonderful, the best of the best.”  She hesitated for a moment and added, “And, you are the most professional, Mr. Wonderful.”  I gave her a nasty look.  She picked up on the cue by saying, “Thank you for allowing me to speak to you, Mr. Wonderful, your honor, your wonderfulness, your greatness … Sir!”  I sat down on the bench.  “Lace up my boots,” I commanded.  I glanced over to the door.  The young wrestler was gone.  Now I could smile.  “That should have been videotaped,” I said to Ms. Pamela.  She looked directly at me and said, “You know, Rock, you’re going to do very well in this business as soon as you gain a little self-esteem and get over your initial shyness.”  She looked over to the door.  “The guy’s gone,” she said.  “Now’s a good time for you to learn how to lace your own boots.”  She smiled and went into a private dressing area to change to one of her official “Rock Riddle’s Valet” outfits.

Within the next thirty minutes or so, all of the wrestlers for that night’s card had arrived.  There were eight of us in one large dressing area, a few in an adjacent dressing room, and another eight in the large dressing area on the other side of the arena.  I was talking with my friend Dandy Jack Donovan.  We kept hearing a rhythmic slapping sound coming from the adjacent dressing room.  “What is that?” Jack asked.  “Well,” I responded, “it can’t be Ms. Pamela slapping one of the guys.  She’s right here.”  Pamela didn’t totally appreciate the humor in my statement, but Jack and I liked it.  “It does sound like someone getting slapped really hard,” Pamela noted.  “Yes, but it’s happening every five seconds or so … over and over.” I added.  Finally, curiosity got the better of us.  Without saying a word, Jack and I got up simultaneously and headed quietly toward the adjacent dressing room.  Ms. Pamela was following at a safe distance … just in case.

Jack and I peered cautiously into the smaller dressing room.  We looked at each other in disbelief when we discovered the source of the “slaps.”  Ms. Pamela was now watching as well.  A smaller, newer Mexican wrestler picked himself up from the concrete floor, stood flat-footed, and threw himself into the air in a summersault-type maneuver landing with his bare back on the grey concrete floor.  “Splaaaaaat!”  He repeated the procedure at least seven or eight times while we watched.  He noticed us and stopped.  After a moment, he said, “Very hard ring” and pointed toward the center of the arena.  “Oh, okay,” I said cautiously.  “So, because you will be wrestling in a very hard ring tonight where you might be thrown onto your back, you want to practice by throwing yourself onto a concrete floor.  Is that the idea?”  He did not respond.  Dandy Jack Donovan stepped in.  “So, Amigo, if you thought you might get sunburned by sitting out by the pool, would you burn your skin with a cigarette lighter first to prepare?”  The only response was, “No English.”

I turned to Jack and Pamela.  “He doesn’t speak any English,” I said with a wink.  “That’s too bad,” Dandy Jack responded, “because this guy is really going beyond the call of duty.”  It was apparent to me where Jack wanted to take the conversation.  “You’re right, Jack,” I said.  “You and I are in the main event tonight.  We’re making the lion’s share of the money.  We work really hard, but this guy’s doing things we would never dream of doing.  What preparation!”  Jack and I looked at each other and nodded our heads.  “Yep, he could be a great asset to the promoter with that kind of determination.  It’s not often you find someone who will throw himself onto a concrete floor just in order to prepare.  I’ve never, in my whole career, seen anyone do that.  Have you, Rock?”  “No,” I answered.  “But, why don’t we talk to the promoters and tell them what we’ve seen.  We could suggest that they consider this man for main event status, not just for the opening match.”  “And,” Dandy Jack added, “we could probably get McGuire [the promoter] to add a couple hundred dollars to this guy’s pay tonight.  Sort of a special ‘thank you’ for his extra efforts.  What do you think?”  The Mexican wrestler looked at us with a smile on his face.  “Thank you, Amigos, thank you.  I am so happy that you will talk to the promoter for me.  This is a very kind thing for you to do.”  Dandy Jack and I looked at each other with blank expressions on our faces.  We looked at Ms. Pamela, who just shrugged her shoulders.  Jack and I simultaneously shrugged our shoulders, turned toward the Mexican wrestler, mustered up our best Spanish accents, and in unison said, “Sorry.  No English!”  The three of us, Dandy Jack Donovan, Ms. Pamela, and me, walked back to our dressing room taking turns saying, “Did you understand?”  “I didn’t understand a word he said.  Did you?”  Back in our dressing room, we were all smiling.  “We’re going to go too far one of these days,” I said to Jack.  “We’ll probably end up wrestling that guy somewhere down the road.”  “No,” Jack corrected.  “He will never be in our league.  And, if I ever wrestle him, concrete will seem very soft to him afterward.”  Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.

This column welcomes your wrestling-related questions.  You may contact the author via email: RockRiddle@hotmail.com or Rock@HollywoodSuccess.com.  Be sure to put "Wrestling Question" in the subject line.

About the author:  Rock Riddle wrestled professionally for over 8½ years and helped sell out major arenas all over the country.  He held numerous titles including the Americas Tag Team Championship (with John Tolos) and the East Coast Tag Team Championship (with Rocky Montana.)  At the height of his career, he was given top billing over the heavyweight championship of the world.  He is extremely well-connected in the world of professional wrestling and knows the business exceptionally well.  His fascinating biography, complete with over 100 photos and lots of additional information, is available at www.HollywoodSuccess.com – just click on "Rock Riddle Bio."    If you have missed any of Rock’s columns, they are all available on the website by clicking "Wrestling Revue."

© 2007 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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