Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Scheduled Publication Date:   December 14, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

The world is full of “dream-stealers” -- people who tell you that what you want is stupid and impossible to achieve.  These are the people who give you dozens of “logical” reasons why you should give up your dreams and settle for “a regular job like everybody else.”  These are, in actuality, the insecure ninety-nine percent of the population who want you to fail because they are totally terrified to go for their own dreams.  I knew at a very early age that no one could steal my dreams.  I was the person in control.  Unless I decided to give my dreams away, nobody could take them from me.  I looked at the “dream-stealers” the way I looked at homeless people who gave financial advice.  I simply smiled, shook my head, and moved on.

I dreamed big, and I lived my dreams.  I met and worked with hundreds of others who were also living their dreams.  These were the major stars of our sport – the major players in the wonderful world of professional wrestling.  We, who were willing to go for our dreams and achieve them, had a very special bond.  In the majority of cases, the bonds went beyond friendship to those of a closely-knit family.  I’m proud to say that many of these amazing wrestlers have become life-long friends.

The purpose of this column is to reminisce and to bring smiles (and an occasional tear) to the faces of the professional wrestlers who read it.  For everyone else, the purpose is to bring the readers “into” the ring and allow them to understand and even “experience” what the amazing world of professional wrestling was really like.  In my first forty-two columns, I shared with you many of my personal experiences.  Beginning with today’s column, I will also share with you the viewpoints and experiences of many of the sports’ major living legends.  I will begin with an informal televised interview I did with my friend and wrestling great Baron von Raschke.

We were at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, at the prestigious CAC wrestlers’ convention.  Peter Redford was our cinematographer.  We were already rolling when Baron asked me what I wanted to cover.  “We’ll talk about things like this,” I said as I shifted my attention and my voice to apparently truly begin the interview.  “Is it true that some of the greatest matches you ever had in your life were with me?”   I attempted to keep a straight face as the Baron looked off camera, pretending that he had not heard the question.  Even though I knew we could not have a totally serious interview, I thought I should at least attempt to set a semi-serious introduction.  “Ladies and Gentlemen,” I began, “We are speaking with Jim von Raschke, better known as Baron von Raschke.”  Immediately, I was interrupted by a loud, booming voice.  “I am the Baron von Raschke.  And, Rock Riddle, you know better than to insult me by making up an alias.”  Obviously the bigger-than-life wrestling character was alive and well.  “Yes,” I said, “It is Baron von Raschke.”  Baron cocked his head towards me, then looked into the camera and said his trademark line, “Dat is all da people need to know!” 

I looked back towards the camera and continued, “One of the best professional wrestlers of all time – the master of the iron claw!”  Baron’s quick wit and great sense of humor couldn’t be contained.  He responded with, “That’s what I do.”  I played along and said, “Oh, yes.  I was talking about you.”  Baron said, “You’re Rock Riddle.”  “Oh,” I said, “and what do I do?”  Without hesitation, Baron responded with, “You get on ‘The Gong Show’ and you get gonged almost immediately.”  We were both trying not to smile.  “What ever happened to Chuck Barris?” Baron asked.  I half-smiled and responded, “Oh, Chuck Barris ended up working for the CIA killing people.”  “Turned into a mole, is that right?” Baron asked.  “Yes,” I answered, “and then he moved to the south of France.  He was a good guy – still is a good guy.”

“I hear that Gong Show’s a ‘work,’” Baron quipped.  A “work” is something that appears real and spontaneous but is actually rehearsed and/or manipulated.  Word has it that the wrestling business inherited “work” from the tough old carnival wrestlers.  “Of course it was a ‘work,’” I said.  “Everything’s a ‘work.’”  “Yeah, it figures,” Baron replied.  “I hear you weren’t even that talented.”  By this time, we’re both smiling.  I continued, “Yes, well, Chuck Barris said I was the first person he ever met who had a total grasp of how ‘The Gong Show’ worked.  I was paid as professional talent every time I did a show for him.  But, you, on the other hand …”

“I was home watching you!” Baron added.  “Ah, yes,” I responded as I looked back into the camera.  “One of the rare times you had off; one of the rare times you were not in the wrestling ring hurting people.   A serious look came to the face of the legendary Baron von Raschke.  He looked at me and said, “You know that you and I traveled together, once or twice, and it was a hard road.  We went up and down the road so many miles every day, from town to town, whether it was Omaha, Nebraska, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New York City, Atlanta, Winnipeg, Canada.  Wherever it was, we were there, on the road, 365 days a year.  There was always a wrestling show – another town to make, another plane to catch, another boat to catch, another ride to catch – because our word was our bond, we gave the promoters our word, and we always showed up.”  “That’s right,” I added.  “Baron, you never missed a match, did you?”  “As a matter of fact,” he responded, “I  never did.”  “Out of how many years wrestling? I asked.  “Several” was the Baron’s response.  He thought for a few seconds and said, “twenty-five maybe – twenty-three.  I was having too much fun to count.”

Next week, we’ll conclude the interview with the amazing Baron von Raschke.  In future columns, I’ll share interviews and conversations with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Playboy Buddy Rose, Red Bastein, Johnny “Mr. Wrestling #2” Walker, Dr. Ken Ramey and the Medics, Nick Bockwinkle, Penny Banner, Jack Briscoe, and many, many more.  Watch this column; it is highly probable that many of the videotaped interviews will be made available to view online.  Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.

Coming Soon

Expected topics:

The only car to take the "shortcut" through the national forest.

Creating the only tire tracks in fresh snow.

Communing with the Deer.

The Police Car to Police Car to Police Car Code Three Ride for Three "Lucky" Wrestlers

"Ever been in the back seat of a police car before?"

80 mph on a City Street in Mississippi at 1:30 AM -- Being Stopped by the Local Police

J.C. Dykes and His Masked Infernos -- Beer on the Road and the Highway Patrol

J.C. Dykes and His Jet Boat -- Cheating Death by Missing the Bridge

and More!

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 8˝ 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."

© 2006 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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