Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Original Publication Date:   February 22, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Today marks a milestone.  This is the fifty-second edition of this weekly column.  Yes, you are currently reading the one year anniversary issue of “Rock Riddle’s Wrestling Revue.”  If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you may have noticed that all of the stories are timeless.  I don’t discuss “last week’s WWE wrestling show,” for example.  I haven’t included any “Happy Valentine’s Day” or other timely holiday greetings in any of the fifty-one prior columns.  If you were to read column number five or number fifteen or number forty-five today, it would be as appropriate as it was the day it was first published.  You can read any of the prior columns five years from now and they will still be relevant.  All of that was by design.  Today’s column, however, will be different. 

Today I will define time lines for past columns.  I will share dates and times with you for a major upcoming professional wrestling event that, amazingly enough, encompasses no actual wrestling.  And, I will respond to readers’ questions.  Reader Lindsay Ross wrote, “Rock, I enjoy your articles on your experiences on the road.  I'd appreciate it if you'd include dates so that I could sense the context of the period in which these happened.”  Although I have climbed into the squared circle a few times since, most of the stories concerning my personal wrestling and “on the road” experiences date from the late 1970s through the early 1980s.  When I refer to wrestling reunion and “legend” events, I’m usually referring to events that have taken place during the past few years.

Reader Dick Deluxe sent me some recent photos of Rip Hawk, that brilliantly talented wrestler who inspired, motivated, and encouraged me to go for my dreams in the amazing world of professional wrestling. Looking at those photos brings back such great memories. I remember, at the age of fourteen, hearing about the "horrible" Rip Hawk. My fellow classmates thought he should be barred from wrestling and kicked out of the state. They were unanimously adamant in their dislike for this man. I was intrigued. "What could this man have possibly done to cause so many people hate him?" I wondered. "How does he wield such … power?" I knew I had to watch the next televised wrestling show to have my questions answered. It was Saturday afternoon. I turned the dial on the television set to channel eleven. I moved about eight feet away, sat in the middle of the floor, and anxiously awaited the just-about-to-begin live televised wrestling show. Little did I know at the time that I was about to witness something that would change my life forever. I was about to be introduced to the wonderful world of professional wrestling. I was also about to experience, live and in color, the beginnings of a major feud between Rip Hawk and Johnny Weaver – a feud that would become legendary and take on a life of its own – a feud that would grace the annals of wrestling history.

How amazing it is to look at that present-day photo of Rip Hawk and Johnny Weaver together, smiling, at a "Wrestling Legends" event thirty-plus years later. As I stare at that photo, I can’t help but think what may be about to happen. I can visualize Johnny Weaver being distracted and looking to his right as Rip grabs the timekeeper’s bell and bashes it over the head of the unsuspecting Weaver. I would jump up and scream, "YES! That’s the Rip Hawk we know and love!" I would have a very big smile on my face, and, in keeping with tradition, I would have something to say to Mr. Weaver when he came to: "Wow, it’s a good thing you landed on your ear, Mickey Mouse, because otherwise you might have cracked the concrete." As a fourteen-year-old fan sitting front row ringside, I continually hurled invectives at Johnny Weaver. I would yell "Why don’t you go home and shave your legs again, Big Ears." He was the "good guy" who was loved and adored by all of the fans – all of the fans, that is, except me. Needless to say, Johnny Weaver sincerely disliked me. It must have been terribly frustrating for him. As much as he wanted to silence me, he knew he could not. He couldn’t lay a hand on me; I was a fourteen-year-old kid. I knew he couldn’t touch me, so I verbally dug deeper into those open wounds. I was so proud of myself. Of course, because of my antics, the fans hated me almost as much as they hated Rip Hawk. They couldn’t get to Rip, but on a few occasions, they thought they might be able to get to me. I learned very quickly to appreciate the police officers; they saved me several times from an unruly crowd desiring to do me great bodily harm.

In an earlier column, I mentioned that the CAC board of directors had unanimously voted to honor me with one of their twelve year 2007 awards. A number of readers sent e-mails asking for more information. Several asked if it were possible for them to attend the actual event. Well, my wonderful readers; because you asked and because I’m breaking with tradition for this one-year anniversary issue, here’s the information: The CAC (www.CaulifolwerAlleyClub.org)

is the most prestigious benevolent organization for professional wrestlers in the world. Once a year, literally hundreds of the greatest professional wrestlers alive get together for a three-day event. The event attracts international press and culminates with a formal awards dinner on the third night. This year the event will take place at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on April 19, 20, and 21. The awards dinner will take place on Saturday night, April 21. Details are available on the CAC website along with (as of the writing of this column) a "front page" photo of Yours Truly. On April 21, twelve awards will be presented.

Because of my contributions to both the world of professional wrestling and to the Hollywood-based entertainment industry, I am to receive the "Reel Honoree" award. During the entire fifty-two-plus year history of the CAC, less than seventy-five of these awards have been presented. Former honorees include Sylvester Stallone, Kirk Douglas, Joe Don Baker, Robert Forster, Elliot Gould, Tommy Sands, Guy Madison, Charles Bronson, John Saxon, Pat Buttram, David Carradine, Robert Conrad, Alex Karras, John Phillip Law, George Raft, Karl Malden, Cesar Romero and Mickey Rooney, along with Rowdy Roddy Piper, Judo Gene LeBell and others. I am certainly proud to be receiving an award which has been presented previously to such a "who’s who" of the wrestling and entertainment industries.

For next week’s column, I am considering another break with tradition. I am pondering the possibility of revealing to you a certain "not-for-public-consumption" aspect of the wrestling business that I have previously avoided sharing. But, then again, I wonder if my readers would have any interest in the world-within-a-world of the wrestling "groupies." Hmmm … 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 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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