Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Scheduled Publication Date:   January 25, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Automobiles had to be replaced regularly by those who made their livings in the professional wrestling business.  Most of us drove well over a hundred thousand miles a year.  I went through three cars, for example, during the year and a half that I was based out of Pensacola, Florida.  One was a secondhand Canadian Rambler.  It was in fairly good shape when I bought it and I got a pretty good deal on it.  I figured that I would get about three months’ use out of it, and I was correct.

I knew the Rambler was only an interim vehicle.  So, when things began to fall off of the car, such as the muffler and parts of the exhaust system, I didn’t bother to replace them.  When one of the brakes went out, I figured, “Not a big deal; I still have brakes on three wheels.”  When I lost the second rear brake, I assumed that the brakes on the front would stop the car when needed.  Then, when the right front brake went out, I thought, “Oh, well, I don’t drive as fast as the other guys.  I usually keep it under eighty, so I’ll just increase the ‘one car-length per ten miles per hour of speed’ separation rule.”  I knew that if the final brake went out, I could always use the emergency brake to stop.  And, of course, that would be the cue for me to buy my next new car.

Usually, I drove to the matches and back alone – or with my valet, Ms. Pamela.  On this particular day, however, there were four of us in the car.  We had wrestled in some Northern Mississippi town.  I don’t remember its name.  All I remember was driving there -- a very long 400-plus mile drive on too many two-lane highways through the centers of too many little towns -- and the road signs that told us we were getting closer and closer to Memphis, Tennessee.  

I had wrestled “mid-card” that night.  I was the third match of five that were scheduled.  While I was waiting for my two “guest riders” to get showered and dressed, I plotted a “better” and hopefully faster route back to Pensacola Beach, Florida.  With highway construction, however, I knew it would be impossible to avoid traveling through small towns on the way back.   

“Ms. Pamela,” I said, “you’re flying right seat tonight.”  That was my way of letting her know that she would be in the right front passenger seat and that she would be responsible for analyzing my newly drawn route, reading the map, and helping with the “navigation.”   Ms. Pamela acknowledged.  “And,” I continued, “as my valet, personal assistant, navigator and co-pilot…”  Ms. Pamela interrupted.  “Could I say ‘no’ now, or do I have to wait for you to finish your joke question?”  “Oh, no,” I said, “it’s nothing bad.  I just want you to go into the showers and see if the guys are ready.”  Ms. Pamela gave me a strange look.  I’m not sure that she ever totally understood or appreciated my humor.  “They’ll let us know when they’re dressed,” was Ms. Pamela’s response as she rolled her eyes and sat down.  I smiled.  I figured that as long as I thought something was funny, it really didn’t matter whether anybody else got it or not.

Ten minutes later, we were ready to hit the road.  I was the designated driver with Ms. Pamela taking her “co-pilot” position in the right front passenger seat.   I think it was Bill White in the left rear and Kevin Sullivan in the right rear as we began our journey back to Pensacola.  We were tired and hungry.  We were ALWAYS hungry after wrestling.  We stopped at a little drive-through fast-food place.  With the exception of Ms. Pamela, we each ordered four large cheeseburgers, large French fries and two extra-large drinks.  We were given Salisbury steak sandwiches instead of cheeseburgers.  “This isn’t what we ordered,” I said to the older gentlemen who I assumed was the owner.  “Naw, it ain’t,” he replied, “but it’s a whole bunch better’n ire cheeseburgers.  Try ‘em.  I ain’t a-gonna charge ya exter.”  He smiled and added, “Mistur Wonerful.”   I cautiously took a bite and discovered that he was right.  These were great sandwiches!  “In fact,” he continued, “if y'all got sum pitures y'all could oto-graph fer me, I won’t charge ya a-tall.”  I opened the trunk of my car, went into my wrestling bag and pulled out a couple of 8x10s.  I autographed the photos and our meal was free.  “Tell all uh th’other rasslers ‘bout us,” the old gentleman suggested.  I told him that we would and that we would certainly be back for more of those great “cheeseburgers” when we were next in the area.

As we drove away, I said, “Well, guys, there’s another place for free food.”  We smiled as the journey home began.  About forty-five minutes later, I heard a voice from the backseat.  “Hey, Rock.  You finished eating yet?”  “Yes,” I responded.  “Good.  So you have two hands free to drive.  Now, let’s make some time!”  That sounded like a good idea to me.  With our wrestling bags (suitcases) in the trunk, the muffler and a piece of tailpipe in the backseat and close to nine hundred pounds of wrestlers onboard, I pushed the very noisy car with only one working brake to a fairly steady seventy-five to eighty miles per hour.  Ms. Pamela was doing a good job of following my pre-planned route and giving me advance turn directions.  “We’re about to go through the center of some little town,” she warned.  “Great,” I responded, “but we’re not slowing down.  It’s past two o’clock in the morning.  We’re probably the only car on the road.  These little Mississippi towns roll up the sidewalks at eight o’clock.  We’re going to be back home before daylight.”  So, there we were, traveling through small towns at nearly eighty miles per hour, producing an incredibly loud noise from the “no muffler” exhaust system.  I imagined how funny it would be to see the reaction of a shopkeeper whose little building all of a sudden started shaking from the vibration of my exceedingly loud 80-mph car.

I drove through the centers of at least four or five little towns at that high rate of speed.  I guessed that all one or two of the local cops were home asleep.  I was wrong.  Flying through the center of the next little town, after having taken liberties with a couple of stop signs, I saw the flashing lights and faintly heard the siren of a police car directly behind us.  I used a cautiously applied combination of the one remaining left front brake and the emergency brake to slow us to a stop in about seven blocks.  A large local policeman came up to the window and began with “Good Mornin.’”  “The muffler just fell off.  See, it’s in the back floorboard,” I offered.  An explanation apparently wasn’t necessary.  The officer recognized us.  “Y'all are rasslers, ain’t ya?” the officer asked, “Ya got any pictures with ya?”  I forced myself not to smile until after the happy officer left with his autographed photos.  “It’s amazing what you guys get away with,” said Ms. Pamela.  “It is indeed,” I responded, “It is indeed.”  In my eight and a half years as a full-time professional wrestler, I was pulled over by law enforcement officers dozens of times.  I gave out dozens of photos, but I never got a ticket.  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."

© 2006 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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