Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Initial Publication Date:   July 12 (Rock's Birthday), 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Isn’t it amazing how many radio, television, newspaper and even internet journalists are experts on professional wrestling?  They must be extraordinarily well-informed, with a great deal of insight and inside information in order to write, report, and talk about wrestling from such a lofty position of authority.  I would like to take this opportunity to salute those amazing people who share the truth about professional wrestling…  I would like to do that, except for the fact that the overwhelming majority of those people have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.  They are speaking not from truth but from their own agendas and prejudicial ignorance, which are often heavily influenced by unfounded rumors and regurgitated misinformation.

I do a lot of public speaking.  Recently I was the keynote speaker at an Accelerated Success Seminar Event in Studio City, California.  I began my talk with these words:  “If I were to come out here and tell you what it’s like to be a professional soccer player…  don’t believe a word I say.  I never played soccer professionally.  Now, if I were the biggest soccer fan on the planet,” I continued, “and I were to come out here and tell you what it’s like to be a professional soccer player…  don’t believe a word I say.  I never played professional soccer.”  I surveyed the faces of my audience to see whether they were “getting” it.  “You see,” I explained, “in that second scenario, I could tell you what it’s like to be a professional soccer fan, but not a soccer player.”  I went on to briefly share my actual professional experience with the crowd and concluded my thought thusly:  “Unless someone has actually lived it, they do not have the right to claim to be an expert in the field.  I have walked in those shoes, and I am going to share with you today absolute truth based on first-hand knowledge and experience.”

Many insecure people are highly opinionated.  They attempt to make themselves more important by taking on the expert façade.  About fifteen years ago, for example, while flying from Australia to Los Angeles, I heard a consistently loud, annoying voice coming from the cabin behind me.  After several minutes, I peeked through the curtains.  Two men were standing at the very front of “economy” seating.  One was a large guy whose fat stomach was protruding from underneath his several-sizes-too-small shirt.  “You know what?” the guy said to his friend.  “Those wrestlers act like they hate each other and then they go out and have dinner together.”  He went on and on and on.  “No, Rock,” I said to myself, “You don’t need to confront this person.”  I was just settling into my seat again when I heard, “You know, those wrestlers don’t really hit each other.  It’s all fake.”  “Okay, That’s enough,” I said to myself in a barely audible voice.  “It’s confrontation time.”

I went gingerly through the curtains with a deliberately non-threatening look of innocence on my face.  “Excuse me, Sir,” I said is a low, respectful voice.  “I couldn’t help but hear what you were saying about wrestling.  What you were saying is fascinating.”  The big guy had a smug look on his face as though he expected more compliments to follow, so he could play “big man” to his friend.  “Could I ask you a question?” I inquired.  “Yeah, sure,” he replied.  I looked directly into his eyes and asked, “How many years did you wrestle professionally?”  He attempted to maintain his composure as he stuttered, “Well, no, ah, I never wrestled, but I …”  I cut him off mid-sentence.  With a look of bewilderment on my face, I said, “You never wrestled?”  I looked as though I didn’t understand.  I looked away, looked at his friend, and then fixed my gaze once again upon the big guy.  “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said.  “I was mistaken.  I thought you knew what you were talking about.  I didn’t realize you were speaking out of ignorance.”  I paused for a moment before adding, “Never mind,” and going back to my seat.  It worked.  I didn’t hear a peep out of him for the next fourteen hours.

A fan attempting to impress a friend with misinformation can be dealt with and laughed off.  But, what about journalists?  Remember when journalism was respected?  Remember when journalists had that unwritten code of fair and balanced reporting based on underlying truth?  That’s very difficult to find anymore.  I certainly hope you find it here.  My outcome for each of my columns is to entertain and educate you and to take you into a world that you would never know otherwise – but to do it based on blatant and even brutal honesty.  Sure, I give you my opinions, but my opinions are my truths.

A horrific event that sparked a tidal wave of ignorant “journalists,” with their own agendas and prejudices, spreading misinformation and outright lies was the Chris Benoit tragedy.  Before I go any further, I will answer a couple of your obvious questions.  Yes, I had met Benoit at a professional wrestlers' awards event several years ago, but, no, I did not know him well.  Yes, we had many mutual friends.  Yes, I have information that is not common knowledge.  Will I share any of it with my readers?  If I receive an overwhelming amount of requests, yes.  Otherwise, probably not.

Today I made the mistake of reading some “news” items.  One writer, whom I will purposely not identify here, stated, “Benoit, like most pro wrestlers, used steroids.”  Really?  Most pro wrestlers use steroids?  That’s news to me.  In my ten years in the business, I never saw any drug use at all.  I heard that one wrestler, Superstar Billy Graham, took tissue-building hormones, but I never witnessed it.  Several of the guys drank a fair amount of beer on occasion.  Once I even witnessed wrestler Greg Gagne having a Brandy Alexander in a restaurant.  In reality, illegal drug use results in suspensions and firings in the wrestling business.  The writer went on to reiterate that “steroid use is common,” that “painkiller abuse is just as necessary” (what a strange choice of words, “necessary”), and that alcohol and recreational drug abuse is “going on all over the place.”

The writer’s photo accompanied his story.  He was puffy and reminded me a little of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  He claimed to be a fan and wanted readers to think of him as an expert on professional wrestling.  For a moment I considered clicking his “get permission to reprint this article” link.  “Dear Mr. Blank,” I would have written.  “I would like to reprint your article along with your photo in order to make a few points.  For example, you, like most self-proclaimed experts on professional wrestling, have no idea what you’re talking about.  I’m going to make an example of your lack of knowledge and ability.”  I paused for a moment, took a deep breath and thought better of the idea.  I think I made my point without having to resort to name-calling, even though, as a bad guy wrestler (wink, wink), the idea certainly has an attraction.  The bottom line, of course, is this:  Only those who have actually wrestled professionally know the business.  I’ve done it, I know it, and I bring it to you with truth and authority.  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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