Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Original Date of Publication:   July 27, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

This column has always welcomed your wrestling-related questions.  As its popularity continues to grow, the amount of e-mail we receive multiplies.   With the help of an extraordinarily knowledgeable personal assistant, we are actually able to answer much of the mail individually.  Many of the more interesting questions will be answered in this column, beginning now:

Tony Abrams asked, What were your most embarrassing moments as a professional wrestler?”  That’s a very good question, and surprisingly, a fairly difficult one to answer.  As you might guess, professional wrestlers are not easily embarrassed.  Most of us really enjoy “pushing the envelope.”  What would be horribly embarrassing to most people would simply be funny to us.  I’ll share some potentially embarrassing moments with you.

My usual method of entering the ring was to step onto the ring apron, place my hands on the top rope near the turnbuckle, and catapult myself over the ropes and into the ring.  Oftentimes I wore custom-designed full-length velvet robes.  During one particular entrance, my boot got caught in the robe.  I went over the top rope into the ring – only I landed on my butt instead of my feet.  What a way to make an entrance, tripping and falling into the ring.  That could have been embarrassing – but only if I allowed it to be.  The fans were pointing, laughing, and verbally abusing me.  “Aha,” I thought.  “An opportunity!”  I grabbed the referee, took him to the spot where I had stood on the ring apron, and vehemently complained about the slippery substance on the canvas.  My opponent motioned for the referee and me to back away from the spot so he could examine it.  He got down close to the mat, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.  He placed his hands on the top rope, jumped back and forth, inside and outside of the ring, about six times in rapid succession.  He moved away from the corner, looked at me, smiled, and indicated that I should try it again.  I did, this time catching my foot on the top rope and falling inside.  As soon as I hit, he jumped on top of me for a pin.  “One, two,” the referee counted.  I just managed to get my shoulder off the mat before the “three” count could be made.  I almost became “the wrestler who lost in the shortest match in history.”  I quickly removed my robe and sunglasses, threw them at my valet, Ms. Pamela, and began what would turn out to be an amazing match – certainly one of the best of the evening. 

Andre the Giant was a friend of mine.  He stood nearly 7’5” tall and weighed about 550 pounds.    He was a beautiful, kind man with a wonderful sense of humor.  I had the opportunity to wrestle him many times.  I remember wrestling him in a handicap match.  It was Roddy Piper and I versus Andre in a two-out-of-three-fall live TV match.  In the first fall, Andre picked me up above his head, smiled, lowered me down to his shoulders as though he were pressing a barbell, and then hurled me over three-quarters of the way across the ring.  I remember thinking, “I’m going to hit soon.  I’m going to hit soon.  When am I going to hit?”  Then –THUD!!! “Okay,” I thought, “I just hit the mat.  Now, can I move?”  About the time I discovered that I had not been paralyzed from the fall, I saw Andre standing above me, again with that big grin on his face.  “Oh no, what now?” I whispered to myself.  My question was immediately answered.  Andre stood with both feet on my stomach – all 550 pounds of him.  He pinned me.  There was a two-minute commercial break before the next fall.  I looked at Roddy and the referee.  “I’ll be back,” I said.  I had to go back to the dressing room and change trunks before the next fall.  Had I not been wearing three layers – tights, trunks, and under-trunks – that could have been a potentially embarrassing moment.

Speaking of Andre the Giant:  I was wrestling Andre on another live TV show.  Once again, he had me over his head, ready for one of his super flying, all-the-way-across-the-ring body slams.  At least that’s what I thought was coming.  Andre was laughing.  “Hey, Rock,” he said in that big, booming, ultra-deep voice of his, “I think your tights are coming down.”  Andre had his thumb inside the top of my tights, just below the small of my back.  As he was holding me over his head, about ten feet above the mat, he was slowing sliding his thumb towards my feet.  Thankfully, he only went far enough for it to be funny and not so far as to cost the television station its broadcasting license.  That could have been an embarrassing moment, had Andre decided to go further – like to my knees, for example – on live television.

On another occasion, I was wrestling in a small town in Tennessee.  I would be wrestling under a mask that night.  Jerry “The King” Lawler was in the dressing room with me.  “Rock,” he said, “You’ve got to make sure none of that blond hair sticks out of the mask.  They’ll figure out it’s you.  And you need to darken your eyebrows.  People can see them through the eye holes.”  I thanked him, and followed his suggestions.  “How’s this?” I asked.  Jerry shook his head.  “No, Rock.  You need something more, just to be safe.  Come sit here, and I’ll draw a tattoo on your arm.  Then they’ll think it’s another wrestler altogether.”  “Great, thank you,” I said, knowing that Jerry was a great artist and cartoonist.  He just finished the tattoo in time for my match.  When I arrived back in the dressing room twenty minutes later, all of the wrestlers were laughing.  The “tattoo” Jerry Lawler had drawn on my arm was not totally appropriate, since it featured … well, let’s just say genitalia.  On my way from the arena, I overheard a female fan saying, “Did you see that masked guy’s tattoo?  It looked like a man’s ‘thing.’”  Had I been recognizable, that could have been an embarrassing moment.  As it was, I laughed with the ‘boys.’  “Consider yourself lucky,” said one of the guys.  “With Jerry Lawler drawing a tattoo that only featured genitalia, you got off easy.”  I smiled.  I knew he was right.

I don’t have any truly embarrassing personal moments to share with you.  Now, if you’d like to know about embarrassing moments I orchestrated for other wrestlers, that’s another matter.  For example, I knew that, sooner or later, one of the guys would forget that my valet, Ms. Pamela, was in the dressing room.  I knew that eventually one of the wrestlers would come from the showers to the dressing room without covering himself.  I had plotted with Ms. Pamela as to what she would do.  Sure enough, in a small town in Mississippi, Ms. Pamela and I were in the dressing room with several of the guys when in walked a nude wrestler – Cowboy Bob Kelly, if I’m not mistaken.  Immediately, Ms. Pamela pointed to that certain part of his anatomy and began laughing hysterically.  We all got a great chuckle out of it, and retold the story many times, especially in the presence of Cowboy Bob.  Until next week, keep those e-mails and those e-mail questions 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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