Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Initial Publication Date:   June 14, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

April 21, 2007.  The Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Four hundred professional wrestlers along with dozens of fans, paparazzi, reporters, videographers, and a contingent of national and international press people had gathered for the Forty-Second Annual CAC Wrestlers’ Reunion and Awards Banquet.  It was the third and final day of the prestigious event.  The actual awards ceremony (the “main event”) was in progress.  Several legends had already been honored that evening.  The awards included a not-previously-announced posthumous honor for Owen Hart.  Bret “The Hitman” Hart accepted on behalf of his late brother.

Earlier in the day, WWE executive officer and Hall of Fame inductee Pat Patterson approached me.  “Now, don’t get mad at me,” he said, “for how I introduce you tonight.”  Pat and I have known each other for over two decades.  He is such a caring and thoughtful person that he wanted me to know that a joke or two (a “rib” as we say in the wrestling business) might be included with my introduction.  I wasn’t concerned at all.  I knew that whatever Pat would say would be in good fun.  “I’m sure it will be in good taste,” I said to myself.  “But wait, Rock, this is Pat Patterson … Well, it will probably be in relatively good taste …It will be fine, whatever he says.”

Pat did a harmless little joke during my introduction.  I shared that with you in last week’s column.  He continued my introduction with, “He’s a kid who always loved the business.  He respected the old-timers.  He really enjoyed his trade … I give you Rock Riddle.”  I walked onto the stage amongst louder and more enthusiastic applause that I had expected.  As I was about to take the microphone, Pat said, “Hold on, Rock.  They don’t know the whole story.”  “Okay,” I thought.  “I knew I was getting off too easy.”  I backed up a few steps to allow Pat to continue.  And, continue he did:  “This guy was so happy that he got here Wednesday [the day before the three-day convention began],” Pat said with only a hint of a smile on his face.  “He rented a suite.  So he called me and said, ‘Pat, tonight, you’ve got to come to my party.  I have a big suite and we’ll have a great time.’  I thought, ‘Why not?  Let’s go.’  There were about eleven of us in one room.”  “Okay, here it comes,” I thought.  The left side of my mouth was smiling and my eyes were open a little wider than usual as I waited to see where Pat was going with the story.  “We drank.  We had such a great time.  Eight or nine of us, we made love all night long.  I mean it was an orgy like you wouldn’t believe.”  Pat paused briefly for the audience reaction before continuing.  “’But tonight,' he [Rock] said, ‘I’ll invite you again tonight.  Tonight it’s going to be better, because tonight we’re going to have girls.’”

Pat good-naturedly slapped me on the back and handed me the microphone as he headed off stage.  I approached the podium and waited for the laughter to die down.  I looked over in Pat’s direction.  The smile on my face let him know, “Yes, you got me,” and “Yes, it was an okay joke.”  “Thank you, Pat.  What a beautiful man.”  Directing my attention toward the audience, I took a moment to survey the crowd.  “Should I say it’s not true?” I asked.  I paused for a quick moment, deciding that a more serious acceptance speech was in order.  I had not written a speech in advance.  In fact, I had given very little thought as to what I might say.  I knew that once I was on stage with microphone in hand, I would be fine.

“When I was fourteen years old,” I began with a serious demeanor, “I was introduced to the wonderful world of professional wrestling.  I saw my first professional wrestling match on television, and my entire life changed.  My entire life began, because my life is the wrestling business.  I decided at sixteen years of age that I would become a professional wrestler.  I weighed one hundred and thirty-six pounds and wrestled in the 138-pound weight class.  And I said, ‘I’m going to be a professional wrestler.’  At twenty years of age, I weighed two hundred thirty-six pounds.”  I continued the sentence in my deeper wrestling voice, “of twisted steel and sex appeal.”  My voice got louder.  “And, I was out there doing it.  Because anything that you want to accomplish, you can accomplish.  Yes, I am here to tell you:  Yes, you can have it all!”  I paused for half a second before I continued.  “I am so honored.  I went on to have a career that was so beautiful in this wrestling business.”  I surveyed the crowd as I continued.  “I look out and I see the legends who are here, and I am in awe of you.  I am also in awe of the fact that I got to work in the ring with many, many, many of you.  And, it was better than a dream come true.”

“Last year,” I continued, “I was told that the Board of Directors of the CAC had a meeting.  They took a vote, and they unanimously voted to honor me with an award tonight.  I thought, ‘That’s absolutely wonderful and that’s amazing, because I’m very proud of what I accomplished in the wrestling business.’”  I held out my left arm.  “If you cut me,” I said, “what comes out is the wrestling blood.  It flows in my veins.  There is not a one of us here who has been in that squared circle who doesn’t dream – I don’t care how old they are – who doesn’t dream of making a comeback and getting back in that ring.  That is our life.  And, folks, you are my family.  You are the beautiful, most wonderful, fabulous family I have ever known … Only a few months ago did I discover what award I would be receiving.  They said, ‘Rock, you are going to be receiving the Reel Honoree Award,’ and I said, ‘The Reel Honoree Award?  That’s an award for people who made a difference in the acting profession.’  And, I thought, ‘My gosh, yes, I feel that I’ve made a wonderful difference in the wrestling profession.  That’s my life, and I live it, and I love it.’  The Reel Honoree Award?   Kirk Douglas got that award!  Jimmy Cagney got that award.  My old buddy, Sylvester Stallone, got that award.  Mickey Rooney!  David Carradine!  I thought, ‘I think it must be a mistake.  They’re really giving this award to me?’  I wasn’t sure that I was worthy … Sure, I’ve done several dozen feature films and TV shows.  But, was I ever brilliantly talented?”  I smiled.  “Well, a few of them were quite good.  But not really ever brilliantly talented.  Was I ever a household name?  No, [in the film business] I was never a household name.   And I looked into it more deeply and I discovered that this award is for someone who has made a difference not only in this beautiful wrestling world … but it’s also someone who made a difference in the entertainment industry.  So I looked at that and said, ‘Well, I’ve been in the business of promoting and marketing actors and others in the entertainment industry through my company [APS Entertainment and HollywoodSuccess.com] for quite a while.  We have helped hundreds of actors to achieve their dreams, including several who are currently starring in feature films and on TV series …” 

I spoke for several minutes more before I directed my attention once again to Pat Patterson.  I smiled, knowing that he was now expecting to be the topic of a Rock Riddle joke.  He was certainly in for a surprise, because … No, wait.  I’ll share that with you next week.  Until then, 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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