Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Initial Publication Date:   May 10, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Time is absolutely precious.  Since I was a small child, I have known that money is renewable and replaceable but time is not.  Tell homeless people that you have a magic genie that will grant them a wish; then ask, “For what do you wish?”  Invariably they will wish for money.  Ask other unsuccessful people – people who continually seem to “fail” -- and the answer will be the same: “Money.”  But ask highly successful people and you’ll get a very different, much more insightful answer:  They will emphatically answer “Time!”  With more time, successful people can always create more wealth.

I don’t wait in line well.  Doing so has always seemed to be a horribly unproductive use of my time.  When I fly, I am aware of the “be sure to arrive at least two or three hours before your scheduled departure time” suggestion.  That’s fine for the masses, but it doesn’t work for me.  I especially smile at the “three hours early for international flight” suggestion.  That’s crazy.  That’s when everybody else begins lining up.  I make it a point to check in fifty minutes prior to departure for those international flights.  By the time I make my way through security and “passport control” and arrive at the gate area, most of the passengers have already boarded.  I normally smile at that point, knowing, once again, that I have avoided waiting in yet another line.  “Ah!” I usually think to myself, “another efficient use of my time.”   Normally, I don’t check luggage.  Everything I need is expertly packed in my carry-on.  My routine is predictable:  Once I have boarded, I remove the items I may need for the trip and place my carry-on in the overhead bin.  I look towards the rear of the aircraft in awe.  “How in the world can they squeeze so many people into ‘Coach’?”  I wonder.  I smile at my good fortune.  “Champagne, sir?” the flight attendant asks, “or would you care for some freshly squeezed orange juice?”  I usually get orange juice.  “Could I hang your jacket for you?” is the question from the next flight attendant.  I hand the person my jacket and my boarding pass.  I look back to the coach section once more.  The look of envy and irritation is evident on a number of faces.  Somehow that makes me feel good inside and I give them something between a smile and a grin before I take my seat.  A friend of mine once said, “Rock, you’re pretty much an arrogant snob when you travel, aren’t you?”  “Well,” I answered, “sometimes my wrestling heel personality surfaces, but I’m a lovable arrogant snob.”

Many people I know talk about one- to two-hour waits to clear Customs and Immigration at international airports.  When I fly internationally, I don’t check luggage.  Again, my carry-on is all I need.  I am usually the first person to depart the aircraft.  (Isn’t it great how everyone departs through the door located right at the first class cabin?)  I dress well when I travel.  I am always in a suit and tie.  Appearance (packaging) is important.  I have a few “personal best” records concerning international air travel.  My best record:  From the moment the aircraft door is opened until the moment I have exited the airport, including clearing Immigration, Customs, and Agricultural Control – ready? – Four minutes and fifty-seven seconds.  I average around seven minutes.  Since I am usually the first person from my flight to see the various inspectors, I often say something to the effect of, "Quick.  Lock the doors.  They’re coming!” as I point toward the masses far behind me.  As with everything else in life, I tend to find humor in all situations and to make all situations fun.

It was very early Thursday morning, April 19, 2007.  I would be flying to Las Vegas for the yearly CAC Wrestlers Reunion and Awards Dinner.  I was to receive the prestigious “Reel Honoree Award” at the culmination of that three-day event.  Travel and hotel arrangements had been made on my behalf months earlier.  I was driven to Ontario (California) Airport.  I was to meet friends Jason Thompson and Bobbie Thompson, who would join me for the flight.  Bobbie would be my “official” photographer and Jason would be one of at least three cinematographers covering the Vegas awards event.  

“Here is the printout of your flight information,” Bobbie said.  “We’ll be getting into the line there for Southwest Airlines.”  I stared at a long line, cut my eyes over to Bobbie, and cautiously shifted my attention to the printout.  “This flight doesn’t leave for nearly two hours,” I said in a mild state of disbelief.  “Why am I here two hours early for a 45-minute flight?”  “Because that’s the rule,” Bobbie said.  I was pleasant.  I usually am.  I smiled and said, “Not for me, it isn’t.  Where’s the first class check-in?”   She looked questioningly at me.  “This is Southwest, Rock,” she said.  “They don’t have first class.”  “Then business class,” I suggested.  “They don’t have that either.”  “So, what you’re telling me,” I quipped with a smile on my face, “is that Southwest has no class.”  She forced a smile.  “They only have one class,” she explained.  At the check-in counter, I requested an aisle seat as far forward as possible.  Imagine my surprise when I heard, “Sir, it's open seating.”  Wrestlers have a very strange sense of humor and are always playing jokes (“ribs”) on each other.  I finally got it.  Bobbie has always been considered “one of the boys.”  “Okay, very funny,” I said to her.  “You got me.  Great rib.  Now, what airline am I really flying?”  Only … it wasn’t a joke.  I found myself squashed in with a hundred-plus other people on a flying bus.  But, it provided a great opportunity for fun. 

“Upper deck, starboard please” I said to the senior flight attendant as I boarded the aircraft.  “Yeah, right,” she said.  “Full forward, cockpit, left seat?” I asked with a smile on my face.  “No, the captain showed up and he appears to be sober enough to fly,” was her rapid reply.   We both smiled.  When seated, I asked, “Where is my personal movie screen and how do I undock it?”  “Excuse me, I haven’t been offered champagne yet.  You might want to hurry; the aircraft will be departing soon. And, by the way, I also don’t have a menu for the dinner choices.”  I followed it up with lots of entertaining quips for the other passengers:  “Oh my goodness.  This is a 737.  I didn’t know anybody was still flying the old 737s,” and, “Wow, they’re going to attempt a landing with only 30 degrees of flaps?  This should be interesting.”  I kept the passengers and crew entertained as Bobbie continued to reinforce, “I don’t know him.  I just happen to be sitting here.”

I continued my “amazingly witty and funny” comments as I waited for luggage.  Yes, I actually had to check luggage for this flight.  “Do I have to carry the suitcase myself?” I asked.  “Where are the porters?  Where are the greeters?  Where is my limo?”  “You really are the ultimate Ugly American, aren’t you?” Bobbie asked.  “No,” I corrected.  “It’s humor.  It’s funny.”  “Well,” she responded, “could you give the humor a rest?”  She thought for a moment.  A slight smile appeared on her face as she continued:  “You need to save that brilliant wit and humor for the event.  And, if you let it rest, we’ll take you to Quarks later and begin celebrating your award early.”  “Quarks?” I asked.  “Tonight?  Cool.”  That afternoon, during the first official day of the CAC event, I talked with dozens of living legends from the world of professional wrestling.  I took it upon myself to invite several of them to join us at the world-famous Quarks Bar & Grill that evening.  “Several of us are going to Quarks tonight,” I would say.  “How would you like to join us?”  When one of the legends would accept my offer, I followed up with, “That’s great.  Now we have someone to pay the bill.”  It was a great beginning to an amazing three-day journey – a journey shared with hundreds of the best of the best that the world of professional wrestling has ever seen.  Next week, the journey begins.  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 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."

© 2007 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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