Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Scheduled Publication Date:   November 2, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

We were in another dressing room in another Gulf Coast city somewhere in Alabama or Mississippi or Florida.  After a while, the dressing rooms and the towns began to all look alike and became a blur.  I was talking with the Bass Brothers, Ronny and Donny, and their manager/mom.  They were an amazing team.  Ron was the taller or the two, standing about 6’6” tall and weighing around 290 pounds.  Donny was slightly smaller at around 240 or 250.  And, then there was “Ma.”  Ma Bass was the wiry, feisty, controlling, meddlesome matriarch of the family who would accept nothing other than victory for her boys – even if it meant she had to occasionally interfere in their matches.  Ma probably weighed about 95 pounds dripping wet; yet she quickly gained the respect and acceptance of the wrestlers. 

Ron was getting dressed for his upcoming match.  He had one boot on and seemed to be staring at the other.  “Do you always rest between putting on your boots?” I asked, thinking I was being clever.  I expected a snappy, witty comeback, but I was surprised.  “No, Rock,” Ron said seriously, “I’m just a little tired tonight and I really don’t know why.”  “Oh, gee, I wonder,” snapped Ma Bass.  “It couldn’t be that you’ve wrestled every single day for over six months, could it?  It couldn’t be that you could use a day off; nothing like that, right, Ronny?  Like, what you were telling me earlier today?”  Ron shrugged his shoulders.  I looked at Ma.  “Is that true?” I asked.  “Have you guys worked every day for over six months?”  “We absolutely have,” Ma confirmed.  “And, since the boys are on top, they’re wrestling multiple live TV matches and sometimes a ‘Sunday matinee’ and a Sunday night match the same day in towns two hundred miles apart.  I suppose they’ve averaged ten matches per week for nearly seven months now.”  “Wow, Ma,” I said, “why don’t you talk to the promotion and get a few days off?”  Ma raised an eyebrow.  “Are you kidding?” she asked.  “The Bass Brothers are main event.  They’re on top.  You don’t stop when you’re ahead.  And, you don’t slow down.”  She smiled.  “Besides,” she continued, “the boys are tough, just like their mom.”  She looked her sons directly in the eyes.  “You boys keep making your Ma proud, and we’ll talk about taking some time off next year.”  She put her hand up to the side of her face so her boys couldn’t see.  She smiled at me, winked, took her hand down and said, “You see, Rock.  This is what a good mother does for her boys.”

Donny finally spoke.  “So, how about we buy me a new car, then, since we seem to be using my car most of the time?”  “Your car’s fine,” Ma said firmly.  “It’s last year’s model.  It’s only a year and a half old.”  “But, Ma,” Donny responded, “it’s got over 250,000 miles on it.”  “Oh,” Ma said, “That’s highway miles.  It’s just getting broken in.”  She paused for a couple of seconds as though she were thinking it through.  She looked at Ron.  “Okay, Ron, we’re going to use your car more.”  Neither of the boys was happy with that statement.  Ma tried to prevent herself from smiling and then continued:  “Okay, boys, the new models will be out in about six weeks.  Keep making me proud and you can each get a new car then.”  The boys’ reactions came with deliberate heavier-than-usual Texan accents.  “Thanks, Maaaough,” said Ronny.  “Yeah, thanks, Maaaough,” said Donny.  Everybody smiled.

The Bass family usually traveled alone – just the three of them in one of their cars.  I usually traveled alone – just me, my little green sports car, my wrestling gear and my special extra-large “secret” orange suitcase (which you will read more about later).  And, I liked it that way.  But, Ronny, Donny and Ma Bass were my special friends.  Whenever our schedules coincided, we would often ride together.  It was a wonderful relationship, and those were great times.  I felt as though I had been accepted as member of the family – not just a member of the wrestling family, but as a special, honored member of the Bass family as well. 

It was about 9:00 am the following Thursday morning.  I lived in a house directly on the beach at Pensacola Beach, Florida.  I had just finished a six-mile beach run when I heard the phone ringing.   I rushed in just in time to answer on what must have been the fifth ring.  “Hello,” I said, out of breath from my run.  No response.  “Hello?” I said again, breathing heavily.  Just as I was about to hang up, I heard a voice on the other end of the line.  “So, Riddle, is lifting the receiver getting tough for you or are you just excited to talk to me?”  It was my friend, Ron Bass.  “Sorry, Ron,” I responded,  “but you’re not my type.”  “That’s okay, Riddle,” Ron said, “I’ll put Ma on.”  “Very funny,” I said, “What can I do for you?”  “Well,” Ron responded, “I hear you might be giving wrestling lessons.”  “Sorry, I can’t help you there,” I said.  “Besides, you don’t need to know how to wrestle as long as you have your brother and your mom to carry your matches for you.”  I paused.  “Your turn,” I said.  Ron decided to get serious.  “Hey, Rock, are you wrestling in Hattiesburg tonight?”  “Yes,” I answered.  “Wanna ride with us?”  “Sure,” I responded.  “Well, it’s about a four and a half hour drive,” Ron said, “so we need to leave by two o’clock.  Meet us at the hotel.”  We would be in the car together for over nine hours – four and a half hours going and another four and a half hours coming back.  And, we would be in the dressing room for an additional three hours.  Married wrestlers spent much more time with other wrestlers than they did their wives.  That’s another reason that the wrestling family was so close.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Another sold-out arena.  As usual, I surveyed the situation.  There was no air conditioning in the building, it was summer, and it was hot.  The fans had already spent too much time buying too much beer.  They seemed irritated even before the matches began.  “Riot potential, sixty-five percent,” I said to the other guys.  “Well, let’s hope not,” said Ron Bass.  “But, we’ve got four ax handles in the trunk if we need them.”  “Not to mention,” Donny added, “most of the wrestlers have a little something in their bags.”  That “little something” could be anything from a blackjack to a sawed-off shotgun.

The matches progressed without major problems from the fans.  I wrestled mid-card that night, so I had already wrestled, showered, and dressed.  The main event was in the ring.  The hated Bass Brothers with Ma Bass were really stirring up the crowd.  And, it looked as though they were going to thoroughly disappoint the fans by soundly defeating the crowd favorites.  It was clear to me that a riot was about to break out and that my friends could use some help getting back to the dressing room.  I made my way through a hostile crowd to the ring.  The Bass Brothers and I surrounded Ma as we made our way back to the dressing room.  I had the bar from a dumbbell in my hand.  It wasn’t easy, but we made it!  I was expecting a big “thank you” from Ma.  She put her finger in my face and said, “Don’t you ever do that again!”  “What?” I asked.  “You don’t take a weapon to use on the fans.  If they see you with a club, they’ll come at you with clubs.”  “Sorry,” I said, looking like a sad, scolded puppy dog.  Ronny and Donny were standing behind Ma, facing me grinning.  They had just begun to do the “You’re in trouble, nya, nya-na-nya, nya” chant when Ma turned around, went for their ears, and said, “And, for you too, I’ll deal with you later.  Now, off to the showers.”  I never did tell Ma that I had a Bowie knife inside my jacket while I was helping them get back from the ring.  I think, if I had, one of my earlobes would still be longer than the other.  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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