Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Original Publication Date:   October 12, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Most of the TV studio matches were broadcast live.  There were no 3-second or 5-second or 7-second delays.  The fans at home were seeing the match at exactly the same moment as the people in the studio audience.  I thoroughly enjoyed wrestling on live television.  And, I loved doing live interviews (“promos”).  I could say anything I wanted and it couldn’t be edited – it had already been broadcast as I said it.  So, give a microphone to a cocky, arrogant, egotistical wrestler with an extreme sense of humor (such as, oh … Rock “Mr. Wonderful” Riddle, for example) – on live television! – well, suffice it to say that life doesn’t get any better than that.

I had utilized the live-television-promos vehicle to build an intense interest in upcoming Rock Riddle-Ricky Fields matches.  While most of the people I wrestled were larger than I, Ricky Fields was smaller.  I weighed a solid 236 pounds at my peak; Ricky probably weighed around 205.  I had great fun taunting him while “working the crowd” on numerous live interviews.  “Little Ricky Fields,” I told the TV viewers at home, “is a highly talented and qualified wrestler.  But, there’s a problem.  You see, Little Ricky is a couple of inches taller than a typical midget wrestler so he thinks he should be wrestling with big guys like me.  No, Little Ricky.  You’re still a midget.  If you really train hard, maybe you could grow up and apply to jockey school.  After all, you already have that ‘certain smell’ about you.  But, you have no business in my world of professional wrestling.”

I especially enjoyed doing live promos while Ricky was in the studio watching.  “Well, look what the cats dragged in,”   I sarcastically said.  “Little Ricky Fields is in the studio.  Mr. Cameraman, get a shot of the boy over there … no, Mr. Cameraman, you need to pan down.  Okay, keep panning downward.  Yes, now you’re almost down to the top of the little guy’s head.  Yes, there it is.  I can see it on the monitor.  That scraggly yellow mop thing is the top of his head.  You see, Little Ricky wants to grow up to be like me, so he’s putting peroxide on that abomination he calls hair.  It’s time you get a haircut, kid.  And, if you don’t get it cut, I’ll cut it for you!  Keep panning down, Mr. Cameraman.  You’ll need to lower the camera to see his face … Oh, my gosh, is he ugly!  Quick, put the camera back on me.”  It was great to see Ricky’s reaction.  If I could get to him, I knew I had gotten to the audience.  When he was standing with his hands on his hips with a look of partial disbelief that I had just “said that” and partial anger on his face, I knew I had done a great promo.  And, the more I got to him, the more I dug in.  I may have gone a little over the line from Ricky’s point of view, as was evidenced in our first highly anticipated match.

It was Dothan, Alabama at their sold-out arena.  I was wearing my multi-colored tights and trunks, custom-designed two-tone patent leather wrestling boots, a black velvet robe with “Mr. Wonderful” emblazoned across the back and thin “Rock Riddle” wraparound sunglasses.  I was standing in the ring, six inches from the ropes, holding up a pair of pointed-end scissors, taunting the crowd.  “Tonight is the night that your little home-town sweetie-pie boy gets his hair cut,” I said.  “After I beat him tonight, he will not only cry like a little baby, but he will also look like one – a very ugly one!”  I had no idea that Ricky had entered the ring, since I had been facing the crowd.  When I turned around, Ricky hit me with such force that I went flying one way and the scissors went flying another.  Gravity had its effect on both.  I came down with a thud – and with Ricky on top of me for, I think, a fast three count.  The scissors came down in the crowd – and stuck in some lady’s nose.  Extra police were called in to get me safely from the building that night.  Officially, it was only a “near-riot.”

I was booked back in Dothan, Alabama the following week.  I never missed a booking in my entire professional career, but I certainly did not want to go back to Dothan.  I knew what awaited me.  The rumors were flying.  I knew there was going to be a lawsuit.  I fully expected one of two things to happen if I went back – either a full-blown riot would erupt with everyone trying to kill me, or I would be arrested and spend time in a Southern jail.  After all, I had thrown a pair of scissors into some local lady’s nose – at least from their point of view.  It was a difficult week for me.  I finally went to Rocky McGuire, the promoter in charge for Dothan and other cities.  “If I go back to Dothan and go to jail,” I said, “I will not be able to make any of my wrestling commitments to you or promoter Lee Fields.  Do you really want me to show up again in Dothan?”  Now, Rocky had a dilemma.  My name on the card was helping to sell out the arenas, putting money in his pockets.  What would happen if I were a no-show?  Would fans demand their money back?  Would my apparent cowardice transfer to him and the entire local National Wrestling Alliance promotion?  Rocky was a big man in that area of the country, and he said he would “see what he could do.”  He worked on the situation and came up with a solution – but he didn’t tell me.

“I want you to show up for your match in Dothan,” the promoter said to me on the morning of the match.  I headed north from my base in Pensacola, Florida, driving towards Dothan, Alabama.  It was a very difficult drive.  I kept thinking about changing my direction of travel and heading toward another wrestling promotion.  After all, I had proven myself and made money for a number of wrestling promotions already.  It wasn’t as though I had no place to go.  But, I had never missed a booking before.  It would ruin my perfect record.  I went back and forth in my mind until I found myself pulling into the private parking area of the Dothan Arena.  “Okay,” I thought.  “In logic, that one’s called ‘decision by indecision.’  Time to go in and face the music.”

Rocky McGuire came into my dressing room several times.  He shook his head and said, “Riddle, what were you thinking?”  Then he walked out.  Finally, about ten minutes before my match was to begin, Rocky came back in.  “Okay, Rock,” he said. “Here’s the deal.”  He had my absolute attention as he continued.  “I talked to the lady who got the scissors in her nose.”  I leaned forward with my eyes wide, my mouth dry and slightly open, and my heart beating considerably faster than it should.  “She and I talked.  She wanted to sue you big time – mostly because you’re a great heel, Rock, you do your job well, and, of course, she hates you.”  Under normal circumstances, I would have said “thank you” at that point, but I just waited for the other shoe to drop.  “I told her she couldn’t sue you,” Rocky continued.  “I told her it was an accident and that the person who was responsible was Ricky Fields, since he hit you and knocked the scissors out of your hand.  I told her, if she sued anyone, she would have to sue Ricky.”  I was still waiting for a definitive answer as to whether or not I was going to be arrested when I stepped out of the dressing room that night.  Rocky saw the look on my face.  “In other words,” he continued, “I saved your butt.  Nobody’s going to sue a local hero.  Now, you owe me.  So, get your butt out to the ring and show your appreciation.  This program is going to make money for months.”  I thanked him, took a deep breath, and headed for the ring.  Rocky looked at me and said, “You might want to use those scissors in your promos for the next few weeks.  Let’s milk it.”  I smiled, pulled my shoulders back, pushed my chest out, and headed towards my beloved home – the professional wrestling ring.  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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