Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Scheduled Publication Date:   October 26, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

It was Friday, October 13, 2006 at the famous Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California.  Karl Lauer, Executive Vice President of the CAC professional wrestlers’ organization, was in town, so it seemed to be a perfect time for some of the “boys” to get together for dinner.  “Boys” is a term of endearment and acceptance in the world of professional wrestling.  It is a term that is earned.  It generally means someone who made his living wrestling.  And, gender never entered into the equation.  Maria Bernardi, for example, was known as “The Tigress” and wrestled professionally for many years.  She was often referred to as the First Lady of the CAC and was one of the founders of the organization.  The October 13th dinner was a tribute to the late Maria Bernardi.  She was definitely one of “the boys.”

As I approached the Sportsmen’s Lodge complex, I couldn’t help but notice 6’10” wrestler-turned-actor Scott Schwartz.  Several months earlier, Scott had been honored at the prestigious yearly CAC awards dinner at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  I had been one of the presenters of Scott’s award, along with Gene LeBell and Jack Armstrong.  As I was saying “hello” to Scott, Jack Armstrong approached, and the three of us headed towards the meeting area.  There were about twenty of us in attendance, including Tony Rocca, Pepper Martin, Art Williams, Jeff Walton, Scott Walton, Mr. and Mrs. Ric Drasin, Mr. and Mrs. Jake Shannon, Mr. and Mrs. Karl Lauer, Clare McCoy, Bill Snyder, Bill Balch, and Wes Daniel.  It’s always great to get together with the boys and share stories. 

Wrestler Ric Drasin and I share the same birthday, July 12.  Ric and I were talking, when his wife Randi walked up.  “Honey, you know Rock Riddle.” Ric said. Randi had a blank look on her face.  “Oh, you remember,” Ric continued.  “Rock and his son came over one morning and used the ring.”  “Remember, you were going to chase us away,” I kidded.  Randi remembered.

Ric is one of several top professionals who teach wrestling.  He has a wrestling ring set up at his home.  My son, Evan, was about eight years old.  As a big wrestling fan and the son of a wrestler, Evan had looked forward for many months to stepping into a professional wrestling ring.  I knew it would be a momentous occasion, and I wanted to document the event.  I am fortunate, as President of a Hollywood, California-based production and marketing company, to have many friends and acquaintances in the entertainment industry.  I had asked our director of photography, Peter Redford, to join us.  He met us at Ric’s home.  Peter stepped onto the ring apron with his shoulder-mounted professional camera.  He videotaped the entire event and ended up with 42-minutes of Evan punishing and beating his famous dad.

I was directing.  “Okay, Evan,” I began.  “First, I’m going to put you in a headlock.  When I do, shoot me off into the ropes.   Come towards me and put your right knee in my stomach after I bounce off.”  I snatched him in a headlock, and he shot me into the ropes.  As I bounced off, I saw this sixty-five-pound freight train barreling towards me.  I felt the knee in my stomach and I took a nice little fall for him.  He was beaming.  “Now,” I said, “I’m going to throw you into the turnbuckles.  Hit with your back.  Then I will come charging you, and you move out of the way to your left at the last second.”  He smiled.  He liked that idea.  I grabbed his left wrist with my left hand, his hair with my right, and I directed him into the corner.  He set his own pace, which was pretty fast, and he hit with more impact than I had expected.  I did a quarter turn of my head towards the camera, gave a patented Rock Riddle sneer, and charged Evan with such speed and force that his mother, sitting front row ringside, screamed, “No-o-o-o-o-o-o!”  Evan stepped out of the way, exactly as directed, at the last second, and I went into the ring post with my right shoulder.  Evan and I looked towards his mother and laughed.

Now, we were aware that we had a live audience.  Evan and I looked at each other and grinned.  Although neither of us said a word, the looks on our faces translated into, “Let’s see how many more times we can get our audience to scream.”  “Oh, no,” I thought, “Evan has my sense of humor! … This is going to be fun!”  Instead of whispering instructions that only Evan could hear, I made sure the next few instructions were loud enough to be heard at ringside.  “Okay, Evan,” I began, “I’m going to put you in a front face lock, grab the top of your pants, put your feet straight up in the air, and then suplex you upside-down onto your back on the other side of the ring.  When I took my first suplex, I broke two ribs, so be sure you land right.  I’ll only do it medium-hard, so you’ll probably get the wind knocked out of you, but it will look great on camera.”  We started to hear some words from ringside, but we weren’t listening.  I was busy whispering to Evan what we were really going to do.  “Okay, ready for that suplex?” I asked in a louder voice.  “Here we go!”  I glanced down in Evan’s direction and whispered, “Okay, now reverse the hold.”  He did.  “Kick the back of my knee.”  He did, and it brought me to my knees on the mat.  “Now, bounce off the opposite rope and give me a clothesline over the top rope.”  He did it brilliantly. 

I was impressed.  Very impressed.  No matter what I asked of him – no matter what “high spot” I called -- Evan did it.  And, he did it well; sometimes exceptionally well.  I had wrestled professionally full-time for over eight and a half years, yet Evan was doing moves in the ring that I had never done – and they looked good.  “You’re really good,” I said to Evan.  “Yes, I know,” he responded, “I just beat you up for about an hour so far.”  “Hmmm,” I thought, “He’s good in the ring, he can talk on the microphone, he’s already a little cocky and arrogant.  Wow, this kid has a real future in the business.”

Later in the day, I talked with Evan.  “Do you think you might like to be a real professional wrestler when you grow up?” I asked.  “No,” he responded, “I don’t think so.”  “Well,” I continued, “if you ever change your mind, I can have you making a very good living wrestling within about ten years.”  He cocked his head, gave me a slightly condescending look, and said, “I’ll keep it in mind.”  I smiled.  “That’s my boy!” I proudly said.  We talking about today’s wrestling stars.  Evan really seemed to admire Rob Van Dam.  “So,” I asked, “do you think Rob’s the best wrestler?”  “He’s great,” Evan answered.  “He’s my second favorite wrestler in the world.”  “Who’s your favorite?” I sincerely asked.  Evan gave me a matter-of-fact look and answered, “You are.”  I stared at him for a moment with a half smile on my face.  I turned away, not knowing whether I wanted him to see the tear in my eye.  Those were two of the most touching and flattering words that had ever been spoken to me.  … Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.  And, a special “Thank you” to Ric Drasin for the 10/13/06 photo featured here.


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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