Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Original Date of Publication:   August 31, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

I was fairly smart growing up.   My grade point average was always considerably above the norm.  I even maintained a “perfect attendance” record throughout all of my school years.  I was graduated from high school at the age of seventeen and from college at age twenty.  Very seldom did I open a book outside of class.  I discovered early on that success in school (as it is in life) was simply a matter of showing up and paying attention.  Invariably teachers would test their students on materials that had been covered in class anyway.  Besides, there was so much more to life than school.  I figured being in school seven hours per day, five days per week was enough.  Some of the topics were interesting, but not nearly interesting enough for me to invest non-classroom time in them.  When I was fourteen, I discovered a topic worthy of outside study – professional wrestling!  By the time I received my college degree, I knew wrestling very well.  I “did my time” in school; I received my college degree in Criminology and Law Enforcement; but my real major was professional wrestling

My first match took place the day after I was graduated from college.  I was based out of Tampa, Florida for my introduction into the wonderful world of professional wrestling.  After building a solid foundation in Florida, I moved to Tennessee to wrestle for the Nashville-based National Wrestling Alliance.  I had demonstrated my wrestling ability in Florida, but it was Tennessee where I was given the opportunity to display an equally-important talent.  It was my first time on live television.  I had defeated my opponent.  A guy wearing a blue dress shirt and a headset motioned for me to come down to ringside and face the camera.  Apparently he was the floor director.  I complied with his instructions.  The announcer asked me a question and pointed the microphone at me for a response.   What an amazing opportunity!  I had no advance notice that I was going to be interviewed, but I had done hundreds of mock interviews in front of my bathroom mirror.  I had studied those who did great interviews, and I was more than ready.  The thought that there could be consequences to what I was about to do never even entered my mind.  I was prepared, I recognized the opportunity, and, best of all, – and it was live TV!

For the next ninety seconds, I demonstrated my substantial ability as a “stick man.”  I treated the audience to the cocky, arrogant, condescending “Mr. Wonderful” character.  I began my “interview” by taking the microphone from the announcer and pushing him aside.  “You, Mr. Local-Yokel Announcer, may now leave,” I began, “Try spitting your tobacco juice outside for a change.”  I looked directly into the main camera.  “You fans are in for a once-in-a-lifetime, dream-come-true experience.  That’s right.  It’s too good to be true, I know, but I am here, right in your filthy living rooms and barns on your little second-hand 14-inch television sets.  Look at this muscular coordination, definition, and control.  This is the body that men fear and women love!”  I flexed, “bounced” my peck muscles for the camera, and continued, “I am the number one cause of divorce everywhere I go.  Women leave their husbands and they flock after me.  Consider this to be a warning.  Men, it is not my fault that your wives leave you in hope-beyond-hope that they could someday get my attention.  And for you female-types:  Don’t bother.  When I want women, I have them flown in from Hollywood.  They don’t stand 5-feet tall and weigh 350 pounds.  They don’t ‘slop pigs,’ so obviously they smell considerably better than you do.  In fact, you people might be interested in a great new invention – it’s called soap.  And, my Hollywood women also have teeth.  Wow!  What a concept for Tennessee.  Look at the first row of ringside – put all of those teeth together and you’ll come close to having one complete set.  I know you men idolize me.  After all, you’re sitting in your over-stuffed easy chair with your over-stuffed fat gut hanging out.  You’ve got your beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  No wonder your female wants to leave – even if she does look like a female version of you.  Well, you will never be me.  You’ll never be a world traveler.  You’ll never have gorgeous women constantly throwing themselves at you.  You’ll never have a perfect body like mine.  Let’s face it.  I am what you know you could never be, even in your wildest fantasy.  Rich, handsome, brilliant.  In a word – absolute perfection.”  Of course, I knew “absolute perfection” was two words.  I also knew that 99.9% of the audience wouldn’t get it.  The one-tenth of one percent of the people who did get it, I figured, would appreciate the humor.  The floor director was giving hand signals throughout my interview.  I didn’t know what they meant and ignored them until I saw him holding up ten fingers … then nine … eight, etc.  I assumed he was indicating how many seconds were left before the commercial break, so I ended my interview when only one finger was left.  It was perfect.

I was heading back to the dressing room.  Promoter Nick Goulas was standing in the middle of the hallway with a very stern look on his face.  “Who told you to do that?” he blared.  “Nobody,” I answered.  “Well, did you ever stop to think that maybe the announcer had certain questions he was told to ask?  Like questions I suggested to him.  I pay over a million dollars a year in taxes, Riddle.  Do you think I might just have some idea of what I’m doing?”  “Oh, of course,” I answered, “It was the first live interview I ever did on TV.”  Nick looked at me in disbelief.  “That was really your first interview?” he asked.  “Yes,” I responded.  He looked around to make sure nobody was watching, put his arm around my shoulder, and in a little softer, more natural tone of voice, said, “It was damn brilliant, kid.  You’re a natural.  I want you here Thursday morning at ten o’clock.  You’re going to be cutting promos for all of the towns.”  “Okay, thank you,” I said.  “Hey, can you do any other voices?” Nick asked.  I wasn’t sure what he meant.  “Can you disguise your voice, like pretend to be someone else?”  I changed the pitch of my voice and added an accent.  “Jou mean like dis here, Mon?”  “Great, kid.  Bring half a dozen changes of clothes.  I’m going to put a hood on you and have you doing the promos for a couple of the masked guys.  They’re horrible on the microphone,” Nick admitted, “Damn good job today, kid, damn good.  Don’t let it go to your head.  And, don’t you let any of the boys know that this was anything more than me chewing you out, okay?”  I smiled.  The promoter and I had an understanding.  And, this is the first time I have shared the truth about that day with anybody.

Yes, I did the interview well.  I produced a considerable amount of “heat” with the fans.  I knew I had done a good job when I was about to leave.  Three policemen stopped me.  “You don’t want to try to make it to your car alone,” the biggest one said.  “We’re about to earn our money.  We’re going to get you to your car in one piece.  Stay between us.”  A big smile came to my face -- once I was in my car, had driven a mile or so away from the TV studio and was sure that no one was following me.  “Ahhhh,” I thought.  “The sweet smell of success!”     Until next week, keep those emails 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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