Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

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

Initial Publication Date:   June 7, 2007

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge


Cowboy Bob Kelly

It was April 21, 2007.  Four hundred professional wrestlers along with dozens of fans, paparazzi, videographers and a contingent of national and international press people had gathered for the Forty-Second Annual CAC Wrestlers’ Reunion and Awards Banquet.  It was the third and final day of the prestigious event.  The actual awards ceremony (the “main event") was in progress.  Several legends had already been honored that evening, including my old friend Cowboy Bob Kelly.  Bob and I had wrestled each other many times in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama.  Thousands of fans remember the Rock Riddle/Bob Kelly feud.

Two of the fans at the convention had approached me earlier in the day.  The heavyset, bald one said, “We were watching you when Cowboy Bob Kelly came into the room.”  He looked at his grinning friend for a moment before he redirected his attention to me and continued, “We expected to see you two attack each other.”  I couldn’t help but smile.  “No,” I said, “I think the feud ended about twenty years ago.”  The smaller of the two seemed to be disappointed with my answer, so I clarified it for him.  “In our long-running feud,” I explained, “we were able to really test each other.  We developed a respect for one another, and a friendship developed as a result.”  The smaller guy still wasn’t happy with my answer.  His mouth was twisted in an expression of irritation.  I looked directly at him, changed my expression to one I felt would indicate deep thought, hesitated for a moment, and then said, “Maybe I should just grab a chair and smash it over Cowboy Bob Kelly’s head!”  The little guy was happy.  “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” he said, loud enough to get attention from the other side of the ballroom.  “Yeah, smash it over his head!”  I turned my back so he wouldn’t see me smiling.  “How great it is,” I thought, “that there are fans like that still around.”

A not-previously-announced award was presented to the late and great wrestling legend, Owen Hart.  Accepting the award were two of his brothers, Ross and Bret “The Hitman” Hart.  Bret gave an impromptu acceptance speech (which I shared with you in last week’s column).  Over four hundred people, mostly professional wrestlers including dozens and dozens of “living legends,” stood and applauded when Bret Hart concluded his speech.  As the applause was dying down, a CAC official motioned for me to approach the side of the stage and “stand by.”  “What an honor,” I thought, “to follow Bret Hart and the tribute to Owen.”  Ex-professional wrestler and Hollywood actor Pepper Martin was the Master of Ceremonies.  I knew that he would be introducing wrestling legend and WWE powerhouse Pat Patterson, who would, in turn, introduce me.  Earlier in the day, Pat had approached me.  “Now, don’t you get mad at me for what I say about you up there tonight,” he said.  “Oh, great,” I thought.  “Pat’s going to pull a rib on me.”  I smiled.  “This should be interesting.” 

Pepper Martin introduced Pat Patterson -- only he did so in character as Marlon Brando playing the Don Vito Corleone character from the movie “The Godfather.”  He did it brilliantly.  This was certainly different from any of the previous awards presentations.  My expression, consisting of a half-smile and a raised eyebrow, may have indicated that I was unaware of what was taking place, and what was about to take place.

Pat Patterson took the microphone and addressed the crowd.  After a few minutes, he seemed to be concluding a thought as he said, “It’s been such a beautiful day today.  It’s been such a wonderful night tonight.  And, actually, when we’re all here together, it’s such a wonderful world.”  Music began filling the room.  Every person there recognized the tune instantly.  It was “What a Wonderful World.”  Some of the people there knew that Pat could sing, but not like that!  He was brilliant, and he sang it as Louis Armstrong.  “I see trees of green, red roses too; I see ‘em bloom, for me and for you; and I think to myself, what a wonderful world ...”  I watched Pat very closely.  “That has to be a recording of Louis Armstrong,” I thought.  But, it wasn’t.  It was actually Pat Patterson performing live.  I noticed amazed looks on the faces of most of the people in the room.  As Pat was singing the second verse, CAC Executive Vice President, Carl Launer walked up and leaned over toward me as though he wanted to whisper something in my ear.  With a half-smirk, half-smile on his face, Carl said, “And you have to follow this, Rock.”  The only words that were missing were the anticipated, good-natured, “Ha, ha.  Let’s see you follow this performance, smart guy!”  Before I could respond, Carl had backed away with a grin on his face.

Pat Patterson received an amazing ovation.  “Okay, finally,” I thought, “Now it’s time for my introduction.”   I was wrong.  Pat decided to tell a joke.  “Okay,” I said to myself, “I know Pat may be playing a joke on me.  Maybe he’s going to keep me here for twenty minutes before he introduces me.”  It was about two minutes later when Pat got to the punch line.  “Now?” I asked myself.  No, Pat noticed Steve Williams a/k/a “Dr. Death” in the audience and acknowledged him.  “That was very nice,” I thought.  Steve Williams is a true legend in our business, and I was happy that Pat asked him to stand so we could all applaud him.  As the applause died down, Pat actually began my introduction.  “I’m here to induct Rock Riddle,” Pat began.  He paused for a moment.  “What a funny name, huh?  Rock Riddle,” Pat continued as he surveyed the room.  “Rock Riddle; I wrestled with him many years ago in San Francisco and Oregon.  And, we wrestled each other many times.  And, you know what?”  Pat paused for a moment.  “He never took a fall on me.”  “Here comes the joke,” I thought.  “I pinned his shoulders to the mat more than once, but let’s see what he says.”   “You know how smart Rock is?” Pat continued.  “He asked for me to do this tonight, so now I have to ‘put him over.’”  Pat paused for the laughter from the wrestling insider term, “put him over.”  “That was a harmless joke,” I thought.  “Now I can relax.”   Pat continued the introduction:  “He’s a kid who always loved the business.  He respected the old-timers.  He really enjoyed his trade.  And, I’m happy to do it.  I give you … Rock Riddle.”

I walked onto the stage amongst more than polite applause.  As I was about to take the microphone, Pat said, “Hold on, Rock.  They don’t know the whole story.”  “Okay,” I thought.  “I knew I was getting off too easy.”  I backed up a few steps to allow Pat to continue.  And, continue he did:  “This guy was so happy that he got here Wednesday,” Pat said with only a hint of a smile on his face.  “He rented a suite,” Pat continued.  “So he called me and said, ‘Pat, tonight, you’ve got to come to my party.  I have a big suite and we’ll have a great time.’  I thought ‘Why not; let’s go.’  There were about eleven of us in one room …”  Yes, Pat was setting me up for a joke, but I couldn’t second-guess where he was going with the story.  It was totally unexpected when Pat … no, wait, I think I’ll tell you next week.  Until then, keep those e-mails coming.

 


Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon

Pat Patterson Sings!

"Hold On.  One More Thing ..."

"You're Up, Rock"

"Did Patterson really say that?"

Rock Riddle finally takes the mic

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."

© 2007 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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