Over the Top Rope!
Rock Riddle's Wrestling Revue #8
by Rock Riddle, the Original "Mr. Wonderful" of Professional Wrestling
The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase
The Alaskan, Jay York
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Holiday Health Spa, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California
Sylvester Stallone and I were working out again. We both possessed rather extreme senses of humor, and occasionally we made the other gym-goers "victims" of our jokes.
No matter what piece of equipment Sly would approach, I would say in a deep loud voice, “Hey, I’m using that!”
Sly would approach another machine.
In a slightly more threatening and louder tone I would say, “Hey, I’m using that!”
“What do you mean, you’re using that?” Sly would ask, “How can you be using three machines?”
“I’m double-super-setting, so back off,” was my response.
Soon Sly and I were standing toe-to-toe in the middle of the gym. Everyone backed away from us, expecting us to come to blows at any second.
I’m a little taller than Sly, so my final comment was, “Stand up when you talk to me!”
By that time, neither of us could keep a straight face. We went back to our workouts among the groans of the others who realized they had just been “had.”
It was always great fun working out with Sly. I would normally run into him about twice a week in the gym. But then, something unusual happened.
A week came and went with no Sly Stallone. Then another week passed, and another, and another. About a month later, I finally heard that distinctive welcome voice behind me again.
“Hey, I’m using that.”
It was good to see Sly again.
“I saw you on that TV show,” he continued, “That was really good.”
I had done a few TV shows, so I asked him which one.
“The one with Martin Mull and Fred Willard and Fannie Flagg. The ‘Fernwood’ show,” Sly explained, “The one where you sang and broke boards and beat up the dummy. Yeah, I liked that.”
I thanked him.
“You know, when you did that elbow drop on the dummy?” Sly continued, “Well, that looked really good. I liked it. So, I took the cushions off my couch at home and I tried it myself . . . and busted my elbow. That’s why I haven’t been in the gym for a while.”
I always knew Sly wanted to be a professional wrestler. I was sorry that he had injured his arm, but I was also flattered. What a wonderful compliment that he would emulate my elbow drop.
We were on the set of “Paradise Alley.” Sylvester Stallone was writer and director. Because the movie dealt with wrestling, some of the greatest professional wrestlers alive were in the film: Bob Roop, Red Bastien, Ted DiBiase, Dory Funk Jr., Don Leo Jonathan, Jay York, Ray Stevens, Dick Murdoch, Gene Kiniski, Terry Funk, and, of course, yours truly, Rock Riddle.
Sly had hired actor Lee Canalito to play one of the starring roles – that of wrestler Victor Carboni.
Lee was a big guy, and he was in very good shape. He played the part of a wrestler very well.
We, the real professional wrestlers working on the film, smiled a lot. It was fun watching Lee do less than a minute with one of us and then get a massage -- a rub-down -- to help him get ready for the next scene. And, believe it or not, we really did take it easy on the big guy. And, we still knew he would be sore for several days after the film wrapped.
There was a lull in the shooting day, and Sly was sitting alone when I approached him.
“Sly, this seems like a good time to talk,” I began, “I have some great ideas for your movie.”
Sly gave me a questioning look, not knowing whether I was going to be totally serious or set him up for another joke.
“Okay, Rock,” he said a little reluctantly, “What’s your idea?”
“Well,” I began, “You know how in ‘Rocky’ you had that dramatic music for the opening, and then the letter ‘R’ came onto the screen? And then the letter ‘O’ came on, and soon the whole title of ‘Rocky’ was displayed?”
“Well, you need more dramatic music this time. It’s got to be more exciting. And, then you do the same kind of title card with the letter ‘R’ coming on screen. Then the letter ‘O’, then ‘C’, then ‘K’. So, it says in gigantic letters ‘ROCK.’ Then the letters ‘R’, “I’, ‘D’, ‘D’, ‘L’, ‘E’. Then the name ‘ROCK RIDDLE’ takes up the whole screen, and it flashes, ‘ROCK RIDDLE, ROCK RIDDLE, ROCK RIDDLE.’ Next on the screen we put, in smaller letters, the name of the film, ‘Paradise Alley,’ and in parenthesis – in small letters – under the title we add ‘also featuring S. Stallone.’ So, what do you think, Sly? Is that a brilliant opening for the film or what?”
Sly looked up and seemed to be in deep thought. He mumbled the repeated words to himself. In his mind’s eye, it was obvious that he was seeing the flashing ‘ROCK RIDDLE’ opening.
He thought for another minute, cocked his head to the side, and finally said with a big smile on his face, “No, Rock. I don’t think so.”
“Paradise Alley” is an extraordinary movie, especially for wrestling fans. If you haven’t seen it, please do so. If you agree that it’s a wonderful film, drop Sly a note and let him know. And, be sure to add this line to the end of your message, “The only thing that could have possibly made the film better would be if you had used the ‘Rock Riddle’ opening.” I think it will generate a big smile.
Next week, I’ll take you “into the dressing room,” “into the ring,” and “on the road” with some of the greatest stars of professional wrestling. You’ll discover “inside information” on Jerry “The King” Lawler, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, Mils Mascaras, and many more.
Until next week . . .
About the author: Rock Riddle wrestled professionally full-time (5 to 10 matches per week) for nearly ten years.* He 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, Rock 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 biographies, complete with 100+ photos and lots of additional information, will be shared on this site soon.
* After the first 10-years, Rock switched to a much easier "part time" schedule for a few decades and still manages to wrestle at least a couple of times per year. He also coaches, headlines seminars and training sessions, and currently does color commentary for Empire Wrestling Federation.
"I never met a camera or microphone that I didn't like." - Rock Riddle