While I was working out of the Portland, Oregon office for promoter Don Owens, I met a wrestler named Rick Renoldo from California. Rick was a good hearted man that loved to have fun and play ribs (jokes) on the other wrestlers. He also had bad eye sight and wore very thick black rimmed glasses.
One time, we were all booked in a small town for a spot show (a show not run every week) and I had the good luck to be wrestling Rick. I had not wrestled him yet but I knew he was a good wrestler from studying his other matches. When not in the ring, I would always watch all the matches. I would study the other wrestlers, their moves, fakes, ways of getting into and out of different holds, and general ring attitude.
Rick entered the ring first; he was not liked by the wrestling fans as shown by their booing him and making hand jesters toward him. The fans were primed for action and awaiting my arrival. I left the dressing room, headed for the ring on a slow run. When I entered the ring, the fans were ready and and so was I. I knew I had to be ready for a hard and ruff match from the first sound of the bell because Rick was a seasoned veteran that knew a lot of tricks.
When the bell rang, I went for Rick. As I looked at him, he was making funny faces at me. These funny faces continued and it was getting hard to concentrate on wrestling. I had no idea what was going on at first, then it dawned on me, Rick had trouble seeing without his glasses. The funny faces were actually just him trying to focus his eyes to see. This was hilarious! For starters, he was not a handsome man in any normal situation, but when you added in his funny face making, well that just made for a real circus.
Eventually, I was able to get my composure back, no more laughing at Rick’s faces and we finally got the match under way. When Rick got hold of you, he did not need to see much. He could move in and out of holds very well; he was a good wrestler.
For a while, Rick got the upper hand and was knocking the snot out of me. Normally, when I was getting beat up the crowd would cheer for me and boo my opponent but this time, they were laughing at me instead. Rick would body slam me, back drop me, drop kick me, and hit me and every time I was knocked off my feet, the crowd would start laughing and pointing at me. I could not figure it out! The more I got beat up, the more the fans laughed at me. I thought, “What the hell is going on?”
We finished the match and went to the dressing room, then got undressed and headed for the showers. After I finished my shower, I returned to the dressing area and started to put away my wrestling gear. One of the other wrestlers came by and asked “How was your match?” I told him it was bad. I said, “The fans were laughing at me and the more Rick knocked me off my feet, the harder they laughed. I couldn’t figure it out!” I said, “Normally, the crowd loves me and always cheers me on but tonight, they just laughed as I was getting beat up.”
The other wrestler picked up my wrestling boots and turned them upside down. On the soles were two large strips of adhesive tape with the words “Left” and “Right” written on them. As if that weren’t bad enough, they were also labeled wrong; the left was on the right boot sole and the right was on the left boot sole. I must have looked like a complete idiot. It was now plain to see why the fans were laughing. I have to admit, however, after the match was over and I got my composure back, I thought it was pretty funny as well. The other wrestler told me “You have to watch yourself when you’re around Rick, he likes to play ribs.”
Later, Rick admitted that he played this rib on me and we both got a laugh out of it. Now I was on the hunt to find an even better rib to play on him! All in the life of a “pro wrestler” and their ribs on each other.