Ribs. No, we’re not talking about the meat. We’re talking about practical jokes. The word “ribs” is a term used in the pro wrestling world to describe practical jokes and/or hazing that Superstars do to each other, or to fans of the business. Everyone loves a good story about a backstage rib.
From time to time, I will check in with a couple of infamous pro wrestling rib stories, some of which I’ll recall myself, others I will quote directly from Superstars who have been involved in the business.
To kick off this edition of “Random Pro Wrestling Ribs Told In Detail,” we’ll leave it to WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross to share one involving the master of ribs, Owen Hart.
“As the head of WWE Talent once upon a time, I had to have a “sit down” with a wrestler before a live TV show I was going to broadcast about the individual’s alleged drug use,” starts off the WWE Hall Of Fame announcer. “I recall the rumor was that this person was allegedly using cocaine. Nonetheless the word of the meeting spread almost immediately amongst the wrestlers, imagine that (telephone, telegraph, tell a wrestler) and of course word got back to Owen. So later that day he purposely and literally ran into me in the hall way in the locker room area as I was walking with my head down looking at some notes for that night’s broadcast. When our bodies collided I looked up and saw it was Owen and he had taken powdered sugar off a doughnut and put an ample amount of it all under his nose and his eyes were barely open as if he was severely impaired.”
How did “Good Ole’ JR” react to the practical joke? “At that exact moment I did not think it was too funny, but within seconds and after he burst out laughing I easily found the humor in his stunt and it actually allowed me to release some of the stress that I was feeling from the previous ‘sit down.'”
Sometimes the jokes take place in the ring. There’s stories, also involving Owen Hart, where he once tied a cord to his brother Bret Hart’s leg during a match and made sure to tie it in about five knots so that “The Hitman” couldn’t escape. Turning a negative situation into a positive one, Hart later used that spot in a WWE Championship match with Kevin “Diesel” Nash during one of their showdowns in the main event of a pay-per-view in 1995.
Other times, wrestlers are trying to “work” the public, or even the media. A story was shared recently on the “Steve Austin Show” where veteran wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer was the guest.
Meltzer had popularized a star-rating system for pro wrestling matches, a system he admittedly stole from another newsletter writer. One star is a bad match, five stars is an amazing match. You get the gist. Anyways, as the story goes, during a “hardcore rules” match that featured WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley, and — you guessed it — the master of ribs Owen Hart, the two decided to go out of their way to attempt to garner a bad star-rating from Meltzer specifically.
Foley and Hart were informed that Meltzer was in the building at the event that night, and they decided to do everything possible to get a bad rating from the infamous newsletter writer. How did they go about doing this? By over-selling the simplest of “foreign objects.” This particular night the weapon of choice was a bag of popcorn.
Everyone remembers the “hardcore matches” in WWE during the Attitude Era. They had an ongoing angle at one point where whoever the Hardcore Champion was at the time, a match could break out at any point, anywhere, as long as you brought a referee to count 1-2-3.
Anyways, back to the popcorn. Foley and Hart thought a sure-fire way to get a bad star rating from Meltzer was to sell the hell out of getting hit with a fluffy, light bag of popcorn. So that’s exactly what they did. Foley would blast Hart with the popcorn, and Hart would drop like he had been shot with a bazooka. Hart, always one to take things as far as he could, went the extra mile. As Hart laid on the floor, selling the shot he had just received from “the Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley, decided to move his arms up and down in the mess. His goal? To create the first-ever “popcorn snow angel.” Everyone can recall a time as a child when you’re laying in the snow, and you move your arms and legs up-and-down, side-to-side, so that when you stand up, you leave the impression of what is referred to as a “snow-angel.”
Unfortunately, the actual star rating was never revealed. I tried looking into things further, but could not find the star rating myself. Regardless, these are just some of the many examples of the ribbing legend that was Owen Hart, may he rest in peace.
For those interested, you can check out Austin’s interview with Meltzer where he tells this story, by clicking here. If the links fails, simply head on over to PodcastOne.com.
Make sure to check back here at eWrestlingNews.com next week for part three, which features more stories on backstage ribs in the wrestling business.
NOTE: The above item is an eWrestlingNews.com opinionated editorial, and should not be confused as a factual news item. Readers can contact the author of the above editorial, Matt Boone, via Twitter @MBoone420 or by posting your immediate feedback in the “Comments” section below.