Stephen Rivera's 4th Fall
Ladies and gentlemen; we gather here today at this computer-backlight vigil to honour the memory of a young man, taken from our shores much too soon. No more than two months ago, Stephen Rivera was here doing the Lord‘s work, peeling back the curtains of professional wrestling. Behind those curtains, he uncovered a secret backstage world. This world was one in which professional wrestlers and wrestling executives did not resort to violence, nor did they yell and bicker like little children; rather, they settled their differences by braiding each other's hair and talking it out. Perhaps they played board games in their avocado face masks and pajamas when we weren't looking. We're not sure. Without Stephen's help, we may never know.
Today, in association with The Wrestling Fan, we mourn the loss of arguably the wrestling fan of our time. Stephen was not a hoarder of insider information or innovative ideas. He was a man who strived to share his knowledge and keen observations about wrestling with the public. Surprisingly, some individuals believed that this man was not in his right mind. Against their better judgment, they thought he was crazy. If Stephen Rivera was crazy, what was Galileo Galilei? What about Albert Einstein? What were the makers of the WWF Maximum Sweat Wrestling Figure Series? These people weren't crazy. They were geniuses of equal intelligence and ingenuity. The Earth does revolve around the Sun. E does equal mc². Kids do love playing with moist plastic toys. And yes; wrestling is an infinite-piece puzzle yet to be solved.
Let us pray that somewhere in the grimy deep of the Pacific, Stephen has reunited with his beloved Magdalena. Without hesitation, may Miss Magdalena finally cash in her Marriage at the Altar briefcase, then hire Poseidon himself to conduct the ceremony. After they are pronounced Sea Husband and Sea Wife, may they live happily ever after in a castle made of Bedazzled shorts. To financially support themselves, may they take as many gold coins they need from sunken treasure chests found at the bottom of the ocean. Let us pray that they live the most luxurious aquarium lifestyle imaginable.
Before we hear from Stephen's friends and family, the Johnson Family Invisible Instrument Band from Huntsville, Alabama have prepared a special tribute. Performing a rendition of the nWo B-Team theme, here is the Johnson Family Invisible Instrument Band. Take it away.
That was beautiful. The Johnson Family Invisible Instrument Band, everyone. Thank you.
"Back when Impact Wrestling was TNA, I was happy. I ran a successful red sling mat fur business with factories all around the United States and Canada. I had a peaceful home life with my lovely wife Matilda and our two beautiful children, Matt Jr. and Mattie. Then, one day, this wrestling promotion ruined it all.
With the debut of Impact Wrestling‘s slogan, wrestling Matt Hurst became the latest and greatest craze. I couldn't leave my house without a stranger challenging me to a match. I couldn't mow my lawn without fans of impact Wrestling clotheslining me off my riding mower. I made my kids get the paper because I didn't want to fight the paperboy. Every day, he parked his bike outside my door, a loaded Weekend Edition sticking out of his back pants pocket. Even my wife couldn’t take this madness. She refused to be intimate with me for months. She feared that an intruder might come into our bedroom in the middle of our lovemaking and try to German suplex me off of her — creating an impromptu three-way depending upon the intruder's state of undress.
Other than my family and closest friends, Stephen was the only one who ever really cared about my well-being and safety. Without his Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Wrestle Matt Hurst Initiative and generous donations, I would have never been able to save my business and marriage. While I still face the prospect of wrestling everyone I encounter, I don't live in fear anymore. I just throw salt in their eyes and hurry to a nearest safe house.
Thank you for everything, Stephen. In your memory, I will continue to not watch Impact Wrestling. You were right. You were always right. Blue soles are powerless over me. Impact Wrestling and that terrible slogan do not control my life. The Vice President of my company, Jay Stiles, agrees. He was this close to changing his name to Straight Jay Stiles. He felt like he had to make it clear that he is strictly attracted to women. We were able to dodge that bullet, though."
"I never knew Stephen, but his best friend Florentine told me a lot about him. When I found out he was my biggest fan, I had to pay my last respects, then my last hustles, and finally my last loyalties. Those Make-A-Wish kids can wait. They aren't going anywhere. You think the big man would let them leave this earth without meeting me? I don't think so.
First off, I'd like to thank him for bringing The Marine duology into the grade school curriculum. Somebody needs to teach these kids how to avoid explosions during a romantic vacation gone wrong. The younger they learn, the better. High school marine instructors only know so much.
Also, I want to thank him for his criticisms about my reckless throwing of clothes. For the safety of the WWE Universe, I plan to change my whole entrance routine.. I’ll still salute the crowd, run down to the ring, and run the ropes, but I won't attack the audience with my colours. I'll put on a second hat and shirt instead. I’ll continue adding hats and shirts until my entire upper body is covered in merchandise. Then, I’ll change my entrance routine again by rolling down the entrance ramp, Weeble Wobble style.
Here’s to my number one fan. My time is up, your time was then. We can't see you, your time was then. It's the sad eyes, boy I'm cryin' now. We can't see you, your time was then."
"Hey, everybody. Zac Efron here — darling of the small and silver screen. I would like to take this opportunity to send my regards to the loved ones of Stephen Rivera. From what I understand, Stephen was a good man with a bright wrestling mind and a fantastic taste in film. I am honoured and humbled by his admiration for my work, and sincerely hope that everyone in attendance can be more like him and appreciate a quality motion picture when they see one.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel partially responsible for what happened to him. As many of you may know, the job of a Hollywood actor is to entertain the masses with dramatic, convincing, and inspirational performances. In Charlie St. Cloud, I think my mastering of the acting craft was both a gift and a curse. I never intended moviegoers to get totally lost in this uplifting story of love and letting go, let alone use the lifesaving techniques demonstrated on-screen in their own lives. I just wanted to give others hope, which is why I’d like to star in a prequel entitled, Charlie Cloud: Saint Academy. All that Universal Pictures needs is 50 million dollars (plus 25 million for advertising). Once we find that, we're good to go.
If, for some reason, this film does not get made, I’ll go straight to Plan B and accept a job with WWE. Vince McMahon has scoured through the creative archives of his brain and came up with a number of storylines modelled after a certain 2010 summer blockbuster.. He believes that I would be perfect for the part. To not accept the offer would be a slap in the face of Stephen‘s legacy.
"Oh, Master Stephen. It is with great sorrow that we speak to you this one last time. We know why you are gone, yet we can't help but wonder why… are you gone?
You had such a promising future. While your family thought you would follow in their footsteps and lead a life at sea, we knew better. Remember that day when you were dressed like Jacques Cousteau, forced to play "Official Underwater Document Store" with young Florentine, and accidentally fell into a well? We saved you from that group of homeless carnival wrestlers living underground. Although you were shaken for a while, you let that fear of wrestling drive you. The fact that you became the best words entertainer we have ever known did not surprise us.
My brother Archinald and I must admit something. We wish you would have brought us with you to your towering home on the shore, or at least relieved us of our duties at the estate. At the moment, hundreds of breakfasts, brunches, lunches, linners, dunches, dinners, brinners, and brunchers are spoiling in the indoor and outdoor dining areas. We would have discarded them by now, but we assumed that you would return one day in search of a piping hot, warm, lukewarm, cold, ice cold, or decomposing meal.
It has been a pleasure to serve you. In your absence, we shall continue to do so as if you were still here. Your father, your grandfather, and your great grandfather would have wanted it that way. They were rather wasteful."
"During better days, Stephen Rivera and I were pretty close. We rode around in our makeshift police/fire truck, solving crimes and putting out fires to the nWo B-Team theme. What a song that was. Thanks to that song, citizens grew to trust us than the actual fire department. As far as I know, the department didn’t have a theme song, except for those annoying sirens. Nice try, firemen. That doesn’t count.
When those people heard that nWo B-Team theme blaring around the corner, they knew they would get out of those burning buildings, safe and sound. You see, Stephen and I wouldn't mess around with hoses or oxygen tanks. We'd just run in there with our t-shirts and blue jeans and come out carrying about five old ladies, ten schoolchildren, or twenty cats at a time. We did it the nWo B-Team way. At least, we did until I let Stephen down and let The Wrestling Fan Institute of Science and Technology burn to the ground.
I tried to explain to him why I never replied to any of his urgent messages. In the end, I didn't have an answer. I guess I got sidetracked. One minute, I’m at home. I have my nWo t-shirt and matching sunglasses on, working on my pointing techniques in front of the mirror. The next minute, I’m on this boat, pointing to Scott Norton as he tumbles over the Niagara Falls. What was wrong with that? Everything. It wasn't Scott Norton. It was a barrel that looked a lot like Scott Norton. I should probably reduce the tint on my sunglasses.
Eventually, we grew apart, but I want Stephen to know that he never stopped being my running buddy.. Today, I’m pointing upwards. I’m rubbing the shoulders of heaven. The nWo B-Team: F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-For life."
"Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. The ocean has taken the youngest and arguably the greatest Rivera. What is with your side of the family? Every single one of you succumbed to the call of the sea. Are maidens in clamshell bras that alluring? On second thought, forget I even asked you that question. I digress. The Guillories are land, cotton-bra people
I do not blame you for trying to save the love of your life. Magdalena was a fine young woman. She required formal gloves to eat finger foods. She dropped elbows onto solicitors from your veranda. I only wish you two picked up a hobby other than wrestling-move fishing. Why did you have to use that DDT, cousin? You had the money to purchase a fishing pole. You had the money to purchase two fishing poles.
For your birthday, I put in a early bid for that gigantic, King of the Ring electric chair. Originally, WWE created the chair to execute the Jolly Green Giant for the murders of the "Let‘s All Go To The Lobby" snacks. When the Jolly Green Jury acquitted him of the crime, the WWE had no choice but to use the chair as part of its King of the Ring entranceway and call it a throne. I still intend on buying this piece of history for you. Before I do, I simply want you to know that early next year, you would have owned a chair meant to kill a giant green man in a single-strap leaf dress."
"Ohhhhhhhhh, wohhhhhhhhh, wohhhhhhhhh. Come on. Ohhhhhhhhh no.
In August, Stephen released what would be the last Mark Morrison Monthly Newsletter. In it, he asked me to lend my talents to the wrestling world, which he thought sorely needed a dose of "The Mack." I couldn’t say no.
On this sad day, I am proud to announce my plans to record and perform a new entrance theme for the current World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry.. The chorus goes a little something like this:
The only roadblock is that Mark Henry will most likely have to turn into a wrestling dog for this theme to make any sense. Personally, I don't think that will be a problem. I love it already, and I'm sure Stephen would have loved it, too. Somebody gon' get their wig split? Not anymore. From now on, somebody gon' get their Kibbles 'n Bits.
Your move, Real McCoy.
"Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttt the dilly yo, silly hos?!?!?!? I'll tell you. Nothing. Nothing is the dilly yo. Sad face. Saddest face. My life is over. My BFF is gone. WHY, STEPHEN, WHY????????? WHY DID YOU LEAVE MEEEEEE????????? Magdalena wasn't even that hot. Queen or Commoner Digest only rated her as "distant duchess material." Was it me? Were you mad at me? Was it something I said, something I did, or both? I already half-apologized to you, and I'll do it again to make it a full apology.
I didn't mean to ruin all of those Pay-Per-View viewing parties. I thought ottomans counted as chairs for legs. Also, I always made sure that the fists of any guest who accompanied me were registered as deadly weapons. I swear I did. And I shouldn't have moved that whole bank to your house so you could be closer to your money. That building was heavy, and the employees still working inside were MMA fans.
Man. You’re missing so much WWE gold right now. Employee satisfaction polls, legal mumbo jumbo, Jerry Lawler's involuntary male periods, JoMo sapiens threatening to have lunch, and robot boxing with Australians. The reason why we got into pro wrestling was to see those five glorious things in action, and it sucks that you're not here to enjoy them with me. You know steel, right? Well, it's real this time. We don't have to settle for that fake stuff anymore. Yeah, I'm super pumped. Our dream for a better tomorrow has come true. We did it, Stevemeister. We finally did it."
"I was ready to yell at you, Stephen. Do you know what it’s like to compete in four mixed doubles tennis tournaments without a partner? I will tell you: it is the opposite of fun.
I considered recruiting a last-minute replacement, but tournament officials denied my request. I thought about duct-taping an upright tennis racquet onto the right side of the court, but it kept falling over. In one match, I attempted to play with a racquet in each hand. I lost that match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1. I won one mercy set because the chair empire felt sorry for me, flailing around and cursing up a storm. He thought I was doing an impression of "Mega Jim Cornette". Who in the blue Bjorn Borg is Jim Cornette? He's not the maker of that poor people's ice cream, is he? If so, I am most definitely not flattered.
Then, I heard the news. Those losses mean nothing to me now. I forgive you. I will miss your backhand slice. I will miss your high forehand volley. I will especially miss the way you celebrated a win by bouncing off the net, recklessly flinging yourself towards our opponents. I may never like wrestling, but you will always be the Hulk Hogan Champion to me. Go body slams."
"The following eulogy is brought to you by the Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000. This machine was operated by Father McGinty on October 12, 2011. Stephen Rivera is currently out/in, forever swimming with the fishes. The grief expressed in this eulogy does not reflect nor represent the grief of Professional Wrestling Column, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Pause to accumulate thoughts. How are you, griever? As of 11:54:06 PST, I am non-computable emotion. Did you see recent story in the news? What a great/good/average/below average/bad/horrible turn of events. The worst part of recent story in the news was when the search was officially called off for Stephen Rivera. He will be missed, will he not? Pause to contemplate mortality of self.
In a related story, Griever #95869, Griever #57362, and Griever #28756 are correct/incorrect. The wrestling world makes more sense/sense/less sense/no sense without the wisdom of Stephen Rivera. Example: why does WWE have Sin Cara Azul and Sin Cara Negro? Sin Cara Negro does/does not look African-American. Is the Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000 right/wrong in saying that Sin Cara Negro does/does not look African-American? Bad of the Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000. The Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000 did/did not mean it like that. The Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000 has many friend machines who are African-American. Error. Situation awkward. Backpedalling. Furious backpedalling in progress.
The preceding eulogy was brought to you by the Professional Wrestling Column Machine 3000. Goodbye, Stephen Rivera. You have my vote of confidence/profidence. Initiate artificial tear flow."
"Today, we want to tell you a story about how Stephen Rivera changed our lives:
Years ago, we were the laughing stock of the family band music scene. After most performances, angry mobs used to run us out of town, threatening our lives with real instruments.
One time, a mob chucked sharpened microphone stands at us. At a county fair in West Virgina two summers ago, one couple and their ten children attacked us with double-neck guitars. Those weren't gimmicked, Jeff Jarrett guitars either. They were authentic, and the kids weren't sharing them. This baby, who was about thirteen months old, had his own double-neck guitar. He was swinging like it was nothing. In total, we were beaten with 12 double-neck guitars, or 24 single-neck guitars. A bunch of double-neck guitar shots came from this one baby. We swear to the Lord above. That thirteen-month-old infant had bloodlust.
Stephen put a stop to these needless acts of violence by calling attention to Santino Marella's insensitive trombone celebrations. While Santino and WWE may think that silent musical concerts are a joke, we strongly disagree. This is how we make our living. We would have introduced actual instruments into our performances by now, but we're too well-versed in the playing of the invisible kind. Last week, our uncle and invisible bongo player Dale went through a test run with Ezekiel Jackson. As Ezekiel held him up in the Torture Rack, Dale tried to play his head like Jinder Mahal did. The sound wasn't the same. There is no turning back.
On behalf of our entire band, our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephen Rivera and everyone he has left behind. He was a saint of a man. May he march into the pearly gates to the tune of a harp that isn't really there."
"I am sorry. I am so sorry. They did this to you, didn't they? That UFC shark that tried out for that football team must have helped them, too. This is all my fault. I should never have trusted them, but they tricked me into believing that they would bring us back together. They made me write that letter to you. They used your intrinsic hatred of mermaids against you.
I was saved… for what, though? All I remember from that chilly September night is sinking, my lungs filling up with salt water. As my eyes grew heavy, I saw a faint white light. Those men brought me to the surface.
They took me to Florida, where people supposedly wrestle in a championship fashion. Since then, I have been held in captivity. They are grooming me into someone, something I do not want to become. Every day, I am forced to do groin stretches and jumping splits from dawn until sunset. They wish to call me Malena. I detest this name, this "Malena." What am I? A plague-stricken rat scurrying through the sewer, or the town tart, scraping my undercarriage along the rain-soaked cobblestone streets to the delight of the drunkards? I am neither the latter nor the former, thank you very much.
In a perfect world, I would leave this place and run away forever, but I must stay. They are the only ones who can tell me what really happened to you. Unlike the Coast Guard, I refuse to let you go. You are still alive. I just know it.
If you can read this, please help me. Help me help you help us. Once we make them pay, I promise to marry you. We will wed at the most sacred and safe altar of them all: in a wrestling ring at the next SummerSlam. Ooh certainly."
Stephen Rivera was the creator of The Swerved (2006-2010), Neon Ropes, and this column. They'll say, "Stephen Rivera was the greatest creator who ever lived. And we walruses owe him everything for giving us the gift of entertaining words."
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).