following is not in any way a satire, spoof, joke, or rib. I’m sorry, guys,
but if you clicked here today looking for my usual fare, you’ll have to settle for helping yourself to the smarchives. Speaking of which, I don’t say this as often as I should, but I couldn’t
be prouder that TWF houses my body of work (such as it is). I asked Sean to add
the below piece as-is, if for no other reason than it belongs here, too. Don’t
worry, we’ll be back to business as usual before you know it. It’s
just that over the last couple of days, someone spilled their reality all over my sports entertainment. Thanks for understanding and God bless.
REMEMBERING RIC “HOTLINE” CARTER
I just learned
that Ric “Hotline” Carter has passed away. What I feel is a combination
of shock, numbness, and much sadness.
It was through
Ric that I was delivered unto the prophet Bill “Potshot” Kunkel, who would become my personal guru-slash-Dr. Frankenstein. Ric, Bill, Roman Gomez, and myself watched the Halloween Havoc 95 PPV, “highlighted”
by The Giant falling off Cobo Hall. The wisecracks flew, and just like that,
we were off and running. About this time in my life, I was teetering between
the Apter mags and the “sheets.” Ric and Bill had a big hand in shoving
me over the edge to the dark side, and suddenly, I had a whole new way to look at – and enjoy – my favorite sport. To this day, I give them as much credit (and blame) for who I am as anyone.
You see, it was
1994 when I stumbled across a show called “WrestleTalk” on AM radio, hosted by Ric and Bill. Before there was an ISP in every room, WrestleTalk was years ahead of its time, dishing the dirt and doing
so hilariously. The best was when they were joined by Mick “Cactus Jack”
Foley, who was promoting an October match against Sabu. The show ended with the
tell ‘em who your daddy is!”
mumbled some baby talk into the phone.)
you hear what he said?”
Ric: “Did he say ‘Owen Hart?’”
I was on the floor,
Bill howled, and even Foley had to put over Ric out-zinging him. It was at this
match where I met Ric and Bill for the first time and found they were every bit as funny in person. During the main event, Foley, who was under the mistaken impression that Ric had called him “washed
up,” took the mic and insisted he was “not washed up, you Ric Carter scumbag!!” Most of the fans didn’t know what to make of that, but Ric marked out. Even people who follow the biz might have difficulty understanding why a world famous wrestler calling
one a “scumbag” in a crowded room could be considered a personal highlight, but you just had to know Ric. Ric was one of those guys who could bust your chops for hours on end, and it just
endeared you to him that much more.
Trivia: In his
first book, “Have A Nice Day,” Foley briefly talked about this match. This
was the match where Foley and Sabu brawled up into the casino area, culminating with a piledriver on a blackjack table. Furthermore, WrestleTalk was the Las Vegas
radio show Foley mentioned in the book.
Ric line occurred at a following Silver Nugget show, where Ric approached Roy Lucier, who had driven in from California for the Sabu vs. Terry Funk main event.
As everyone was lined up at the door, Ric pointed over to the scoreboard at the nearby sports book and said, “Look,
the odds of Roy getting kicked out tonight are 2 to 1!” (Dave Meltzer and other veterans of the 90s west coast scene will fully appreciate
But my fondest
memories of Ric were the times when he, Bill, Reid, Roman, Doni, Kim, and myself would take in Fabulous Moolah’s then-annual
LIWA (Ladies International Wrestling Association) shows at the Union
Plaza ballroom, circa 90s. Whether
it was Roman yelling “We’re not graduating!” when they inevitably played “Pomp And Circumstance”
instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner” or Bill astutely pointing out that one of the lady wrestlers “looks
like Mabel had a sexchange,” by the end of the night, my face hurt from laughing so hard. Forgive my hubris, but we owned that f’n room.
Moolah would promote
her cards on Ric’s show, and Ric was brought in as a referee every now and then.
For our crew, seeing just how horrible a picture of Ric they always managed to stick in the program was worth the price
of admission alone. At the June ’96 show, a mixed tag match saw a wrestler
named Angie Jane T bleed hardway from the nose after a move went awry with her opponent, Joanie Lee (a.k.a. Joanie “Chyna”
Laurer). I started an enthusiastic chant of “She’s hardcore,”
which echoed throughout the ballroom. Unlike us, however, the office was not
amused. At next year’s gala, a request was made to me, “Don’t
get us in trouble with that ECW sh*t again.” Ric later clarified that due
to the chant, he was not invited to referee at the ’97 show. I rightly
took the heat, but I pointed out, “Dude, you were chanting too!” He
shot back, “I know! That’s why!” I apologized, but he just laughed.
On a personal
note, when I wrote my first full-length wrestling satire piece back in 1997 (a goofball piece about Bischoff and McMahon waging a bidding war over Al Snow’s Head), Ric was the first person to call me and tell me
it was great. As corny as this sounds, I always thought Ric considered
me a mark (which, to be fair, I was), so a thumbs-up from him meant a lot to me. It
Speaking of 1997,
remember Eddie vs. Rey at Halloween Havoc from Las Vegas? Grab your copy of that PPV and pop it in for a minute.
During the intros, Las Vegan Mike Tenay briefly reminisced about the unique longtime wrestling fans in LV. He mentioned Ric by name, and as we all
know, the next 18 minutes turned into the greatest match in WCW PPV history. Ric
loved the biz so much, I can’t help but take a little solace in the fact that this slice of immortality is a small part
of his legacy. Thank you, Mike.
Speaking of which,
I’m hardly the first to say this, but Ric’s true legacy is in the amazing family he leaves behind and the countless
number of times he put a smile on the face of everyone he knew. There is no doubt
in my mind that my life would have been significantly different had I never discovered Wrestletalk, nor met the mad geniuses
behind it. Am I a better person for having known Ric? Who’s to say? But I had a hell of a lot more fun, that’s
for sure. My heart and prayers go out to Ric’s family and friends. Ric “Hotline” Carter was one of a kind and those of us in his “other”
family know that the get-togethers at Las Vegas indy shows
will never be the same again.