Amber O’Neal was understandably nervous. She and partner Krissy Vaine were preparing to face Jenny Taylor and their idol Sherri Martel in a tag match. Martel took advantage of the opportunity to show O’Neal and Vaine her enjoyment of practical jokes, or “ribs,” along with the match.
“She and the promoter came in the locker room and she was like, ‘They stole something out of my bag, I know it was them! No one else has been in here!’ Me and Krissy are literally in tears and denying it, and they admitted they were playing a rib on us. We are already so nervous because we were wrestling Sherri Martel in the highlight of our careers,” said O’Neal. “To be ribbed like that right beforehand, my voice was literally shaking. That is the most memorable rib. I had to redo my makeup. I am very honored to have been able to work with her, she was amazing.”
It’s not the only time O’Neal has been subjected to a rib, said Allison Danger.
“I was wrestling in North Carolina with Amber, Becky Bayless (TNA’s Cookie), and Cindy Rogers. Cindy and I were eating breakfast at a place called K&W which is very popular in the south. We had gotten a bunch of food but my pancakes weren’t ready. At the end of the meal they were ready but I had to go so they put them in a takeout container and gave me a Styrofoam coffee cup filled to the rim with syrup. I looked at Cindy and said, ‘It’s on.'” Danger recounted. “We picked up Becky and she was half awake and said ‘I need coffee!’ I looked at Cindy, pulled out the cup and handed it to her. ‘Have some, this will wake you up.’ She took a sip and went ‘Gah… eff you Danger!’ and spat it all over the place. She looked at me and said, ‘That’s a good rib, nobody gets hurt with that rib; you should keep getting people with it.’ So then Amber O’Neal came out really tired and said, ‘Girl, I need coffee; did you get coffee for everyone?’ I replied ‘No, but you can have some of mine; it’s a new flavor.’ Took a big gulp, swallowed, and said, ‘That tastes like maple syrup; that is good coffee,’ and takes another swig and said, ‘That is messed up — that’s not coffee!'”
Danger went on to share another of her favorite stories, one she narrowly escaped the revenge of the ribbee.
“Back in 2003 I was in Minnesota with a girl named Katarina Heiss out of Pittsburgh. Traci Brooks and I had wrestled her earlier in the night. She went to bed and I decided to have some fun. I went to the front desk, said I was her and that I had lost my key and could I have a new one? I stopped and filled up an ice bucket, slipped into the room with another person behind me. I belly-flopped on her, hooked the leg for a three count, hopped up, dumped the ice on her and took off. She came flying out of the bed and all I knew was that I had to outrun the girl I was with. I was yelling to hold the elevator. The girl behind me tripped, I hopped in the elevator and saw Katarina jump on her. I just closed the door and said bye.”
It is important to have fun with a rib, Danger explained. “I rib people all the time. Nothing terrible. I have zip tied a couple of peoples’ bags together. My whole thing is a rib should be fun for everybody including the person getting ribbed. I haven’t peed in anybody’s bags…. yet.”
The ability to talk someone’s room key out of a hotel clerk also lead to one of “Hurricane” Shane Helms’ favorite stories.
“I was never big into ribs because I don’t like to be ribbed. The funniest thing that ever happened to me was in Japan. Somehow I found this big Santa Claus statue, about four or five feet tall. I don’t remember how I got it, but I was walking around with it the whole night and leave it outside of clubs and pick it up when I left. I came out of one of the clubs and it was gone, I was like, ‘Damn somebody stole my Santa Claus.’ That damn Stacy Keibler had gone to the front desk and gotten a key to my room; she’s not supposed to be able to, but you don’t say no to Stacy Kiebler,” Helms said. “I went into my room and it was really dark, but I could see a body in my bed with long blonde curls. I backed up wondering if I was in the wrong room. There aren’t a lot of blonde people in Japan, and the only blondes we had on the tour were Stacy and Jackie Gayda, she wasn’t married to Charlie Haas yet. I was like, ‘Why is Jackie in my bed?’ but at the same time it didn’t look like her hair. Keep in mind this was a drunken thought process, I had no idea what was going on. So I went over and pulled the covers back. They had taken my Hurricane mask, put it on Santa and stuck it in my bed. The next day we were flying home and I had the big Santa Claus strapped to my luggage because I was taking it home with me. As soon as she saw it Stacy saw it, she went crazy and hugged me — it was hilarious. I was so freaked out when I saw that body in my bed.”
Sinn Bodhi’s favorite story stems from a simple rib from Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Bodhi recalled a match before the two faced off for the final time in Roberts’ retirement match.
“The last time I wrestled Jake The Snake, I had the upper hand and was beating him up, being mean to the fans, and I had him on the ground. He was wedged under the bottom rope and I put my shin across his throat to choke him into giving up. He grabbed my leg so hard and pulled it to his throat 10 times harder then I was already on him, and the referee almost counted me out for not breaking the hold before the five count. Even though he was in pain and had 230 pounds of me on top of his skull, I could hear him giggling saying, ‘Take that brother! Gonna get you DQ’d!”
The ribs listed so far are in the past decade, but playing practical jokes on other wrestlers is a tradition almost as old as the business itself. A young Roddy Piper found himself on the receiving end of a ‘nutty’ rib early in his career.
“I was 15 or 16 years old and working Grand Prix in Montreal. I had white trunks on them with bagpipes on the cheeks, but they looked more like cockroaches. I played my bagpipes in the ring and was waiting for my opponent, Chris Tolos. He used to hit me hard all the time. I was so scared. The referee was checking me and put something in my hand and yelled at me to put it in my trunks. I didn’t even give it a thought, you don’t understand how afraid I was from how much they beat me up, so I put it in my trunks. Suddenly Chris Tolos charged me, knocked me down and slammed me 10 times in a row. I was 167 pounds! I was just laying there with the wind knocked out of me and suddenly Tolos and the referee get out of the ring to the floor. I got up and was really hurt. They held their noses, waved their hands at me and walked away to the dressing room, leaving me in the middle of the ring in Montreal. I sat there thinking, ‘They are going to come back aren’t they?’ They never came back.”
Piper would soon discover what the referee had placed in his hand.
“They had gotten a square inch of bread and put about an inch of peanut butter on it. When he slammed me until the peanut butter came through the white trunks and looked like I had pooped my pants. That was just a night in the life of Rod back then. It sucked big time!”