In holding the Crockett Cup tournament in March, the current incarnation of the NWA aimed to pay tribute to the company’s storied tradition.

Another tradition of professional wrestling is the “rib” – practical jokes that wrestlers play on one another to pass the time. We asked a few of the modern NWA stars to share some of their favorites, in celebration of April Fool’s Day.

Matt Taven and Mike Bennett

The OGK noted that ribs are a bit of a dying art, as younger wrestlers often avoid doing things that could be misconstrued as being hurtful or, at worse, hateful.

“It’s true we don’t hear about them as much as in the stories from the past,” observed Taven. “I think the days of putting a lock on someone’s suitcase have kind of died down.”

“I did witness that, though,” noted Bennett. “At NECW (New England Championship Wrestling), Eddie Edwards and DC Dillinger were padlocking everyone’s belt loops, and padlocking peoples’ belt loops to their bags.”

Apparently, Edwards has a pretty major reputation for playing ribs, with Taven noting that he was the first person he thought of when the topic came up.

“He would do stuff like walk by you and slap your drink out of your hand. You’re like, (deadpanning) ‘Thank you.’

“A classic for me,” Taven continued,” was hiding someone’s ring vest right before they go out is a classic. Because you see the panic, and they start going back and forth, saying ‘I think it might be over here.’ That’s always a fun one to pull.”

Bennett also shared one that was hilarious, but for the victim, it may have seemed a bit crappy.

“I don’t remember who it was, but I remember one time, a long time ago at an indie show. Someone took some toilet paper and covered it with some tanner, put some tape on the toilet paper, and patted a guy on the ass right as he was heading out (to the ring). He went out there and had the toilet paper hanging out of his pants with… well, you get the picture.”

Matt Cardona

As passionate as he is about collecting wrestling figures, it’s not surprising that NWA Champion Matt Cardona gets ticked off when someone uses that against him.

“I hate that somebody will talk (on social media) about a wrestling figure that they found – something that you’d hoped for a long time that they were finally going to make. And then when they show it you, it’s not real and they’re, like, ‘April Fool’s!’  I hate that – I’m over that April Fool’s BS.”

Kyle Davis interviews Mike Knox, left, and Matt Cardona. NWA photo

Mike Knox

On the other hand, Mike Knox is someone who has embraced ribs. One of them, he admitted, wasn’t so successful: the time someone was slipped Viagra immediately before a match so that he would be forced to work stiff, but not in the way that term is normally used.

A different one, however, was successful and it literally had his victim seeing red.

“When I was younger, I had a bit of a reputation of being snug,” he said, to set some context. “I had a tag team match, and we were going to get some color on (one of our opponents). You know, we were going to bust him up. My partner and I started telling a story about a time when a guy didn’t blade correctly, and I had to get him. And they told him, ‘Do not let Mike get you. Whatever you do, don’t let him get you. If you ain’t bleeding good, he’s an animal, and he’s going to jump on you, and he’s going to lay it in on you.’”

“As the day goes on, I’m acting all fired up, and (making all kinds of angry snarls and very aggressive gestures) at him. And this guy is so scared. So we’re doing the match, and I send him into the cage, and and he blades perfectly – exactly how it should be done. But I start screaming out, ‘He ain’t got it! He ain’t got it!’ and I jump on him. I reach up to the referee, and he hands me some ketchup packets. I grab the guy and lean down real hard on him and I snap him in the head with the ketchup packet, scraping him a bit with the corner, and squirt the ketchup right into his eyes. He’s selling it and selling it, and he’s so scared, because he didn’t realize that I hadn’t busted him open until after we got back. He told me, ‘I didn’t know what I was going to tell my wife, she’s so scared about (me getting scarred and disfigured). I was already scared of you, and then I was more scared about how mad she would get.’ That was a fun one.”

Mark Briscoe

As elaborate as that one was, Mark Briscoe recalled one that didn’t take as much planning – but the effect still has him belly-laughing when he thinks about it.

“This one was real simple,” he chuckled. “It was (Takeshi) Morishima’s last US loop. While he was out wrestling, Colt Cabana took Morishima’s sneaker – his tennis shoe – and put piece of pizza in it. So simple and classic – and man, it was effective (in terms of the reaction it garnered). Oh, man, that was a great one.”