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Martial Arts

My Greatest Rib(By Spike Dudley)

Guest Craig Van Dam

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Guest Craig Van Dam

Just read Spike's column on WWE.com and it had this funny story about him and Brock Lesnar.



One of the most common questions asked is about wrestlers’ “ribbing.” Pro wrestlers are notorious for their practical jokes. I could fill volumes with all the jokes I’ve seen pulled since I broke into the business. Alas, many of them are not fit for print (or for Web sites, for that matter). Fear not, there is a tale to be told. It stands as my greatest rib and a great memory.

As a laid-back guy, I don’t get too involved in ribbing. I’ve found watching is as much fun (and less hazardous) than trying to pull a fast one on some of our Superstars. But when I was asked by one of the greatest ribbers of all time to play a fast one on one of the most dangerous men in the company, I prayed and said “Hell, yeah!”


Let me backtrack a bit. The date was April 2, 2002, in Reading, Pa. We were working a house show. House shows are our non-televised live performances. The Superstars love to work house shows -- the matches run longer and we have more interaction with the crowd. It’s also a great place for less-experienced wrestlers to master their craft. Many upcoming wrestlers work the house shows, honing their skills until they are ready for television. On this night, I was scheduled to wrestle a new recruit named Brock Lesnar. Brock had worked his way up through the developmental training program in Kentucky and had just made his television debut two weeks before, the day after WrestleMania X8, but at that point was only wrestling matches on house shows.


One of Brock’s closest friends was the late Curt Hennig. Curt was a great guy; he always had a smile and a story. In fact, Curt was one of those guys you loved to have on road trips because he’d keep everyone entertained. Curt knew I was wrestling Brock and came up with a plan.


At 150 pounds, not many people would suspect me of messing with the big boys. Brock was new, and while everyone could see his potential, he still was at the bottom of the locker-room pecking order. It’s called paying dues. Everyone breaks in at the bottom. Even still, I don’t think Brock would consider me a guy who would mess with him. How naïve. Curt told me he instructed Brock to show off his athleticism by doing a leapfrog, drop-down, dropkick during the match. Naturally, Curt told me to look out for this series of moves and to take advantage when Brock dropped down.


We were scheduled to wrestle the first match. I’d wrestled dozens of times in Reading during my ECW tenure and received a great ovation from the pumped-up crowd. When the crowd saw the size of Brock as he got in the ring, they all sensed the same thing: “Spike is going to die.” A part of me was saying that as well.


The match got underway, and as you can probably expect, Brock tossed me around like a 150-pound bag of guts (wait, I am a 150-pound bag of guts). Anyways, feeling confident, Brock threw me in the ropes and, sure enough, he jumped over me with a leapfrog and then floated over into a drop-down as I rebounded off the ropes. That’s where it started. Brock’s drop-down left him flat on his stomach, so I jumped on his back and paint-brushed the back of his head with slaps. Brock had no idea what this runt was doing slapping him around. He rolled over, flinging me effortlessly off and jumped up with FIRE in his eyes. He roared as he ran at me. Ma Dudley didn’t raise no dumb-dumb. I ran like H-E-double-hockey sticks!


Brock isn’t much of a quitter, though, and he was enraged. I ran with fear for my life out of the ring. Brock chased me out of the ring. I ran around the ring. Brock chased me around the ring. I ran back in. He ran back in. I ran out. He ran out. We must have looped in and out and around the ring five times until I blew him up. (We actually argue to this day whether he could have caught me. To be honest, if it were a straight run, he would have had me in a second, but at the ring I can duck in and out faster. Like Rudy da Rabbit!)


Finally, he knew he’d been had and wasn’t going to catch me until he calmed down. He was almost laughing, but I knew he wasn’t too happy about getting slapped around by Lil’ Spike. To make matters worse, a fan in the front row had a sign that said, “Brock is my b****!” Naturally, I grabbed it and ran around the ring a couple of times taunting the bear.


When I finally got back into the ring, Brock beat the tar out of me. It took him about a minute to F-5 me and get the win. The payoff was when I went through the curtains. Curt and all the Superstars were laughing uncontrollably. Even Brock was chuckling about “the little runt.” At that moment, Mr. Perfect’s ring music hit for the next match. Curt, however, was still on the floor laughing, and it took a few minutes before he could head down the aisle.


As far as in-ring stunts pulled, that was probably my greatest. Plus, being planned by Curt made it special. So thank you, Curt, for feeding me a great joke, and thanks, Brock, for letting me live.

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