The Riddle and Thatcher Pit Fight Match Thoughts

Pausing the great “pit” fight match with Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher last Wednesday on NXT, I had to laugh when the announcers continually claimed Riddle knocked out “two” of Thatcher’s teeth, just because they saw several tooth pieces on the mat. Not knocking Mauro, who’s always a pro. He just doesn’t know dentistry, but to his credit, he does know our slang for central and lateral incisors we do call “chicklets.” Pausing on the close-ups of what was there and handed to the ref, as well as Thatcher’s mouth; only central incisor #9 was broken and out, with enough of the coronal or root portion well above the gumline gingival crest so a crown could easily be made, hopefully without an endo (our slang for “root canal”), post and PFM crown.

The Riddle and Thatcher Pit Fight
Photo / WWE

The pieces were just fragments of the already decayed and broken tooth most recognizable top or coronal portion well above the gum line, which I’d examined several years ago backstage at a big APW show in NorCalif, warning Tim to “get that tooth fixed.” We called it a “snaggle tooth” at the time. And any time I’d see him after that, I’d note how brittle the root portion with crown part (what one would call the visible tooth portion) looked. Ask fellow dentist Dr. Britt Baker. Her DMD degree is the same as my DDS degree. DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery on the East Coast. They call it a DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry) and on the left or west coast. And we all know tv announcers like Michael Cole usually claim after a worker pretends to spit something out (or legit spit) “X just lost a tooth!” Just wrestling’s usual embellishing.

Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher Pit Fight

Photo / WWE

Thankfully, WWE, in particular, is more honest in giving out wrestlers’ weights the few times they have announcers verbalizing them in-ring intros. Now, if Seth is 217 lbs, that’s what they say. In the old days, they’d claim “at a fighting weight of 242 pounds…” Back in the ’60s and then ’70s, we all knew Haystack Calhoun was about 400, not the advertised 601 pounds. Or that Andre was nowhere close to 7’4″ or the more ridiculous 7’5″ when he was in my home base territory of the Los Angeles/Lebell wrestling office.


Finally, it’s laughable with Cole last Friday on Smackdown saying right before the Battle Royal with a ton of the guys NOT doing social-distancing, “we have a crowd of NXT trainees. WWE is being very responsible in having each practice social distancing…” Yadda Yadda. I’m paraphrasing, but if they were interested in “doing the responsible or correct thing,” they wouldn’t have everyone in the ring coming into ACTUAL contact. I get that most want wrestling to continue and all. Just don’t say you’re doing something while doing the opposite and trying to get brownie points for it.

But I guess it would be impossible (I’m saying this sarcastically). Trying to portray guys “fighting” from 6 feet apart while making no actual contact. And while we’re at it, as long as WWE is going to go back to using thankfully the word “wrestling” to sell the Edge/Orton “Greatest Wrestling Match Of All Time;” can we stop calling referees officials (and start using their names), stop calling a hospital a “medical facility,” etc.? Or a title match a “championship op?” It demeans your audience. As far as the “greatest wrestling match”? Please.

Photo / F4WOnline

Think Thesz/Karl Gotch, Thesz/Rogers, Gagne/Billy Robinson. Or a million others before that in the 1880s on up to 1989’s spectacular Flair v Steamboat series. I can hear Lou Thesz, my longtime CAC boss and president looking at today’s high-spot-fest-filled matches. Calling them “choreographed tumbling” as he always did. Lou was a good friend for years, and I saved some of his incoming voicemails on my old-school answering machine. It is still a thrill whenever he or Bruno Sammartino, Gotch, Rogers, Stu, Helen, Bill Miller, etc. would call.


The critically acclaimed #350Days stars Bret Hart, Superstar Billy Graham, and 3 dozen all-time legends. It’s available worldwide on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, & Xbox and all major cable systems. Click here to view the trailer for 350 Days.