Somebody say something ’bout Hollywood?
As I was walking back to my room at the Hilton Charlotte University Place Hotel last Thursday night, I thought I’d stop by the bar to see if perhaps Ric Flair was strutting around wearing only a $10,000 robe and propositioning a cocktail waitress young enough to be his daughter. No sign of the Nature Boy; however, another former NWA World champion was at the bar knocking back a few cocktails: none other than Tommy “Wildire” Rich, whom I managed in Memphis in 1994-95. (Yeah, yeah, shocking, I know, given Tommy’s rep for…let’s say…having a good time.) People can judge the man all you want, but Tommy’s always been a straight-up guy with me, and I love him to death.
I approached Rich, asking, “Remember me?” About 10 seconds awkwardly passed as his eyes focused on me. Finally, he exclaimed, “Awww, man!,” and gave me a big hug. Rich asked what I’d been up to, and when I explained I was working for an ad agency while trying to make it as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, his eyes widened, and he shouted, “Hey, hey…fuck ‘The Wrestler’—it was pretty good and all, but you should write me and Piper’s story!” I laughed and said, “I would, Tommy…but no one would believe it!” He got a kick out of that one. (Incidentally, my first script years ago was about a tag-team in Memphis in the early ’80s—loosely based on the Fabulous Ones and the Freebirds—showing the fun side of the industry in the MTV era.)
The following morning, I stopped by Rich’s booth in the vendor area and once again he gave me a Joe LeDuc-like bearhug, despite the fact that I had seen him 12 hours earlier. Looking like he’d been through a shoot with Billy Robinson (which wasn’t possible since the former CWA World champion for Jerry Jarrett no-showed Fanfest), Rich wearily asked, “What are you up to nowadays? Somebody told me you were in Hollywood.”
God bless, ol’ Wildfire.