Pro wrestlers, from independent circuit jobbers to WWE legends, aren’t born with their ring skills. They learn and practice and refine in training gyms and on the road in front of small crowds. By the time most fans discover a “new talent,” that wrestler has been at it for years.
Scotty Riggs wrestled under multiple names for a decade and a half. He worked and worked, and traveled and traveled, and the opportunities eventually followed. By the late 1990s, he was a mainstay in Raven’s Flock, WCW’s legendary stable of wrestlers. The turn of the century had him feuding with Rob Van Dam in ECW.
The falls eventually catch up to every wrestler; Riggs climbed out of the ring for good in 2009. But all those matches left him with a treasure trove of opinions and stories, which he recently shared with Chuck Carroll and Turnbuckle Weekly.
Here are 14 more facts about Riggs you may have missed:
1. Scotty Riggs was born Scott Antol in March of 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia.
2. Antol was trained by Ted ‘The Nightmare’ Allen, an iconic masked wrestler from the 1980s who died of a heart attack in 2010. Much of the training happened in front of live crowds, not behind closed doors. His debut, wrestling as Scott Studd, came in early June of 1992.
3. Early in his career, Studd sought out matches with various independent promotions, from Peach State Championship Wrestling (PSW) to Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) to United States Wrestling Association (USWA). His association with USWA came at the personal recommendation of wrestling legend Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts.
4. Studd’s experience and burgeoning reputation on the independent circuit caught the attention of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which hired him to be ‘enhancement talent‘ in 1993. Jobbers, as they are also sometimes called, purposely lose matches to make their opponents look better.
5. In early October of 1994, Studd beat Boo Bradley to win the SMW Beat The Champ TV title. He lost the title later that same day in a match that would air two weeks later, giving him a two-week reign in the eyes of fans.
6. Studd’s stint as a WCW jobber, complimented by still more independent gigs, eventually led to an exclusive contract with the promotion in mid-1995. He changed his stage name to Scotty Riggs, a reference to the character Mel Gibson plays in the Lethal Weapon series.
7. Riggs never joined WWF or WWE, though in June of 1995, wrestling as Scott Studd, he lost to Gorgeous George III in a WWF dark match. WWF was exploring making him Lex Luger’s “All-American” protege.
8. Riggs joined forces with Marcus Bagwell to form the American Males tag team. Rising quickly to prominence, the pair knocked off Harlem Heat in September of 1995 to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship. American Males lost the title a week later in a rematch with Harlem Heat.
9. In an October 1997 match with Raven, Riggs legitimately bruised his eye on a steel chair. The injury led to blurred vision and headaches, forcing him to wear a protective contact lens and eye patch in the ring. He wrestled with the eye patch — and severely limited vision — for the next year and a half.
10. The eye injury led to Riggs’ association with The Flock, Raven’s popular WCW stable of wrestlers from the late 1990s. As the storyline went, an ostracized Riggs (because of the eye patch) was accepted into The Flock. It was within this gimmick that he had some of his more impressive matches with the late Chris Benoit.
11. Riggs is very close friends with Rob Van Dam, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) legend and winner of over 20 championships across various promotions. In 2000, ECW brought in Riggs, wrestling as Scotty Anton, to feud with Van Dam in the ring.
12. Riggs speaks very highly of the wrestling product ECW turned out around the turn of the century. As he put it in one interview, “…you walk in the ECW arena and you got goosebumps, because you knew that something special was going to happen…” But late paychecks and the promotion’s seemingly inevitable demise forced him to return to the independent circuit after just a year. ECW, as it existed then, went bankrupt in April of 2001.
13. Aside from his SMW singles and WCW tag team championships, Riggs boasts a PSW singles title and singles and tag team titles with Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling (TCW).
14. Riggs wrestled his last match in June of 2009, at the age 38. Injuries sustained in the ring over the years forced his retirement.
Norm Elrod likes sports and other sanctioned forms of craziness.