The Ring Story


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Hello all my Mattamaniacs out there, today folks we are going to stray from the norm. No Mike Rickard reviews as he tries his best to surpass me as the "GumGod 2004 MVP" by putting up column after column after column in order to try to "pad his stats" as Derek Burgan's favorite "pet project". No Dusty Giebink column that only Derek and I get the true humor of while the rest of you with IQ's less than 960 understand. Oh no folks. Today, we get something different. We get a personal home story of an important event in my life. I bet you are standing there asking "What does this have to do with wrestling Matt?" I will be more than happy to answer that. It has plenty to do with wrestling (well not plenty) since I am technically in the wrestling business since I am an agent extraordinaire and maybe….just maybe…..I will be making an in ring comeback in 2005. SHHHHHHHHHHH. It is on the "low-low"

Anyway, onto my column. Please enjoy and if you don't enjoy it, feel free to e-mail with complaints. If you have nice comments, e-mail me at

Now, some people out there say that good luck never strikes them. They also say that they do not know anyone who has had some dumbfounded, incredible luck. You know, the kind of stuff that they see in lame television sitcoms like "Boy meets world", "Saved by the bell" or "Charles in Charge" never happen in real life. Well Matt Dawgs & GumGod fans, I got some news for you. See, on Monday October 18, 2004 I was informed of a listing on Craig’s list ( which stated, and I quote:

"Would you like to propose but can't afford a ring?"

Obviously, I decided that it was a good opportunity for me being that I have been with my girlfriend Marianela for almost 3 years now and am positive that she is THE ONE. Only problem was that I am broke due to a number of factors. The posting states specific instructions to write an e-mail stating why I feel I deserve a free engagement ring. I figured to myself, "What the hell? What do I have to lose?" So I began writing. The following is the e-mail I sent in reply to the posting.

"To whom it may concern:

I am writing to you as I saw the posting on Craig's list in regards to my proposal story. I am very interested in this as my story has taken a turn for the worst lately. My girlfriend and I have been living together for three years. It is a given that we are going to get married and everyone in both of our families know it. I have been planning on buying a ring and popping the question for a long time now. However, due to bump in the road after bump in the road, I was forced to spend the money I was saving for a ring on other financial necessities.

What had happened was, we purchased a puppy in June of 2003. To make a very long story condensed, unknown to me at the time was that my apartment building does not allow new dogs in the building (even though I have lived there my entire 26 years on this planet). Anyway, after several months, my building management sent me a letter stating that I must get rid of the dog. It so happens that there is a law in New York State saying that if you have a dog for more than 3 months, open and notoriously (meaning not hiding him) you get to keep it, regardless of any rule the building may pass. So I had him for more than three months and told them this. They unfortunately didn't care. So they are suing me in court for this. A lot of my savings have gone into defending myself in order to keep our dog. The case is now being deliberated by a judge with the results being expected at the end of this month.

Add that to the fact that in June of 2004, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly which caused me to use whatever savings I had re-amassed in order to fly to Puerto Rico to attend her funeral. As I came back, I began planning to save again but my aunt then passed away in August and I had to fly to Puerto Rico again to attend her funeral, this time with my girlfriend with me thus spending double what I did in June. I would like to start planning on saving again however since we are in October and are expecting the judges decision on my dog, If I lose, I plan on moving elsewhere since I am not giving up my dog. So therefore, I cannot save for a ring at the time as I am saving for moving expenses. I love my girlfriend so much and would like nothing more than to surprise her with a makeover, ring and marriage proposal. I think this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Please find a picture of me and my girlfriend Mari, at her birthday dinner in February of 2004 as well as a picture of my dog Kobe, who my building is suing me for. I hope you strongly consider us for this project. Thank you for your time and have a great day.

Regards, Matthew Aponte"

According to my e-mail program, the e-mail was sent at 3:32 PM on October 18th, 2004. At 3:43 PM I received the following e-mail:


“Hi Mathew,

Please give me a call 646-***-**** or forward a phone number where you can be contacted.

T***** P******** Associate Producer”

Suffice to say, I was a bit in shock since they wanted me to return their call so quickly. I have written to shows before in order to be casted and usually if you aren’t selected for anything, chances are they don’t inform you to call to tell you that you won’t be on their show. If they aren’t interested, the will just blow you off without notice. So I called. Upon my surprise, T**** notified me that she spoke with her executive producer named J**** and J****was not only touched by my situation but she was interested in talking to me about it. I spoke with J***** and she wanted me to be the one to present my girlfriend with a ring. She informed me about the show and told me what it was. The show’s title was “Life and Style” with hosts Jules Asner, Kimora Lee Simmons (wife of Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons), Cynthia Garrett & Lynne Koplitz. Basically, the show was a watered down version of “The View” The show is currently syndicated in several states and also airs nationally on the Oxygen Network (check your local listings). J**** asked me some personal questions and was even more impressed (although my wrestling managing ability has given me the gift of gab and I am able to pretty much cut a promo on command). She told me they want my girlfriend and I to come on the show that Friday the 22nd. I would be bringing my girlfriend under the guise that she was going to get a free makeover from “Life and Style” as a gift from me for all of her love, dedication and support over the past few years.

On my way home from work, I was trying to think of constructive ways to ask her if she could take a day off from work in order to attend this show. As we were having dinner, I casually brought it up. I asked her if a free makeover would be something she was interested in. She said yes however was unsure if she would be able to take the whole day off from work. I told her it was ok (secretly panicking if she were to be unable to make it).

First thing the following morning I contacted J***** and told her we were all set. She let me know that a camera crew would be stopping by my house to pre-tape some segments to splice into the show. I was all for it and notified my girlfriend of the situation. She was ok with it and we were all good to go. I then told all of her loved ones about it as J**** and T***** wanted her family and friends to be at the taping to witness the special event (and I believe they wanted them there to illicit more tears for television as crying = ratings). In my conversations with family and friends (including her sister, her best friend, my best friend who introduced us, and others) I promised that I would murder them if anyone leaked the beans to her. Literally. So thank the good lord that I am not sitting on Rikers Island right about now because I meant business. Kind of like Wyatt Earp in Tombstone where he warned the cowboys that he was coming and hell was coming with him. My conversations with them were similar to that.

Later that evening, the camera crew came over and filmed some general B Roll footage of Mari and I in our home doing the “couple thing”. We were filmed holding each other, kissing, cooking, and doing other domestic things. Separate sit down interview were conducted on why I felt she deserved this special treatment from “Life and Style” and why she meant so much to me.

Two days later, some things began to fall apart. Turns out that Marianela was a bit distraught because she didn’t want to go back to work after her makeover feeling that if she was going to be all dressed up, we should do something nice like go to a restaurant. She would have felt out of place at work on Friday since her job has casual Fridays and she would have been dressed in a gown with her hair done. I apologized over and over to her telling her it would be the best. She didn’t really take it well since I took off from work that day and she didn’t. But luckily for me, I decided to secretly call her boss and ask if Marianela could have the day off. I explained to her why and was informed that she was so happy for us and wanted us to be happy. Her exact words were that she would not stand in the way of love. I got her blessing for the day off however I did hear from Marianela that once she returned to work engaged, her boss was telling people that I called and asked for her blessing to have Mari’s hand in marriage. Talk about delusional.

Anyway, Marianela had the day off and all was well. I did however tell her boss that I would not only murder her, but her children if she told Mari the news. She promised me she would keep it quiet and she did. Applaud her everyone as she is not the type to keep secrets.

That night, I managed to go to sleep early as I was preparing for the big day. Surprisingly, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be. Slept as well as I could but didn’t toss and turn or anything like that. We woke up a bit early as a car was sent to pick us up at 8:00 AM in order to arrive by 9:00 AM. Normally, a drive into Manhattan during the weekend takes about 30 minutes or less. But since it is a Friday during morning rush hour, they sent a car early in order for us to be there on time. Not that we needed to be there at 9:00 AM since the taping didn’t start until 11:00 AM.

When we arrived, we were whisked into a dressing room. Thankfully, the room had some continental breakfast action going on. Some bagels, rolls, pastries, juice and water. So Mari and I sat, had some breakfast and watched some television while we waited. At around 10:00 AM, J**** came in and they whisked Mari away to give her a haircut. Their reasoning behind it was that they wouldn’t have time to do it during the show. So what they were going to do was wash and cut her hair and then put it in a ponytail when she came out before her makeover. While they were doing this, I was taken to meet J*** from Robbins Brothers, the engagement store. J*** and his assistant T**** showed me some rings and explained the differences between them. I was a bit awestruck as I did not know which to choose nor which Mari would like. I did immediately discard the pure yellow gold one. I have never seen a yellow gold engagement ring nor do I really like yellow gold anyway. I am more of a white gold guy myself. After selecting a ring, I was informed that they only had one ring in Mari’s size. So that was the ring I was going to propose with. After the show, they would get my mailing address and Fed Ex me the actual ring I chose. Found that kind of odd but could I really complain? They were giving me a $5,000+ ring for free.

After my meeting with the jewelers, another problem arose. During the week with my conversations with J****, I was informed that I should dress up in a suit for the broadcast. I did. Upon arriving, J**** asked me if I brought a change of clothes. WTF? I said no, she told me to wear a suit. J****’s response was that when Mari came out at the beginning of the show, I would be overdressed. So…..J**** sent T**** to the Gap and purchased me an outfit. So I changed into my brand new, “bummy clothes” and was ready for the show.

Mari shot some pre-show “BEFORE” shots and we were then ready to go. As we waited behind the curtains during the first segment of the show, T**** came over to us to discuss the questions that Kimora Lee was going to ask us. She sat down to my left while I had Mari on my right. T**** then proceeded to open her note book and on the left hand side of the book, facing both Mari and I was a nice sticky which read, in BOLD letters,




Now this sticky is coming from a show who has sworn me to secrecy, forced me to threaten my loved ones and made me lie to my girlfriend on this whole story and they have a sticky in her view that says “MAKE SURE THE RING IS IN THE BOX WHEN HE PROPOSES” UNF*CKINGBELIVEABLE. So after I literally shoved my girlfriend out of the way so she didn’t see the sticky, I signal to T**** that the sticky is there and she quickly shuts the book. It is these types of things that helped shoved WCW to deaths door. Anyway, she went over the questions and it was time for the show. The showed the pre-taped stuff we filmed two days earlier in our apartment. Kimora Lee brought us out and asked us a few questions. She then sent Mari on her way to get her makeover done by the stylists for “Essence” magazine. Once she was gone in the sound proof room, I filmed a segment with the Robbins Brothers people where it appeared I was choosing a ring. Once done, I was sent back to the dressing room to change as we were to be the final segment of the show.

Once done changing, the Robbins Brothers people joined me in the dressing room and in walked J****. She wanted to make sure I was all set for the show and with how I was going to propose. So she pretended to be Kimora. Mari was going to walk out and Kimora was going to say:

“WOW, she looks really beautiful, what do you think Steve?”

“WOW, she looks really beautiful, what do you think Steve?”

“WOW, she looks really beautiful, what do you think Steve?”

I looked at her, shook my head and asked her, “Who is Steve?” J**** gave me a type of “What was she thinking look” and apologized. She then called me Matt and I ran through my speech. J**** said it sounded great and wanted to go through it one more time. So once again she sat down pretending to be Kimora and said:

“WOW, she looks really beautiful, what do you think Steve?”

Seriously, the first time it was kind of funny but this was just strange. J**** began apologizing and saying that she had no idea what the hell was wrong with her. She doesn’t EVEN KNOW A STEVE~!~!~!~!~ She corrected my name again and even J*** from Robbins Brothers asked her if Kimora would have the correct name. J**** assured us that she would. Keep this fact in mind for later on please as it will come in handy. Segment time came and some genius decided to put our segment directly after a segment which had a mother talk about how her 13 year old daughter was murdered by a guy she met on a teen chat line. As the segment stopped taping, and the cameras were off, someone asked Kimora what she would do if that happened to her daughter. Kimora’s response, “I would cut his d*ck off”. That my friends is how you pop a crowd. The live studio audience roared in approval. Anyway, Mari’s family and our friends were brought to their seats in the studio audience, against my advice. See, Mari had no clue anything was going on. Her sister was scheduled to be in Texas on a business trip. Her brother had a mid term exam in college. My best friend lives in Albany and couldn’t make it. Her best friend was sick in bed. Her mom had to work. Her dad, who is staying with us, asked her before we left if she knew what channel it was on so he could watch it. So right there, she didn’t expect anything special was happening other than a make over since no one was going to be there. Being that she was coming from center stage, the first thing she would see would be her family in the front row. But the producers assured me that they knew what they were doing. Funny story that has similarities to this is that Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page, Vince Russo, & Kevin Sullivan all said that at one point or another when they booked for WCW. See the comparison? So I come out before the cameras start rolling and sit next to Kimora. She shows the “before” picture of Mari and then introduces her. Much to everyone surprise but mine, she looks directly at the front row and I can see her mouthing “What are you all doing here?” Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t it have made more sense if I would have proposed and then have her family enter from stage left? She would have seen them, already crying, and would have shed more tears of joy with her family and friends. But I guess producers know more than I do. Anyway, after the crowd applause, Kimora asks Mari how she feels. She says good. Kimora then says:

“I think she looks absolutely beautiful, what do you think STEVE~?~!~?~!~?~!~”

“I think she looks absolutely beautiful, what do you think STEVE~?~!~?~!~?~!~”

“I think she looks absolutely beautiful, what do you think STEVE~?~!~?~!~?~!~”

Let me ask a question to anyone reading this who has ever worked in production or seen a cue card. Do any of you think it is hard to change a cue card to read Matt instead of Steve? No. Thank you.

Anyway, I corrected Kimora by saying, “You mean Matt?” and Kimora just stared at me. She then asked that they stop the tape and she gave J**** (who was the one holding the cue card) the most frightening hate filled look I have ever seen. She then proceeded to “SHOUT OUT” J**** to the crowd by saying, “Everyone give a big round of applause to my producer J**** C****** everyone. She asked if we can shoot THE WHOLE THING OVER from when Mari came out. We did. Mari came out, Kimora said she looks beautiful and then turned to me and said, “What do you think, MATT (with emphasis on the Matt)?” I responded with, “I think she looks beautiful but I think she is missing something.” I then proceeded to walk up to Mari on the stage. I take Mari by the hand while she asks me over and over, “What are you doing, what are you doing?” I told her, “You know I love you very much, and I need to be honest about something. The truth is, your not only here for a makeover.” Marianela was very nervous still repeating, “What are you doing?” I continued with “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you with all my heart.” Then I got down on one knee and said, “I want you to be my wife. Marianela, will you please marry me.” Marianela crying said, “Yes.” The crowd erupted in cheers and applause as Kimora Lee came on stage to congratulate us. She informed us that “Life and Style” wanted to be the first to congratulate us and Lynne Koplitz came on stage and presented us with Leis while Kimora stated that they were sending us to Hawaii on our honeymoon. WHHHOOOOOOOO~!~!~!~!~

So basically, I was given in excess of $10,000 in gifts from the lovely people at “Life and Style” ( And from Robbins Brothers ( So many thanks to them for all their help and I really appreciate it. Thanks to Derek Burgan for allowing me to express my special day here on Thanks for Mike Ricard for challenging me to put out more columns since he is anxious to take my throne as the blue chip columnist away from me. And many thanks to Dusty G. for entertaining me each and every time he decides to write a column (which is once a month). My GumGod family.

PS – I am getting married on November 23, 2005 for those who want to send gifts. I like gifts. Take care. See you in the new year sometime.

Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.