Cumberland Bar Pays Tribute to Late WWE Ref and Former Owner Tim White
The Cumberland, Rhode Island bar formerly owned by longtime World Wrestling Entertainment employee Tim White has paid tribute to the man who put the bar on the pro wrestling map.
The Friendly Tap has placed letters on the side of its building reading “RIP Tim White,” acknowledging the former owner in an understated fashion – exactly the way the humble White would have wanted it.
White passed away on June 19 at the age of 68. The cause of death has not yet been announced.
He spent more than 20 years working with the WWE, starting in 1985 as Andre the Giant’s assistant and as a part-time referee. He served as referee in some of the company’s biggest matches, including the legendary 1998 “Hell in a Cell” match between the Undertaker and Mick Foley, regarded as one of the greatest matches of all time.
White later injured his shoulder in a 2002 “Hell in a Cell” match between Triple H and Chris Jericho, an injury which soon after led to his retirement.
During White’s time in WWE, the Friendly Tap made frequent on-screen appearances on WWE programming whenever the company rolled through Providence. It began with an October 1999 vignette in which the APA – a hard-nosed, hard-drinking tag team comprised of Faarooq and Bradshaw – visited the Friendly Tap and ended up destroying the bar.
The two later returned in 2002 for another visit, this time on “Men’s Night” in a vignette that is a little cringy to watch today.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin also paid a visit to the Friendly Tap in 2001, having some “Steveweisers” while trying to figure out which side he wanted to take during the WCW/ECW “Invasion” angle. White even made an appearance, offering Austin some friendly advice and a beer on the house.
The Friendly Tap, or at least a version of it, also made an appearance in the N64 game WWF No Mercy, arguably the greatest pro wrestling video game of all time.
White’s on-screen tenure with WWE ended in controversial fashion. The company ran a storyline in 2005 in which White was distraught over his career-ending shoulder injury, and had become a heavy drinker and was suicidal as a result.
Over the next few months, White appeared in segments both on WWE programming and on the company’s website in which he would unsuccessfully attempt suicide as a form of dark comedy; the online segments were even released at lunchtime each Thursday under the title Lunchtime Suicide. The series ended with White “murdering” interviewer Josh Mathews with a shotgun inside the Friendly Tap.
Despite a tasteless ending to his on-screen appearances, White remained with the company until he was released in 2009.