Highlights From Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 6 (Hatchet Edition)

A lot less time between blog posts this time, as it’s on to part 6 of the highlights of Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography.

“I’m going to kill that son of a bitch!” Oops.

The first hot angle with Backlund as champion was against “High Chief” Peter Maivia, the grandfather of The Rock. Maivia attacked Backlund’s manager Arnold Skaaland while teaming with Bob and it was a real shock and not just because it meant Skaaland actually did something other than go to the back and play cards. In the promo afterward, Backlund lost his way wondering if the whole world was against him, and declaring that he would “kill” Maivia, a real no no.

Antonio Inoki was here for that card as well, and was being billed as the “Martial Arts Champion,” as the front office was trying to figure out what to do with him to make him a draw in America, where he was still virtually unknown.

Inoki was a hero in Japan but never got any traction in the United States, which I chalk up to two things. First, the concept of a Japanese hero was something that hadn’t really been considered in U.S. wrestling, as they were usually the cliché foreign bad guys. Second, his working style was not something that was easy to digest for fans of American wrestling. Personally, I hate him for the Muhammad Ali fiasco because the joke of a match damaged Ali’s legs to the point where he was never the same athlete. Continue reading Highlights From Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 6 (Hatchet Edition)

Highlights of Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 5 (Early title reign edition)

After an even longer hiatus as I have focused more on the Greetings From Allentown podcast, it’s back to more highlights of Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography

Billy has also said over the years that he and Bruno talked on the night of their steel cage match in Philadelphia about pulling a last-minute screwjob over on the promoters.

I’m going to suggest that Graham is full of crap on this one. Bruno didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would participate in such a thing, especially since it would be putting the title back on him which is something the Living Legend was precisely trying to get away from so it makes zero sense. Losing the world title really screwed with Graham’s mind.

Billy’s face was blank and emotionless—quite a change from the usual. I could tell he was really struggling with it all.

Backlund making my previous point, and something that virtually everyone has pointed out. While it’s probable that Graham would have been a success as a babyface champion, the issue of his longevity wouldn’t have changed. His body was going to break down whether he was happy with wrestling or not. Continue reading Highlights of Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 5 (Early title reign edition)

Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 4 (Bruno and Mascaras)

After a bit of a hiatus, the review of Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography finally resumes!

At a lot of the hotels and motels where we stayed, Andre had a great deal of trouble getting a comfortable night’s sleep or even taking a hot shower in the little tub/shower combos that those places had—so he preferred to just stay up most of the night drinking.

I will never get tired of Andre the Giant drinking stories and it is one of those things where I don’t care if they are 100% accurate. Legends and myths are often more entertaining than the truth and it’s not like something to do with Andre would break open a Watergate. Though the mother of a friend of mine had met Andre in the 1970s, and that story turned out to not be much of anything. Oh well. Continue reading Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 4 (Bruno and Mascaras)

Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 2 (The Rise of Backlund Edition)

We pick up in the mid-1970s in Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography: “Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion”. Bob is making an impression on many promoters, not the least of which is a guy named McMahon in New York.

What happened that night certainly diminished my respect for Jack [Brisco]. He was the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, and was supposed to be a role model both for the fans and for young wrestlers like me.

Backlund has a very strict set of ethics, which can come off as a bit pious but I respect it particularly in this regard. He was riding with Jack Brisco who just happened to be smoking dope at the time. On a personal note, before I got my drivers license early in my junior year of high school, I carpooled with others in my town and a classmate of mine gave me a ride one day. He drove 70 in a 30 while smoking a joint which scared the shit out of me. Needless to say, I never rode with him again. So I can get why Backlund might be pissed off. Continue reading Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 2 (The Rise of Backlund Edition)

Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 1 (The Early Days)

When most people sit on the beach, they will read a book of fiction that will be escapist. But for me, I sat there and read Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography: “Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion”. As I’ve started to dive in and watch WWF footage from 1978-83, I was curious to get insight from the man who defined the era. This will be set up similarly to my series on Bret Hart’s outstanding book where I pull a quote and comment on it.

It is hard for me to have any respect for that man. I know that Erhardt ended up as a head coach with the New England Patriots and offensive coordinator with the New York Jets, but I just didn’t have any respect for the way he conducted himself, the way he treated his players at NDSU, or the way he unilaterally downplayed my NFL prospects.

I am not sure why I was surprised that Backlund wanted to play football growing up; it’s probably I’ve just never imagined him as anything but a wrestler. But this passage and story really jumped out at me because people know who Erhardt is and Backlund takes him to task. Erhardt was coach of the Patriots from 1979-81 and went 21-27, though the final 2-14 year in 1981 was plagued by bad luck and close losses. Given Backlund’s feelings, it is ironic that Erhardt was fired by Patriots owner Billy Sullivan for “being too nice of a guy.” Continue reading Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book: Part 1 (The Early Days)

Highlights of Bill Apter’s “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know It Was Broken!”

Been a while since I’ve done a post on a book and in reviewing my Kindle notes, I completely missed one. I read Bill Apter’s book “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know It Was Broken!” on vacation in the Outer Banks at the same time I read the Pat Patterson book, which consumed many more posts than this will.

Apter was a staple of my childhood as the main guy at a group of wrestling magazines (The “Apter mags”) led by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. As I lived in the northeastern US, I would see WWF but those magazines introduced me to NWA, AWA, World Class and all the territories or at least the ones that remained in the late 1980s. So in a way, Bill Apter is partly responsible for this blog. Let’s peek at the book, though I didn’t highlight very much. Continue reading Highlights of Bill Apter’s “Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know It Was Broken!”

Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson: Part 6 (Montreal and Final Edition)

Strange feeling this morning as baseball is in the home stretch, yet I’m going to the Ring of Honor PPV tonight despite never watching their TV show. And I feel like I forgot something: to finish a look at Pat Patterson’s book “Accepted”!

A few people even had to be let go when we came back from that tour in the late 1980s.

This is in reference to the fall 1988 tour of Europe, which led to something of a housecleaning and some very odd substitutions at the Survivor Series. Don Muraco was let go even though his feud with Greg Valentine had not wrapped. They had some terrible house show matches, apparently. And speaking of terrible matches, Junkyard Dog was finally fired either for drug use or the fact that he could barely move. Continue reading Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson: Part 6 (Montreal and Final Edition)

Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson Part 5 (Royal Rumble/WrestleMania Edition)

As I was reading the book “Accepted” by Pat Patterson last month, I got more than halfway through and wondered if he had left out the first WrestleMania or something. Fortunately, he went back in the timeline later to discuss that and inventing the Royal Rumble.

I have all the respect in the world for Muhammad Ali, but when he showed up to be the referee for that match between Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper, I realized right away that he would not be able to perform a normal referee’s duties in the ring.

Muhammad Ali was promoted as the special referee for the first WrestleMania main event, but was bumped to the outside at the very last minute as Patterson took over those duties. Ali had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within the prior year so it was not clear how many people knew what that meant. Patterson being in the ring was helpful to get Mr. T through the match as well since Pat had a role in training him. With so much on the line, things needed to go smoothly. Continue reading Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson Part 5 (Royal Rumble/WrestleMania Edition)

Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson: Part 4 (90s Edition)

Back for a dip into Pat Patterson’s book as he is just about to take an unwanted sabbatical from the business:

“Pat, I was sure you had someone with you. I didn’t know how I was supposed to position myself. I didn’t know if I could watch or not. You had me all screwed up in my mind.”

On the road at one point, Patterson roomed with Bobby Heenan and Pat decided to mess with him. After Heenan had gone back to the room for the night, Patterson decided to make like he was bringing a man back to the room for some fun. This was Heenan’s reaction to all this.

You know, we weren’t sure what to do with Undertaker when he first came to WWE. “You know how I see him?” I said to Vince. “I’m not sure what is the exact word for it, but he reminds me of characters in old Western movies . . . That guy with the long black coat who would have different roles in town. Like a doctor . . .” Vince said, “You’re not describing a doctor, Patrick.” “I don’t know what they are called.” Someone said, “From your description, I think you mean an undertaker.” Continue reading Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson: Part 4 (90s Edition)

Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson Part 3: (1980s WWF Edition)

In lieu of a goofy intro, let’s get right to the part of Pat Patterson’s book with the most interest: his time in WWF as Vince McMahon’s right hand man.

The third match with Backlund along with the famous match with Slaughter I had later were my greatest moments as a wrestler.

Patterson in the book is very proud of his series with Backlund at Madison Square Garden because of the quality of the matches combined with the fact that it was a four match and not the usual three match series that would go countout-DQ-blowoff. The Slaughter “Alley Fight” match from May 1981 is one of those matches that is as good as everyone says it is. Pat wears the iconic “I Love NY” shirt during the bout. Continue reading Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson Part 3: (1980s WWF Edition)