New episode of Greetings From Allentown out today, the 30th show! This covers TNT (formerly Tuesday Night Titans) from the World Wrestling Federation. Terry Funk starts a bar fight with Tony Garea, Mr. Wonderful meets Phil Collins, Jim Neidhart predicts Internet wrestling culture, and much more! Check out the full back catalog on Soundcloud.
It’s been a while since I posted a written review of a show, so here is a look at Clash of the Champions 3, from Albany, GA on 9/7/1988 for the last Jim Crockett Promotions supershow. With such a big show, you’d think they would pull out all the stops, but they didn’t because they had a habit of screwing obvious things up. Maybe that was part of the sale to Ted Turner. This show didn’t have Flair (except as a host), Lex Luger, the Midnight Express, Road Warriors, and the team of Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard.
The latter of those would make the big news of the week: Despite being tag champs, they quit on the spot 3 days after this show at a house show in Philly and they had to scramble and put the belts on the Midnight Express in an untelevised match. And yet they STILL did a double pin spot, protecting guys who were leaving. Continue reading NWA Clash of the Champions 3: Fall Brawl 09/07/1988
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)
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)
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)
Take a trip back to the mini-Attitude Era with a look at WWF Superstars from April 13, 1991.
– The trouble with Kerry Von Erich beyond his horrible theme music
– Jake the Snake Roberts as babyface bully
– Explaining (and defending!) the Berzerker gimmick with a look at the etymology and Icelandic literature(?!?)
– The great Sean Mooney hosts an Event Center….with no specific event to plug
– The trials and tribulations of Barry O
– Bret Hart’s singles push begins, for real this time I swear!
– The Nasty Boys: are they this podcast’s “house band”?
– A comprehensive second by second breakdown of the Ultimate Warrior being locked in a coffin and the “attempts” to get him out. Plus, useful information on how YOU can best survive if you find yourself in a similar spot
– Tugboat as the great palate cleanser
– How many late tax filers are there during tax season and why is IRS so concerned about them?
Plus: the return of YouTube comment theater, and an extended jag about the awesome WWF on NESN theme music
Episode 8 of Greetings From Allentown is now out! Included:
- Recaps of WrestleMania 4: Randy Savage’s journey and Demolition climbs the mountain
- The weirdness of Rick Rude and why he never had a feud with Hulk Hogan
- Bam Bam Bigelow’s excuse for his 1988 run being cut short
- Andre the Giant tries to laugh off Hacksaw Jim Duggan before trying to choke him to death
Time for part three in a peek at Bob Backlund’s 2015 autobiography “Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion”. At this point we are in 1977 and Backlund is navigating the world of Vince McMahon Sr.’s locker room:
There was a definite clique in that dressing room, comprised of Bruno, DeNucci, Rodz, Garea, Chief, and Scicluna. They were a strong and tight-knit group. Fortunately for me, Vince McMahon Sr. went out of his way to make me feel welcomed and at home.
Those six guys were all mainstays of the New York territory and rarely ventured elsewhere to wrestle. Baron Mikel Scicluna and Domenic DeNucci wrestled each other approximately 35,000 times over the years. Tony Garea was a multiple time tag champion and later became one of the agents and guys who come from the back to breakup brawls. The “Unpredictable” Johnny Rodz mostly worked as a jobber to the stars but later became a trainer extraordinaire. Chief Jay Strongbow was popular in the northeast but wasn’t a great wrestler and was divisive as a backstage presence, considered a stooge by many. And Bruno Sammartino was the undisputed leader. Continue reading Highlights from Bob Backlund’s Book Part 3 (WWWF Edition)
Episode 7 of the Greetings From Allentown Wrestling podcast is here! This week it is a look at the Sept. 25, 1982 episode of WWF Championship Wrestling:
– Information on the sale/transfer of the WWF from Vince Sr. to Vince Jr., which was ongoing at the time of this show
– Bob Backlund trying and failing to properly express anguish at his belt being destroyed and coming off like proto-Nancy Kerrigan
– Pete Sanchez: Where is he now, and what is he doing?
– Mr. Saito: complete and total badass
– Andre the Giant on the TV show The Greatest American Hero.
Plus a new segment: YouTube Comment Theater!
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)