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)

Greetings From Allentown: Episodes 4-6

Late on the update here, but there are three new episodes of Greetings from Allentown posted since the last post.

Episode 4: WWF Superstars of Wrestling, February 7, 1987, Andre and Hogan in Piper’s Pit, the Harts win the tag titles, and Outback Jack debuts.

Episode 5: WWF Wrestling Challenge, January 12, 1992, Rockers in the Barber Shop, Jake Roberts, Undertaker, Roddy Piper.

Episode 6: NWA Power Hour, August 18, 1989, Sting, Luger, Flair, Terry Funk hosting Funk’s Grill.

Greetings From Allentown Episode 2, WWF Championship Wrestling 01/14/1984

New podcast! Today it is a look at WWF Championship Wrestling from January 14, 1984. Bob Backlund teams up with Hulk Hogan to face Mr. Fuji and Tiger Chung Lee. Dr. D David Schultz is in Victory Corner.

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New Podcast! Greetings From Allentown Episode 1, WWF Superstars 09-27-1986

I am pleased to announce the first episode of a new podcast looking at old episodes of classic wrestling TV! The first show looks at the Sept. 27, 1986 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling.

On this show:
– A look at why Harley Race needed something to freshen him up for the WWF audience at that stage of his career.
– The short-lived return of Superstar Billy Graham and Vince McMahon turning into Ed McMahon in excitement over it.
– The great Piper’s Pit vs The Flower Shop battle
– A look at Kamala’s career in the WWF.
– The debut of the Natural Butch Reed.

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2017 Royal Rumble Match: Brawny the Strowman

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As late as ten minutes before the 2017 Royal Rumble match, I was undecided on whether to do a write-up or even take notes. But it has been a while since my last post as I have been experimenting with various podcast formats, none of which will do.

I had high hopes for this year’s Rumble match since 2016 was a return to the kind of booking seen in the past, and with this match loaded with (part time) star power. It’s just a shame I saw betting odds beforehand, which kind of ruined it for me.

A quick comment on earlier matches: I was rather bored by much of it and actually fell asleep during Owens vs Reigns. It’s okay, because Reigns went to the back for a nap in the 2016 match so one good turn deserves another. Cena vs Styles was awesome as usual, but because it didn’t take place in the Tokyo Dome or even the Sumo Japanese Steakhouse in San Antonio, it can’t possibly be as good as any New Japan match according to some. With Cena and Owens as champions, it meant either a face or heel could win. Or maybe even a guy who is both. Just don’t let betting odds spoil it. Continue reading 2017 Royal Rumble Match: Brawny the Strowman

1992 Royal Rumble: This is Your Life, Ric Flair

Just over a year ago in my Royal Rumble series, I made clear that the ’92 Rumble is my favorite match ever because it is a This Is Your Life story for Ric Flair. But how exactly can you connect Flair at some point in the Nature Boy’s career to everyone else in the match? I managed to go 28 for 30.

1. British Bulldog: Bulldog was on the set of the Flair For The Gold segment in 1993 that featured the infamous Shockmaster incident.

2. Ted DiBiase: They had been on the same team at the 1991 Survivor Series, but more famous is their 1985 match in Mid-South for Flair’s NWA World Title.

3. Ric Flair: Wrestled himself on numerous occasions, such as a drug addled Kerry Von Erich in Texas in the 80s. Continue reading 1992 Royal Rumble: This is Your Life, Ric Flair

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!”

Saturday Night’s Main Event #19 – 01/07/1989

Ask any wrestling fan what the greatest year in the history of the business is and you’ll hear a few answers. The years 1997-98 saw the explosion of wrestling into mainstream culture, 1984 saw the WWF expansion along with several strong territories. I’ll guarantee that under Family Feud rules (ask 100 people) that the number one answer would be 1989. The NWA (WCW) had classic Ric Flair feuds with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk, along with the emergence of Sting and the Great Muta. Territories like Memphis and World Class were running interesting angles. Japan saw the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta-Genichiro Tenryu matches. And of course, the WWF machine hummed along starting with a Saturday Night’s Main Event on the first Saturday of the year.

But first, a personal story about this show. I never saw this until the WWE Network came along even though I was watching religiously 28 years ago. As a lad of 9, I wasn’t staying up until 11:30 PM ET to see the show live so we would run the VHS on a timer. However, my father messed up and it never taped and I was furious that I missed the hair vs hair blowoff between Brutus Beefcake and Outlaw Ron Bass. Such are the priorities of youth. (Four years later, my father accidentally taped over Larry Bird Night with something, probably a game show. But he made good and purchased the commercial VHS, which I still have.) Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #19 – 01/07/1989

The Wrestler (1974) Film Synopsis and Review

And now I am going to jump completely out of my comfort zone of mid-80s WWF and not even watch a wrestling show, but rather a movie. No, it’s not No Holds Barred. It’s not even the more famous “The Wrestler” from 2008 starring Mickey Rourke, or as I knew him: “that dude from 9 1/2 Weeks”.

This “The Wrestler” was an independent film released in 1974 by Verne Gagne, the longtime owner and champion of the American Wrestling Association based out of Minnesota. At the time of the movie’s release, Gagne was in year 6 of a long title reign and was nearly 48 years old. And therein lies the premise of this somewhat autobiographical film: the promoter (played by Ed Asner) feels Gagne is too old and wants him to step aside to make way for a new champion (played by British shooter Billy Robinson). There are tons of cameos from active wrestlers, including Ric Flair who LIVED that “too old” storyline so many times. As it is 1974, the movie is done entirely in kayfabe. Continue reading The Wrestler (1974) Film Synopsis and Review