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
If you like wrestling shows that start with Jake Roberts making out with his then-wife Cheryl, then this is the show for you. If you like seeing a close up of Rick Rude’s crotch, well, that’s the second thing seen on the October 1988 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. A lot of moving pieces on this show from Baltimore, Maryland. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are the hosts and Jesse immediately compares Vince to hapless then-VP candidate Dan Quayle. For those who don’t know, Quayle is the guy who misspelled “potato” during an elementary school visit by adding an “E” to the end. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #17 – 10/29/1988
I was able to see every WWF PPV live in the calendar year 1989. That’s the 1st PPV Royal Rumble, WrestleMania 5, SummerSlam, and yes, the No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie show. Oh and this Survivor Series from Chicago, where the only thing people seem to remember is Tully Blanchard being pulled and replaced by Bobby Heenan. Something more must have happened, because I took 2 1/2 pages of notes on this! Continue reading Reflections on 1989 Survivor Series
In the 1985, NBC gave the World Wrestling Federation a Saturday late night slot with the idea that Hulk Hogan would generate ratings that were better than Saturday Night Live reruns. But as we hit mid-1988, Hogan is on a sabbatical. His first daughter would be born 5 days after this show aired, and he was filming No Holds Barred in his effort to become the new Stallone. While that failed, how did the WWF cope without their biggest star? For one thing, they would promote the hell out of Randy Savage making his first world title defense. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #16 – 04/30/1988
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)
As mentioned in the last post, I was on vacation last week. The great thing about having a Kindle (or any e-book reader) is that I can immediately get new books and highlight things to comment on for this blog. This book is a very new release having come out only a week ago today. Patterson, born Pierre Cleremont in 1942, has led a very interesting life in the wrestling business. He’s very well-known for being gay, but what he should be known for is being perhaps the greatest booker/producer in the history of wrestling. The Royal Rumble speaks for itself, but he also held together the first WrestleMania main event, was in one of the greatest tag teams ever with Ray Stevens, and as Vince McMahon’s right hand man he was an advocate for smaller wrestlers like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. I recommend this book highly, so let’s peek at some highlights. Continue reading Highlights of “Accepted” by Pat Patterson: Part 1 (Early Career Edition)