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)
It has now been over a full year since I started this sojourn through all the WWF Saturday Night Main Event shows and I hope at this point next year I will have wrapped with the weird FOX editions from 1992. But for now, we are at Thanksgiving weekend 1988, two days after the Survivor Series. Of course this was taped ten days before that PPV and it wasn’t referenced at all on the show. No newly turned Demolition is what that means since that would be tough to explain to the live crowd in Sacramento at the Arco Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings. On the night this aired, the Kings lost to the New Jersey Nets at Arco to drop to 1-9 on the year.
Despite being in a less glamourous part of California, Jesse Ventura reminds you that he is a Hollywood star and that makes him more important than Vince McMahon. He also says he’s got a better physique than Vince, who no doubt took that shit personally. I appreciate their dynamic so much more now than I did 15-20 years ago. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #18 – 11/26/1988
Change was in the air at the 1991 Survivor Series, and not just because the show was moved off Thanksgiving to the night before. Not only was the Ultimate Warrior experiment over, but Warrior himself was banished. And here comes Ric Flair coming in with the NWA title calling himself the “real world champion”. I think it’s best summed up by looking at the 10/21/1991 Superstars taping from Fort Wayne, Indiana because big things were happening: Continue reading Reflections on 1991 Survivor Series – The Gravest Challenge
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
When I was given the opportunity to choose a show for review on The Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast, I had a lot to choose from even with all WrestleManias and Starrcades spoken for. I chose the 1988 Survivor Series, a show that I did see live and one that has so many interesting behind the scenes details. It is a show with Hillbilly Jim and Red Rooster in the main event. It is the only time we would see Tully Blanchard wrestle Bret Hart. It was a changing of the guard; Junkyard Dog, Don Muraco, Ken Patera, and the British Bulldogs are all guys who were either gone before this show or immediately afterward. And we see the arrival of The Rockers, The Brain Busters, Mr. Perfect, and Owen Hart as the Blue Blazer. Plus so many random appearances. Let’s dive in. Continue reading Reflections on 1988 Survivor Series
It’s been a while since I’ve gone back in time for a review and today I randomly chose something that came up as a suggestion on YouTube: WWF All Star Wrestling from August 31, 1985. All Star was the B-show of the time, the forerunner to Wrestling Challenge. But we get the team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura on commentary so I’m sold immediately. This week in action are Paul Orndorff, Terry Funk, and Randy Savage. Oooh la and la. Continue reading WWF All Star Wrestling 08/31/1985
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
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)
Big changes on the March 1988 Saturday Night’s Main Event: Hulk Hogan no longer is the champion! However on this show, he has an issue with Race. No, not people of color but King Harley Race. WrestleMania 4 is coming and many other key players are here: Andre the Giant, Ted DiBiase, Randy Savage, and even tournament entrants One Man Gang and Greg Valentine. The show from Nashville kicks off with Vince McMahon saying that he’s from the South! Jeez, didn’t expect that from the guy who put hillbilly gimmicks on many southerners and was rather ashamed of his roots. Co-host Jesse Ventura rips on Vince and says he has a red neck. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #15 – 03/12/1988