Remembering Warrior’s bouts with Savage, Andre, and Slaughter in Boston

Like many of you, I’m still getting my head wrapped around the highs and lows of the last week and thinking a lot about the death of the Ultimate Warrior just one day after returning to the address his fans on Monday Night Raw.

I saw Warrior fight at the old Boston Garden plenty of times, and he was certainly an exciting guy to see run to the ring. The quality of his matches depended on whom he was in with. Personally, I think Warrior’s bouts with Ravishing Rick Rude were among his best.

 

Warrior never had a spectacular or particularly historic match at the Garden, but here are three Warrior appearances in Boston that I remember well: Continue reading

Ultimate Warrior dies: “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat”

I’m not even sure what to say about the sudden death of the Ultimate Warrior at 54 and how creepy it is that this guy had just been on Monday Night Raw the day before and had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame after years of estrangement from Vince McMahon.

Warrior, whose real name was Jim Hellwig, was among the most memorable stars of the 1980s and 1990s. Longtime fans will remember he started out with a young Sting as the Blade Runners before he became Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling. He switched his name to Ultimate Warrior upon arriving in the WWF in 1988.

He portrayed an animated, out-of-control character who ran through opponents with punches, kicks, and force.

“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat,” Warrior said this week on Raw. Ultimate Warrior’s final promo is haunting me.

In fact, more than his matches, most fans probably remember Warrior’s promos, which were spaced-out, often incomprehensible rants that seem to pull from fantasy and science fiction. The interviews remain Continue reading

25 years ago this week, one of the WWE’s greatest long builds culminated at WrestleMania V

When the Rock returned to pro wrestling a few years back and challenged John Cena a year ahead of schedule for the WrestleMania XXVII, it was the first time in years that you saw long-term planning on the part of the WWE.

One of the greatest examples of the long, slow build came in 1988 and 1989, when the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Hulk Hogan planted the seeds for their main event confrontation at WrestleMania V at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ.

One year prior, Savage won the WWF Heavyweight Title in a one-night tournament at WrestleMania IV. At the time, Savage was a babyface, but there was still tension between him and Hogan due to their prior battles when Hulk wore the belt. These guys spent a year walking on a knife edge, and you knew where the story was going.

That’s the thing a lot of non-fans don’t get about wrestling. Sure, we know it’s entertainment and we often can correctly guess who will win in the end. But it’s how you get there that is the most intriguing part.

The WrestleMania V match had hints dropped Continue reading

Please WWE: Bring back “Eye of the Tiger” for Hulk Hogan

We know C.M. Punk got the WWE brass to buy the rights to play “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour instead of some generic tune the organization had previously given him.

The WWE also purchased the rights to a song by Mark Crozer, who has toured as a member of The Jesus and Mary Chain. The tune, renamed by the WWE as “Live in Fear,” is now Bray Wyatt’s entrance music.

So, the WWE will spend money for songs that it wants certain stars to come out to. With that in mind, why can’t the WWE also buy the rights to “Eye of the Tiger” for Hulk Hogan?

“Eye of the Tiger” was recorded by Survivor, a 1980s group that was well-known to the MTV generation. Survivor catapulted to the big time when “Eye of the Tiger” went on the soundtrack to the Rocky III movie, which Hogan co-starred in. The movie was no doubt Hogan’s inspiration to start using the tune during his AWA days, and he brought it over when he jumped to the WWF in late 1983.

Continue reading

If you liked the old NESN cards at the Boston Garden, get the WWE Network

I don’t want to be a shill for the WWE, but I have to say, I am enjoying the WWE Network — I haven’t even  checked out a single pay-per-view or any of the wrestling themed spin-off programs on the network.

Instead, I’ve been spending my time reliving some great memories from the house show cards of the 1970s and ‘80s (they’re under the Vault heading as old school matches on the network’s menu).

For those of you who attended the Boston Garden shows way back then or watched the matches live on NESN, the WWE Network really does offer a trip back in time.

It was so great to watch the December 1985 WWF card from the old Boston Garden, a matinee show that Continue reading

Mr. T — the newest member of the Hall of Fame — clicked because fans believed he was a tough guy

Mr. T is finally on his way into the WWE Hall of Fame — and deservedly so — as he was a large part of the reason that the first WrestleMania was a success and the WWF became a household name in the 1980s.

On March 31, 1985, in Madison Square Garden, T and Hulk Hogan defeated Rowdy Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event of Mania. This match stemmed from the War to Settle the Score match that Hogan and Piper fought a month earlier at MSG.

That earlier battle was broadcast live on MTV, and Mr. T, who was in the audience, stormed to the ring to save Hogan from a beatdown by Piper, Orndorff, and Cowboy Bob Orton (Randy Orton’s father). What a brilliant opportunity to shoot a big angle.

At the time of the first Mania, Mr. T was a cast member of a popular NBC show called The A-Team, which was about Continue reading

Andre the Giant Battle Royal: Could be a Cool New Mania Tradition

I welcomed the news straight from Hulk Hogan’s lips on Monday Night Raw that WrestleMania XXX will host the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

It’s a nice nod to Andre, who was instrumental in putting WrestleMania I on the map and was in the ring with Hogan during the biggest Mania main match ever at WrestleMania III.

WrestleMania could use a new tradition. For a while, fans looked forward to the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, but the WWE wisely Continue reading