Back in 1983, what would TMZ have done with the death of Jimmy Snuka’s girlfriend?

As we watch the NFL squirm on the heels of allegations against players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to wrestlers back during the heydays of the WWE had the Internet been more prominent and TMZ had been on the prowl.

When I saw the video of Ray Rice cold-cocking this then fiance in an elevator, my mind went back to the story of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and his on-the-road-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. Argentino died in May 1983 under mysterious circumstances, and whether you believe Snuka was involved, there seems to be little doubt that the WWF did its best to keep that incident quiet from the public for a long time.

Let’s suppose Internet news organizations had existed 30 years ago. When Argentino died while traveling with Snuka, it would have made national news, and it’s likely Continue reading

Triple H talks to Chris Jericho about watching Saturday morning wrestling

I’ve got to hand it to Chris Jericho: He conducted an awesome podcast with WWE exec and multi-time champion Triple H about his early days in wrestling and getting hired by the WWE.

 

One of my favorite parts of the interview was when Triple H briefly talked about watching pro wrestling on TV in his youth. Triple H is 45 and grew up in southern New Hampshire, so it will be no surprise Continue reading

WWE’s new retro SummerSlam report with Mean Gene is hilarious

I wanted to make a quick post and a tip of my hat to the WWE and Mean Gene Okerlund for producing a tremendously entertaining, 1980s-retro preview of Sunday’s SummerSlam show.

If you haven’t seen the preview and you watched pro wrestling back in the ’80s, it’s worth watching to the very end.

 

Some of my favorite highlights: Continue reading

Orndorff, Piper, and Flair join Hulk Hogan for his 61st birthday

It was great to see 1980s stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Mean Gene Okerlund, and “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart join Hulk Hogan this week as Monday Night Raw celebrated the Hulkster’s 61st birthday.

Has it really been 30 years since Hogan climbed to the throne by taking his first WWF Heavyweight Championship? I remember that match so well.

All of those guys who made the rivalries so fun in the 1980s were looking old on Raw (well, except Hart), but they all got huge ovations from the crowd. And surely Paul Orndorff is giving serious competition to Daniel Bryan for the best facial hair in the WWE with Mr. Wonderful’s crazy mustache.

Ric Flair also came out during the birthday bash. Seeing Flair and Hogan in the ring acting chummy is still Continue reading

Comparing Rusev’s rise to the Iron Sheik’s famous run in 1984

I’ve been thinking a lot about current WWE foreign menace Rusev and what his future may bring.

For eons, pro wrestling has exploited either current world situations or long-standing xenophobia to create hugely effective heel characters. But it’s been a while since the WWE has put its force behind a foreign threat like Rusev, who is alleged to hail from Russia.

When I think of bad guys from other countries, my mind immediately goes to the Iron Sheik and his successful run in the WWF in 1983 and 1984. It’s possible in ’84 that the Sheik was the most hated guy in wrestling (the irony being he is a nice guy outside the ring, having met him before briefly).

 

Can the WWE replicate the Sheik’s atmosphere with Rusev all these years later? Longtime mid-carder Jack Swagger seems prepped to take the role of the All-American hero who will fight Rusev.

I read a piece by one of my favorite blogs, Ring the Damn Bell, which Continue reading

Summer has me thinking of the old small-arena shows on the WWF circuit

Summer is upon us, and I find my mind wandering back to the days when the hot temperatures would bring the WWF around to some of the smaller buildings for live action here in New England.

I hit most of the big arenas back in the day for house shows and TV tapings, such as the old Boston Garden, the Worcester Centrum (the DCU Center)today, the Providence Civic Center (now called — ugh — the Dunkin’ Donuts Center), the Springfield Civic Center (MassMutual Center currently), and the Hartford Civic Center (XL Center).

But I also fondly recall squeezing into sub-par stadiums to get a more close-up experience with pro wrestling, including these spots: Continue reading

Happy birthday to the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz

I was certainly surprised to read in the Wrestling Observer’s daily update that the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz turned 76 today.

Wow. Anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling in the 1980s and earlier will no doubt remember Rodz, who was a career-long jobber in the federation, but one who was taken seriously.

That may be a hard concept to grasp these days, but there was an upper echelon of enhancement talent that got respect from the fans. People like Rodz, Jose Luis Rivera, Baron Mikel Scicluna, Jose Estrada, S.D. Jones, and others gave the stars real fights during bouts.

My friend Tom likes to remind me that Rodz actually was a star in Continue reading