I’ve been terrible about updating this blog, due to real life creeping in: new jobs, house renovation loose ends, blah, blah. It doesn’t help that the current WWE product is teetering on boring, too.
The ironic part is I have so much to write about. I keep these little notes on paper or in my email draft folder of topics to post on, and they’ve just been sitting there.
One of the biggest things bothering me these days is Madison Square Garden and just how far this arena has fell in prominence in the WWE. Back in October, we had the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Snuka’s cage match with Magnificent Muraco at MSG, during which Snuka dove off the top of the cage, creating one of the most iconic moments in WWE history.
And now look at Madison Square Garden. As of this writing, the arena has had exactly zero wrestling cards in 2013. There is the annual (albeit routine) Christmas week house show at Madison Square Garden coming up on December 26, and the WWE hosted its 2013 Hall of Fame at the arena. That’s it for wrestling in the house that Bruno built.
Back when I started watching the WWF in 1981, MSG got a house show every month, just like many of the other East Coast cities did. But the shows at MSG meant something more then, as often the big blow-off matches occurred there.
Nowadays, I can’t even argue that Madison Square Garden is a big deal in wrestling. It sure ain’t “the Mecca of professional wrestling,” as Gorilla Monsoon used to call it. And that’s sad, given the history of the building. WrestleManias I, X, and XX were held there, as was the first SummerSlam. Many of the WWE Heavyweight Title changes occurred there in the days before monthly pay-per-views. Sgt. Slaughter had epic, feud-ending battles with Pat Patterson and the Iron Sheik in the arena.
And now we get to see John Cena fight Randy Orton as the main event on December 26. Yawn.
With news earlier this year that officials in New York City are pushing for MSG to relocate so that the city can renovate Penn Station underneath the arena, it’s starting to sound like the setting from which many of us saw so many important matches might be facing demolition within the next 10 years.
If that happens, it just adds the to obituaries of major sports arenas that were WWF mainstays during the 1970s and 1980s. My grieving the loss of the old Boston Garden to the wrecking ball in 1998 was one of my main motivations to writing this blog originally. The Spectrum in Philadelphia faced a similar demise in 2010.
But the possible end of MSG comes across even worse because of how the WWE turned its back on the arena. I get it, there are financial pressures, super-high rent at MSG, and more modern arenas in the metro NYC area. And you can’t cling to nostalgia.
But how is it possible that an arena that played a pivotal part in WWWF, WWF, and WWE history for the first 30 years of the company’s existence is now an afterthought?