Mr. Fuji, perennial tag champ and star of ‘Fuji Vice,’ dies at 82

Many of us growing up in the Boston area during the 1970s and ’80s will best remember Mr. Fuji as a tag team champion wrestler who held the WWWF and WWF Tag Team Title five times with Professor Toru Tanaka and Mr. Saito.

For me, however, Fuji will stay forever in my mind for his slapstick comedy in skits with Magnificent Muraco, such as “Fuji Vice,” a parody of a hot TV show at the time called Miami Vice. If you’ve never seen “Fuji Vice,” then you must watch it right now below as an homage. I just did.


Fuji, whose real name was Harry Fujiwara, died on August 28 at the age of 82.

He had lengthy runs in the WWF as an active wrestler and then became the manager of stars such as Continue reading

It says it in print: I may have been my hometown’s biggest wrestling fan

I took a trip back in time thanks to an old buddy of mine who is a sports editor for some of the weekly newspapers here in Eastern Massachusetts, including for my hometown of Billerica.


From the Billerica Minuteman

My mother, of all people, tore out a story by my friend, Doug Hastings, that appeared in the Billerica Minuteman. She hand delivered it to me last week and said, “Read this.”

The column was about a local wrestler named Flex Armstrong, and Doug wrote it from the perspective of a long-time fan still finding excitement in wrestling after watching Armstrong compete in a match recently in Rhode Island.

I know a lot of WWE fans who still keep tabs on the independent pro wrestling scene, which is pretty active these days in the Boston area. Lowell, Mass., which is just north of Billerica, has hosted Chaotic Wrestling shows for years.

My favorite line in Doug’s story was this gem:

As a kid, there weren’t many bigger wrestling fans than me, although Billerica’s very own Scott Wallask might have me beat, but not by much.

Well, Wallask is me, and I got a good laugh out such high praise.

I met Doug in 1984 at a summer camp just as the WWF was beginning its national expansion. We were both still in middle school, and he was the first kid I ever met who was a unabashed fan of the heels, with his favorite Continue reading

On Smackdown, crowd chants for old-time favorite Bob Backlund

On July 19, I sat at ringside at the DCU Center in Worcester — we locals still call it the Centrum — to watch the draft between WWE Raw and Smackdown. And one of the biggest surprises for me of the night was the crowd’s reaction to former three-time WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund.

If you don’t keep up with wrestling these days, 66-year-old Backlund is back on TV, playing the role of a coach to current WWE wrestler Darren Young. Backlund has even gone as far as to “allow” Young to use his old finisher, the cross-face chicken wing.

In Worcester, at one point during Young’s match, the crowd erupted into a chant: “Backlund! Backlund! Backlund!”


It was great to see the audience in one of Backlund’s old WWF strongholds recognizing the WWE Hall of Famer after all these years.

Backlund first beat Superstar Billy Graham for the belt in Continue reading

The 1984 steel cage card in Hartford that I never heard of

I like to think of myself as having a vivid memory of 1980s WWF wrestling, and I can recall most angles and wrestlers from that decade. The last time I was truly surprised by something I never knew from that era was the original Royal Rumble that One Man Gang won in St. Louis.

But my friend, Ed, who is another long-time fan, mentioned to me a card he had just learned of from the early ’80s at the Hartford Civic Center that featured an unusual array of steel cage matches.


I’m not sure how or why I’ve never run across this, but sure enough, the great The History of WWE website lists the results as part of a show called “Steel Cage Turmoil,” which took place on November 23, 1984.

The highlight was a 19-match steel cage gauntlet, in which the winner of each contest kept advancing until they lost or won the whole thing. In the end, Big John Studd beat Continue reading

Blackjack Mulligan, known for an infamous assault by fan in 1971 at Boston Garden, has died

For long-time wrestling fans in Massachusetts, the death of Blackjack Mulligan brings up an incident 45 years ago at the old Boston Garden that has lived in infamy since then.

Video tribute to Blackjack Mulligan released by, via Youtube

On May 15, 1971, Mulligan challenged new WWWF Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales. During the bout, a fan jumped into the ring Continue reading

Thirty years ago, WrestleMania 2 put people to sleep

This year marks the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania 2, a lousy card that took place on April 7, 1986.

I’m not sure what to say about this show. Having just rewatched it recently on the WWE Network, Mania 2 was just as bad today as I remembered it back in the day. Even by 1980s standards, the matches felt rushed and there was no showstealer that you’d expect to see today.

This may have been the worst WrestleMania ever, with the only possible competition being WrestleMania IX.


The event — which took place on a Monday night — emanated from three arenas: Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY; Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) outside of Chicago; and Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Vince McMahon — who clearly believed Continue reading

Grand Wizard’s suit, Killer Bees mask spotted at Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

A few months back, I took road trip out from Boston along Interstate 90 to visit the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame during its last weekend at its location in Amsterdam, NY. In 2016, the hall will reopen in Wichita  Falls, TX.

I don’t know much about Wichita Falls, but I have visited Amsterdam a couple of times, and it’s a depressing old city that used to be a center for carpet factories. Now, the downtown where the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame was resembled a ghost town on a Saturday afternoon, with only some restaurants and a used clothing store open.

Hopefully Wichita Falls brings a better vibe to the hall of fame.

Inside, the hall was a two-story journey through wrestling history, with tons of framed posters, ring robes, and arena programs.

hall of fame 1

One of the Grand Wizard’s suit coats, as displayed at the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

Continue reading