Requiem for the WWE at the Meadowlands: 1981-2015

As a wrestling fan, it’s been sad to hear about the closing of yet another major arena that played such a big part of the sport’s history in the 1980s.

The New Jersey building currently called the Izod Center, but known by many as the Meadowlands, will close at the end of the March after losing its major tenants to competing, more modern arenas in the New York City area. The WWE had planned to hold this year’s SummerSlam at the Meadowlands, but now is on the search for another arena.

For old-school WWF fans, the arena originally made its mark as the site at which Bruno Sammartino originally retired as a full-timer on October 4, 1981, defeating George “The Animal” Steele.

The high point in the ’80s likely came with Continue reading

Like Bruno, Randy Savage resisted a Hall of Fame induction … but is now going in

Yes, you could argue about the historical veracity of the WWE’s Hall of Fame. No Lou Thesz. No Jim Londos. No Ed “Strangler” Lewis.

But Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Vince McMahon, Sr.’s driver, James Dudley, have gotten the nod.

Those arguments aside, within the WWE’s own history book, until recently no names were bigger omissions in the hall than Bruno Sammartino and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Sammartino finally got his due in 2013 after Triple H personally interceded to break the deadlock between Bruno and Vince McMahon, Jr.

And now, nearly four years after his death, the WWE will induct Savage.

Sammartino long resisted overtures into the Hall of Fame, and Savage also indicated he was against going in unless Continue reading

Ivan Koloff says he was strung out on coke during matches

Here are some things you might not know about the “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff:

  • He has an active Twitter account @IKoloff
  • His regular speaking voice is quite normal, and it’s hard to believe how long he performed the gutteral growl of the Koloff character
  • He was on cocaine during some of his matches

All of this more came up during Koloff’s recent podcast with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who said over and over how big of a fan he was of Koloff.

First, the drug issues: Koloff said like many wrestlers, he enjoyed drinking socially, which then led to too much booze, pain pills, and eventually coke.

“It just got so bad that after a while I was even wrestling under situations like that,” he told Austin. It was routine for him to wake up in the morning, smoke marijuana, and then run for three miles.

That sounds nuts, but I first saw Koloff Continue reading

Hogan tells Jericho about MSG and Gagne wanting Sheik to shoot on Hulk

Chris Jericho again posted an excellent podcast, this time with WWE legend Hulk Hogan in a two-parter.

I suppose I should first mention that Hogan has a penchant for outright lying and rewriting history whenever he does interviews. That’s how Hulk operates, so any of his stories must be scrutinized.

That said, Hogan told Jericho about when Vince McMahon approached him to be the flag bearer for McMahon’s national expansion plans. Hogan said he agreed less because of Vince’s big ambitions and more to get back to Madison Square Garden and the Northeast wrestling scene that the WWF had long ruled over.

“I felt whether [the expansion] would work or not, I wanted to go back to New York,” he said. “If you’re a wrestler, the biggest you can get is to wrestle in the Garden.”

“That Northeast, that’s wrestling up there. That’s where Continue reading

How wrestling fans got WWE house show tickets in the late 1980s

Like many blogs, I have an “About this Blog” page for my site that gives some of my background and explains what the theme is behind my posts.

Occasionally I get comments on this page, and a little while back, someone wrote about a point that I had not thought of in a long time: How we got tickets for WWF cards back in 1980s.

“Or even try to buy tickets to an event was a mystery (my parents were immigrants, had no credit card),” my commenter wrote. “I would have killed to go to WM3 as many others I knew, too. But again, the whole process was a lot tougher than the modern era, where the machinery of the process is much more efficient and widespread.”

These days you can find out on many of the wrestling websites what the passwords are for advanced tickets for WWE shows in major markets. I can know exactly when to buy tickets for cards at my hometown arena, the TD Garden here in Boston, or other big stadiums across the country.

Back in 1989, when I was going to monthly Saturday night WWF shows at the old Boston Garden, I grabbed tickets Continue reading

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