It was 29 years ago this month that I attended my first pro wrestling card, a WWF show at the old Boston Garden. As the program image at the top of my blog shows, the main event for that afternoon was WWF Champion Bob Backlund against the Magnificent Muraco, who blew off their house show feud in the
15-foot-high 8-foot-high steel cage.
At one point Muraco missed a dive off the top rope as he tried to jam his taped spike thumb into Backlund’s throat. Backlund eventually escaped the cage (no pinfalls in WWF cages in those days), and I remember fans throwing trash at Muraco as he left the ring after the match.
One of the undercard bouts also still sticks with me to this day. Tony Garea and Rick Martel, the former holders of the WWF Tag Team Title, fought King Kong Mosca and the Masked Executioner.
My brother and I had dragged my father to the show, and we were also with a neighbor and his kid. There we all were, up in the great overhanging balcony seats of the Boston Garden, when someone in front of us started yelling at the Executioner. The hooded man looked up at the fan and gave him the finger.
Now in 1981, such gestures were not commonplace. Ironically, they wouldn’t be overly tolerated in today’s PG-rated WWE, either, which just goes to show the cyclical nature of wrestling. Of course, between 1981 and 2010 came the WWF’s “attidude era,” during which Stone Cold Steve Austin flipped the bird to his opponents on a nightly basis.
For the record, Martel pinned the Executioner with a sunset flip after Mosca got his arms tied up in the ropes. Martel wasn’t long for the WWF at that point. In 1982, he switched over to the AWA, and a couple of years later captured the AWA World Title. Martel came back to the WWF in the late 1980s to team with Tom Zenk in the Cam-Am Connection and later Tito Santana in Strike Force.