King Kong Angelo Mosca had two major angles during his brief time as a WWF headliner in 1981. One was the much remembered incident during which he whacked Pat Patterson in the head with a water pitcher.
But there was also the time Mosca made WWF Champion Bob Backlund go nearly berserk.
Mosca was wrestling a Saturday morning TV squash match (it might have been against Rick “Quick Draw” McGraw, but I’m not 100% sure about that) and Backlund was either in the corner of Mosca’s opponent or sitting at ringside.
Mosca no doubt was too aggressive with his foe, which prompted Backlund to get involved. At some point, Mosca took over and bodyslammed Backlund upside down into the corner, grapevining his leg over the top rope in a move later known as the tree of woe.
And then Mosca just spit on Backlund.
To me, a heel spitting on a babyface is an insult that almost anyone in the crowd can understand and be enraged about. While most fans probably can’t appreciate what’s it’s like to be suplexed in a ring, just about everyone understands how humiliating it would be to get spit upon. Spitting is an underutilized tactic in angles.
And Backlund’s reaction was great. Mosca bailed from the ring and Backlund finally got himself untangled from the ropes. Vince McMahon came over for an interview about what happened and Backlund went nuts, yelling for Mosca to come back and screaming, “Nobody spits on me!” And to emphasize the point, he ripped off his shirt and suit vest.
Backlund rarely lost his cool on TV, so when he did, you noticed. Backlund and Mosca had a series of matches for the WWF Title around the horn. Mosca beat the champion by countout in August 1981 at the old Boston Garden, but the next month, Backlund avenged himself by pinning Mosca in a return bout.
In an interesting side note, when Mosca retired from the ring, he had a short run as a color commentator for the WWF’s B syndicated show, All-Star Wrestling (which later morphed into Wrestling Challenge).