Atlee Greene, the author behind the Midnight Logic wrestling and MMA blog, recently ran two excellent posts about his first wrestling card at the old Boston Garden and attending WrestleMania XIV in 1998, which was at the TD Garden, the arena that replaced the original Garden.
Reading about Greene’s remembrances brought back a bunch of memories I had about going to the monthly WWF house shows at the old Garden in the 1980s and 1990s:
- The crowds got into the Boston Garden through two cramped turnstile areas on either end of the building (one was next to the box office and the other was situated against an old Strawberries record store). I remember going to a matinee show that was sold out, and a cop got on a bullhorn to tell people without tickets to get out of the building.
- Looking back, it’s amazing how many squash matches we watched in the Garden in the early 1980s. Generally, four out of eight or nine matches usually involved jobbers, which sounds crazy today. Then again, this practice kept Pete Doherty and Mac Rivera employed.
- If you catch any Garden matches from the ‘80s on YouTube, you’ll see that the ringside area was not surrounded by modern steel barricades, but by these black, wooden barriers.
- I’ve noted in a prior post how at just about every show during intermission, kids would hit the ringside floor area and put on their own matches, which the crowds got into with cheering before police eventually shooed the kids away.
- At the end of the shows, fans would jam into the Orange Line subway stop near the arena, and each side of the platform would try to out-shout the other with an old Miller Lite ad slogan. “Tastes great!” one side yelled. “Less filling!” the other platform responded. Sometimes the latter line was replaced with “Fuck you!”
- My friends and I often took the subway back to Malden, MA, where we would wait for a ride home. One night after a show, my friend, Diamond Dave, started cutting a loud Ultimate Warrior promo in the parking lot (and Dave had Warrior face paint on, too). Sure enough, a police cruiser pulled up, and the cop suggested we get the hell out of Malden.
A runner-up incident didn’t occur in Boston, but instead at the Worcester Centrum in 1989 at my first WWF TV taping. Tons of fans brought signs with them hoping to get on camera, and there were these two kids a few rows ahead of us with poster boards. The problem was that even after the matches started, these young tools still stood up with their signs, blocking our view.
My friend, Ron, kept yelling, “Sit the fuck down!” and one of the kids flipped him off. So Ron, who was wearing a leather jacket with small spikes in it, stood up and literally growled at them – which ended any further problems that night.