Bundy’s five count, Rude’s gyrations, and other heel traits from the ’80s

Man, I don’t know if it’s just nostalgia blinding me or if things really were different way back when, but it seems like heel mannerisms — the little actions or details that set one wrestler apart from another — are a lost art these days in the WWE.

Sure, Daniel Bryan has his “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant, and sometimes Dolph Ziggler does a handstand during his matches. But I can remember the trademark mannerisms of so many more bad guys from the 1980s WWF scene. For example:

  • “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff flicking the sweat off his brow onto a vanquished opponent.
  • Ravishing Rick Rude doing his “What I’d like to have right now…” announcement followed by his male stripper gyrations before each and every match.
  • Barry O — uncle of Randy Orton and brother of Cowboy Bob Orton — standing on the middle rope and playing orchestra conductor as the crowd chanted, “Boring! Boring!” during his prelim matches. Anyone who attended a WWF house at the old Boston Garden in 1985 will remember O’s act.
  • The Iron Sheik saying, “Camera man, zoom it,” before doing a ridiculous bodybuilding pose.
  • His partner, Nikolai Volkoff, singing the Soviet national anthem before matches, back when the former USSR was a constant, yet vague, threat to the United States.
  • Mr. Fuji throwing ceremonial salt in the corner prior to the bell ringing for a bout.
  • King Kong Bundy’s great five-count gimmick, during which he made the ref slap the mat five times instead of three when Bundy pinned a jobber.
  • An overweight Playboy Buddy Rose doing a one-armed push-up.
  • Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart’s crazy cackle while he stroked his equally crazy goatee.
  • Mr. Perfect spitting his gum out and slapping it into the crowd before locking up with opponents.

I know I’m missing other ’80s heels here. Help me out in the comments section…

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Debating the merits of the worst sibiling wrestlers in the 1980s « Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Rusty Brookes

    Thought of a few more:

    Hercules Hernandez stamping the mat on his ring introduction

    The Rougeau Brothers waiving their little US flags (and their absolutely killer entrance theme)

    Roddy Piper poking his opponents in the eye

  3. Rusty Brookes

    Kamala rubbing his belly and going for the big splash off the top rope on a jobber after the match

    Iron Shiek – “Iran Number One! Russia Number One! America – herk”

    Jimmy Hart screaming “You got him baby!” through the megaphone

    Slick bobbing around in the background while one of his charges cuts a promo

    Jake Roberts putting Damian the snake on his vanquished opponent

    Ted DiBiase stuffing a $100 note in a defeated jobber’s mouth

    The Honky Tonk Man on the mike saying “You’re a beautiful audience” as the crowd booed

    Cowboy Bob Orton insisting his arm was still broken requiring the use of the plaster cast (people still refer to that injury 25 years later here in Australia)

    Randy Savage pointing to the sky before dropping the big elbow

    Barry O’s “O” sign with his arms on his ring introduction

    John K9s double wrist cross on his introduction

  4. Joe Lowry

    The thinking cap is really on now…Big John Studd and his endless attempts of having ringside fans atttempt to body slam him for the $15,000..

    Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase always getting some poor ringside fan to kiss his foot for $100…

    Tito Santana’s “Arriba!” shout out after being introduced by the ring announcer..

    I dunno I am trying here…:-)

  5. Joe Lowry

    Ok I am trying here..what about the Hillbillys, Jim and Uncle Elmer and there god awful pail of spit they used to throw onto helpless opponents?

  6. Joe Lowry

    I remember the tag team of Fugi and Saito and they did a pre match ritual (similar to those of Sumo wrestlers) in which it ended with Mr. Fugi’s traditional salt throw. Thats one, lemme think of some more..but interestingly enough I came across this tidbit online a couple of days ago…courtesy of the bleacher report…

    “Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day known as “Black Saturday,” when the WWF took the timeslot of WTBS, which had broadcasted Georgia Championship Wrestling’s show “World Championship Wrestling” for the previous 12 years. This became the wrestling equivalent of “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” and was the first event in the timeline that had the World Wrestling Federation become the group that it is today.”

    I never knew this was referred to as “Black Saturday.” I do remember this happening. I find it interesting as well that Vince was able to garner this time slot from Ted Turner whom he would later do business with in 2001. Of course I am referring to Vince’s purchase of WCW.

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