So we’ve got the WWE’s Night of Champions pay-per-view this weekend in Boston at the TD Garden, and it’s common to have Monday Night Raw roll through town, too.
It’s so different than in was when I started watching wrestling in the early 1980s, when the old Boston Garden didn’t even have big shows. Instead, the arena was on the monthly house show touring circuit of the major Northeast cities. In those days, only Madison Square Garden really had shows the people paid attention to.
Currently, the WWE comes to Boston maybe three or four times a year. Back in the day, it was 11 or 12 times year, and for most fans, the Garden was the only place in the Boston area to see the WWF Heavyweight Title defended by Bob Backlund or Hulk Hogan (unless you got USA Network in the early days of cable, which sometimes broadcast live house shows from MSG or the Capital Center in Maryland).
I’ve written a lot about the atmosphere of the house shows in Boston in the ’80s. The cards were almost always on the first Saturday night of each month, with maybe a matinee show at 1 p.m. once a year.
If you wanted good seats to the cards (for me, the best seats in the Boston Garden were in the front row of the center balcony because of how low the balcony hung over the floor), you had to get to the box office the Monday after a card and wait in line with people. And yes, there were nutty people like me who really did choose to wait in line for a house show.
But those house shows are some of my favorite memories of wrestling.