In 2012, Night of Champions is in Boston; in the ’80s, we only got house shows at the old Boston Garden

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.

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One comment

  1. Joe Lowry

    The golden era of wrestling for me at the Garden was definitely the 80’s. The once a month shows always brought excitement into my life. I remember fondly going into town and buying my tickets at this place on the corner of Tremont and Stuart Streets. For some reason I always sat in loge 1 section where the wrestlers came out. It was always fun sitting in that section. The excitement of the crowd when looking down into the tunnel to see who was wrestling next was awesome! Especially when Andre the Giant was on the card. He would have to duck his way up into the entrance way. If memory serves me right, I do believe they announced the upcoming months card during the intermission. So that always gave me a chance to plan my day as to when I would go into town to pick up the tickets. As for PPV’s at the Garden in the 80’s, we never got one. The closest thing we got to a PPV was The Innaugural “King of the Ring” tournament held in Foxboro, MA at the old Sullivan Stadium (where the New England Patriots used to play). There were two KOR tourneys actually. The first one was held on July 8, 1985 when Don Muraco won it. The success of this stadium show brought it back again the following year on July 14, 1986 when “King” Harley Race won the tournament. The Garden did not see its first PPV event until the early 90’s when they hosted Survivor Series in 1993.

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