Two Christmas memories I have from the WWE

I don’t really associate pro wrestling with Christmas. Boston didn’t have holiday shows the way Dallas or other territories did.

However, having grown up watching WWF wrestling in the 1980s, there are two incidents that I do recall that occurred near Christmas:

  • On December 26, 1983, the Iron Sheik pulled off an upset by defeating Bob Backlund for the WWF Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden. In what at the time was a famous ending, the Sheik had Backlund in the camel clutch when Backlund’s manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel, signaling a forfeit of the belt. The Sheik lost the title to Hulk Hogan about a month later. The old Boston Garden saw one of the Sheik’s few title defenses against Backlund. Interesting, when Backlund returned in 1994 to defeat Bret Hart for the same title, a towel was thrown in on Hart.
  • On December 28, 1984, Rowdy Roddy Piper smashed a gold record over the head of Captain Lou Albano, in what was (in hindsight) the first angle leading to the original WrestleMania. All these years later, I still can’t believe MTV aired this attack a few days after it occurred, but this was during the heart of the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection.

Happy holidays, everyone.

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One comment

  1. Joe Lowry

    Its hard to believe that the Bob Backlund – Iron Sheik WWF Title Match was 29 years ago. I remember that Saturday morning when my phone rang off the hook. As we all watched Saturday morning’s edition of All Star Wrestling on WLVI Channel 56. To everyones shock and amazement, Bob Backlund lost the WWF title to the hated Iranian. Although stories have unfolded as to why this happened and how it happened. I too was shocked when they showed this match and its end result. At the time this was major, major news. Backlund was the reigning champ about to enter his sixth year as world champion. He was unbeatable and remained that way up until this match. To this day its hard to comprehend a championshp reign of this magnitude. I was three years into having cable tv in my home and I watched every showing I could to see this match. Flipping from WOR TV & WPIX TV both out of New York to make sure this was a legitimate storyline. My friends and I could not believe that the WWF had a hated champ. Of course the reign of the Iron Sheik was breif as one month later in the same arena, he lost the belt to Hulk Hogan. And we all know the rest of that story. But nonetheless, this match and the timing of it made someones Christmas memory special….

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