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Famous jobber Iron Mike Sharpe has died

I’m sorry for the lack of posts in the past several weeks — I have a lot to write about and it’s coming soon. But I wanted to quickly chime in and note the death of Iron Mike Sharpe, who passed away this past weekend.

I wrote about Sharpe not that long ago, and there isn’t more to say from my prior post. Sharpe was very well-known prelim wrestler who was given more credibility than a typical jobber, as he had a great name and leather forearm pad gimmick.

I ran across this old Piper’s Pit with Sharpe that I had forgotten about. Concerning the forearm pad, Sharpe tells Piper, “I break skulls with this thing.” Sharpe was 67 years old.


WWE announcers’ notes, 1980s style

A lot of people in the Internet wrestling community had a good time poring over several pages of leaked announcer’s notes that the WWE supposedly supplies it commentators with. Being in the hot seat as the lead announcer of Monday Night Raw means not only coming with your “A game” for a live broadcast, but also having to hear Vince McMahon likely yell at you throughout the night on your headset with his idiosynchratic rules about what to say and how to say.

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A subreddit on the Reddit site released the notes, and images of them got posted. If you haven’t seen them, it’s worth checking out if a) you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes production involved with commentators on WWE shows b) need some good wrestling humor.

You’ll see instructions such as not referring to championships as “belts,” encouraging announcers to “embellish the status of superstars,” and suggesting commentators read all week as a resource on the federation’s storylines.

With all of this in mind, it made me wonder what notes might appears on an announcer’s cheat sheet in 1982. You can just image McMahon or Gorilla Monsoon going over these: Continue reading

30 years ago: The build up for the first WrestleMania

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost 30 not-so-long years since the original WrestleMania took place on March 31, 1985, in Madison Square Garden.

With WrestleMania 31 coming up on March 29, 2015, I thought it would be fun to look at the history of the first Mania, starting in this post with the show’s build up.

The seeds for the original Mania got planted in July 1984, when Wendi Richter defeated the Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Women’s Title during a live MTV special. With pop star Cyndi Lauper in the corner of Richter and Captain Lou Albano seconding Moolah, the victory ushered in the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection to the video music generation. Later that year, Lauper was involved in an angle with Rowdy Roddy Piper, whom the WWF wisely inserted into the mix.

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The result was the War to Settle the Score, another MTV special featuring Piper challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF Heavyweight Title in February 1985. Actor Mr. T, at the time another huge star, was at ringside, and in wild ending scene, Continue reading

Hogan tells Jericho about MSG and Gagne wanting Sheik to shoot on Hulk

Chris Jericho again posted an excellent podcast, this time with WWE legend Hulk Hogan in a two-parter.

I suppose I should first mention that Hogan has a penchant for outright lying and rewriting history whenever he does interviews. That’s how Hulk operates, so any of his stories must be scrutinized.

That said, Hogan told Jericho about when Vince McMahon approached him to be the flag bearer for McMahon’s national expansion plans. Hogan said he agreed less because of Vince’s big ambitions and more to get back to Madison Square Garden and the Northeast wrestling scene that the WWF had long ruled over.

“I felt whether [the expansion] would work or not, I wanted to go back to New York,” he said. “If you’re a wrestler, the biggest you can get is to wrestle in the Garden.”

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“That Northeast, that’s wrestling up there. That’s where Continue reading

A grand jury in PA will re-examine the death of Snuka’s girlfriend in 1983

In an incredible twist of events, a grand jury in Pennsylvania will soon re-examine the evidence surrounding the mysterious death of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s girlfriend in 1983.

The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown, PA, ran a story today reporting that the Lehigh County District Attorney has announced a grand jury will take up the matter of Nancy Argentino’s death, which until about a year ago was a cold case. Last year, the newspaper and wrestling journalist Irv Muchnick raised questions about Continue reading

30 year ago this week: Hogan wins the title, Hulkamania is born

It was 30 years ago this week that Hulk Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik for the WWF Heavyweight Title, ushering in Hulkamania in wrestling and setting the stage for Vince McMahon’s national expansion.

Hogan’s victory also planted the initial seeds of the first WrestleMania, although I’m not clear if McMahon had a supershow in mind at this point.

As I wrote earlier, the Sheik had shockingly defeated Bob Backlund for the belt on December 26, 1983, at Madison Square Garden. At the next monthly house show at the Garden on January 23, 1984, Hogan challenged for the title and won.

The shift in champions and power was shocking in ’84 because Continue reading

Glad to be back on the blog, thanks for your patience…

It’s great to be writing again here — I feel like Don Muraco returning to the WWF in 1982 on his way to winning another Intercontinental Championship.

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on the blog. Between a renovations in my home and a new job in my kayfabe life, I really got behind in adding some memories here from the 1980s.

My friend, Ed, just emailed me about attending a WWE house show at the TD Garden in Boston over Labor Day weekend (I need to get back to Ed with an answer), and it made me realize that it’s been years since I’ve seen a card in Boston. It’s unbelievable how fast the years sped by from the late ’80s and early ’90s, when I would not miss a house show in Boston for anything.  Nowadays, we’re lucky if wrestling comes to Boston three or fours times a year, yet I’m on the fence about attending.

Just like sleeping until noon on the weekends, going to movie theater every week, and eating out whenever I liked, going to live WWF shows was something best played in my youth. Now, 30 years on, I can’t give Ed an automatic “Yes! Yes! Yes!” answer about attending. I still love wrestling, but it doesn’t speak to me like it did when I was a teen.

I think that’s the problem at lot of people from my generation are having these days with the WWE.

Please, WWE — Don’t exploit the Boston Marathon bombings

I live near Boston, so it’s been a rough week here reading about and seeing photos of the gruesome injuries suffered by victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

As anyone who’s followed wrestling for a while knows, such incidents usually get the minds whirring of Vince McMahon and his cronies.

So here’s hoping the WWE curbs any desire to capitalize on the bombings. We don’t need another anti-American heel or some plot in which McMahon’s limo blows up again.

Unfortunately, history bears witness that the WWE doesn’t always take the classy route. For example: Continue reading

Transcript of my interview with John Cena, Sr. about the first WrestleMania and Bruno Sammartino

I recently posted a podcast with John Cena, Sr. — the father of WWE superstar John Cena, who headlines WrestleMania 29 against the Rock — who talked to me about the first WrestleMania in 1985, Bruno Sammartino going into the WWE Hall of Fame, and his memories of the wrestling cards at the old Boston Garden. For those of you who were unable to hear the podcast or didn’t have time, below is the complete transcript of the interview. Continue reading

Remembering WWF referee Dick Woehrle, who has died

Word broke out on Monday that former WWF referee Dick Woehrle had died, including this announcement from the Wrestling Observer website.

I remember Woehrle vividly from all of those mornings I watched the WWF on WLVI-TV 56 in Boston, when Championship Wrestling aired. He was on almost every week alongside fellow refs Continue reading