Category: WWF 1980s angles

I’m reminded about what happens when you don’t return Mr. Wonderful’s calls

My friend, Ed, cracked me up a couple of days ago when out of the blue, he brought up how Hulk Hogan never returned “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff’s phone call.

That little conflict led to big money after Orndorff turned on Hogan in 1986.

“Let the thing go about the phone call.” What a classic angle.

UFC on Fox can take lessons from Saturday Night’s Main Event

Saturday’s UFC debut on the Fox network has some connections to pro wrestling beyond whatever hype UFC will give former WWE star Brock Lesnar’s return to the octagon.

The deal with Fox reminds me much of the WWF’s old Saturday Night’s Main Event shows, which starting in 1985 occasionally pre-empted Saturday Night Live on NBC. It was a huge deal at the time for the WWF to appear on network television.

There are lessons UFC can learn from the run Saturday Night’s Main Event enjoyed on NBC: Continue reading

Stevens and Albano brutalized Snuka to kick off his babyface turn

Many people, including me, point to the Piper’s Pit with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka as a seminal moment in the WWF in 1980s. I’ve argued that it’s perhaps the greatest angle ever in federation history.

We also remember fondly Snuka’s battles with Magnificent Muraco, including the now historic leap off the steel cage in Madison Square Garden.

But no discussion of Snuka feuds and angles would be complete without giving a nod to his babyface turn in 1982, during which he was beaten down and bloodied by Captain Lou Albano and Ray “The Crippler” Stevens. If you’ve never seen this angle, it is awesome and brutal. Continue reading

The night Slaughter and the Sheik headlined in Billerica, MA

My friend, Tom — a loyal reader of this blog — suggested a little while back that it would be fun to take a road trip through some of the old WWF cards I went to that weren’t at the Boston Garden, but at smaller, perhaps less venerable, sites.

When I think back to the 1980s shows I saw in high school gyms and college sports facilities, my mind always comes back to a card that occurred on July 25, 1984, at the Tully Forum in Billerica, MA. I was 13 at the time, and my brother, father (who hated wrestling), and a grown neighbor (who loved wrestling) all made the short trip to the hockey rink used by the then-University of Lowell (now UMass-Lowell). There was a legimate traffic jam trying to get to the forum.

As I have written in past posts, 1984 was a hot summer for the WWF in terms of feuds: you had Continue reading

Superfly Snuka and Pedro Morales had a minor feud in the summer of ’82

I was on the great History of WWE website just browsing through the results of 1980s WWF cards from the old Boston Garden, and in that arena in August 1982, WWF Champion Bob Backlund defeated Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka with Pedro Morales as guest referee.

This reminded me that Snuka and Morales had a brief feud in ’82 before the Superfly turned babyface. I don’t remember much about how the Morales-Snuka rivalry was set up, but I do recall an angle on Saturday morning Championship Wrestling during which Snuka Continue reading

In 1984, Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter set the stage for the first WrestleMania

Wow, the summer of the 1984 sure was a busy one for the WWF. You had Hulk Hogan still on his honeymoon with fans after winning the WWF Championship from the Iron Sheik in January. Speaking of the Sheik, he was blowing off his huge feud with Sgt. Slaughter in boot camp matches. And Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka were tearing it up after the infamous Piper’s Pit with the coconut.

But in the summer of ’84, there was also another match that had significant ramifications for the future, as it planted the early seeds for the first WrestleMania in 1985.

When Wendi Richter challenged the Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Women’s Championship, it was so much more than just a bout in the ring. Pop star Cyndi Lauper, who was an immense pop culture figure at the time thanks to her catchy tunes and MTV videos, helped jump-start the women’s title angle with Captain Lou Albano over the role of gals in society (you know, Albano championed the old “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” routine). Lauper and Albano each coached a female wrestler, with Lauper joining Richter, who at the time was being positioned as perhaps on the same playing field as Continue reading

Worked shoot promos are good, but great promos are better

So there’s a lot of interest and a ton of Internet buzz about what CM Punk will say and do on Monday night at the TD Garden in Boston during Monday Night Raw.

The insider wrestling community has been talking about Punk’s worked shoot interview from two weeks earlier, in which he addressed a bunch of taboo WWE topics before supposedly having his microphone turned off.

But in the bigger scheme, while I’ve enjoyed Punk’s performances in and out of the ring, I think the WWE continues to miss the mark on using Continue reading

To celebrate the Fourth of July, think back to the Slaughter-Sheik boot camp match

As we commemorate July 4, 2011, I think back to a match 27 years earlier that to me is the single most patriotic moment in WWF and WWE history. On June 16, 1984, Sgt. Slaugther finally defeated the Iron Sheik in a boot camp match at Madison Square Garden.

Slaughter had been a great heel in the WWF and NWA before a huge babyface turn in ’84 that made him among the most popular wrestlers in the country.

The set-up was simple: Continue reading

The predecessor to CM Punk’s worked shoot promo: Andre grabs Vince on Tuesday Night Titans

If you follow the WWE currently, you know CM Punk kicked the wrestling world in the ass with his worked shoot promo on Monday Night Raw this week. When a pro wrestling interview gets mainstream attention, you know someone hit a nerve.

Punk’s promo was reminiscent of mic work we saw nearly every week during the Monday Night Wars between WCW and the WWF in the late 1990s. So what Punk did isn’t new, but it hasn’t been seen in a long, long time.

However, in the WWF of the 1980s, when I first started watching as a kid, you almost never saw promos that pushed the line of a worked shoot.

I remember the occasional shoot interview — the most famous probably being when 20/20 reporter John Stossel told “Dr. D” David Schultz wrestling was fake and then got a nasty smack to the ear in response — but I don’t remember wrestlers of that era coming out and talking as if they had gone against the script.

About the only skit I can remember that left you wondering whether it was real was on Tuesday Night Titans in 1985, just before the first WrestleMania. Continue reading

It’s time to resurrect a gimmick match that doesn’t need blood

Look, I understand why Vince McMahon has stopped wrestlers from blading during matches. Advertisers might not appreciate bloody brawls and a PG-rated WWE probably should side-step such gore.

But I’ve seen enough steel cage matches by now to know we need a break from them in the WWE. Many of us old-time fans equate steel cage matches with blood, and without the “crimson mask,” they aren’t nearly as exciting. Even the hallowed Hell in the Cell has taken a tumble because it has become so tame after making its reputation on bloodbaths.

And few wrestlers can pull off a cage match by just working the crowd well. Bret Hart is among the handful of exceptions to that notion, as he was excellent at fighting cage matches without blood, which was also banned for a time when he was champion in the early 1990s.

There is, however, a gimmick match from the past that would work well today. You don’t need blood, it doesn’t involve any particularly dangerous stunts, and just about any fan can appreciate the match’s perception of pain.

I say bring back Continue reading