Like many of you, I’m still getting my head wrapped around the highs and lows of the last week and thinking a lot about the death of the Ultimate Warrior just one day after returning to the address his fans on Monday Night Raw.
I saw Warrior fight at the old Boston Garden plenty of times, and he was certainly an exciting guy to see run to the ring. The quality of his matches depended on whom he was in with. Personally, I think Warrior’s bouts with Ravishing Rick Rude were among his best.Embed from Getty Images
Warrior never had a spectacular or particularly historic match at the Garden, but here are three Warrior appearances in Boston that I remember well: Continue reading
I welcomed the news straight from Hulk Hogan’s lips on Monday Night Raw that WrestleMania XXX will host the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
It’s a nice nod to Andre, who was instrumental in putting WrestleMania I on the map and was in the ring with Hogan during the biggest Mania main match ever at WrestleMania III.
WrestleMania could use a new tradition. For a while, fans looked forward to the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania, but the WWE wisely Continue reading
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
The past couple of years have seen some long-time grudges being forgiven by the WWE.
Last year, Bruno Sammartino’s entry into the WWE Hall of Fame marked the end of a cold war between the WWWF icon and Vince McMahon. Now, word that the Ultimate Warrior is heading into the Hall of Fame also strikes me as reconcilliatory.
Warrior was certainly a unique character even by wrestling standards, both in the ring and outside. He was a limited worker, and had a promo style that Continue reading
I’ve gotta say, the announcement of the WWE Network seems to act as a hand reaching back in time to lost fans who don’t watch the product any more or who want to relive stuff from their childhood. I mean, how many times did the announcement make mention of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from WrestleMania III?
There’s little reason for any fan, current or erstwhile, not to give this streaming online network a shot. For $9.99 for an initial six-month commitment, you can see WrestleMania (at least this year) and the other monthly pay-per-views, which is a huge savings over ordering even just Mania on its own through cable TV or satellite. It’s clear the WWE wants a huge turnout of initial subscribers to impress stockholders and business analysts.
If the network takes off, it will mark the end of Continue reading
It’s incredible how many people end up on my blog searching for a long-lost prelim wrestler by the name of Silvano Sousa.
Sousa was quite active around the WWWF horn in the 1970s, but also kept busy in the early 1980s. For example, he wrestled for the WWF 52 times in 1980, according to The History of WWE website, and many of those matches occurred in Massachusetts — in cities like Fall River, New Bedford, and even North Adams.
Most of the time, at least in the ’80s, it appears Sousa was in the jobber vs. jobber match that was the mainstay of many WWF house show cards. It was not unusual to have three or four of these matches to round out the bigger match-ups on the show. It’s hard to believe in 2013 that fans paid money to see these matches live, but we did.
Anyway, one result of Sousa’s that cracked me up just imagining it was when Hulk Hogan, then a heel just before his big run in the AWA, fought Sousa and Pete “Duke of Dorchester” Doherty in a two-on-one encounter at the Worcester Auditorium. The Auditorium hosted wrestling in Worcester before the city built the Centrum (now DCU Center), and, in fact, when wrestling hit its dark days in the early 1990s, I remember seeing TV tapings at the Worcester Auditorium.
Back to the Hogan match: I’m sure Sousa joining forces with Doherty would be some long-time fan’s perverse dream team of unforgettable jobbers. Both of them had the great 80s hair-dos, and I can only imagine the selling they did to put over Hogan as he was preparing to fight Bob Backlund and Andre the Giant.
Sousa also had a short run in 1980 against Tor Kamata. I didn’t even realize Kamata still wrestled at that point.
Sousa, whom I believe is still alive, is a new inductee into the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Silvano has been a huge part of New England in and out of the ring, whether it be wrestling or training, and he finally gets his place in the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame,” according to his Hall of Fame bio.
Here’s an interesting final tidbit, with thanks again to The History of WWE site: On December 8, 1980, the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz defeated Silva in the opening match of a house show at Madison Square Garden. It was the same night Pedro Morales defeated Ken Patera to become Intercontinental Champion. It was also the same night John Lennon was shot and killed in New York.
I love indie wrestler Colt Cabana’s podcasts. I don’t get to listen to them as often as I’d like, but when I do, I’m vastly entertained. Cabana has a real knack for bringing out behind-the-scene stories from his guests.
Case in point: His recent podcast with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, one of the best heels from the 1980s. DiBiase recalled when Bam Bam Bigelow debuted in the WWF in 1987 with a bad attitude.
According to DiBiase, Andre the Giant took issue Continue reading
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