I can’t believe it’s been three decades since a moment that until many years later was probably the single most shocking thing I had experienced as a young pro wrestling fan: The Iron Sheik winning the WWF Heavyweight Title from Bob Backlund.
The match took place on December 26, 1983, in Madison Square Garden. The Sheik had attacked Backlund a few weeks earlier on WWF Championship Wrestling and clobbered the champ with a pair of Persian clubs. None of this really indicated a title change, as Backlund was always involved with angles with his challengers on TV.
During the match, the Sheik applied his finisher, the camel clutch, to Backlund in the middle of the ring. As Backlund struggled, his manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw Continue reading
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was named the No. 1 manager in WWE history on the federation’s website last week.
Strangely enough, while I think you could easily rank Heenan as the greatest manager ever in wrestling, I might take umbrage with him being called the top WWE manager.
Don’t get me wrong – Heenan was menacing, funny, and effective as a mouthpiece for his various wrestlers. But his performances from the AWA may be even better than his WWF material.
Plus, being nostalgic as I am, I view the “holy trinity” of WWF managers as Captain Lou Albano (No. 5 on the list), the Grand Wizard (No. 7 on the list), and Classy Freddie Blassie (No. 4).
When I first started watching wrestling in 1981, these three Continue reading
The Art of Wrestling podcast had a tremendous interview with Steve Lombardi, a.k.a. the Brooklyn Brawler, who is one of those competitive prelim wrestlers everyone remembers from the 1980s.
The interview was conducted by well-known independent wrestler Colt Cabana, and as such, had plenty of behind-the-scenes Continue reading
In a recent online radio interview on the Wrestling Observer website, Hacksaw Jim Duggan remembered his feud with Andre the Giant in 1988 as the biggest point of his career. The start of the program occurred when Duggan KO’d Andre with his 2×4 on TV.
“Knocking out Andre with a 2×4 Continue reading
A WWF rematch 31 years in the making is taking place next week as former WWF Champion Bob Backlund will return to the ring to wrestle former WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera.
The match takes place on August 12, 2011, at the Legends & Icons show put on by Juggalo Championship Wrestling, the group run by the crazy hip-hop act Insane Clown Posse.
Backlund and Patera had a series of matches in Madison Square Garden in 1980 that culminated in a no-holds-barred Texas death match on May 19, 1980. Back then, readers of the Wrestling Observer voted it match of the year.
The match starts off slow, but picks up about 15 minutes in when Patera Continue reading
Back when Bob Backlund was WWF Champion in the early 1980s, he was often pushed as someone who had freakish conditioning. At times he demonstrated his cardiovascular prowess with some unusual exercises.
I remember him doing a routine where he knelt on the floor and used a wheel with a bar through the middle of the wheel, and he would roll the wheel with his hands, extending out from his chest and stretching the wheel on the floor well past his head.
And then there was the Harvard step test, which was a simple exercise where you placed a small set of steps in front of you, and then you climbed up a step and back down to the floor over and over and over.
In 1983, Sgt. Slaughter, who claimed to have set a Harvard step test record Continue reading
In 1978, Bob Backlund defeated Superstar Billy Graham for the WWWF World Title. Soon after, Graham left the federation.
When he returned in 1982, he had shaved off his trademark bleached-blond hair, grown a mustache, and assumed a martial arts gimmick. But his return was big enough that even five years later, he immediately was put into the WWF World Title picture to chase Backlund, who still had the belt (save for a brief title switch from Backlund to Antonio Inoki, back to Backlund in 1979).
Those of us watching pro wrestling in 1982 will remember well the angle in which Continue reading