I wanted to write a brief post on the death of Nikolai Volkof, who died on July 29 at age 70. Volkoff was a well-known heel in the 1970s WWWF, battling Bruno Sammartino among many others, before returning in to the WWF in 1984 to start the run he was most well remembered for.
Volkoff teamed with the Iron Sheik as a cartoonish bad guy duo managed by Freddie Blassie, and just before each of their matches began, Volkoff would sing Continue reading
For long-time wrestling fans in Massachusetts, the death of Blackjack Mulligan brings up an incident 45 years ago at the old Boston Garden that has lived in infamy since then.
Video tribute to Blackjack Mulligan released by Highspots.com, via Youtube
On May 15, 1971, Mulligan challenged new WWWF Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales. During the bout, a fan jumped into the ring Continue reading
Let’s continue my look back 30 years ago to the original WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden by running down the big matches on March 31, 1985. Please check my prior posts in this series about the build-up for WrestleMania and a review of the preliminary matches on the supercard.
- Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik defeat Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo to win the WWF Tag Team Title – The match was short, but all action and was probably the best in-ring performance of this Mania. Captain Lou Albano accompanied the babyfaces to the ring, while Classy Freddie Blassie managed Sheik and Volkoff. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, on color commentary with Gorilla Monsoon, actually claimed Volkoff was a former Olympian. There were some great, simple spots in the match, including Sheik accidentally dropkicking Volkoff (I’m not sure I ever saw Sheik do another dropkick since then) and a high backdrop by Rotundo. Fans at the time buzzed about the ending, when Sheik broke Blassie’s cane over Windham’s back, leading to the title change. Interesting to note that Rotundo performed in the original WrestleMania, and this year his son, Bray Wyatt, faces the Undertaker at WrestleMania 31.
- Andre the Giant defeats Big John Studd in the $15,000 bodyslam challenge – The rules were simple: If Andre slammed Studd, he would win $15,000 in cash in a duffel bag; if Studd wasn’t slammed, Andre had to retire. As you might imagine, this was the typical slow match these two often did, with the prerequisite
rest holdbearhug from Andre. The slam came out of nowhere, and then Andre attempted to throw the cash to the crowd, but Studd’s manager, Bobby Heenan, ran up and stole the bag from Andre. The crowd went nuts at the end of the match after getting the slam they wanted.
When I started watching pro wrestling in February 1981 (I can’t believe it’s been 31 years), Captain Lou Albano was known as the WWF manager of tag teams.
The first tandem I saw him guide was Rex and King, the Moondogs (Spot later joined the team after King was stopped at the Canadian border in real life and not allowed into the United States). Most of Albano’s teams, the Moondogs included, held the WWWF or WWF Tag Team Title.
Albano’s start in tag teams happened well before the ‘80s, as he managed several teams in the 1970s. Here is who I can remember Albano managing (and if I’ve got anything or missed a team, let me know): Continue reading
As some of you may have heard, former WWF Tag Team Champion Barry Windham has run into some serious health problems.
Windham was found collapsed on his family ranch by relatives on October 26. He had a heart attack, and may have suffered a stroke, also. Wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham interviewed Blackjack Mulligan, Windham’s father, who noted, “It was a very close call … we almost lost him.” Windham is now facing a long recovery at a rehabilitation facility.
I would have thought most WWF fans would remember Windham from his two reigns at Tag Team Champion with Mike Rotundo in 1985, but I’m surprised to say Continue reading
I guess every wrestling TV commentator has his sayings that take on a life of their own. Certainly, Jim Ross’ “slobber knocker” phrase is well-known to WWE fans, as is Jerry “The King” Lawler’s penchant for racy suggestions during diva matches.
But no one had more well-remembered one-liners than the chairman himself, Vince McMahon, back when he was the lead commentator on WWF Championship Wrestling in the 1970s and ’80s. Here is a collection of McMahon-isms that I bet many of you can still hear in your mind: Continue reading
The WWE likes to make a big deal of its second- and third-generation wrestlers. WrestleMania 27 at the Georgia Dome was no exception, as the event saw four multi-generational superstars appear, including the Rock (grandson of “High Chief” Peter Maivia and son of Rocky Johnson), Alberto Del Rio (son of Mexican star Dos Caras), Cody Rhodes (son of “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes), and Randy Orton (grandson of Bob Orton, Sr., and son of Cowboy Bob Orton).
But sons of pro wrestlers are nothing new. Did you know if you go all the way back to the first WrestleMania in 1985 at Madison Square Garden, there were also four second-generation wrestlers who competed? Here’s a list of them: Continue reading
Chances are even if you only attended WWF events in Boston during the 1980s, you were still familiar with matches held at the Philadelphia Spectrum.
Pro wrestling fans in Philadelphia right now may be feeling the same thing many of us here in the Hub felt when the old Boston Garden started coming down.
The Wrestling Observer noted Continue reading
Does anyone remember Barry Windham’s brief WWF run as the Widowmaker? It seemed like a very cool gimmick — a tall, tough cowboy, similar to Windham’s father, Blackjack Mulligan — but it never caught fire.
Prior to becoming the Widowmaker, Windham had many years of success in the NWA and WWF (he appeared at the first WrestleMania 1985 with Mike Rotundo, losing the Tag Team Titles to the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff). I remember seeing him debut as the Widowmaker in Continue reading