Tagged: Buddy Rose

30 years ago: The prelim matches at the first WrestleMania

In my prior post, I looked at the seeds planted in 1984 that began the push towards the original WrestleMania, as well as the build-up for the main event. Now let’s remember the actual card as we approach March 31, 2015, which will be 30 years after the first Mania.

The show took place at Madison Square Garden, beginning (ahem) at the ripe time of 1 p.m. Yes, you’d be home for dinner after the first WrestleMania. Here’s a rundown of the preliminary matches on the card:

  • In a surprise that I forgot about until I recently rewatched the event on the WWE Network, Mean Gene Okerlund sung the National Anthem. That’s quite a gap between Okerlund and Aretha Franklin two years later.
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  • Tito Santana defeated the Executioner – These days, it seems so odd that a WrestleMania opened with a series of jobber matches, but times have changed. The funny part about this match is that the Executioner was actually the late Playboy Buddy Rose under a hood. The mystery of this strange masked man was explained in Rose’s obit in the Wrestling Observer: Apparently Rose was set to come back to the WWF to feud with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat with Bobby Heenan as his manager, so the WWF didn’t want Rose losing as himself at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Rose, shortly before he was to shoot an angle with Steamboat after Mania, officials found him passed out in a dressing room, and he got canned.

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During this blizzard, a look back at a snow-bound Boston Garden wrestling card

As those of us in New England get ready to dig out of 20+ inches of snow from the Blizzard of 2013, my memories take me back to 1991, when some friends and I trekked out in the midst of another strong storm to head to the old Boston Garden for the monthly WWF show.

It wasn’t a blizzard on January 12, 1991, but it was a snowy, windy storm in the middle of the day — and naturally, we had a matinee card at the Garden to get to.

I was 19 at the time and still living at home, and I remember my mother going, “What? You’re still going?” as I was getting my jacket on. To me, at that age, there wasn’t even a question I was going. It’s amazing the shit you’ll travel in when you’re in college.

It was pretty rough ride into Boston. As we often did, we parked in Malden Center and hopped onto the MBTA Orange Line subway for the trip into Boston. And sure enough, there were plenty of other wrestling fans on the Continue reading

Bundy’s five count, Rude’s gyrations, and other heel traits from the ’80s

Man, I don’t know if it’s just nostalgia blinding me or if things really were different way back when, but it seems like heel mannerisms — the little actions or details that set one wrestler apart from another — are a lost art these days in the WWE.

Sure, Daniel Bryan has his “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant, and sometimes Dolph Ziggler does a handstand during his matches. But I can remember the trademark mannerisms of so many more bad guys from the 1980s WWF scene. For example:

  • “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff flicking the sweat off his brow onto a vanquished opponent. Continue reading

Bob Backlund wrestled an impressive array of challengers in 1982

Bob Backlund gets a bad rap these days. Most fans either remember him as the nutty heel who turned on Bret Hart in 1994 and briefly won the WWF Title before losing it to Diesel (better known as Kevin Nash), or worse, they remember his tenure acting as a kook for TNA Wrestling.

But for those of us who grew up watching pro wrestling in the early 1980s, Backlund was one of the biggest stars. Continue reading