Tagged: Gorilla Monsoon

Requiem for the WWE at the Meadowlands: 1981-2015

As a wrestling fan, it’s been sad to hear about the closing of yet another major arena that played such a big part of the sport’s history in the 1980s.

The New Jersey building currently called the Izod Center, but known by many as the Meadowlands, will close at the end of the March after losing its major tenants to competing, more modern arenas in the New York City area. The WWE had planned to hold this year’s SummerSlam at the Meadowlands, but now is on the search for another arena.

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For old-school WWF fans, the arena originally made its mark as the site at which Bruno Sammartino originally retired as a full-timer on October 4, 1981, defeating George “The Animal” Steele.

The high point in the ’80s likely came with Continue reading

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Austin comments on Steamboat vs. Hart: “That is what professional wrestling is supposed to be”

This post is a long time coming, but luckily nostalgia knows no boundaries, ha, ha.

A while back, I heard a Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast during which he interviewed Bret “Hitman” Hart. It was a great discussion between two of the biggest WWE stars ever. A surprise came, however, when Austin brought up a match Hart fought against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in the old Boston Garden.

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The match took place on March 8, 1986, just a few weeks before WrestleMania 2. A huge crowd of 16,000-plus fans was in attendance in Boston that night.

Hart had been in the WWF for about a year and was hitting his stride with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart as the Hart Foundation tag team. Steamboat was already one of the top performers in wrestling in the midst of his first WWF run after making his mark in the NWA.

Austin told Hart Continue reading

30 year ago this week: Hogan wins the title, Hulkamania is born

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

Ted DiBiase talks about the “Million Dollar Man” character, heels, and the basketball skit

It’s crazy to think that the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase just turned 60. Talk about a character who is timeless.

DiBiase talked about his classic character’s development with Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer and Figure Four Weekly website during a recent podcast. DiBiase said the circumstances that allowed him to create the Million Dollar Man gimmick aren’t around any more.

“I had time to develop my own character because I would watch Continue reading

With its only 2013 house show coming up, the future of MSG looks bleak for wrestling

I’ve been terrible about updating this blog, due to real life creeping in: new jobs, house renovation loose ends, blah, blah. It doesn’t help that the current WWE product is teetering on boring, too.

The ironic part is I have so much to write about. I keep these little notes on paper or in my email draft folder of topics to post on, and they’ve just been sitting there.

One of the biggest things bothering me these days is Madison Square Garden and just how far this arena has fell in prominence in the WWE. Back in October, we had the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Snuka’s cage match with Magnificent Muraco at MSG, during which Snuka dove off the top of the cage, creating one of the most iconic moments in WWE history.

And now look at Madison Square Garden. As of this writing, the arena has had exactly zero wrestling cards in 2013. There is the annual (albeit routine) Christmas week house show at Madison Square Garden coming up on December 26, and the WWE hosted its 2013 Hall of Fame at the arena. That’s it for wrestling in the house that Bruno Continue reading

Bobby Heenan rings the bell during a match to help Hercules

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was one of those guys in wrestling who had great comedic talent.

Whether you watch some of his classic stuff from the AWA with Nick Bockwinkel and catch him at his best in the WWF (I loved his reaction when Paul Orndorff fired him on Tuesday Night Titans), Heenan could really crack you up.

One of the biggest laughs “The Brain” got out of me occurred in Madison Square Garden in Continue reading

Tonight at the Hall of Fame, Sammartino and Backlund get some respect back

So, this weekend, in the shadow of WrestleMania 29, two of the biggest omissions in the WWE Hall of Fame will be corrected.

Madison Square Garden has lost its luster as the “Mecca of professional wrestling,” as Gorilla Monsoon used to call it, but it is appropriate that Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund — each of whom headlined dozens of cards at the arena during their tenures as WWF Heavyweight Champion — will get their due tonight at MSG during the Hall of Fame induction.

As I’ve written many times on this blog, Continue reading