I’m quite late — two months!?! — in getting up another post about the late Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and the mark he left on the fans in Boston during his WWF heyday in the 1980s.
The first time I ever saw Heenan live was at the old Boston Garden, when he appeared as a manager at a house show in March 1987, just a few weeks before WrestleMania III.
Heenan managed Hercules and Paul Orndorff, who teamed up with Adorable Adrian Adonis to face Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Billy Jack Haynes in an elimination match. It remains one of my favorite personal matches I ever saw live, largely because it was allegedly Piper’s Continue reading
This year marks the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania 2, a lousy card that took place on April 7, 1986.
I’m not sure what to say about this show. Having just rewatched it recently on the WWE Network, Mania 2 was just as bad today as I remembered it back in the day. Even by 1980s standards, the matches felt rushed and there was no showstealer that you’d expect to see today.
This may have been the worst WrestleMania ever, with the only possible competition being WrestleMania IX.Embed from Getty Images
The event — which took place on a Monday night — emanated from three arenas: Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY; Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) outside of Chicago; and Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Vince McMahon — who clearly believed Continue reading
Man, it still feels so weird to think Rowdy Roddy Piper is dead. So many of the great times I had with WWF pro wrestling growing up centered on angles and matches with Piper. He was so entertaining at his peak.
Piper has some interesting history in the old Boston Garden. For those who don’t know, the Garden was an arena built in 1928 that was torn down 60 years later to make way for the stadium now known as the TD Garden. By the time I was going to WWF shows at the old Garden in the 1980s, it was run-down place with old, rickety seats that were way too small and the occasional rat scampering along the walls upstairs. It also had an overhanging balcony that gave you a great view for hockey, basketball, or wrestling — thus the name of my blog.
I first saw Piper live sitting in that balcony, taking on Bruno Sammartino in their first match in Boston following a famous Piper’s Pit at Madison Square Garden during which Piper called Sammartino a “wop.” Piper’s feud with Bruno is well remembered in Boston, and in their initial quick meeting, Piper was DQ’d.
After a tag team rematch in January 1986 that included “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Cowboy Bob Orton, Piper and Sammartino clashed in a steel cage match that is still talked about today here in Boston. Piper was at his bad-guy best in this bout, even taping posters of the Chicago Bears onto the cage to razz Boston fans who had seen the Patriots go down to the Bears in that year’s Super Bowl.
Sammartino beat a bloody Piper in the match, which drew on of the largest crowds I can ever recall at the old Garden: 16,180. It was the same night that Continue reading
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.
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
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
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
It was 28 years ago today – on November 3, 1984 –that Hulk Hogan fought Rowdy Roddy Piper at the monthly Saturday night house show at the old Boston Garden.
Not surprisingly, the match drew a healthy 15,635 fans to the Garden, according to the Boston Globe sports section, which used to run the results and attendance on Sunday morning. I took notes on the results back when I was in my teens, and still have them today in a notebook.
This was a rematch from the prior month, when Piper Continue reading
Former WWF upper-tier prelim wrestler Jim Powers made the news earlier this week with word that he was in the hospital with a serious infection following hip replacement surgery.
“[Powers] is currently in a rehab facility receiving antibiotics through an IV,” according to the Wrestling Observer website. “He is expected to be in the facility for at least another two weeks and then will have to get another hip surgery.”
Powers was an S.D. Jones-level star in terms of Continue reading
Anyone who follows the WWE scene today knows that part of World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus’ gig is that he in an extremely pale Irishman — thus the nickname “Great White.”
Sheamus may be the whitest star in the WWE in the last 25 years, before which another pasty pro wrestler graced WWF rings: the Mighty Hercules.
Hercules, also known as Hercules Hernandez, was another guy who clearly never Continue reading