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
What a shock to hear from my coworkers today that the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes had died suddenly at age 69.
The first time I saw Rhodes in person was at a WWF show at the old Boston Garden in June 1989, when he substituted for Jake “The Snake” Roberts to wrestle “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Rhodes rolled up DiBiase for the pin and then proceeded to take some of DiBiase’s money and throw it to the crowd at ringside, which resulted in a huge roar from fans. It was a great scene.
The thing about Rhodes is that no matter what gimmick he had — polka dots, anyone? — and no matter who his opponent was, the guy was able to talk his way into fans’ minds and hearts. His promos should be studied by anyone who hopes to succeed in wrestling, because Rhodes understood emotion, how to connect with the audience, and how to sell big matches.
Sure, Rhodes was goofy in his WWF days. I know many people remember one of his early vignettes where he pretended he was a plumber, and got called to a house to unclog a toilet with shit in. “Is it brown? You talkin’ about sshocolate brown?” Rhodes asked the hilariously bad skit.
Rhodes didn’t wrestle at the Boston Garden all that much — three times in the 1980s, to be exact (thanks to The History of WWE website’s archives for the stats). Ironically, the first of those trio of matches was for the debut card of the NWA in the Garden, which was Continue reading
Mr. T is finally on his way into the WWE Hall of Fame — and deservedly so — as he was a large part of the reason that the first WrestleMania was a success and the WWF became a household name in the 1980s.
On March 31, 1985, in Madison Square Garden, T and Hulk Hogan defeated Rowdy Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event of Mania. This match stemmed from the War to Settle the Score match that Hogan and Piper fought a month earlier at MSG.
That earlier battle was broadcast live on MTV, and Mr. T, who was in the audience, stormed to the ring to save Hogan from a beatdown by Piper, Orndorff, and Cowboy Bob Orton (Randy Orton’s father). What a brilliant opportunity to shoot a big angle.Embed from Getty Images
At the time of the first Mania, Mr. T was a cast member of a popular NBC show called The A-Team, which was about Continue reading
This year’s WWE Hall of Fame announcements have already served as a strong nod to the 1980s wrestling scene, and as such, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ nomination.
Roberts is one of the most memorable stars to come out of that period for anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling at the time — those memories are despite him never holding a title in the federation or even being a great worker in the ring.
But Jake had a lot of things going for him: Continue reading
Well, one of the great mysteries of the 1980s may have been solved for me: Why Hulk Hogan never had a main event program with Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Roberts played a heel so well that people got into him and started to cheer him, sort of like what happened to Roddy Piper. Where Roberts had the advantage over Piper was that Jake had a killer finishing move, the DDT.
I’ll never forget early into Jake’s original run in the WWF when Mean Gene Okerlund asked him what DDT meant. And Roberts simply said, “The end.”
So why did such a hot heel never challenge Hogan either Continue reading
Back in 1986, the WWF did not have mats around ringside. Actually, few – if any – promotions put in those mats to help wrestlers break their falls doing moves on the floor, which in most cases are concrete or wood.
Those exposed floors had come into play during prior angles with memorable results, such as when Ray Stevens gave Jimmy Snuka two piledrivers on the concrete or Greg Valentine delivered a vertical suplex on the floor to Pedro Morales.
But perhaps no other incident at ringside could match what Jake “The Snake” Roberts did to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in May 1986. The two were scheduled to compete on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was an NBC show that 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
The babyface turn of Jake “The Snake” Roberts in 1987 wasn’t known for a particularly inventive angle or hot feud, but rather for a series of shots that were brutal by even old ECW standards.
And the incident actually legitimately injured Roberts.
At the time, Roberts was hosting an interview segment called the Snake Pit. Original, huh? Typical of wrestling, after the runaway success of Piper’s Pit, the WWF went back to that well over and over. We had the Snake Pit, the Body Shop with Jesse Ventura, the Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis, Blackjack Mulligan’s BBQ Pit, and the Brother Love Show.
Back to my original point: Roberts had the Honky Tonk Man as a guest, and during the skit Continue reading
A certain segment of the pro wrestling community was up in arms after Monday Night Raw featured an angle that played off the real-life heart attack and near death of Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Some said the angle was in poor taste, particularly when Paul Heyman feigned his own heart attack and WWE Heavyweight Champion CM Punk pretended to administer CPR.
But such garish actions on wrestling aren’t exclusive to 2012. Unfortunately for all of us, the McMahon family has set a low bar at least since the early 1980s about what types of angles and heat are appropriate.
Here are some less-than-stellar moments that I can recall growing up Continue reading
This world of wrestling we watch sure is a weird form of entertainment sometimes.
On Monday Night Raw, Jerry “The King” Lawler was taken out on a stretcher during the live broadcast after suffering a real-life heart attack.
Lawler’s woes are serious health concerns, and Michael Cole’s updates were somber.
But wrestling’s foolishness at times is brought upon by itself, so it’s no wonder that given Lawler’s very real circumstances, I am still thinking about the fake heart attack gimmicks I remember: Continue reading