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.
I don’t want to be a shill for the WWE, but I have to say, I am enjoying the WWE Network — I haven’t even checked out a single pay-per-view or any of the wrestling themed spin-off programs on the network.
Instead, I’ve been spending my time reliving some great memories from the house show cards of the 1970s and ‘80s (they’re under the Vault heading as old school matches on the network’s menu).
For those of you who attended the Boston Garden shows way back then or watched the matches live on NESN, the WWE Network really does offer a trip back in time.
It was so great to watch the December 1985 WWF card from the old Boston Garden, a matinee show that 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
I used to get a kick out of Jesse “The Body” Ventura busting Tito Santana’s balls when Ventura served as a heel color commentator on the syndicated Championship Wrestling show, which we saw in Boston every Saturday morning.
Ventura always used to refer to Tito instead as “Chico Santana,” which in turn constantly drew a reaction from straight man commentator Vince McMahon. The exchange went something like this: Continue reading
For a brief period, Brock Lesnar appeared to have kidnapped Shawn Michaels this week on Monday Night Raw, before showing up at ringside with a broken Michaels over his shoulders.
The kidnapping angle brought back memories of perhaps the most famous heist in WWF history in 1988, when Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and the Islanders stole Matilda, the canine mascot of the British Bulldogs.
Heenan is hilarious during the Continue reading
So my boss at work mentioned that he recently checked out an episode of Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. After a few minutes, he became unimpressed with Ventura’s strange choice of people to interview.
” ‘The Body’s’ Conspiracy Theory show had about as much credibility as he did when he beat Tony Garea in 1985,” my boss wrote to me by email.
Wow. That single line sent me back in time, because while a teen, I can vividly recall watching Ventura and Garea fight on Prime Time Wrestling in June 1985.
The part of the match I remember the most is 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