I was shocked, along with many of you, to learn that Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart died suddenly on August 13. Neidhart, who was only 63, will always be remembered by 1980s WWF fans as part of the great Hart Foundation team with Bret “Hitman” Hart.
The Wrestling Observer reported the Neidhart died from complications after suffering a seizure, and that Neidhart also had Alzheimer’s Disease, which I did not know.
In an era of larger-than-life gimmicks and personalities, Neidhart easily still stood out with his crew cut, long goatee beard and pink tights. His interviews were nuts, and always peppered with his maniacal cackle.
Neidhart and Hart — who were brothers-in-law in real life — came the WWF in 1984-85 along with the Bristish Bulldogs as part of a weird deal where Vince McMahon tried to buy Continue reading
With the 2017 WWE Survivor Series coming up, I decided to watch a match I had not seen in a long time: The epic, 10-team Survivor Series elimination contest from 1988.
The bout culminated in a rare double turn, as Mr. Fuji — “the devious one,” said Gorilla Monsoon during commentary — betrayed Tag Team Champions Demolition and instead sided with opponents The Powers of Pain.
Ax and Smash of Demolition had been heels since their arrival, but Fuji’s actions made them babyfaces, and the opposite happened when the Powers of Pain — Warlord and Barbarian — lifted Fuji on their shoulders after winning the match.
The other notable thing that many long-time WWF fans remember about the match is 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
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
There is some interest about where the WWE plotline is heading with crooked referee Brad Maddox, who gave Ryback a low blow at Hell in the Cell, leading to a CM Punk victory.
Maddox brings back memories of perhaps the most infamous heel ref, Danny Davis, who peaked in 1987 with the gimmick.
Davis, who is from New Hampshire, was a longtime referee in the early 1980s for the WWF, often working the house shows at the old Boston Garden. He got wrestling experience in the ring by competing under a mask as Continue reading
Those of you who watch WWE Monday Night Raw have no doubt noticed the big beard sported by Daniel Bryan these days. There’s something about that crazy facial hair that adds to Bryan’s character.
Lots of guys have used beards to boost their gimmick. I’m sure many of you will immediately think of 1980s WWF mainstay Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, who had a stiff, reddish goatee that he stroked while cackling during his interviews. It was an unforgettable image, and it helped Neidhart.
I think Bryan is in the elite league, along with Neidhart and others, when it comes to bad-ass beards. The great Camel Clutch Blog was nice enough to run a post I wrote about great beards in wrestling, and I hope you’ll check it out and offer your thoughts either here or on the Camel Clutch site.
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