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
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
It was great to see 1980s stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Mean Gene Okerlund, and “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart join Hulk Hogan this week as Monday Night Raw celebrated the Hulkster’s 61st birthday.
Has it really been 30 years since Hogan climbed to the throne by taking his first WWF Heavyweight Championship? I remember that match so well.
All of those guys who made the rivalries so fun in the 1980s were looking old on Raw (well, except Hart), but they all got huge ovations from the crowd. And surely Paul Orndorff is giving serious competition to Daniel Bryan for the best facial hair in the WWE with Mr. Wonderful’s crazy mustache.
Ric Flair also came out during the birthday bash. Seeing Flair and Hogan in the ring acting chummy is still Continue reading
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was named the No. 1 manager in WWE history on the federation’s website last week.
Strangely enough, while I think you could easily rank Heenan as the greatest manager ever in wrestling, I might take umbrage with him being called the top WWE manager.
Don’t get me wrong – Heenan was menacing, funny, and effective as a mouthpiece for his various wrestlers. But his performances from the AWA may be even better than his WWF material.
Plus, being nostalgic as I am, I view the “holy trinity” of WWF managers as Captain Lou Albano (No. 5 on the list), the Grand Wizard (No. 7 on the list), and Classy Freddie Blassie (No. 4).
When I first started watching wrestling in 1981, these three 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
With the Boston Celtics battling it out with the Miami Heat in the NBA East Finals, I wondered about what nostalgic reinforcement the WWF could have provided the Celts from decades past: Continue reading
If you ask someone who was the greatest manager in the WWF, you’ll likely hear names like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Lou Albano, Fred Blassie, or the Grand Wizard.
But another person you shouldn’t leave off that list is Sensational Sherri Martel.
Martel was a former WWF Women’s Champion who transitioned to the heel manager role when ladies wrestling was phased out for a while. And she was an awesome manager who always played a character who was volatile and generated heat for whomever she accompanied.
She stayed ahead of the game by reinventing herself along the way: She initially got involved managing by briefly seconding the Honky Tonk Man during his feud with Randy “Macho Man” Savage in 1987, when she played Continue reading
It struck me after watching Monday Night Raw this week just how enduring Bret “Hitman” Hart is as a WWE star.
Hart and, ironically, Shawn Michaels, are probably the only wrestlers who grew out the tag team ranks of the 1980s to become huge singles stars (granted, the WWF tag team division Continue reading
Even by today’s tattoo standards — you know, the unwritten rule that 50% of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters must have ink on their arms or shoulders — Bam Bam Bigelow’s tats were wild. The guy had a fireball sketched on his head.
But I think what was even more surprising than Bigelow’s appearance was his impressive agility for a guy who appeared to weigh more than 350 pounds. He could dropkick foes and often went to the top rope. And he wasn’t afraid to bump for an opponent.
When he came into the WWF in 1987, I think everyone assumed he would be a heel. The bad guy managers like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Jimmy Hart vied for his services, but in the end Bigelow actually proved to be a babyface and hired Continue reading