I was certainly surprised to read in the Wrestling Observer’s daily update that the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz turned 76 today.
Wow. Anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling in the 1980s and earlier will no doubt remember Rodz, who was a career-long jobber in the federation, but one who was taken seriously.
That may be a hard concept to grasp these days, but there was an upper echelon of enhancement talent that got respect from the fans. People like Rodz, Jose Luis Rivera, Baron Mikel Scicluna, Jose Estrada, S.D. Jones, and others gave the stars real fights during bouts.
My friend Tom likes to remind me that Rodz actually was a star in Continue reading
It’s incredible how many people end up on my blog searching for a long-lost prelim wrestler by the name of Silvano Sousa.
Sousa was quite active around the WWWF horn in the 1970s, but also kept busy in the early 1980s. For example, he wrestled for the WWF 52 times in 1980, according to The History of WWE website, and many of those matches occurred in Massachusetts — in cities like Fall River, New Bedford, and even North Adams.
Most of the time, at least in the ’80s, it appears Sousa was in the jobber vs. jobber match that was the mainstay of many WWF house show cards. It was not unusual to have three or four of these matches to round out the bigger match-ups on the show. It’s hard to believe in 2013 that fans paid money to see these matches live, but we did.
Anyway, one result of Sousa’s that cracked me up just imagining it was when Hulk Hogan, then a heel just before his big run in the AWA, fought Sousa and Pete “Duke of Dorchester” Doherty in a two-on-one encounter at the Worcester Auditorium. The Auditorium hosted wrestling in Worcester before the city built the Centrum (now DCU Center), and, in fact, when wrestling hit its dark days in the early 1990s, I remember seeing TV tapings at the Worcester Auditorium.
Back to the Hogan match: I’m sure Sousa joining forces with Doherty would be some long-time fan’s perverse dream team of unforgettable jobbers. Both of them had the great 80s hair-dos, and I can only imagine the selling they did to put over Hogan as he was preparing to fight Bob Backlund and Andre the Giant.
Sousa also had a short run in 1980 against Tor Kamata. I didn’t even realize Kamata still wrestled at that point.
Sousa, whom I believe is still alive, is a new inductee into the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Silvano has been a huge part of New England in and out of the ring, whether it be wrestling or training, and he finally gets his place in the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame,” according to his Hall of Fame bio.
Here’s an interesting final tidbit, with thanks again to The History of WWE site: On December 8, 1980, the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz defeated Silva in the opening match of a house show at Madison Square Garden. It was the same night Pedro Morales defeated Ken Patera to become Intercontinental Champion. It was also the same night John Lennon was shot and killed in New York.
Don’t ask me why, but I’ve had my mind on Jose Luis Rivera recently. Rivera was a jobber in the WWF in the 1980s, and even though he rarely won a match, he is easily one of the most remembered prelim wrestlers ever.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. I mean, he wrestled all of the time on Saturday morning wrestling back when Continue reading
Between the classic pro wrestling video clips I’ve watched recently and some of the great comments from visitors of this blog, I’m reminded about the many, many WWF jobbers that I grew up with each Saturday morning on TV and also saw in person at the monthly shows at the old Boston Garden.
Here are some of the guys I remember well:
The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz – Rodz was one of those prelim wrestlers who was a step above the normal jobber, in that Continue reading
The Slam! Sports wrestling column is always a good read with many interviews with current stars, but I had an even better time checking out a photo page on the column’s website this week that had shots of many WWF stars from the 1980s. Continue reading