Tagged: Johnny Valiant

Demolition poised to lose reign as longest WWE tag team champions

Way back in 1989, I was at a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping in Worcester, MA, when Demolition lost the WWF Tag Team Championship to Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson (the Brain Busters). It was the first time I had seen a title change hands live.

That loss marked the end of one of the WWF’s all-time greatest records, as the face-painted Ax and Smash had held the tag titles for 478 days and cemented themselves as a classic tag team, albeit one with unlikely origins.

Now, current WWE Raw Tag Team Champions New Day are in line to break Demolition’s record if they retain they titles through Dec. 14, 2016. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E have held the tag straps since Aug. 24, 2015.  By the way, Kingston grew up in the Boston suburb of Winchester, MA, which at one point was also the home of Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.

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The New Day: Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods

 

Even back in the ’80s, it was rare to see tag champs go so long holding the belts, but Vince McMahon had made it his mission to put Demolition in the same league as Continue reading

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30 years ago: The prelim matches at the first WrestleMania

In my prior post, I looked at the seeds planted in 1984 that began the push towards the original WrestleMania, as well as the build-up for the main event. Now let’s remember the actual card as we approach March 31, 2015, which will be 30 years after the first Mania.

The show took place at Madison Square Garden, beginning (ahem) at the ripe time of 1 p.m. Yes, you’d be home for dinner after the first WrestleMania. Here’s a rundown of the preliminary matches on the card:

  • In a surprise that I forgot about until I recently rewatched the event on the WWE Network, Mean Gene Okerlund sung the National Anthem. That’s quite a gap between Okerlund and Aretha Franklin two years later.
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  • Tito Santana defeated the Executioner – These days, it seems so odd that a WrestleMania opened with a series of jobber matches, but times have changed. The funny part about this match is that the Executioner was actually the late Playboy Buddy Rose under a hood. The mystery of this strange masked man was explained in Rose’s obit in the Wrestling Observer: Apparently Rose was set to come back to the WWF to feud with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat with Bobby Heenan as his manager, so the WWF didn’t want Rose losing as himself at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for Rose, shortly before he was to shoot an angle with Steamboat after Mania, officials found him passed out in a dressing room, and he got canned.

Continue reading

Transcript of my interview with John Cena, Sr. about the first WrestleMania and Bruno Sammartino

I recently posted a podcast with John Cena, Sr. — the father of WWE superstar John Cena, who headlines WrestleMania 29 against the Rock — who talked to me about the first WrestleMania in 1985, Bruno Sammartino going into the WWE Hall of Fame, and his memories of the wrestling cards at the old Boston Garden. For those of you who were unable to hear the podcast or didn’t have time, below is the complete transcript of the interview. Continue reading

Looking back at Albano’s legacy of managing tag team champions

When I started watching pro wrestling in February 1981 (I can’t believe it’s been 31 years), Captain Lou Albano was known as the WWF manager of tag teams.

The first tandem I saw him guide was Rex and King, the Moondogs (Spot later joined the team after King was stopped at the Canadian border in real life and not allowed into the United States). Most of Albano’s teams, the Moondogs included, held the WWWF or WWF Tag Team Title.

Albano’s start in tag teams happened well before the ‘80s, as he managed several teams in the 1970s. Here is who I can remember Albano managing (and if I’ve got anything or missed a team, let me know): Continue reading

Bruno Sammartino appeared at two WrestleManias

It’s not a well remembered fact that former WWWF Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino was part of two WrestleManias.

That might be hard to believe given how anti-Bruno the WWE is these days (and vice versa for that matter), yet in the early days of Mania, the WWF was smart to play all of its cards, including Sammartino. Continue reading

Check out these recent photos of Luscious Johnny V, Dick Kroll, and others

The Slam Sports website has a cool link to photos from May’s Legends of the Ring convention in New Jersey (look along the left-hand navigation bar).

The gallery includes plenty of current stars and pro wrestlers from the 1990s, as well as shots of some old WWF names from the 1980s, including Luscious Johnny V (a.k.a., Johnny Valiant), Tony Garea, referee Dick Kroll, and Bushwhacker Luke. There’s also a photo of an out-of-shape Doink the Clown that I wish I hadn’t seen.

As the wrecking ball aims at the Spectrum, a few WWF memories

Chances are even if you only attended WWF events in Boston during the 1980s, you were still familiar with matches held at the Philadelphia Spectrum.

Pro wrestling fans in Philadelphia right now may be feeling the same thing many of us here in the Hub felt when the old Boston Garden started coming down.

The Wrestling Observer noted Continue reading