I begged their forgiveness
I wish I was dead
I hung my head
I hung my head
– As sung by the late Johnny Cash
I feel like I’m writing an obituary for Hulk Hogan. He’s not dead, but his career, which began in 1977 and hit heights no other pro wrestler has reached, seems to be on ice.
The WWE severed ties with Hogan after someone leaked audio or video from a Hogan sex tape — an issue that has left him embroiled with online media site Gawker in court — during which he allegedly used the “N word” multiple times.
This is a fall from grace the likes of which is rarely seen in wrestling. A legend of Hogan’s stature usually rides off when it’s time — or he dies. In this case, however, it seems likely that Hogan will spend the rest of his days on the outside of wrestling, and even if he gets back in, his role will be limited.
“Hogan’s career is over. There is no way in this day and age that Hogan could recover from this, nor would anyone in entertainment do business with him,” wrote Eric Gargiulo on the Camel Clutch Blog.
What a shame to see this revelation occur amid reports that Hogan was potentially training for one last Continue reading
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.
- 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.
This post is a long time coming, but luckily nostalgia knows no boundaries, ha, ha.
A while back, I heard a Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast during which he interviewed Bret “Hitman” Hart. It was a great discussion between two of the biggest WWE stars ever. A surprise came, however, when Austin brought up a match Hart fought against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in the old Boston Garden.
The match took place on March 8, 1986, just a few weeks before WrestleMania 2. A huge crowd of 16,000-plus fans was in attendance in Boston that night.
Hart had been in the WWF for about a year and was hitting his stride with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart as the Hart Foundation tag team. Steamboat was already one of the top performers in wrestling in the midst of his first WWF run after making his mark in the NWA.
Austin told Hart Continue reading
A certain segment of the pro wrestling community was up in arms after Monday Night Raw featured an angle that played off the real-life heart attack and near death of Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Some said the angle was in poor taste, particularly when Paul Heyman feigned his own heart attack and WWE Heavyweight Champion CM Punk pretended to administer CPR.
But such garish actions on wrestling aren’t exclusive to 2012. Unfortunately for all of us, the McMahon family has set a low bar at least since the early 1980s about what types of angles and heat are appropriate.
Here are some less-than-stellar moments that I can recall growing up Continue reading
The WWE likes to make a big deal of its second- and third-generation wrestlers. WrestleMania 27 at the Georgia Dome was no exception, as the event saw four multi-generational superstars appear, including the Rock (grandson of “High Chief” Peter Maivia and son of Rocky Johnson), Alberto Del Rio (son of Mexican star Dos Caras), Cody Rhodes (son of “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes), and Randy Orton (grandson of Bob Orton, Sr., and son of Cowboy Bob Orton).
But sons of pro wrestlers are nothing new. Did you know if you go all the way back to the first WrestleMania in 1985 at Madison Square Garden, there were also four second-generation wrestlers who competed? Here’s a list of them: Continue reading
I’ve always loved reading the Wrestling Observer (I got hooked on it after being a fan of Dave Meltzer’s pro wrestling columns in the old National sports newspaper). An issue of the Observer this month gave me yet another reason to like it: The discussion of the first Royal Rumble, which I knew nothing about.
I was floored to read about it, because I consider myself pretty aware of WWF history from the 1980s. I, like many of you who were fans back then, remember that the first Royal Rumble was on the USA Network in 1988, which Hacksaw Jim Duggan won. Well, at least that’s what I thought history had written.
It turns out the first Royal Rumble Continue reading
On YouTube long-time fans can relive one the wildest little scenes ever from WWF Championship Wrestling: The day in 1985 on which legendary Terry Funk beat the shit out of ring attendant (later ring announcer) Mel Phillips.
The clip of Funk’s attack on Phillips is so great for many reasons. For starters, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a wrestler since then brutalize a ring attendant like this. Secondly, the angle firmly established Funk as out of control right from the start in the WWF.