For long-time wrestling fans in Massachusetts, the death of Blackjack Mulligan brings up an incident 45 years ago at the old Boston Garden that has lived in infamy since then.
Video tribute to Blackjack Mulligan released by Highspots.com, via Youtube
On May 15, 1971, Mulligan challenged new WWWF Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales. During the bout, a fan jumped into the ring Continue reading
I have to shake my head when the WWE tries so goddamn hard to manufacture an ethnic superstar. Alberto Del Rio’s recent return has as much to do with his Mexican heritage as it does his alleged star power.
I’ve learned through hindsight that one of the key differences between current WWE head Vince McMahon and his late father, Vince McMahon, Sr., is that the latter understood that ethnic heroes like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Argentina Rocca, and Victor Rivera came from grass-roots support. In other words, the fans wanted to love these guys.
Vince Sr. didn’t decide one day that the WWWF needed a Latin superstar and started to push around Morales. Instead, the fans reacted to Pedro, and the build followed. It worked for 12 years for Morales, who was WWWF Heavyweight Champion and later among the biggest names who established the new Intercontinental Title.
I remember when Vince Jr. did the house show promos for his dad’s TV, Morales would go off on his opponent in Spanish, which must have thrilled folks in the area who spoke that language because it let them connect with Morales on a personal level (check out 2:00 into the clip below).
Does anyone ask Del Rio to speak a few words outside of English? Nope. But that might Continue reading
The fellas at the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast scored a rare interview recently with the Magnificent Muraco, who is on the way to retiring as a longshoreman, a career he took up after his pro wrestling days wound down in the early 1990s.
Muraco, who was one of the hottest heels in wrestling during his 1981 and 1983 runs in the WWF, sounds old now but still has fond memories of performing in the Northeast. He occasionally watches his old matches and said his style back then was to get beaten on for the first seven to eight minutes of a bout to get the crowd riled up.
“All I do is get the shit kicked out of me and the people are popping the whole time,” Muraco said.
He specifically recalled a gargantuan reaction from the crowd at the old Boston Garden when Hulk Hogan and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka teamed up. He’s likely referring to a May 1985 show in which Hogan and Snuka faced Muraco and Cowboy Bob Orton, which was the first WWF show broadcast from the Garden by NESN.
Muraco was questioned during the podcast about the Nancy Argentino case, which has Continue reading
I finally had a chance to try out the new WWE Network last night — and of course the first stop I made was an old WWF house show from Madison Square Garden in April 1981.
A lot of my inspiration for writing this blog comes from my nostalgia of the ’80s wrestling scene that I grew up on, and the WWE Network is a pipeline back to those halcyon days.
With house shows filed under the “Old School” heading on the website, I have high hopes that an old Boston Garden card may eventually show its face on the network, as the intro mentions the Garden, MSG, and the Spectrum.
For the record, the MSG clip I watched wasn’t actually the full house show, but instead an hour of the featured matches. Many of the prelim bouts that filled out the house show cards in those days were skipped on the network clip. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, do I really need to see Baron Mikel Scicluna fight S.D. Jones? On the flip side, why not just post the whole show and let the viewer decide what to watch?
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.
Back in 1986, the WWF did not have mats around ringside. Actually, few – if any – promotions put in those mats to help wrestlers break their falls doing moves on the floor, which in most cases are concrete or wood.
Those exposed floors had come into play during prior angles with memorable results, such as when Ray Stevens gave Jimmy Snuka two piledrivers on the concrete or Greg Valentine delivered a vertical suplex on the floor to Pedro Morales.
But perhaps no other incident at ringside could match what Jake “The Snake” Roberts did to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in May 1986. The two were scheduled to compete on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was an NBC show that Continue reading
Those of you who ever wondered where Rex, King, and Spot — the Moondogs — got their gimmick from can thank Vince McMahon, Sr., the father of the current Vince and prior owner of the WWE and WWF.
In 1972, McMahon brought in Lonnie Mayne, an established star from the West Coast, to wrestle Pedro Morales, who at the time was the WWWF Heavyweight Champion.
“McMahon, Sr., named him Moondog Mayne, because Continue reading