I took a trip back in time thanks to an old buddy of mine who is a sports editor for some of the weekly newspapers here in Eastern Massachusetts, including for my hometown of Billerica.
My mother, of all people, tore out a story by my friend, Doug Hastings, that appeared in the Billerica Minuteman. She hand delivered it to me last week and said, “Read this.”
The column was about a local wrestler named Flex Armstrong, and Doug wrote it from the perspective of a long-time fan still finding excitement in wrestling after watching Armstrong compete in a match recently in Rhode Island.
I know a lot of WWE fans who still keep tabs on the independent pro wrestling scene, which is pretty active these days in the Boston area. Lowell, Mass., which is just north of Billerica, has hosted Chaotic Wrestling shows for years.
My favorite line in Doug’s story was this gem:
As a kid, there weren’t many bigger wrestling fans than me, although Billerica’s very own Scott Wallask might have me beat, but not by much.
Well, Wallask is me, and I got a good laugh out such high praise.
I met Doug in 1984 at a summer camp just as the WWF was beginning its national expansion. We were both still in middle school, and he was the first kid I ever met who was a unabashed fan of the heels, with his favorite Continue reading
I like to think of myself as having a vivid memory of 1980s WWF wrestling, and I can recall most angles and wrestlers from that decade. The last time I was truly surprised by something I never knew from that era was the original Royal Rumble that One Man Gang won in St. Louis.
But my friend, Ed, who is another long-time fan, mentioned to me a card he had just learned of from the early ’80s at the Hartford Civic Center that featured an unusual array of steel cage matches.
I’m not sure how or why I’ve never run across this, but sure enough, the great The History of WWE website lists the results as part of a show called “Steel Cage Turmoil,” which took place on November 23, 1984.
The highlight was a 19-match steel cage gauntlet, in which the winner of each contest kept advancing until they lost or won the whole thing. In the end, Big John Studd beat Continue reading
As a wrestling fan, it’s been sad to hear about the closing of yet another major arena that played such a big part of the sport’s history in the 1980s.
The New Jersey building currently called the Izod Center, but known by many as the Meadowlands, will close at the end of the March after losing its major tenants to competing, more modern arenas in the New York City area. The WWE had planned to hold this year’s SummerSlam at the Meadowlands, but now is on the search for another arena.
For old-school WWF fans, the arena originally made its mark as the site at which Bruno Sammartino originally retired as a full-timer on October 4, 1981, defeating George “The Animal” Steele.
The high point in the ’80s likely came with Continue reading
Watching and listening to Kevin Nash and CM Punk go at it verbally is amusing. Punk says every time Nash shows up on WWE Monday Night Raw, people change the channel. Nash tells Punk he looks like a short-order cook at Waffle House. Punk states that instead of “Big Sexy,” Nash’s nickname should be “Big Lazy.” And on and on…
However, some members of the insider Internet wrestling community have gone haywire because they don’t like 52-year-old Nash strolling onto Raw and grabbing a top spot from younger stars like Punk. Hey, when Triple H took over, we all knew Nash would be one of the first people he’d call.
I don’t find myself as insulted by Nash’s presence. I’m not one of those people who believes that the only role older stars play is to put newer guys over.
For example, I remember when the WWF brought back Continue reading
I stumbled upon a tremendous house show promo on YouTube by Ray “The Crippler” Stevens — in which Stevens didn’t say a word.
I never fully appreciated Stevens when I was a kid watching the WWF in the early 1980s. Sure, I had heard of Stevens, but the version that showed up in the WWF in 1982-83 was old, out-of-shape, and honestly didn’t seem very engaged (although his attack on Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was a classic). It wasn’t until years later that I learned of his tremendous runs in San Francisco in the 1960s and the AWA in the 1970s, and how well he was regarded for bumping for his opponents.
So back to 1983 and the whole point of this blog post. In a house show promo for Madison Square Garden 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
Many of us could pick out moments in matches where a move is ill-timed or someone falls out of position. But these slip-ups generally are minor. A true wrestling blooper often doesn’t involve in-ring action at all, whether it’s instead an interview, skit, or even real life. The WWF had some lapses that were doozies in the 1980s, so here are my picks for the top five bloopers of that decade: Continue reading