I’ve been thinking a lot about current WWE foreign menace Rusev and what his future may bring.
For eons, pro wrestling has exploited either current world situations or long-standing xenophobia to create hugely effective heel characters. But it’s been a while since the WWE has put its force behind a foreign threat like Rusev, who is alleged to hail from Russia.
When I think of bad guys from other countries, my mind immediately goes to the Iron Sheik and his successful run in the WWF in 1983 and 1984. It’s possible in ’84 that the Sheik was the most hated guy in wrestling (the irony being he is a nice guy outside the ring, having met him before briefly).
Can the WWE replicate the Sheik’s atmosphere with Rusev all these years later? Longtime mid-carder Jack Swagger seems prepped to take the role of the All-American hero who will fight Rusev.
Summer is upon us, and I find my mind wandering back to the days when the hot temperatures would bring the WWF around to some of the smaller buildings for live action here in New England.
I hit most of the big arenas back in the day for house shows and TV tapings, such as the old Boston Garden, the Worcester Centrum (the DCU Center) today, the Providence Civic Center (now called — ugh — the Dunkin’ Donuts Center), the Springfield Civic Center (MassMutual Center currently), and the Hartford Civic Center (XL Center).
But I also fondly recall squeezing into sub-par stadiums to get a more close-up experience with pro wrestling, including these spots: Continue reading
Like many of you, I’m still getting my head wrapped around the highs and lows of the last week and thinking a lot about the death of the Ultimate Warrior just one day after returning to the address his fans on Monday Night Raw.
I saw Warrior fight at the old Boston Garden plenty of times, and he was certainly an exciting guy to see run to the ring. The quality of his matches depended on whom he was in with. Personally, I think Warrior’s bouts with Ravishing Rick Rude were among his best.Embed from Getty Images
Warrior never had a spectacular or particularly historic match at the Garden, but here are three Warrior appearances in Boston that I remember well: 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?
I’ve been terrible about updating this blog, due to real life creeping in: new jobs, house renovation loose ends, blah, blah. It doesn’t help that the current WWE product is teetering on boring, too.
The ironic part is I have so much to write about. I keep these little notes on paper or in my email draft folder of topics to post on, and they’ve just been sitting there.
One of the biggest things bothering me these days is Madison Square Garden and just how far this arena has fell in prominence in the WWE. Back in October, we had the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Snuka’s cage match with Magnificent Muraco at MSG, during which Snuka dove off the top of the cage, creating one of the most iconic moments in WWE history.
And now look at Madison Square Garden. As of this writing, the arena has had exactly zero wrestling cards in 2013. There is the annual (albeit routine) Christmas week house show at Madison Square Garden coming up on December 26, and the WWE hosted its 2013 Hall of Fame at the arena. That’s it for wrestling in the house that Bruno Continue reading
Sorry I haven’t been super active on the blog recently; as many of you know, it can be tough following wrestling when you’ve got work and family to look after.
But I read something over the weekend that brought me way back to my youth. October 12 was the 30th anniversary of the Grand Wizard’s death.
Many of us who grew up in the Northeast watching WWF Championship Wrestling every Saturday remember Continue reading
In the mid-1980s, the WWF started to lose some of its early icons who were big just as the national expansion began. Yes, Hulk Hogan was the star, but right underneath him playing important babyface roles were Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter.
When Snuka left the federation, Vince McMahon tried to replace him with look-a-like “Superfly” Sivi Afi, but the problem was Afi didn’t have the charisma or unique moves of Snuka, so the fans turned on him.
When Slaughter left for the AWA and the short-lived Pro Wrestling USA, McMahon again tried and failed to create a copycat American hero: Corporal Kirchner.
The WWF claimed Kirchner was Continue reading
This week, I had the chance to watch a video blog by Van Halen singer David Lee Roth titled, “A Personal History of Professional Wrestling, Part 1,” which was highlighted for me by his commentary about Nikolai Volkoff.
The 30-minute clip has plenty of zany moments as only Roth can deliver them.
In the beginning, he talks of Continue reading
Some of you may remember Private Terry Daniels, who was a high-on-the-card prelim wrestler who was briefly thrust into the spotlight during Sgt. Slaughter’s feud with the Iron Sheik.
Daniels was a former U.S. Marine in real life, which his wrestling character reflected. At one point, Daniels was standing in the aisle facing the ring while holding the American flag during a WWF Championship Wrestling TV taping. The Sheik attacked him; however, Daniels, despite getting beaten down, never let the flag touch the ground, thus keeping the honor the country intact.
I read an interesting tale about Daniels’ beginnings in wrestling that I had never heard before, thanks to Continue reading
I live near Boston, so it’s been a rough week here reading about and seeing photos of the gruesome injuries suffered by victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
As anyone who’s followed wrestling for a while knows, such incidents usually get the minds whirring of Vince McMahon and his cronies.
So here’s hoping the WWE curbs any desire to capitalize on the bombings. We don’t need another anti-American heel or some plot in which McMahon’s limo blows up again.
Unfortunately, history bears witness that the WWE doesn’t always take the classy route. For example: Continue reading