When the Rock returned to pro wrestling a few years back and challenged John Cena a year ahead of schedule for the WrestleMania XXVII, it was the first time in years that you saw long-term planning on the part of the WWE.
One of the greatest examples of the long, slow build came in 1988 and 1989, when the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Hulk Hogan planted the seeds for their main event confrontation at WrestleMania V at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ.
One year prior, Savage won the WWF Heavyweight Title in a one-night tournament at WrestleMania IV. At the time, Savage was a babyface, but there was still tension between him and Hogan due to their prior battles when Hulk wore the belt. These guys spent a year walking on a knife edge, and you knew where the story was going.Embed from Getty Images
That’s the thing a lot of non-fans don’t get about wrestling. Sure, we know it’s entertainment and we often can correctly guess who will win in the end. But it’s how you get there that is the most intriguing part.
The WrestleMania V match had hints dropped Continue reading
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was named the No. 1 manager in WWE history on the federation’s website last week.
Strangely enough, while I think you could easily rank Heenan as the greatest manager ever in wrestling, I might take umbrage with him being called the top WWE manager.
Don’t get me wrong – Heenan was menacing, funny, and effective as a mouthpiece for his various wrestlers. But his performances from the AWA may be even better than his WWF material.
Plus, being nostalgic as I am, I view the “holy trinity” of WWF managers as Captain Lou Albano (No. 5 on the list), the Grand Wizard (No. 7 on the list), and Classy Freddie Blassie (No. 4).
When I first started watching wrestling in 1981, these three Continue reading
If you ask someone who was the greatest manager in the WWF, you’ll likely hear names like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Lou Albano, Fred Blassie, or the Grand Wizard.
But another person you shouldn’t leave off that list is Sensational Sherri Martel.
Martel was a former WWF Women’s Champion who transitioned to the heel manager role when ladies wrestling was phased out for a while. And she was an awesome manager who always played a character who was volatile and generated heat for whomever she accompanied.
She stayed ahead of the game by reinventing herself along the way: She initially got involved managing by briefly seconding the Honky Tonk Man during his feud with Randy “Macho Man” Savage in 1987, when she played Continue reading
All of us who grew up as WWF fans have grown accustomed to hearing about wrestlers dying. But the death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage on May 20 was different and took the wind out of us.
Behind Hulk Hogan, Savage was among the the most well-known pro wrestlers to come out the 1980s WWF expansion (along with Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura, and Andre the Giant). Thanks to Savage’s in-ring abilties, his matches with Hogan elevated Hogan’s status as WWF Champion.
But he also transcended wrestling. His Slim Jim commercials, appearance in the 2002 Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire, and being named the Harvard Lampoon’s spoof Real Man of the Year in 1998 all point to his pop culture grip on people. The fact that his death briefly garnered front page news on most of the major news and sports websites was testament to how well people remembered him.
I was listening to my boss tell a story the other day about meeting Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake at the Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, MA. Many of you know that WWF and WWE wrestlers have long sought out the Kowloon for greasy Chinese food and cocktails (oops, I mean video games) after matches are held in Boston.
But then the conversation turned to Albany, NY, where my boss remembered a run-in with Randy Savage at a convenience store in the late 1980s.