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For old-school WWF fans, the arena originally made its mark as the site at which Bruno Sammartino originally retired as a full-timer on October 4, 1981, defeating George “The Animal” Steele.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
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.
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’m not even sure what to say about the sudden death of the Ultimate Warrior at 54 and how creepy it is that this guy had just been on Monday Night Raw the day before and had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame after years of estrangement from Vince McMahon.
Warrior, whose real name was Jim Hellwig, was among the most memorable stars of the 1980s and 1990s. Longtime fans will remember he started out with a young Sting as the Blade Runners before he became Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling. He switched his name to Ultimate Warrior upon arriving in the WWF in 1988.
He portrayed an animated, out-of-control character who ran through opponents with punches, kicks, and force.
“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat,” Warrior said this week on Raw. Ultimate Warrior’s final promo is haunting me.
In fact, more than his matches, most fans probably remember Warrior’s promos, which were spaced-out, often incomprehensible rants that seem to pull from fantasy and science fiction. The interviews remain Continue reading
Mr. T is finally on his way into the WWE Hall of Fame — and deservedly so — as he was a large part of the reason that the first WrestleMania was a success and the WWF became a household name in the 1980s.
On March 31, 1985, in Madison Square Garden, T and Hulk Hogan defeated Rowdy Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event of Mania. This match stemmed from the War to Settle the Score match that Hogan and Piper fought a month earlier at MSG.
That earlier battle was broadcast live on MTV, and Mr. T, who was in the audience, stormed to the ring to save Hogan from a beatdown by Piper, Orndorff, and Cowboy Bob Orton (Randy Orton’s father). What a brilliant opportunity to shoot a big angle.
At the time of the first Mania, Mr. T was a cast member of a popular NBC show called The A-Team, which was about Continue reading
The past couple of years have seen some long-time grudges being forgiven by the WWE.
Last year, Bruno Sammartino’s entry into the WWE Hall of Fame marked the end of a cold war between the WWWF icon and Vince McMahon. Now, word that the Ultimate Warrior is heading into the Hall of Fame also strikes me as reconcilliatory.
Warrior was certainly a unique character even by wrestling standards, both in the ring and outside. He was a limited worker, and had a promo style that Continue reading
One of my favorite wrestling sites to check out these days is the Ring the Damn Bell blog (what a great historical name), and the folks there recently looked back at the SummerSlam 1989 PPV. Out of all the PPVs I watched at my parents’ house or a friend’s house, SummerSlam ’89 might be the one I remember most because of the atmosphere.
Eight to 10 friends of mine packed into the family room at my house to watch the show, which meant people were sitting on the couch, in chairs, and on the floor around the TV.
Back in ’89, even though it was not the main event for the night, all of us wanted to badly see 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