Wrestling: Remembering The Glory Days

When Wrestling WAS Wrestling

Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s was a great time to be a fan of Professional Wrestling. Back then, you actually thought it was a sport, not like todays wrestling which boasts their program and events as ‘sports entertainment.’ There was so much excitement in the hey days of wrestling. The crowds, the venues, the announcers, the storylines and the wrestlers themselves. They were all larger than life.

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The W.W.W.F, later shortened to W.W.F, then changed to today’s W.W.E, dominated the Northeast. Sold Out Wrestling Events every month were common in major venues like New York’s Madison Square Garden, Boston’s Boston Garden, Philadelphia’s Spectrum, Maryland’s Capital Centre, and New Jerseys Meadowlands to name a few. Although their were other Wrestling Promotions like the A.W.A and the N.W.A, I grew up predominantly a W.W.F. fan so I can only reflect to what I know and remember as a fan.

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In the 70’s, you had stars like Superstar Billy Graham, The Sheik, The Wild Samoans, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, Pat Patterson, Ernie Ladd, Ivan Koloff, Stan Hansen, The Strongbrow Brothers, Gorilla Monsoon, Ivan Putski, Champion Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Andre The Giant, Bob Backlund, Mr. Fuji, Fred Blassie, Tony Garea, Haystacks Calhoun and Rocky Johnson.

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The 80’s saw Wrestling reaching new heights with larger than life wrestlers and pay per view events, prime time tv slots and the creation of the annual WrestleMania Event. This decade, probably the most successful one in my opinion, gave the fans the likes of Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, The Incredible Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Randy “Macho Man’ Savage, King Kong Bundy, Ric Flair, Big John Studd, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Ravishing Rick Rude, Koko B Ware, Sgt. Slaughter, The Iron Sheik and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

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The story lines were simple and believable. The good guys (face) against the bad guys (heel) always got the crowds fired up. The build up to each event was preceded by TV Interviews with each wrestler vowing revenge or promising to cause injury to their opponents. There was plenty of blood and gore to go around. It was not uncommon to have a wrestler drive his opponents head into the steel ring post followed by the announcers voice simply stating “He’s Busted Wide Open” a term indicating a wrestler was bleeding.

Watch Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka Iconic Leap from the top of the Steel Cage

Every couple of years you always had a patriotic wrestler, like Sgt. Slaughter, who wrestled for his country complete with The American Flag, had the crowds standing on their feet chanting USA! USA! USA! And the announcers played a huge part in making everything work. The likes of Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund were household names with distinctive voices and their play by play skills kept you on the edge of your seat. Today, The Talent is much more like body builders, and there’s a lot more of athleticism to it, but personally I find it boring. Nothing against the Wrestling Organiztions or Wrestlers today, but nothing they do can compare to the glory days of Old School Wrestling.

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