Tag: Pro Wrestling

A Collection of Pro Wrestling Advertisements from 1987

Being a big wrestling fan growing up, I bought all of the “Apter mags” I could get me hands on.  They were great for the news, which was already 3 months old by the time you read it, and the stories about my favorite wrestlers.  What I didn’t discover they were great for at the time was the advertisements found within.  Sure, I would see something advertised and drool over it, but I never gained the appreciation for all those ads until much later in life.

I was flipping through an issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated the other day, and it was filled with cool ads that I thought I would share with you.  So here they are, a collection of pro wrestling ads from 1987.

Pro wrestling VHS tapes were the holy grail for a young wrestling fan like myself.  I wanted both of these tapes back in the day, but could never swing the ridiculous price to own them at the time.  Fortunately, I did get an uncut, satelite feed copy of Starrcade ’86 a few years ago.

And speaking of video tapes, here is a real gem!  For just $45.20 ($98.60 in 2018 dollars) I could have owned this awesome tape.  If you don’t know what this match is, it is the legendary, riot inducing, hair vs. hair steel cage match in Memphis TN. between Jerry “The King” Lawler and Austin Idol.  If you’ve not seen it, check it out here on YouTube, and be sure to watch for the surprise ending that caused the riot. Continue reading “A Collection of Pro Wrestling Advertisements from 1987”

Looking Back at Hulk Hogan’s Rock and Wrestling Cartoon

Hulk Hogans Rock and Wrestling

Professional wrestling had been around long before television, but the mid-80’s brought new levels of popularity to the much-maligned “sport.” Due to the business savvy of Vince McMahon, pro wrestling became one of the most successful entertainment ventures in the world. Relying heavily on the “good guy vs. bad guy” storyline and giving each wrestler ample time to speak to the viewers at home, McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation became a national phenomenon. It was only a matter of time before a Saturday morning cartoon was developed based on the WWF.

The show featured any wrestler who was popular at the time (Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, The Junkyard Dog, etc.), but the focus was on the WWF’s biggest star, Hulk Hogan. Hogan, who was a positive role model for all, never turned down an opportunity to help out those in need, the springboard to the plots of most episodes. In many cases, Hogan was forced to ally himself and his “good guy” cronies with the “bad guy” wrestlers in order to get things done. The bad guys were usually only looking out for themselves and reverted to their abhorrent ways immediately after solving that week’s crisis.

 

More Saturday Morning Cartoons  |  Alvin and the Chipmunks

 

The series also featured live segments in which Hogan, along with announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, would relay a positive message to the kids, generally one that fit with the day’s episode. The show satisfied its “rock” quotient by featuring a montage of the wrestlers performing a variety of acts, backed up by popular tunes in highlight reel fashion. The concept for the series came from musician Cyndi Lauper, who often appeared in the cartoon as herself.

Amazingly enough, none of the wrestlers provided his or her own voice for the cartoon. Apparently, the eloquence they showed in pre- and post-match interviews was too difficult to capture in a voice-over studio. Hogan’s cartoon voice was performed by Brad Garrett, who would eventually find fame as Robert Barone on the popular CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond.

 

This post originally appeared on the long defunct Yesterdayland website.  We archive it here to preserve it.

Retro Round Table: Our Favorite Old School Wrestlers

Welcome back to another edition of the Retro Round Table.  This is where I get together with several of my online, retro-minded friends and we each give our opinion on the topic of choice.  With Wrestlemania coming up this weekend, what better time to talk about our favorite old school wrestlers?

I’m joined again this week by Hoju Koolander of the SequelQuest Podcast, Spyda-Man from 20 Years Before 2000, and Eric Vardeman of Eric V Music and Retro Ramblings fame.  So let’s get into the discussion, and when you’re done reading, join the discussion in the comments by telling us who YOUR favorite wrestler was back in the day.  Let’s get to it!


Junkyard Dog

My favorite WWF/WWE wrestler of all time has to be Junkyard Dog! He was so crazy and I will never forget his snarling face as he would enter the ring to the sounds of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” while barking at his opponent and swinging that badass chain around his neck. My introduction to JYD was in the form of the animated Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestlingcartoon. Out of all the iconic characters in that show JYD’s character just stood out to me and I was hooked. The one match of his that stands out more than any other to me is when he gave Macho Man Randy Savage a beat down to win the WWF Wrestling Classic in 1985. I didn’t see it live since it was Pay-Per-View, but I had friends who were wrestling junkies, so I borrowed their VHS tape of the event. Unfortunately, I never got to see Junk Yard Dog wrestle in person and I will never have that chance. In 1998 JYD was in a car accident after leaving his daughter’s high school graduation. He passed away at the age of 45. For his contributions to wrestling Sylvester Ritter aka Junk Yard Dog was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2004 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.


Mean Gene Okerlund

When it comes to wrestling, I’ve always been hooked more by the peripheral personalities in the business over the “Superstars”. It’s weird that the muscular bodies slamming into each other in the ring that were being celebrated by everybody else often took a backseat to Sensational Sherri, Jimmy Hart or Mr. Fuji when I was watching a WWF show. None had more glory in my eyes than the man, the mustache, the tuxedo, Mean Gene Okerlund. Though he did once train very comedically for a tag team match alongside his partner, Hulk Hogan, Gene was primarily a backstage interviewer, which meant he was given audience to the wackiest turns of phrase to come out of the mouths of the Macho Man Randy Savage or the Ultimate Warrior. His reactions to the madness were just fantastic. Gene was that familiar face I could always count on during my early days as a wrestling fan, so this golden voiced, balding man was the glue that held the federation together in my eyes. Just think about it, everybody had to pass by Mean Gene’s microphone to state their reason for beating up their opponent that night or at the next Wrestlemania. He was in a way, my idol. Not being very athletic as a kid, I instead pretended to be an interviewer like Gene Okerlund, running up and down the basketball court at recess getting sound bytes from my classmates during the game. Most common were the phrases, “Shut up” and “Get out of here”. In the 90s I even got to eat at the short-lived fast food chain, Mean Gene’s Burgers and have cherished the napkins, placemats and t-shirt purchased that day. I hear Mean Gene even announces for weddings now, so maybe when my wife and I renew our vows he can break out the tuxedo one more time for me to cut a promo on my beloved, brother!

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  And if you haven’t checked it out yet, Hoju recently did a review for us of the cheesy 80’s movie, Body Slam.  Check it out here!


Kerry Von Erich

My favorite old school wrestler, without a doubt, is “The Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich. He was a part of the WCCW out of Dallas/Fort Worth. Their syndicated show was on in my home town every Saturday night from 10 to midnight and I watched it religiously. He feuded with Gentleman chris Adams, Gino Hernandez, “Iceman” King Parsons and even wrestled against Jerry “The King” Lawler and Ric Flair. He and his brothers were in an ongoing feud with the Fabulous Freebirds that was always entertaining. While all the Von Erich’s used the move, nobody perfected the Von Erich “Iron Claw” like Kerry.

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic


Rock and Roll Express

The very first time I came across professional wrestling on television, I saw what would go on to become my favorite act.  It was late 1985 on a Saturday afternoon while I was scanning the channels.  I flipped through and saw smoke, flashing lights, and heard rock music.  I went right on past it, but stopped and backed up, and watched as two men clad in bandanas strode through a crowd of people.  It was the Rock & Roll Express on their way to the ring for a match.  I had never seen or heard of wrestling before, but was instantly intrigued.  I watched their match and was blown away by what I saw.  And then, when they hit one of their helpless opponents with their patented double drop kick, I came out of my seat.  I was instantly hooked.

I tuned in to wrestling every chance I got after that, looking to see more of the Rock & Roll Express.  They were the reason I begged my Dad to take me to the matches when they came around the next time.  I had their shirts, their gloss 8×10’s, their magazine, was a member of their fan club, and wore bandanas on my wrists to school.  It was an intense fandom.  As the years rolled on, and their star started to fall a little, I still followed them in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and to this day, I still enjoy catching Ricky Morton in action on local shows.

– Retro Rambler

As you know, you can find me right here at RetroRamblings, and you can follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook page, and subscribe to my YouTube channel!


So what about you?  Who is your favorite old school wrestler, and why?  Join in the conversation in the comments section below.

I Miss Fat Pro Wrestlers

I miss the gold old days of pro wrestling. I miss when guys like Dusty Rhodes were at the top of the sport. The bygone era when guys who didn’t look like your typical star could still get a chance to shine. Guys like Terry Gordy, Big Bubba Rogers, “Playboy” Buddy Rose, and numerous others were on top because they were the best at what they did. Days when having a great muscled up physique didn’t automatically make you a star. In short, I miss fat pro wrestlers.

Back in the days when wrestlers earned their checks by how many tickets they sold, the emphasis wasn’t so much on looks. It was a combination of their actual skill in the ring, along with their charisma out of it. If they could use their words to rile the fans up to the point that they would buy a ticket to see him get his butt kicked, that was enough. If he was good enough in the ring to make the fans believe what they were seeing, that was enough. Looks were just a bonus. Some of my favorite wrestlers would never be offered a cover spot on a men’s magazine, but they sure could make you believe they would whip whoever DID appear on the cover.

Terry Gordy

I use the term “fat wrestlers” loosely here. I’m not just talking about fat guys, I’m talking about guys who just don’t fit the “fitness” profile that you see with most guys in the ring today. Guys like Arn Anderson may not have gotten a chance in today’s wrestling world because he was not muscled up, and didn’t have six pack abs, but he could talk, he could express emotion, and he knew how to tie guys up in a pretzel to get his point across.

You turn on WWE programming today, and you’re sure to find plenty of guys that are ripped and look like they’ve stepped straight off the pages of Muscle and Fitness. What you won’t find however, are guys wrestling who look like you’re dad, or the tough guy down the street who works on cars.

The loss of the average looking, but tough son of a gun, in favor of hiring muscle bound freaks who sometimes have trouble with the basic concepts of wrestling, has hurt the suspension of disbelief of wrestling to a degree. I want to see a guy who looks like my uncle fighting a guy who looks like your uncle.

A lot of the best wrestlers to ever come along were great examples of what I’m talking about. Mick Foley never looked too imposing physically, but because he knew how to connect with the fans through his interview style, and his brutal style in the ring, you always knew he was a threat. He didn’t have to rely on being muscled up with baby oil dripping off of him to become a star.

Phil Hickerson

Take Phil Hickerson as an example. Phil spent a lot of his career wrestling in the Memphis area. While he certainly didn’t look like a star by today’s standards, he was one tough son of a gun and you had no problem believing what he did was real. Below is a  video to help get my point across, and if you’ve never seen much of these guys I’ve mentioned, I urge you to search out footage of them and see just how some of these less than stellar looking athletes were some of the better workers in the business.

GRUNT! The Wrestling Movie Review

 

I’ve always been a movie fan, but for just as long I’ve been fascinated by the world of professional wrestling. In fact, during my weekly visits to the video store I often stacked a copy of Royal Rumble 1991 or The WWF’s Most Unusual Matches on top of the latest Jim Carrey film.

 

 

There was just so much to love about intensely sweaty tough guys threatening each other and then backing up those threats with cartoonishly violent attacks in the squared circle. Let me put it this way, the day I inherited my teenage neighbor’s LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars figures and ring, it felt like I had won the lottery.

Getting back to my video rental history, while Hulk Hogan’s star vehicle No Holds Barred was a frequent watch, there was one wrestling tape I never dared to take home for fear of the horrors that were promised by the VHS box art. That film is the very subject of this review, I’m talking about GRUNT! The Wrestling Movie.

 

 

Just look at that masked psycho on the cover, clamping on a vice like headlock and forcing the veins on his opponent’s head to pulse to the point of bursting. That’s terrifying. Luckily I had a friend who was willing to help me face my fears, you know him as the Retro Rambler.

When Mick reached out to suggest the wrestling film Body Slam! as a possible subject for an episode of my podcast SequelQuest, I laughingly said, “Not GRUNT! The Wrestling Movie?”, fully unaware that I would soon be challenged to watch and review this seemingly nightmare inducing piece of celluloid.

Continue reading “GRUNT! The Wrestling Movie Review”

The Chrononaut Chronicles: NWA Clash of the Champions 1

I’d like to introduce Joel Geraghty to Retro Ramblings with his Chrononaut Chronicles, where he goes back in time and reviews old wrestling shows!  I’ve been a fan of his work for a while, and I’m sure you’re going to be as well.  He’ll be dropping his great reviews on us on a regular basis, so take a minute and help me welcome to the family.

Along with his actual reviews, I’ll be popping into them as well with little comments of my own personal memories of what he is reviewing to add another level of nostalgia.  You’ll see my comments in bold wherever I drop them in.  With that said, I proudly present to you the first edition of The Chrononaut Chronicles here on Retro Ramblings, as Joel takes us back to the very first Clash of the Champions show from 1988…..

 

 

 

The Chrononaut Chronicles: NWA Clash of the Champions – Sunday, March 27, 1988

– The Clash of the Champions was the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions’ answer to Saturday Night’s Main Event and came as a result of the intense promotional war with Vince McMahon and the WWF. Riding high on the success of WrestleMania, McMahon had added another PPV event in 1987 entitled Survivor Series and scheduled it on the same night as Starrcade, pressuring cable companies to drop the NWA’s signature supercard. Not satisfied with that major victory, in January of ’88 the WWF presented the first televised Royal Rumble for free on the USA Network opposite the NWA’s Bunkhouse Stampede PPV. In response, the Clash of the Champions was conceived as a special TV event broadcast live on TBS the same night as WrestleMania IV, featuring PPV caliber match-ups.

This was a huge deal and proved so successful that the Clash became a Superstation staple, spawning thirty-four more broadcasts over the following nine years. By 1997, the introduction of weekly two-hour shows such as Nitro and Thunder rendered the Clash obsolete. In this series, I will take a look at each Clash in chronological order. Let’s go all the way back to the very first Clash of the Champions as it aired opposite the WrestleMania IV tournament for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. Years before the Monday Night Wars, it was WrestleMania vs. Clash of the Champions live and head-to-head!

 

 

– LIVE from Greensboro, North Carolina! Bob Caudle and Tony Schiavone welcome us to the Clash live on the Superstation, but it’s actually Tony and Jim Ross who handle commentary at ringside.

– NWA World Television Title – Amateur Rules: “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious) vs. Mike Rotunda © (w/”Gamesmaster” Kevin Sullivan)

I never understood what kind of connection the occult-minded Gamesmaster had with a group of standout collegiate athletes like the Varsity Club. Sullivan as a brutal taskmaster of a coach would be logical, but he was still wearing black robes and being billed from Singapore. In accordance with the stipulations of the match, three five-minute rounds are scheduled with a one-count sufficient for a pinfall, so more emphasis is placed on Rotunda and Garvin staying off their backs. The first round is pretty even, ending with Rotunda using his considerable amateur skills as he struggles and fails to pin Garvin’s shoulders to the mat. Rotunda sneaks in a quick cheapshot during the 30-second rest period and assumes control in the second round, but Gorgeous Jimmy mounts a comeback and hooks up the champ for the brainbuster.

Before he can execute the maneuver, Sullivan and Precious get into an altercation on the apron and Garvin gets distracted. Making Syracuse proud, Rotunda rolls Garvin up for the one-count to retain the NWA World Television Championship at 1:10 of the second round. Afterward, Garvin brainbusters Rotunda and punches Sullivan, but another Varsity Club member strikes in the form of Rick Steiner. Precious swiftly makes the save and completely emasculates her husband by whacking Steiner with a 2×4 and garrotting Sullivan with a coat hanger. Seriously. She strangles the Gamesmaster until Garvin drags Precious off of him and out of the ring. I knew Precious was spunky, but damn girl.

Continue reading “The Chrononaut Chronicles: NWA Clash of the Champions 1”

My Earliest Video Game Memories

 

When Christmas day rolled around, I felt this huge urge to hook up the old Super Nintendo and spend the day playing some of my old favorites like Super Mario World, Duck Dogers, Street Fighter II, and more.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to, but I did think back on some of my first memories of video games and shared them with the kids.

The very first memory would actually be about going to the Bristol Mall in Bristol TN and seeing the arcade there that was called The Gold Mine.  However, on that fateful trip, I didn’t get to step inside and relish in all the goodness it had to offer.  I simply got to walk by it and gaze in amazement at all the flashing lights and tingle with excitement from all the sounds coming from within.

 

 

So my actual first experiences with video games in any form would be when my cousin Tim first got his Nintendo.  Somehow, I had missed out on all of the marketing and talk surrounding the Nintendo when it was launched.  I had never seen nor heard of such a thing.  One day while visiting the grandparents, my uncle Ernest mentioned that he had gotten Tim a Nintendo Entertainment System, and that I should come over and play Super Mario Brothers.

Continue reading “My Earliest Video Game Memories”