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Author Topic: 70s WWWF thoughts
DR. PAPUFNIK
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Recently got a bunch of footage from this time period and was surprised at how much I liked it. A lot of times fans of the NWA of that time frame knock WWWF as being boring, but I didn't feel that way at all. First of all those 70S MSG crowds were hot. Also, since he gets knocked so much I was surprised how well Jay Strongbow was over. People really loved him. Was also surprised at how good Mr Fuji was during this time period He was taking great bumps, and he and Tanaka were heat machines. More than a few near riots caused just by cheating.
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Greg Ganja
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Bear in mind a lot of stuff we didn’t tolerate back in the day we see with rose colored glasses now. I find Central States on YouTube very entertaining today. Part of that is the cookie cutter product offered today.

WWWF was fun and campy though.

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I don't like the divorce font!
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Your old lady's old lady has got skinnier legs!!!
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And BABY DOLL...shame on you mama...cause I know you better than anyone!


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merc
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I grew up in 70's WWWF, Rarely saw MSG footage on TV. The TV taping s, with the exception of tag team were all squash matches, building heels for Bruno/Pedro. For some reason tag titles were won/lost on TV.

Strongbow was super over into 1981 or so. Age obviously, and Hogan size killed his stature.

But when TBS via cable came to market the product was fresh, shot differently and exciting EVEN THOUGH the studio seemed tiny. The way WWWF shot it was hard to tell how small those venues were, although bigger than the TBS studio.

Not sure I buy the "campy" description for 1970's; 80's absolutely. They lost me then. Would like to hear more about the that perspective. Thanks

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tamalie from MN
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I enjoy the WWWF/WWF from the early 1970s to pre expansion not as much artistically as in execution. The promotion had a very stable booking formula and TV presentation that endured into the early expansion period. It makes interesting to note the progression of wrestlers and feuds as well as to imagine how certain wrestlers who did not go the WWWF/WWF would fit that formula. For instance, I think Leroy Brown managed by Lou Albano would have worked well as a challenger to Bob Backlund circa 1980-81, either as a one and done or two match series, while working perhaps some matches with Andre The Giant on the way out. Knowing how the WWF was run at the time, it is easy to plausibly figure out how his run would have gone (2 or 3 TV taping cycles with an arena debut at MSG with Backlund, work arenas with Backlund along with the odd bout vs. Bruno and the occasional Garea or Pedro bout, cycle out vs. Andre, head elsewhere after 8 to 10 months).
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davephlegmball
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I am not being sarcastic when I say i loved it and that i love squashes. Loved how the cycled heels in and out. New babyfaces coming in were always cool too. Heels crushing jobbers was fun to watch, and top-notch babyfaces were ok because heel jobbers were entertaining (Rodz, Scicluna, Estrada, Turco, etc).

When hot angles happened, they meant something (unlike today where everybody has to be involved in a storyline of some sort). Sure, half the feature matches were not really "feature," but when they were, they were always off-the-charts. Loved the trio of managers there. And it was even better in the eraly 70s when Blassie came in as a wrestler. Always looked forward to interview time for upcoming matches at the Spectrum. Tried to never miss either show. Both ring announcers (Joe McHugh and the even better Buddy Wagner) were great. The refs sucked and I loved it, yet Dick Wehrli was always appreciated for being excellent.

And yeah--not much "campy" about the 70s. That was the 80s.

Blood and the big "X" were awesome (though then, I would have preferred to see the blood).

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Tatsuya
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Up until 1982 when I realized I could also watch Florida and started buying the magazines, I didn't the WWF television shows were bad at all. I think they key was the title was kept strong and a rotating band of heels throughout the year kept the product fresh. I really looked forward to finding out the results of the MSG cards either from Warner Wolf on the 11 pm news or thr short blurb the local papers would write up
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tamalie from MN
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I think a lot of what seems campy about 1970s wrestling only seems that way in retrospect, or at least more so if we accept that it always existed on some level.
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Greg Ganja
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The campiness....a dose of melodrama (see teacher vs student angle as an example). Heels and some faces were as colorful as characters on a Batman episode. No one did ethnicity and cliche like the WWWF in my opinion. While most promotions had one or two, the WWWF had the cowboy, Indian, Frenchman, Italian, Mongol sometimes in the very same match. And while in hindsight it was often predictable in many ways I think the easiest things to spot were the ways heels came in and went out and of course new tag teams were almost always destined to be champs.

There was a formula. But that was not a bad thing to me. The WWWF was my home base and I was always fond of it. But when I discovered ‘the other wrestling’ the WWWF was my relaxing TV whereas I started consuming other promotions with a keener eye and understanding.

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I don't like the divorce font!
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Your old lady's old lady has got skinnier legs!!!
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And BABY DOLL...shame on you mama...cause I know you better than anyone!


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john8
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I think the WWWF had a broad audience, they had to represent everyone. It was good for business. I always liked it. They could have been more serious but I think they would have lost some of the audience.

Memphis was pretty campy as well. I would say they were pretty similar but had drastically different demographics as far as viewers go. Which is baffling.

[ 01-11-2018, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: john8 ]

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Stephen Gennarelli
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Just wanted to add this one point.

Something the old WWWF did to perfection and this continued on even post expansion era, the way they would build up a new heel who had his own unique finisher that seemed so devastating and so unstoppable.

The whole set up of a new heel with one of the new Managers and the way they built up the unstoppable finisher, whether it was the swinging full nelson, the heart punch, the claw, the figure 4....they all seemed insurmountable.

Even after a Bruno or Backlund was able to overcome all odds and beat the heel, we as fans were still wondering...Could they overcome this new challenge.

I would say that I don't follow wrestling today, but if they could go back to this basic successful formula ...I think the fans would be more interested and it may capture their imagination just as it did 30 plus years ago.

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Cincinnati Kid
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I always liked that in the 1970's (and actually well past that time), the WWWF/WWF had a world champion who was a face. Heels like Koloff and Stasiak basically held the title for a matter of days and Superstar Graham for less than a year.
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Greg Ganja
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When I became a fan there was also something special that there were only 7 WWWF (and Capitol) champs at the time: Rogers, Sammartino, Koloff, Morales, Stasiak, Graham, Backlund.

Even though some were less equal than others-- they were a magical seven for me. There was the Rogers and Sammartino mythos, Koloff, Morales legends of their own. Graham and Backlund who I saw in real time build their legacy. Stasiak was always a mystery.

They were like superheros.

[ 01-12-2018, 10:03 AM: Message edited by: Greg Ganja ]

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I don't like the divorce font!
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Your old lady's old lady has got skinnier legs!!!
---
And BABY DOLL...shame on you mama...cause I know you better than anyone!


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Old WWWF Fan
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
Just wanted to add this one point.

Something the old WWWF did to perfection and this continued on even post expansion era, the way they would build up a new heel who had his own unique finisher that seemed so devastating and so unstoppable.

The whole set up of a new heel with one of the new Managers and the way they built up the unstoppable finisher, whether it was the swinging full nelson, the heart punch, the claw, the figure 4....they all seemed insurmountable.

Even after a Bruno or Backlund was able to overcome all odds and beat the heel, we as fans were still wondering...Could they overcome this new challenge.

I would say that I don't follow wrestling today, but if they could go back to this basic successful formula ...I think the fans would be more interested and it may capture their imagination just as it did 30 plus years ago.

I remember this so vividly with Backlund. He always looked smaller than his opponent, and relatively soft-spoken on interviews, and you'd wonder, how the hell is he going to win this time? I agree, I would love to see this kind of booking again, instead of putting belts on monsters like Lesnar. I remember being excited when Punk won the championship; he that aura of a smaller, kind of "outsider" vibe, unfortunately we know how that ended up, and it wasn't his fault IMO.
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Old WWWF Fan
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quote:
Originally posted by merc:
I grew up in 70's WWWF, Rarely saw MSG footage on TV. The TV taping s, with the exception of tag team were all squash matches, building heels for Bruno/Pedro. For some reason tag titles were won/lost on TV.

Strongbow was super over into 1981 or so. Age obviously, and Hogan size killed his stature.

But when TBS via cable came to market the product was fresh, shot differently and exciting EVEN THOUGH the studio seemed tiny. The way WWWF shot it was hard to tell how small those venues were, although bigger than the TBS studio.

Not sure I buy the "campy" description for 1970's; 80's absolutely. They lost me then. Would like to hear more about the that perspective. Thanks

I'm of the same time frame, hence my screen name. While I agree that most of the matches were squashes, as it got towards the 80's they started fairly regularly having a main event as the last match, which more or less was a decent match.

You're right about the tag matches; if there was a title match on TV, you pretty much knew there was going to be a title change or a decent angle.

I never got Strongbow, though you're right he was super over. I think it was, Buddy Wagner?, who used to introduce him as, "Everybody's Favorite!", lol

I didn't see the 70's as campy either, but the 90's-Duke the Dumpster, Repo Man? Yeesh...

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The Coach
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Being a Georgia boy and following the mags, I was disappointed once I finally saw it at about 8 or 9. Just not what I was used to.

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chgowolvs44
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Jay Strongbow being over and being good in the ring are two different things.

I've always talked about how disappointed I was, once I saw Bruno. I grew up on Gagne and Robinson being the great "scientific" wrestlers, which was how the Apter mags touted Bruno. He comes to Chicago/Indy and all he does is punch and kick, with the occasional arm drag thrown in.

But he put asses every 18 inches in the Northeast for decades. So, I can't take that away from him.

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davephlegmball
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quote:
Originally posted by chgowolvs44:
Jay Strongbow being over and being good in the ring are two different things.

I've always talked about how disappointed I was, once I saw Bruno. I grew up on Gagne and Robinson being the great "scientific" wrestlers, which was how the Apter mags touted Bruno. He comes to Chicago/Indy and all he does is punch and kick, with the occasional arm drag thrown in.

But he put asses every 18 inches in the Northeast for decades. So, I can't take that away from him.

"Occasional" arm-drag? That was his bread and butter! Vegas had the over/under for any Bruno match in double figures.
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Stephen Gennarelli
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To me, that arm drag showed me he was a helluva wrestler. After that it was a street fight until the last man was standing.
Simplistic formula but man did it work. Bruno came off as real to the WWWF audience when the rest of the roster were more cartoon like.

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Texaninwny
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
To me, that arm drag showed me he was a helluva wrestler. After that it was a street fight until the last man was standing.
Simplistic formula but man did it work. Bruno came off as real to the WWWF audience when the rest of the roster were more cartoon like.

Plus it was the position Bruno was put in as far as the opponents go... Monsoon, Graham, Ladd, Brody, Hansen, Koloff. Typically Bruno was faced off against a guy who was of the kicking/punching variety.

Much of that was the "Champ=Face Challenger=Heel" formula used by the WWWF.

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Bionic Lungs
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Mrs. Krieger...'nuff said.

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"Anytime you travel 36,000 miles above normalcy level, you will have turbulence. Anytime you mix two physically, mentally, reactive chemicals, there's gonna be boiling and there's gonna be bubbling." - Ultimate Warrior (SNME, 1/27/90)

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Wolverine
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quote:
Originally posted by Texaninwny:
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
To me, that arm drag showed me he was a helluva wrestler. After that it was a street fight until the last man was standing.
Simplistic formula but man did it work. Bruno came off as real to the WWWF audience when the rest of the roster were more cartoon like.

Plus it was the position Bruno was put in as far as the opponents go... Monsoon, Graham, Ladd, Brody, Hansen, Koloff. Typically Bruno was faced off against a guy who was of the kicking/punching variety.

Much of that was the "Champ=Face Challenger=Heel" formula used by the WWWF.

Shame that we never got a Bruno/Greg Valentine match (I know Greg came in after Bruno lost the belt, but still,,)
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Texaninwny
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quote:
Originally posted by Wolverine:
quote:
Originally posted by Texaninwny:
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
To me, that arm drag showed me he was a helluva wrestler. After that it was a street fight until the last man was standing.
Simplistic formula but man did it work. Bruno came off as real to the WWWF audience when the rest of the roster were more cartoon like.

Plus it was the position Bruno was put in as far as the opponents go... Monsoon, Graham, Ladd, Brody, Hansen, Koloff. Typically Bruno was faced off against a guy who was of the kicking/punching variety.

Much of that was the "Champ=Face Challenger=Heel" formula used by the WWWF.

Shame that we never got a Bruno/Greg Valentine match (I know Greg came in after Bruno lost the belt, but still,,)
Bruno did have some terrific bouts with Johnny Valentine (Greg's father) in 1969.

And Johnny was another "center of the ring brawler" that Bruno faced constantly.

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Greg Ganja
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Greg made his first stop in the WWWF in ‘75. He wasn’t of the WWWF formula and perhaps seen as not established enough to have a program with Bruno.

It would’ve been one of Bruno’s most interesting opponents, that is until the TV match with Zybysko where we were treated to a scientific fest (and against Pedro in ‘72 but no film that I know of).

I wonder if Vince Sr. saw Greg and decided he needed a babyface version of that which ended up being Bob Backlund.

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I don't like the divorce font!
---
Your old lady's old lady has got skinnier legs!!!
---
And BABY DOLL...shame on you mama...cause I know you better than anyone!


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REO Speeddealer
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Bruno and Greg did face off in 1979, including once at MSG.
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Prefrontal-Lowblow
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There’s a Bruno/GV match on the network. Think it’s on the Bruno special.
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Stephen Gennarelli
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I'm a huge Bruno fan, and that one match MSG vs. Valentine was ...well, let's just say they had no chemistry with each other in the ring.
I think in the end Greg juiced, Bruno kept pounding away at him and then they rang the bell.

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chgowolvs44
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quote:
Originally posted by davephlegmball:
quote:
Originally posted by chgowolvs44:
Jay Strongbow being over and being good in the ring are two different things.

I've always talked about how disappointed I was, once I saw Bruno. I grew up on Gagne and Robinson being the great "scientific" wrestlers, which was how the Apter mags touted Bruno. He comes to Chicago/Indy and all he does is punch and kick, with the occasional arm drag thrown in.

But he put asses every 18 inches in the Northeast for decades. So, I can't take that away from him.

"Occasional" arm-drag? That was his bread and butter! Vegas had the over/under for any Bruno match in double figures.
That made me laugh out loud. Well played.

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Greg Ganja
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quote:
Originally posted by REO Speeddealer:
Bruno and Greg did face off in 1979, including once at MSG.

I thought so but couldn’t remember for sure.

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I don't like the divorce font!
---
Your old lady's old lady has got skinnier legs!!!
---
And BABY DOLL...shame on you mama...cause I know you better than anyone!


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White Fang from WA
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The '70s was a strange time for the WWWF TV-wise. Oddly enough, if you wanted to watch the WWWF in the '70s in NY/NJ I believe there was no other channel it was on except for Ch 47 on the UHF band. This was fine by me, since we were never going to get cable (there was more than enough on regular TV) and I was glad we could at least get it, even if I had to watch it when no one else was around. Now, UHF was really cool, because although there was basically no programming with any professional standards (except for a PBS that snuck in there) it had stuff so funky you'd be scratching your head the first time you saw it and then tried to never miss it. Roller Derby, Reverend Ike, things you would never see elsewhere. So NY/NJ wrestling fans of that era always knew to check in early and twist that dial around, because you never knew what pleasurable insanity would suddenly appear. And one day, as I mentioned in the Killer Buddy Austin thread, I stumbled upon Freddie Blassie all aglow because Ray Mendoza had just given him a big sombrero and my life was never the same.

I bring this up because had I not started watching the L.A. Olympic show on Ch 41 I probably would have been fine continuing to watch the WWWF in the '70s. And it's not that I stopped watching it then but it mattered less to catch it. The L.A. show was simply taking me to a place that the WWWF show never did. I'd watch the WWWF and admit to myself that I was hooked, any wrestling was worth watching, but it just wasn't doing much for me now that I was watching the Olympic show. I liked the way the Olympic show had title matches where the title would change and you couldn't predict it, and the match was exciting. It was the "Americas" title, which was cool because it meant Dory Funk Jr would still swing by and defend the NWA World Title and things got upped another notch. The '70s WWWF was doing squashes, and not only were matches never with anything on the line (except the aforementioned tag belts) but if a match was even slightly competitive we felt blessed with good fortune, even if it was a mid carder getting some offense before being crippled by the monster of the season. The matches were so predictable it eventually weaned me of having a vested interest. Not so the L.A. matches, which often had great matchups and an edge and sense of danger than mesmerized me.

Granted the shows were made for different reasons. The WWWF shows were purely to sell tickets to house cards, and while the Olympic TV promoted future non-televised cards in the area as well, the Olympic taping was an event of it own, so it had to draw because it WAS L.A. wrestling, so it wasn't all squashes and promos. So it was a critical time for the WWWF to get that kind of competition, because, putting production values, rosters, all that aside, the Ch 47 WWWF didn't hold a candle for an hour of pure TV watching pleasure to the Ch 41 L.A. show.

And since then I've been chasing the Ch 41 memories and not the Ch 47 ones.

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The reason raindances work is because they don't stop dancing until it rains.

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