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JG's Ten Signs You Were A Wrestling Fan Of The 1980s

By James Guttman Mar 13, 2013 - 1:40 PM print


Billy Joel once said "The good old days weren't always good."   You'd think it was probably true because, chances are, he was drunk when he said it. For kids of the 1980s, it's not true at all though. Our glory days were glorious and being a wrestling fan during the Rock-n-Wrestling era was awesome. Right? Well, maybe not all the time. But good or bad, these are the signs. The signs of what? The Ten Signs You Were a Wrestling Fan of the 1980s


You watched scrambled pay-per-views.


Wrestling pay-per-views of the 1980s came along once every seven months or so. At close to 30 bucks a pop, you had to be lucky to see them. Maybe you didn't have rich parents. Maybe you did have rich parents and they just didn't like you. Either way, sometimes a PPV just didn't get ordered.

So what did we do when our folks neglected to call our "local cable operator for availability"? We watched it anyway. It was just like the real thing…on acid.

You see, in the 1980s, we didn't have channels that were straight up blacked-out.  We got squiggly broadcasts that had almost no picture, but crystal clear sound. So, WrestleMania V was less of a TV event for me. It was more of an audio book as told by Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon while I stared at a swirling picture that slowly made me nauseous.

Everyone wants "streams" nowadays when the big pay shows come on. Back in the day, we didn't have streams. We had seizures. And we loved it.


You've heard hundreds of untrue rumors that you couldn't verify.


I once knew a kid named David. When we were 8, David told a bunch of us that his uncle worked for the beloved wrestling toy maker, LJN . He insisted that the company was making figures for WWF's newest team, The Machines. David claimed the figures would have masks that could be "scratched off" much like an instant lottery ticket. When I pointed out that once the mask was gone, the figure would be useless, he responded, "Yeah. But then ONLY YOU would know who they really are!"

We kind of knew it then, but given that it's been more than 20 years with no Machine figures, it's safe to say - David was f**ked up.

I guess he made it up because he was nuts. People do that. MTV has an entire show devoted to it. But for the rest of us non-Catfishy people, we had no choice but to go for the ride. Whether it was Paul Orndorff's "death" , the first Ultimate Warrior's "death", the Rockers having sex with each other, and many other insanities, we were along for the ride. With no Internet and 900 lines not taking questions, you were stuck.

Sure, you could call John Arezzi and ask him. But you have to call early and then sit on hold listening to Donnie Liable. Ain't nobody got time for that!


TBS makes you think of the Braves and "Oh-Five".


WCW was on TBS. TBS was the weirdest TV station of the 1980s. Easily.

Why? Well, for starters, everything came on at :05. The New Leave It To Beaver - 5:05. WCW - 6:05. The Braves losing to Whoever - 8:05. They didn't much care for our communist time system down in Hotlanta.

That's the other thing. Since, TBS was based in Atlanta, they loved the Atlanta Braves. I - in New York - didn't care at all. But during the times of WCW, it was like becoming a Georgian for an hour. No matter where you lived, you were transported to a bizarro world where no one debated "Mets vs. Yankees". It was all about the Tribe - or whatever the hell they called themselves. Folks, stick around, we'll be right back after this word...

If you watched that  past the first minute, you probably have the Peter Pan Peanut Butter song in your head now. You're welcome.


You tried to tear a t-shirt off yourself and ended up hurting your neck.


Hulk Hogan used to tear his clothes off. He looked cool doing it. You thought you would too. You didn't. You looked like a moron and left a long scrape along your neck. Luckily you tried to tear it off from the front. If you did it from the back, you would have choked yourself to death.

We all would have.


You've tried this awful cereal:


Yeah, I know it came out in 1991, but it counts. Can you guess why? Because it's leftover Mr. T cereal reshaped into stars.. Seriously. Look.


I pity the fool who don't recycle my cereal !


You bought video tapes through the mail that had been copied so many times that the wrestlers in it looked like ghosts.


Without Youtube or satellite, most wrestling fans at the time had no choice but to read about foreign bouts in magazines. But, once in a great while, we managed to order a bootleg VHS tape from some dude in a van who knew a guy who got a flyer at a wrestling convention. When it finally came, you were so excited.

Then you realized that Antonio Inoki was floating in mid-air and resembled Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Why? Well, back in the day (so to speak), video tapes were copied and sold. But if you made a copy of that copy, the quality dropped. If you made a copy of that copy, it was even worse. If you made a copy of the copy of the copy…you get the idea. Simple concept. Michael Keaton made an entire movie about it.

So you paid $20 for a séance that had slightly better picture than your masterful "free PPV plan".


You've seen the ending of every Murder She Wrote.

VHS sucked. But it was all we had. There weren't any DVRs in the 80s. You missed something, it was gone. Forever.

So, when a show was due on, we all tuned in five minutes early. Because of this, every Prime Time Wrestling (and eventually early-Raw) was preceded by the final moments of "Murder She Wrote." I've seen them all.

The best part of this? When Vince McMahon himself went on to do the voice-over plug for Raw while the MSW credits rolled. In his trademark grumble, it went exactly like this:

"Jessica is a very clever detective. Can you she figure out what'll happen on MONDAY NIGHT RAW!?"

I kid you not. Forget Savage. How Angela Landsbury isn't in the WWE Hall of Fame yet, I'll never know.


You spent hours chasing Honky Tonk Man in a circle while playing "WrestleMania" for Nintendo.


WrestleMania for NES had very features. Create-a-nothing. No Road to WrestleMania. No Universe mode. There was just one mode - Tag.

I don't mean "tag team". I literally mean schoolyard tag. You're "it" and Honky Tonk Man avoids you. This is what occupied us in the days before pornographic websites.

This game was awful. Their online servers, however, were slightly better than the ones THQ used for the last two WWE games.


You asked a record store employee where you could find the "Piledriver" album and he treated you like you were an idiot.


This story happened to me. Honestly.

I went to the music section of TSS - a department store in my town - in search of the newest "wrestling album". Once inside, I asked the clerk where I could find "Piledriver." He told me I should check Home Depot.

Yup.  For those that don't know, a piledriver is a construction tool.  It looks like this:


So yeah.  That happened. 

Oh... and here's the really awful part.  The next day,  I went to Home Depot.

I was ten. Shut up.


You've stuffed a dollar bill into either someone else's mouth or your own.


You know what tastes like crap? Dollar bills.

You know what's covered in hepatitis, rat poop, and cocaine residue? Dollar bills.

You know what Ted DiBiase convinced a generation of children to stuff in their mouths? Dollar bills.

Of course Teddy used hundred dollar bills. But we didn’t have those. If we did, we wouldn't be watching spin art and calling it pay-per-view.



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