To say I was a wrestling fan growing up would be an understatement. I’m that superfan who can answer any piece of wrestling trivia you can throw at me. I was hooked from the moment I saw my first episode of WWF Superstars on WLVI 56 Boston. Every wrestling figure of any kind was safely tucked away in my toy chest, and wrestling t-shirts were a normal part of my wardrobe.
Almost all of my friends were closet wrestling fans since it was taboo at the time. The slightest hint of being a wrestling fan came with public ridicule with the most popular remarks consisting of “I can’t believe you watch that stuff” and, of course, the dreaded “Don’t you know wrestling is fake?”.
That comment always rubbed me the wrong way, even before I trained to become a wrestler. Professional wrestlers work incredibly hard and take a beating in the process. Why would anyone insult something that works so hard to capture your imagination and help you suspend reality for a few hours?
I couldn’t articulate these thoughts as a kid, but I knew in my heart that wrestling is something special, and I shouldn’t be ashamed to like something just because others dismiss it. I felt I had to defend wrestling’s honor whenever and wherever mockery occurred.
My father took me to my first wrestling event at the Boston Garden when I was 10 years old. His only mistake was surprising me days in advance because it consumed my every thought. Schoolwork was put on the back burner as my time was spent analyzing the card with a fine-tooth comb and making predictions.
The merchandise implications of this event were equally as exciting because I would finally obtain a Hulk Hogan python power bandana, Bret Hart sunglasses, and the Ark of the covenant itself, the foam championship belt. I was beyond excited just seeing the Garden out of the window of the MBTA commuter rail train.
I remember the perplexed look on my Dad’s face when I excitedly pointed to the pink Hitman shades in the display case. He is not a wrestling fan, but he knew who Bret Hart was due to me talking his ear off about upcoming events. To him, Hart was the antithesis of why people liked pro wrestling as he was small in stature and showed little personality.
Compare that to the larger-than-life persona of Hulk Hogan, and I can understand the thought process. Still, the excellence of execution was in my top five from jump street. His style of mat grappling seemed more legit than most and was often the centerpiece of my “wrestling is fake” arguments at recess.
The opening match of the afternoon was Tito Santana against Dino Bravo. The victor was of no concern because I was caught up in the moment of seeing my first wrestling match. The next match pitted two job guys (wrestlers whose sole purpose is to make the stars look good by taking a beating) against each other.
I had no idea who they were at the time and was intrigued that the Federation made such a match since I never saw it before. Next, I was treated to the unadvertised return of the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith as he defeated the former King Haku. I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my friends because I felt like I had some secret inside scoop since he hadn’t appeared on TV yet.
Tugboat beat Earthquake by disqualification when Dino Bravo interfered. Tugboat fought them off at the end, but I was really disappointed in the Hulkster. I and thousands of others chanted “Hogan, Hogan, Hogan,” hoping he would race down to the ring and make the save, but he never came. He left his friend high and dry, and I left the Garden a little less of a Hulkamaniac. In the main event,
After losing them just five minutes earlier, the Hart Foundation retained the tag team titles against Rhythm & Blues. When the ref wasn’t looking, Greg Valentine hit Bret Hart with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Honky covered him like a thief in the night for the win.
Just as the duo started to celebrate their tainted victory, another referee came out and told the official ref what had transpired behind his back. The decision was reversed, and the belts went back to their rightful owners.
It is the only event I ever saw wrestling in the original Boston Garden, but I have been fortunate enough attended many events in the Fleetcenter and abroad. I plan on writing about my experiences at most of them. Some good, some bad, all of them provided great memories that will last a lifetime. A former in-ring opponent of mine said it best “There’s no greater show on earth than professional wrestling.”
PS: Thanks, Dad!!!
WWF @ Boston, MA – Boston Garden – October 6, 1990 Results (matinee) Attendance (2,700)
Tito Santana defeated Dino Bravo.
Paul Diamond defeated Bob Bradley (The two job guys I didn’t know at the time)
Davey Boy Smith pinned Haku
Jimmy Snuka defeated the Warlord via count-out
Ted DiBiase pinned Dusty Rhodes after hitting him with the Million Dollar Belt.
Tugboat defeated Earthquake via disqualification when Dino Bravo interfered.
WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart defeated Greg Valentine & the Honkytonk Man via disqualification
If your looking for some great information on Boston Garden events in the ’80s or just want to take a trip down memory lane, then check out the Boston Garden Balcony Blog