I was looking at the old Wrestling Observer awards, and Bob Backlund as WWF champion won the “Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic” award. Was there some story to him winning the title that’s gotten lost over time, or some scummy backstage reason for him to win it?
Well, he won the title in 1979, so it wasn’t for that. I’m not Dave Meltzer nor was I old enough to even know what the Observer was in 1982, but if I had to guess I’d say it was Greg Valentine “winning” the title in a controversial finish, with Backlund then continuing on the tour being promoted as WWF champion when the crowd in MSG saw him “lose” it to Valentine with a goofy dazed ref finish, before they finally did a rematch so that Backlund could win it back again. Granted Backlund winning the match and the ref awarding the belt to Valentine because he had been knocked loopy is a tad dumb, but it would hardly cause people to bat an eyelash today. But I think that’s what the award refers to. Around the same time, PWI also famous dropped recognition of the WWF title as a “world” title during the period when WWF was a member of the NWA again (with the justification being that he didn’t defend it enough or only against Samoans or some nonsense like that), but I don’t think it’s related to that.