Newsday Jimmy Hart feature, speaks on Legends’ House, etc.


We also added a new photo gallery chronicling some of WWE's history, with several photos provided to Newsday by WWE:


We also added several photos to our Women of professional wrestling gallery, also with photos provided to Newsday by WWE:


Thanks much!

Josh

Jimmy Hart

What was the reason for Jimmy Hart turning face and becoming linked to Hogan? Its always seemed odd to me, considering Harts general nature and Hogan never having a manager up until then during his reign.

Because Jimmy was always Hogan's real life manager and they wanted to "out" their relationship on the show for whatever reason.  Never made sense to me, either and I don't think the fans really bought Hogan needing a manager or Hart's face turn, but there was a lot of stuff going on that year that didn't really make sense.

Learning the Ropes with Lyla Alzado, Jimmy Garvin, Tully Blanchard, and …

Here’s one for ya. Back in the late 80’s there was a syndicated TV show called ‘Learning the Ropes’. It starred the late Lyle Alzado as a school principal during the day and a professional wrestler under a mask at night. Used to have cameo’s from a bunch of old NWA guys like Jimmy Garvin, Tully Blanchard and Rock n Roll Express. Dr Death Steve Williams actually played the wrestler underneath the mask!


Yup, it was produced here in Canada and aired up here as well, and I remember the terribleness of it very well.  

Cucch’s Book Review: “The Three Count” by Jimmy Korderas

And now for something completely different…
Wrestling is a funny sport. The majority of fans can name their favorite wrestler, their favorite match, their favorite manager, their favorite promotion. Most fans can describe where they were when a seminal wrestling event of their childhood occurred. Some can even describe the sights, smells and sounds, all of the sensations they felt in that moment. It is that experience that made me a wrestling fan, and it remains almost an infection that more current fans have suffered from. Wrestling is a quasi sport that, in the mass media, few understand. The mass media enjoys spirited competition from those on a baseball diamond or a basketball court or a football field, spending oodles of dollars on these sports, these institutions, that most of use (me included) hold dear. Yet, to a man, they all deride pro wrestling. Its not real. The performers are nothing but glorified carnies. They know how to fall. Give me a break. Wrestlers are great athletes who, in addition to putting their wares to work every night of the year, often in Podunk towns, subject their body, WILLINGLY, to rigors that would make NFL Lineman blush. Yet, while the NFL has seen a breakthrough in insurance coverage, a $786 Million Dollar settlement that was basically hush money to keep the weak and infirmed NFL alumni quiet, the world of pro wrestling has done nothing of the sort.

That is a side rant, something on my mind. But it is not without basis.

Most wrestling books describe wrestler A wrestling wrestler B, they kick the shit out of eachother all over the country, blood and years are shed, they make money, yet spend too much until said wrestler is broke and living a poor nomadic existence like Randy “The Ram” Robinson, the Mickey Rourke character from “The Wrestler.”

That is the template for most wrestling books. This is different. Jimmy Korderas was never a wrestler. He did not train with a Ron Hutchinson or Jim Cornette. He never main evented a WrestleMania, per se. No, Jimmy Korderas was a WWF referee.

Korderas was a huge wrestling fan back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s from the Greek portion of Toronto, Ontario. He got his start taking pictures of wrestlers at Maple Leaf Gardens from his ringside seat (next to the elevated ramp way WCW would later make famous). Twenty one year old Jimmy stood outside MLG and sold his prints, until an agent of WWF Canada confronted him and told him what he was doing was illegal. The man told him he could sell his pics a block away, and Jimmy complied. Soon, this man brought him to the altar, to the man who ran WWF Canada, the man who portrayed himself as the President of the WWF in the mid to late 80’s until the mid 90’s: Jack Tunney. Tunney, who oversaw all WWF events in Canada, liked this kid, so he put him on the payroll. Korderas’ first acts as a WWF employee were to drive talents from place to place in  Canada. He loved it, and he was soon embarking on a long and prosperous run.

Korderas was basically a ring crew guy, the bottom rung of the ladder, transporting the stage and ring between various Canadian locales. He eventually graduated to driving Jack Tunney and Billy Red Lyons to events. Korderas was then, in 1987, taught how to be a referee. He had some tough learning curves (as the book shows) but he more or less was a duck to water.

Korderas continued as a ref, and became just about as decorated as a ref can. He was there for the February 5, 1988 match with Andre and Hogan. He was there in 1990 for the Ultimate Challenge. Korderas has a unique viewpoint on everything from Mania 3 to Mania 24.

Jim Korderas retired shortly after this book was published. He was someone who was central to most of the whims of WWF. Yet, he is hardly recognized. We remember Tommy Young, Earl or Dave Hebner, Joey Marella. Jim Korderas was THERE, through good and bad, and deserves recognition as a man who has greatly contributed to the game.

In short order, Korderas’ book is excellent. Read it, and kayfabe with it.

Book Review: “Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story”

This is a wrestling biography not many people know about. Hell, I didn’t know it existed. But it is truly amazing when you have a library card and do an online search with the call number 769.812…

I need to be honest up front: I was never a big Jimmy Snuka fan. By the time I became a wrestling fan, in 1989, Snuka was little more than a jobber on the WWF totem pole. Did he have an interesting look? Surely. Was he great in ring, or on the mic? I did not know, because by that point, Jimmy wasn’t getting much more than ten minutes in ring and maybe two or three in depth promos a year. My lasting memories of the man dubbed Superfly were of him inexplicably making an appearance at WrestleMania V; of him getting squashed at Mania VI by Rick Rude (although that match offered some funny commentary from Steve Allen of Tonight Show fame: “I like Snuka because he’s wearing my wife’s underpants.”); and of course, WrestleMania VII, as the man who initiated Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.

Don’t get me wrong, as the years went along, I became smart to some of Snuka’s exploits. I was a BIG Mick Foley fan in the 1990’s, and WWF did a magnificent job of showing just how great an influence Jimmy Snuka was to a young Mickster, notably the match from 1983 against Don Muraco. When I started following ECW in the mid 1990’s, I became aware that Snuka was the first ever ECW Champion. I know, not the same ECW it would become, but it is still a historical tidbit.

I will state this though: I wish I could have experienced the Jimmy Snuka phenomenon as it was happening. Hell, even retroactively. It was just there were so many other goings on in the late 90’s/early 2000’s that had my undivided attention. It was just that Jimmy Snuka sort of fell through the cracks with me.

It was in that vein that I picked up Jimmy Snuka’s book from the library and was hoping for some enlightenment, hoping it would provide me with some sort of impetus to go and watch old footage of Snuka.

Instead, the book left me scratching my head.

Its not that there isn’t enlightening material in the book. Far from it. It documents Snuka’s beginnings as an Island boy to the pinnacle of the wrestling profession. The book just falls flat at times though. Snuka had a prolific career in ring…and possibly a more prolific career OUTSIDE of the ring.

The best parts of this book are the testimonials from other wrestlers, workers such as Ricky Steamboat, Matt Bourne, Mick Foley, Roddy Piper, Rocky Johnson, The Rock, etc etc. I never realized how close Snuka and The Rock were, for instance. Christ, can you imagine having an “Uncle Superfly?” Sounds pretty damned cool to me.

Listen, I have always provided myself on a certain degree of biographical information in these reviews…that aren’t really reviews. My point usually is to hope to elicit a few of you to go out and further your already extensive wrestling knowledge. This book is different.

While I could acknowledge the books strengths, there are far too many weaknesses. The book is one of the most contradictory bios on a wrestler I have ever encountered. Take this small excerpt for example:

“Years later (Buddy Rogers) became my neighbor in New Jersey, and I believe he had an affair (with my wife). I also think he bashed me to people and said I got (my wife) hooked on drugs. But I didn’t force (my wife) to take drugs. We just did them together. But I was responsible for bringing the drugs into our home.

Trust me, that excerpt is just the tip of the iceberg. Jimmy admits to cheating on his wife religiously, but becomes upset when she does. The quick section on the infamous Nancy Argentino episode is just ridiculously conflicted. Superfly had nothing to do with it, brah, or the preceding days events involving 6 policemen and their German Shepherds arresting Snuka in a hotel room. Nope. Total misunderstanding. If you want more information on this stuff, even Irv Muscnick’s book is better. Snuka gives you nothing. He maintains that he was not on cocaine that evening where Argentino died, but states more or less that he was on coke throughout his entire WWF run. He maintains he drank a shit ton while in the WWF, but was just drinking lightly that day. While smoking weed. Throughout the vast majority of the book leading up to this point, page 91 might I add, Snuka comes across as almost loveable. And for the remaining pages of the book after this, Snuka almost, ALMOST becomes detestable.

Listen, I am far from what one would call a respectable human being. I have dealt with some pretty foolish demons. But Snuka seems the master of denial. There is a whole section about what an awful drunk Snuka was. Yet Jimmy glorifies his drinking, mentions going through a quick dry out, epiphany…and maintains he could still have a drink here or there. That is NOT the way recovery works, trust me. You can either handle it or not, drink or not, drug or NOT. It took almost divine intervention in the form of a pretty serious physical issue that got Snuka to finally quit drinking…somewhat. He almost was on death’s door, recovered…and STILL was going towards the bottle. MY. GOD.

Another thing mentioned by Snuka in his book is his infidelity. Now, while some wrestlers tend to show some remorse for cheating on their significant others, Snuka almost makes no effort, instead regaling in his infidelity. The infidelities seem to be Snuka’s career highlights. He pretty much states that Wilt Chamberlain and Ric Flair don’t have shit on him. Later on in the book, Snuka relates a story, besides that Buddy Rogers one, that he felt his wife was cheating on him with a neighbor. Now throughout the book, and especially during the Nancy Argentino section, he states that he “…nothing but loves the women brudda. I would never hit them.”  Yet he describes amazing physical battles with his WIFE Sharon for the better part of their marriage. Yes, she seemed to be siphoning off his money, but, Christ man, have some consistency in your OWN memoirs.

These are just a few of the inconsistencies in this book, and there are many, which is saying something seeings as its only 173 quick pages. People have been asking me to rate books. I don’t like doing that, as it seems to me like rating the LIFE of a wrestler, and that is unfair. Instead, I will start rating these books using these three ratings:

BUY IT

READ IT

TRASH IT

In that order. Read it really means check it out of your local library. Buy it means it is well worth your hard earned dollars. Trash it is reserved for the dregs of wrestling books, the absolute bottom of the battle, or, in wrestling parlance, the drizzling shits. This book is borderline. And it is not bordering on BUY IT, that is for sure. I will have to give it a READ IT if only because of the testimonials given by Snuka’s peers. Snuka seemed to be a pro’s pro, and that alone is admirable. Plus, Snuka was a freakish natural athlete, so that has to count for something.

Unfortunately, for all the laid back island bravado, it just seems to this reader that Snuka was a maladjusted human being. Almost bi polar, or MPD afflicted. I am sure diving from the top rope, headbutts, and drug abuse did not help his memory. But this book, well, it is not the ***** affair the man was looking for. Far, far from it. As far from American as the Fjii Islands.

But, brudda, its still worth reading.

Jimmy Kimmel at Wrestlemania 12

Dear Scott,


So I was watching WrestleMania 12 recently and during the video package before the Goldust/Piper brawl I could swear the person doing the voice-over was Jimmy Kimmel. I know he was a radio DJ around that time, so it's not impossible that he could have done some side work doing voice-overs. Have you ever heard anything about this?

No, and it seems dubious because they have in-house guys for everything  I think it's more likely to be Todd Pettingill.  Who knows, maybe Jimmy was doing voiceover work for extra cash, though.  

Jimmy Snuka

Is Jimmy Snuka the biggest star with the shortest time on top?  He was only a big star in the WWF for 3 years before he left and once he came back in that weird Wrestlemania 5 appearance, he was just a name.  Was he real well-known prior to joining Vince and co.?  Because you never hear anything about him pre-WWF.

Snuka was a giant star for nearly a decade!  He was all over the territories and drew tons of money before he even got to the WWF.  In fact the WWF stuff where he was on TV as a featured guy was basically the tail end of his run due to the drugs and murder and all.  
Did you know that he has a daughter named Tamina, though?