Today In Wrestling History 6/4: Andre The Giant Falls Asleep In The Ring, Rampage's TNA Debut, More

* 32 years ago in 1983, the WWF ran a house show at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was televised locally on PRISM. It was, historically speaking, a relatively uneventful show headlined by a better than usual Bob Backlund title defense, as he defeated Ivan Koloff. Koloff still had several years left as an excellent worker, and was up there with guys like Pat Patterson, Adrian Adonis, Sgt. Slaughter, and Bob Orton Jr. as Backlund's best opponents.

That said, in recent years one of the matches on the card became much more well-known: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd during their original feud before it was sort of reenacted during the '84-'85 expansion period. The match went just short of 18 minutes, which was about twice as long as it should have been.

Why?

Over the years you may have heard stories about a match where Andre fell asleep while in a headlock of some kind. This appears to be that match, as Studd puts Andre in a front face lock for EiGHT MINUTES AND THIRTY FIVE SECONDS and they barely move during that period. The crowd gets restless (as they should be, and it's Philadelpia, which makes it that much worse) and it's one of the strangest matches you'll ever see.

* 31 years ago in 1984, the WWF ran what looks to be their last show at the Cape Cod Coliseum in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Vince and Linda McMahon had purchased the arena in 1979 along with the Cape Cod Buccaneers hockey team, working out a deal where they put no money down and paid a mortgage out of th cashflow from ticket sales, building rental fees, and so on. For several years it was the official home of the WWF's offices and was the address pushed on TV as being where fans could send letters to.

It was also where Vince found one of his early lieutenants for the WWF's national expansion, Jim Troy, who he had hired as the Buccaneers' coach and general manager. He disappeared from pro wrestling after being fired for making racist comments to Koko B. Ware, leading to a brawl between the two.

As for the in-ring action on the final card, in he star vs. star matches, Greg Valentine defeated Chief Jay Strongbow (renewing their famous feud from six years earlier), Jimmy Snuka went to a double count-out with the Iron Sheik, and Sgt. Slaughter defeated "Dr. D" David Schultz.

* 29 years ago in 1986, Kerry Von Erich was in a motorcycle accident. He was wearing no shoes, which did catastrophic damage to his foot in on top of dislocating his hip. Eventually, his foot was amputated, but it's not clear when. It was either done immediately after the accident or a short time later when it was publicly claimed the foot was fused into a walking position (which is generally believed to be the more likely scenario) after he reinsured it by trying to come back to the ring too arly. He was never the same as a performer, though he was miraculously good for someone working on a missing foot.

This was disastrous for his home promotion, his father's World Class Championship Wrestling. Just weeks earlier, booker Ken Mantell and much of the key non-Von Erich talent had bolted to Bill Watts' UWF, which was invading the Dallas/Fort Worth market. One of the changes Watts made was to change his B-show, Power Pro Wrestling, from recaps and house show matches to completely original shows taped in Fort Worth. It was even positioned as "Texas style" wrestling to TV stations, seemingly positioning the show as a WCCW replacement.

This left Rick Rude, Chris Adams, Buzz Sawyer, Matt Borne, Kevin Von Erich, and Lance Von Erich (Kevin "Ricky" Vaughan) as the top names; not a bad crew at all, but very different from what the fans were used to, especially with Kevin seemingly having checked out on pro wrestling with all of the tragedy in the family. Adams, Rude, and Sawyer were all gone by the end of the year, with only the future Ultimate Warrior gaining a real foothold as a top star with his Dingo Warrior gimmick.

* Two years ago in 2013, Spike TV announced that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson had signed a special contract that would bring him to both Bellator MMA and TNA Wrestling. It started well enough with his TNA debut where he faced off with Kurt Angle, but they were put together in a stable too quickly. Eventually, Tito Ortiz got involved, aligned himself with Rampage, and then turned on him by hitting him with a hammer. This was to set up a real life MMA fight that didn't end up happening, and the angle permanently soured Rampage on TNA. He eventually accused Bellator of breaching his contract and kind of signed with UFC, though that legal battle is still ongoing.

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