Review of Timeline: History of the WWE 1980 with Larry Zybzsko
by Alan Wojcik
1980 was the beginning of a new decade in the world and in professional wrestling. WCW, cable television, ECW nor the internet existed. Jim Crockett was still running NWA Mid-Atlantic. AWA, Championship Wrestling From Florida, Sam Muchnick ran wrestling in St Louis and the Von Erich’s in Texas were all on the map. Vince McMahon was a commentator for dad Vince McMahon’s World Wide Wrestling Federation which featured Bob Backlund as the World Heavyweight champion. Larry Zbyszko was working for WWWF and by the end of 1980 he would be the most hated man on planet Earth after turning his back on his mentor & childhood idol “Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino. This is talked about in major detail with Kayfabe Commentaries for their already amazing TIMELINE: HISTORY OF THE WWE series hosted as always by Sean Oliver (I so want his job.)
Mr. Zbyszko has some great stories to tell about how the legendary (yes it is legendary watch the footage) feud was born and pieced together throughout the early part of 1980. I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of meeting Mr. Zbyszko on a few occasions so some of this is old hat to me BUT the true backstory is mind blowing to have it discussed in this forum. Sean covers Larry’s heel turn from people throwing glass bottles at him, having cars turned over on him to getting stabbed in the ASS in Albany, NY!! The feud takes several segments as it lasted until the summer in a huge show at the now destroyed Shea Stadium in Flushing, NY (on the recently created WWF cage match DVD.) Also mixed in are some stories about meeting the legends of Hollywood like Frank Sinatra and the underground of NYC, the NWA World champion Harley Race appearing on WWWF events, working MSG the same evening John Lennon was killed & other interesting items like why Mr. Zybszko has not worked for Vince McMahon and the current WWE since he left WWWF in 1980. The reasons to current younger wrestling fans might not make sense, the older crowd will totally understand. Let me say without ruining it but politics in wrestling now has nothing on the WWWF of 1980.
The major players in the territory (yes WWWF was a territory back in 1980 going north to Maine & south to Baltimore & west to Pittsburgh) are addressed from promoters Arnold Skaaland, Phil Zacco, Bob “Gorilla Monsoon” Marella & Angelo Savoldi to the stars like Backlund, Ken Patera, Pat Patterson, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan (then managed by “Classie” Freddie Blassie), Captain Lou Albano, Pedro Morales, Ivan Putski, Hussein Arab (Iron Sheik), Rick Martel and the journeymen like Johnny Rodz, Rick McGraw, Frank Williams, Tony Garea and SD Jones. If you have not purchased any of the previous releases in this series, this is the perfect one to begin with as 1980 was the end of the old school era and the beginning of the super powers. Zbyszko is very knowledgeable & entertaining like his contemporaries such as George Steele.
Next on the www.KayfabeCommentaries.com roster are YouShoot with Kevin Nash on January 8th plus the return of the series “Wrestling’s Most…” in late January with a new cast of characters.