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Trolling jdw..


Dylan Waco
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As someone who used to hate on Backlund pretty hardcore, I must admit that my opinion has changed of him over the last couple of the years. In part this is because of watching his best stuff for the WWE poll at SC, and even though I still disagree with you on the specifics of certain matches, it's hard to deny that Bob was a strong ring worker.

 

Having said that I've never really been able to nail down your position on Bob as a worker as it relates to other great in ring talents from his era. For whatever reason you've been evasive about this when I've asked before. I'm not really interested in where you would rate him next to someone like Flair who I know you are tired of discussing. I'm much more interested in whether or not you think Bob is a serious contender for best U.S. wrestler of the 80's, if you've ever seen a bad Bob performance, how you think he stacks up next to some of his better opponents (see Slaughter or Buddy Rose), et.

 

Just wanted to get your overall thoughts on him, especially now that you've gone through so many of his matches over on tOA in the hundred nights of WWF thread.

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(I know I'm not jdw but I'm putting in my two cents anyway :P )

 

I think Bob was the prototype of the technically superior but boring and bland wrestler that became all the craze in the 90s. I understand that it was a different era when Bob was WWWF champ, but his goody-two shoes All American gosh darnit persona is just so painfully vanilla. It doesn't help that Billy Graham was right there making him look even more whitebread.

 

Having said that, Mr. Backlund is still one of my favorite heel gimmicks ever. I think him not wanting to turn heel when asked to after losing the title might have been in retrospect one of the biggest mistakes ever made. If he would have been able to pull off "Mr. Backlund" back then and snapped on Hogan, I think it could have been a good money drawing program.

 

Plus it's still hilarious to see Dave still working in "I think he's shoot retarded" comments every time he mentions Backlund in the WON.

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Having said that I've never really been able to nail down your position on Bob as a worker as it relates to other great in ring talents from his era. For whatever reason you've been evasive about this when I've asked before.

I do that because I'm *not* trying to convince people that Backlund is a "great" worker.

 

I've just been trying to get people to open up to him being a "good" worker.

 

That's been an easier goal than trying to shift the view of him from "shitty" to "great".

 

I don't shy away form pointing out when he's in a great match, when his contributions help make such a match great, or how he does a lot of really great things in the ring. Or good, cool, terrific, nifty, funny, etc. People can then either buy the specifics or not, and then draw their own opinions.

 

That's the general method: I point to specifics and people can do the math on adding them up and how they rate him.

 

I try not to comp him in the sense of "He's greater than Flair". Instead I try to comp him with reference points.

 

He works the crowd in WWF Face Style, similar to Bruno and Pedro and Hogan playing to and connecting with the crowd, and even looking down the card you see someone like Putski playing to the crowd in a similar fashion. I'll contrast it with a DiBiase when he was in the WWF as a face. The point isn't to say Bob > Ted as a worker. Simply that Bob understood out to play face to WWF Fans of the era, while Ted worked a bit more "in the box", almost like Dory.

 

Or something like Bob is a great worker of holds. I'll give specific examples, point to how it plays to the crowd, and point to how he moves things along while a Pedro might lay in them. But folks can do their own math on what it means to them.

 

They end up being long walk throughs because people generally have dimissed Backlund in brief fashion with the standard cliches. In a sense the burden of proof is on me to give examples contra to the cliches, and it takes space to walk through and explain them. There are some that's I've run into the ground [ 2(!) ] simply because the cliche has been so strong that it needs to be pointed out what a joke it is. Same with the "Bob is dumb" stuff. I frankly don't know how smart he is outside of the ring and the learning issues he has. Inside the ring, he did an amazing about of things that are really smart, and it's pretty clear that someone wasn't whispering in his ear to call all of it. So you may get a point I've made in 12 prior walk throughs, but that's the point: it's not some isolated, flukey thing to just dismiss. It's a common thing he does.

 

I point it out. People can judge and weight it on their own.

 

 

if you've ever seen a bad Bob performance,

Sure. It's in the walk throughs.

 

That was one of my complaints about the DVDVR set is that they ignored several previously pimped great matches (05/19/80 Backlund-Patera, 09/21/81 Backlund-Muraco and 08/30/82 Backlund-Rose being the most obvious since we had threads on them on tOA a year or more before the set) and instead included some really shitty ones (10/20/80 Backlund-Slaughter, 04/06/81 Backlund-Hansen, 06/04/83 Backlund-Koloff and 07/07/84 Adonis & Murdoch vs Backlund & Blair) instead.

 

 

 

how you think he stacks up next to some of his better opponents (see Slaughter or Buddy Rose), et.

Beats me. I haven't seen enough of Buddy's stuff in Portland. Both he and Slaughter would be guys worthy of a set by Will.

 

I don't know if Bob is better than Patera. My pimping of Patera's work in 1980 has been a constant theme of the "second 100" that I've looked at. He was a fantastic all around heel in that year, and I keep saying that I want to see stuff from his earlier run in the WWF, and his run in AWA and anything else that might be out there of his.

 

My points with Bob and Slaughter, and Bob and Rose, is that they're great *together*. There's clearly stuff that each brings to the table to make their great matches. Each has ways to enhance the matches, move them along, draw the crowd in and get the big payoffs.

 

 

Just wanted to get your overall thoughts on him, especially now that you've gone through so many of his matches over on tOA in the hundred nights of WWF thread.

There's still quite a bit more to get to. I haven't written up any of the 1977-79 stuff that's available. I've talked more brielfy about some of the stuff I like or think is great such as the 07/27/78 Backlund-Inoki, 08/28/78 Backlund-Ivan, 02/19/79 Bob-Valentine, but haven't talked about them at length. There's a lot of other stuff in that period that's also available. There's quite a bit more 1980-83 stuff in the WWF to get to, along with the international stuff and the Inoki-Bob from Florida. And I haven't talked about the stuff after he left the WWF nor his return in the 90s. There's stuff like the Bob-Superstar matches that I've been setting aside for ages because I know they'll be painful to watch. :)

 

So it's an ongoing thing. It remains fun to come across something like the 11/29/81 Backlund-Muraco match from Landover and see them work a short 12 minute sprint with juice.

 

John

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I think Bob was the prototype of the technically superior but boring and bland wrestler that became all the craze in the 90s.

This talking point gets trotted out all the time despite being so wide off the mark. At his peak Bob had a ton of in ring charisma. A hell of a lot more than a Dory Funk Jr. who preceded him by many years. He may have used a lot of basic holds, but he worked them in a manner that kept the crowd engaged through his expressive facials, forcing his opponents to be active in the holds rather than allowing them to rest in them to waste time. Bob wasn't Dean Malenko who often didn't care if he bored the crowd half to sleep by keeping his opponent grounded for 80% of the match. Bob really was of Bruno's and Pedro's ilk, a soft spoken ethnic babyface who played to the crowd, and that's why he got over so well.

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