This week, we look back at the August/September 1985 issue of WWF Magazine featuring Cyndi Lauper that sold for $2.25 in the U.S. and $3.00 in Canada. Let’s jump in.
Quick side story: once upon a time when I was working in quality control for a glass company, I was visiting with a customer to figure out how to solve a problem they were having with our glass. Anyway, it just so happened that Cyndi Lauper was performing in the area that night, and the guy I was working with had some connections with her manager. So he asked me if I wanted to see her perform and said he could get me backstage to meet her. I had visions of dancing with all the 30, 40-year-old women in the audience reliving their childhood as Cyndi sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and getting a picture with the singer… but I knew it would mean a late night, and I wanted to be professional about my job, which I had to report to early in the morning, so I turned the offer down. Silly me!
We kick things off with the mailbag. Tony from Ohio says wrestling is one of the most exciting sports in the world, and there is so much action, sometimes he literally has to be pulled away from his set when it’s on. Marce from Pennsylvania says he loved the article about Hillbilly Jim, and he knew Hillbilly was going to be a big star the moment he saw him. Linda from Virginia says she enjoyed the articles on Roddy Piper, but as one of Roddy’s devoted female fans, she might be able to better explain his appeal. “Roddy Piper possesses several qualities which, individually, are attractive. Taken in combination, they are irresistible.” She says Piper is honest, he has a raw animal magnetism, and an unerring perception into the psyches of anyone he comes into contact with, not to mention a body women would kill for. (Donald Trump says, “Why are they describing me?”)
Next, we touch on Foreign Affairs, with a short article about the WWF making inroads in the Middle East, with fans there treated to the likes of Pedro Morales, Dick Murdoch, and Rocky “Dropkick” Johnson (father of Dwayne “Elbow” Johnson). WWF Magazine notes that while many of the desert dwelling people across the globe are only gradually entering 20th century life and often live in camel hair tents, they love WWF wrestling and will trek many miles to see it. For the wrestlers, however, competing there can be tough. “It’s just plain hot, man,” says Rocky “Dropkick” Johnson. “You’ve got to be in tip-top shape because it can be 120 degrees, and it seldom rains.”
Then we move on to Amy Speaks Out, where Amy covers the culinary preferences of wrestlers. Hillbilly Jim, for example, has the appetite of a bear and grew up on Granny’s own biscuits, soups, and grits. The Bulldogs prefer lean beef and vegetables for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. Nikolai Volkoff enjoys red cabbage boiled in vodka. King Kong Bundy will eat anything.
Next, an article about Hulk Hogan visiting a circus for handicapped children, with the Hulkster himself serving as ringmaster. (Was Steve Austin not available?) “Seeing those kids was important to me,” Hulk says. “They have real courage and are a special part of Hulkamania.”
The youngsters who attended the circus came from the New York City Board of Education handicap classes, parochial schools, and a broad range of institutions that work with handicapped children in the New York metropolitan area.
Around the Ring with Ed Ricciuti: Speaking of youngsters, this month he writes about Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff, who is now doing the unthinkable in teaming up with the Junk Yard Dog to take on Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan. And Hogan is now supporting Orndorff too, saying “Orndorff inspires me.” Ed is flabbergasted how things have changed in just a few months. Orndorff, for his part, says he’s glad he’s finally found some friends he can trust and promises to work hard to support them. Ed notes that some fans are still skeptical of Orndorff, but Ed thinks the change is for real and that the Junkyard Dog and Hulk Hogan have a new friend for life. (And if Ed tells you so, it’s so.)
Next, an article about Jesse Ventura and his two new songs for the Twin-Tone record label in Minneapolis. (Not that Jesse is from Minnesota, mind you! He’s a native Californian who enjoys beaches and women.) Jesse says he has a beautiful voice and calls his style heavy metal rap. (Here’s that beautiful voice.) So now, according to the article, Jesse has a triple path in front of him: wrestler, commentator, and rock star. He also muses about becoming a manager, saying he’d like to manage the British Bulldogs (?). His premier goal, however, is winning the WWF championship from Hulk Hogan.
Next, an article about Snuka, Muraco, and Steamboat, who are all from the Pacific Islands (assuming you count West Point, New York as a Pacific Island). They’re all successful, although Snuka and Steamboat have walked the straight and narrow whereas Muraco takes shortcuts. Muraco, however, is a former Intercontinental champion who has perfected the Asiatic spike, where he applies his thumb between the collar bone and under the windpipe, and he’s going after Hulk Hogan’s WWF title. Snuka and Steamboat, meanwhile, are teaming up as the SPC (South Pacific Connection) and hope to take the tag team titles from the Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff.
Next up, an article by an unnamed curator from the New York Zoological Society who has written almost 30 books on wildlife. He compares Bobby Heenan to a weasel, saying Bobby is crafty, cunning, and clever.
Then we move on to an article about Lou Albano’s part in Brian De Palma’s Wise Guys, an upcoming 1986 black mafia comedy film starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo. Lou plays “Frankie the Fixer,” a hitman for an underworld kingpin. “He’s stealing the movie,” Joe Piscopo says.
Meanwhile, WWF plugs its video cassette collection, claiming fans are trying to walk out of stores with not only the video cassettes themselves but also the display stands.
Then we get to our cover article, all about Cyndi Lauper’s two Goonies-themed videos, which were quite something. “The crossover, as fans know, forms the Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection.” The production included Lou Albano, Wendi Richter, Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Fabulous Moolah, the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Freddie Blassie, and Andre the Giant. Most of the video, of course, tells a story separate from that told in The Goonies film. But the cast from the movie does make an appearance, (though they were a bit wary of working with the crazy wrestlers according to the film’s cast commentary).
That’s followed by an article about Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n Wrestling, a new cartoon coming to CBS on Saturday mornings. Junk Yard Dog in an auto race with Roddy Piper? Andre the Giant opening a bakery because his mother coming from France doesn’t know he’s a wrestler and he doesn’t want to tell her? See it all! “The program demands an hour because it has such a rich group of characters,” says Judy Price, network vice president of children’s programming. The first segment will feature a challenge, the second segment will focus on the wrestlers facing situations outside the wrestling ring, and the final segment will feature human interest stories. CBS officials promise the characters will stay true to the personalities of the real wrestlers. “The stories will be emotional and warm,” says Judy. “They will have lots of heart.”
Next, an article about the British Bulldogs, who are taking the WWF tag team division by storm. Jesse Ventura says they must have steel springs in their legs and says they’re in the air almost more than they are on the mat. In fact, they have so many maneuvers, they don’t even have names for them all. “We don’t know what they’re called,” the Bulldogs admit, “we just do them.” Davey Boy Smith says he met Dynamite when they were kids, and they joined forces soon after starting in professional wrestling some years back. Now they’re ready to take on anybody. Possible opponents? Studd and Patera, the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, and some new team called The Hart Foundation comprised of Jim Neidhart and Brett Hart.
Time for WWF Merch! (No title belts, though. Probably for the best. They’d never sell.)
Next up, an article previewing Andre vs. Bundy. (Now that would have been a fun bodyslam match.) Andre has the advantage in size, with Bundy being only 6’5 and a svelte 458 pounds. But Bundy is younger and hungrier.
“Competition between Andre and Bundy will treat WWF spectators to ring history, and the result will be of tremendous importance to professional wrestling. Never before has a wrestling promoter been able to offer Andre the Giant such an opponent. Since both men are quite evenly matched, the deciding factor in a struggle between two giants may be tactical mental preparation. Each will need to rely on instinct and specific strategic planning geared toward whatever flaws he can find in his adversary’s style.”
Then we go into an article about staying fit featuring Paul Orndorff, who says his exercise routine begins with his arms before moving on to other parts. He says you’ve got to shock the biceps with lots of weight to really build them up.
Jeff Walton, WWF’s answer to Matt Brock, writes about “Match to Remember,” looking back at Freddie Blassie vs. The Sheik inside a cage. They were both hated by the fans, which made for an intriguing dynamic. Blassie ended up winning and getting some cheers.
Then we catch up with Hillbilly Jim, who dislocated his kneecap in a match and is heeling up back in Kentucky. He says he’ll be fine.
And finally, we get an ad for the LJN dolls.
That’s it for this week. Join me next week when we look at Inside Wrestling’s November, 1985 issue, where we’ll find out why Peter King wants all female referees fired and banned, learn why rulebreakers are rulebreakers, and hear Inside Wrestling’s plea for a Steamboat vs. Santana match for the IC title. And if you’re a Star Trek fan, be sure to check out my book, The Trekker’s Guide to the Sisko Years, which covers every episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.