Film, Music, TV

Rocky III

Six years after the debut of the first Rocky movie, Rocky III was released during Memorial Day weekend in 1982. The film was hugely successful earning nearly 270 million at the box office. It was the fourth highest grossing movie of 1982.

Even more impressive than the financial success was the several ways that the film contributed to the pop culture of the eighties and to the Gen X era.

Mr. T.

Before Rocky III, Mr. T was a bodyguard and bouncer in Chicago. He appeared on NBC’s Games People Play as a contestant for the “America’s Toughest Bouncer” competition. He won that event and this is also where he was first noticed by Sylvester Stallone. This lead to him being cast as “Clubber Lang”, Stallone’s opponent in the film. Mr. T.’s famous catchphrase “I pity the fool” also came from Rocky III. The following year, he was part of the cast of The A Team on NBC and he went on to become a true 80s icon.

Hulk Hogan

Before Hulk Hogan became the biggest fan favorite during the pro wrestling boom of the mid-eighties, he was a bad guy in the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF then was only a northeastern regional territory and not yet the national brand that it was soon to become. This is also where Stallone first saw him perform and this lead him to be cast as Thuderlips, the grappler Rocky fought in a charity wrestler vs boxer match. After the movie was completed, Hogan left the WWF and started wrestling for The American Wrestling Association, which covered the upper midwest and parts of the west coast. Thanks in part to the success of the film, this is where he became a good guy, and Hulkamania started to run wild! In December of 1983, he went back to the WWF, and a month later beats the Iron Shiek to become WWF champion. Also in 84, the WWF went nationwide and Pro Wrestling becomes a true 80s cultural phenomenon with Hogan as its biggest star.

Eye of the Tiger

Stallone had originally wanted to use Another One Bites the Dust by Queen as the theme song for the movie. When Queen said no, Stallone requested the band Survivor create a theme song. That song, Eye of the Tiger became one of the most iconic songs ever made for a movie, and one of the signature songs of the eighties and the Gen X era. It hit number 1 on the singles charts and stayed there for six weeks. When you combine the sales for the original vinyl and the later digital downloads, nine million copies have been sold. Eye of the Tiger was also the title of an action movie from 1986 starring Gary Busey. The song was used in that film as well.

Click the link below to watch Rocky III via Amazon.
Rocky III

Wrestling

Saturday Night’s Main Event: MAY 11, 1985

On May 11, 1985, Saturday Night’s Main Event aired on NBC in place of a Saturday Night Live rerun. This marked the return of Professional Wrestling to network Television for the first time since the 1950s.

Wrestling was one of the first true hit shows on television during the late forties and early fifties. Wrestling From Marigold on The Dumont Network and Wrestling from Hollywood on The Paramount Network made national stars out of Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Vern Gagne and many others. After the network shows got canceled, regional wrestling promotions all across the country started producing their own shows which aired on the local TV stations in markets where they promoted live events.

It was Cable that brought wrestling back to national television. Ted Turner’s Atlanta superstation, WTCG, later changed to WTBS, aired Georgia Championship Wrestling on Saturday nights. The WWE, then known as the WWF aired wrestling on The USA Network on Sundays morning, and Sunday evening. They also had a wrestling-themed talk show called Tuesday Night Titans on USA as well.

These shows were successful, but it really took MTV to take wrestling to the next level. MTV aired two successful wrestling specials, The Brawl to End It All in 1984 and The War to Settle the Score in 85. These specials originated with Cyndi Lauper’s music video for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” which featured Wrestling manager Lou Albano. Lauper and Albano then had a feud on WWF TV which lead to both of them being in the corner of two lady wrestlers fighting it out for the WWF Women’s Championship. Lauper represented Wendi Richter and Albano managed The Fabulous Moolah. When MTV aired the first special that featured the women’s championship match, it was the highest rated show in MTV’s then short history.

Due to this successful Rock N Wrestling connection on MTV, Dick Ebersol, the producer of Saturday Night Live at that time, partnered with Vince McMahon and the WWF to produce a series of specials that would air in SNL’s time slot when it was on hiatus. The specials were big rating hits during the mid and late eighties. The March 14, 1987 show which featured a battle royale that included Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant drew a rating of 11.6, which still stands as the highest rated show in that time slot.

Since Saturday Night’s Main Event was a hit, NBC decided to air some prime time specials with the WWF. The first of these shows simply called The Main Event, aired on February 5, 1988. It featured a WWF title match with Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant that was seen by 33 million viewers. It is still the most watched American wrestling program of all time.

Saturday Night’s Main aired on NBC up until 1991. Fox started airing the specials in 1992 and that lasted for two years. NBC revived the show in 2006 and aired specials until 2008.

 


Wrestling

Wrestlemania!

Today, the 35th Wrestlemania will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Hard to believe that the first one was 35 years ago. Here’s the card for Wrestlemania 1. What’s your alltime favorite Wrestlemania memory?