Kayfabe! Timeline The History of WWE 1980 As Told By Larry Zbyszko
Posted by Mike Campbell on 12.17.2012
The top heel in the WWWF takes us through the year the WWWF went from being on its ass to selling out Shea Stadium.
TIMELINE THE HISTORY OF WWE 1980 AS TOLD BY LARRY ZBYSZKO
The first thing that jumped out at me was that this seems somewhat abridged as far as the various dates and events talked about. October, November, and December are each only given one listing, the MSG shows in October and December, and a TV taping in November. I would guess this is due to either lack of documentation of the events of the time period.
Larry is a fitting guest, considering he was involved in the big angle that led to the biggest show of the year, but quite a few of the things that came out of his mouth are things that I take with a handful of salt. The two big ones being that *HE* was Kurt Angle's inspiration to get into the business, now I think I've got a pretty good memory and I don't recall Larry's name coming up once in Angle's book, or any interviews. The second one being that Larry gave Hogan the advice to get out of the WWWF and become a huge star. I would have thought that Vince McMahon firing Hogan for taking the time off to film Rocky III would have been more motivation for Hogan to leave.
The really interesting stuff here, to no surprise, is Larry talking about his big angle with Bruno, and some of the backstage stuff that went along with it. But, once again, some of his stories seem questionable. According to him, this angle with Bruno was Larry's idea. The company was on its ass as the time because Bruno had retired and nobody cared about Backlund as champion. Larry was young, but he knew that if he worked with Bruno, it'd make him a star. So he pitched the angle to Bruno, who loved it. Larry had so much heat with the fans that he had to be taken out of side doors, ride in car trunks, and even got stabbed in the ass one night. There was even talk of Larry going over Bruno at Shea (*coughBULLSHITcough*). The Bruno feud also led to his undoing. After it was over and there wasn't much for him to do, Vince would want him to put over Pedro Morales cleanly and Larry would refuse because Bruno hadn't pinned him, so if he puts over Pedro it will make Bruno look bad. Tension between both sides built up and Larry eventually left in early '81.
Larry is also fond of bashing Bob Backlund. Besides the claims that Bob as champion put the territory on its ass (A quick look at History of WWE shows that the 1980 MSG numbers were still good), he also claims that everyone wanted Ken Patera to be the face of the company since he had the Olympic background. Larry got to work with Bob a little bit, because Ox Baker was fired, and that led to some backstage drama. Larry had the most heat of anyone in the company and thought it would be a good idea to put the title onto him to keep his heat. Vince wanted nothing to do with it. Bruno and Larry concocted a plan for Larry to no show small spot shows, while Vince was away, and then agree to make the big ones for a percentage of the gross. Vince came back and they had a meeting where Larry made his case as the top heel and the one drawing the gates. They agreed for Larry to get a percentage of the Shea Stadium show and he'd stick around and tough things out. Sean asks if he knew why Bob was part of a tag match on the big Shea show. Larry thinks it was because him and Bruno were the draw that it didn't matter what they did with Bob. They could have only put Bruno and Larry on the card and they'd have still sold out and turned away thousands more. Larry addresses Hogan's claim that he and Andre drew that house, and Larry says that Hogan knows it's bullshit. Andre had already beaten Hogan around the loop.
All the stuff surrounding the Bruno feud is the most interesting, but there are a handful of other things talked about. Larry talks about when he was Bruno's protege and Bruno took him out once to see Frank Sinatra and half of the mafia was there, including the Godfather at the time. He told Larry a polish joke, so Larry told him an Italian joke and Bruno basically told Larry to shut up. He also tells a funny story about Captain Lou being so crazy that he once bladed the shit out of himself and then put on aftershave just to show how tough he was. One thing Larry fully admits is that he basically road the coattails of the Bruno feud for the rest of his career, calling himself the Living Legend.
The 411: There are enough interesting stories to make this worth watching, although, again, a lot of what comes out of Larry's mouth sounds like a bunch of malarkey.