The World Wrestling Federation brought the body slams and sleeper holds to two communities in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1983.
The first show took place at Wilkes University’s Marts Center on July 6, when the sellout crowd of 3,400 watched as world champion Yokozuna fought against Brett “the Hitman” Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage took on Shawn Michaels, Hacksaw Jim Duggan went up against Duane Gill, and a tag team match put Money Inc. (Ted DeBiase and Irwin R. Shyster) up against the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott). Hart, Savage, Duggan and the Steiner Brothers all won their matches that night. Tickets for the Wilkes-Barre show cost $10.
The WWF returned to the area Nov. 9, this time at Carbondale Area Junior-Senior High School. The main event was a “King of the Ring” match featuring Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Yokozuna and Ludvig Borga. Other matches included the Undertaker facing off against Jerry “The King” Lawler and a tag team title matchup between former champs the Steiner Brothers and Jacques and Pierre, better known as the Quebecers.
The Steiner Brothers won by disqualification over the Quebecers, the Undertaker buried Lawler, and the team of Hart/Lawler took down Yokozuna/Borga.
Tickets for the Carbondale show cost $10 and $14 and were available for purchase at Battaglia’s Sporting Goods, Theobald Barber Shop and Martines Shoe Repair. Proceeds from the show supported the city’s annual Pioneer Days festival.
The Wilkes-Barre and Carbondale matches were taped for later broadcast on the WWF syndicated programs “Wrestling Challenge” and “WWF Superstars.” Those programs aired locally on WYOU, channel 22; WOLF-TV, channel 38; and WWLF, channel 56.
Links of Interest –
Time Warp 2007 – WWE’s McMahon stages death during NEPA stop – https://accessnepa.com/pages-from-the-past/time-warp-wwes-mcmahon-stages-death-during-nepa-stop/
Feb. 1969 – Professional Wrestling Causes A Stir in Scranton – https://accessnepa.com/pages-from-the-past/professional-wrestling-cause-a-stir-in-scranton/
March 26, 1951 – Women’s Wrestling Draws Thousands – https://accessnepa.com/pages-from-the-past/womens-wrestling-draws-thousands/
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast