How Well Do You Know the Golden Age of Pro Wrestling?

John Miller

When did the so-called "golden age" of professional wrestling take place?

In the mid-80s, pro wrestling hit a period of major revitalization. It wasn’t just a weird side show, it was the main event, with millions of fans who packed major arenas all over America.

Which organization helped propel the popularity of wrestling in the ‘80s?

In the ‘80s, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) took the country by storm, marketing its glittery heroes and dark heels with incredible proficiency. In a few years, wrestlers had become household names.

Who is Vince McMahon?

Vince McMahon is the executive behind the WWF (now WWE) who spearheaded the company’s success in the ‘80s. His flair for theater and his ability to drum up excitement in matches helped make WWF must-see TV.

The golden age of wrestling started in the mid-1980s. How long did it last?

The golden age lasted until the early ‘90s, when the machine of marketing finally lost steam. But until then, it was a heady ride for wrestlers and fans alike.

Terry Gene Bollea is better known as ______.

In the ‘80s, Terry Gene Bollea — Hulk Hogan — emerged as the biggest pro wrestling celebrity of all-time. Hardcore fans debate Hogan’s ring skills, but no one was more famous than Hogan and his handlebar mustache.

True or false, did the WWF wholeheartedly embrace the theatrical side of wrestling instead of pretending that it was a sport?

For years, wrestling fans debated whether wrestling was a "real" sport. The WWF settled the matter. Wrestling became "sports entertainment," a type of sweaty soap opera. The relative reality of the "sport" no longer really mattered, but the storylines did.

What was Randy Savage’s full ring name?

Macho Man Randy Savage was the full package. He was a splendid athlete who also knew how to work the crowd. And of course, there was his intense affair with Miss Elizabeth.

Vince McMahon was not just a WWF executive. What other important job did he perform?

McMahon was a savvy businessman, for sure. But his real stroke of genius may have been his willingness to work as announcer in the ring. With his booming voice and dramatic gestures, he riled up fans across the country.

Which scandal began to affect attendance numbers in the ‘90s?

Whether it was baseball or wrestling, steroids became a flashpoint for conflict in the ‘90s. Repeated steroid issues drove away many fans, and wrestling began to suffer.

Before the WWF gained prominence, what organization ruled pro wrestling?

In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, the National Wrestling Association (NWA) was wrestling's star attraction. But McMahon and his WWF took control of the viewership and made wrestling bigger than ever before.

What technological shift helped the WWF gain popularity?

Cable TV and its willingness to air WWF matches made a tremendous difference in wrestling’s popularity. Fans everywhere could see matches on a weekly basis.

How did Vince McMahon gain control of the WWF?

McMahon’s father was in declining health, so Vince bought the company. Vince’s ambitious nature helped him revolutionize the WWF into a powerhouse company.

Before he signed with the WWF, where did Hulk Hogan work?

Hogan was a major wrestler with the American Wrestling Association, and McMahon hired him away, knowing that Hogan could be a star in his WWF.

How did other organizations fare in the face of the WWF’s prominence?

As the WWF gained all of the attention and money, other wrestling organizations suffered. WWF was pro wrestling, and pro wrestling was WWF.

In the ‘90s, who was accused of distributing steroids to WWF wrestlers?

In the early ‘90s, McMahon was accused of handing out steroids to multiple WWF wrestlers. He eventually admitted to taking steroids but fought the distribution charges. A jury eventually acquitted him, yet the the public relations damage was done.

How did pay-per-view TV affect the WWF?

McMahon and the WWF used pay-per-view matches to create true "events," similar to the Super Bowl. Fans waited eagerly for major matches and then happily forked over big bucks to watch their favorite wrestlers.

The golden age really flourished when the WWF turned to _____ to help them market their brand.

McMahon pursued rock stars, like Cyndi Lauper, to co-brand with the WWF. The rock-wrestling connection was real, and it helped the WWF spread like wildfire.

What was the name of the WWF’s flagship show?

McMahon knew that he needed headline-worthy matches, so he came up with WrestleMania. Marketing campaigns likened it to the "Super Bowl" of pro wrestling.

Who won the first WrestleMania?

It had to be Hogan, of course. He was the Tom Brady or Wayne Gretzky of pro wrestling, essentially a lock to win on the biggest stages.

In WrestleMania III, Hulk Hogan defended his title against _____.

At WrestleMania III, Hulk Hogan was betrayed by his friend Andre the Giant, who wanted the title for himself. But Hogan withstood his turncoat buddy and retained the title.

WrestleMania III was notable for which statistic?

Held at the Pontiac Superdome in Detroit, WrestleMania III drew a packed house. The WWF claimed that at more than 93,000 fans, it was the biggest indoor audience ever to see a live event in North America.

How often does WrestleMania take place?

Each spring, WrestleMania offers its "Super Bowl" of wrestling. The event still happens, but it isn’t as popular as it was in the golden age.

Which cable TV channel was the first to broadcast a live wrestling match?

MTV, the music video stalwart, was the first channel to broadcast live wrestling. The collaboration between the music industry and the WWF dramatically increased wrestling’s appeal.

Where was the first WrestleMania held?

The first WrestleMania was iconic ... and thus, it was held in an iconic location — Madison Square Garden in New York.

Hogan and Andre the Giant faced off in a rematch of WrestleMania III. Who won?

In a special rematch, Andre the Giant beat Hogan. But the win wouldn’t have happened without the meddling of the devious Million Dollar Man.

Bobby Heenan was the best _____ of the golden era.

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was the best manager of the golden era. He was renowned for his ability to spark angry boos from crowds wherever he performed, a fact that boosted the WWF’s ratings.

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage teamed up to form _____.

In the late ‘80s, Hogan and Savage took their friendship to a new level, forming the Mega Powers. Along with Miss Elizabeth, they ruled the ring.

How did Andre the Giant perform at 1990’s WrestleMania VI?

At WrestleMania VI, Andre’s health problems were on display, as he had difficulty performing. His decline was symbolic of the WWF’s slow slide into obscurity.

As the golden age began to fade and the WWF lost its luster, which organization benefited?

As the WWF lost its stranglehold on wrestling, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) gained momentum. It hired former WWF stars and created its own new brands. The WCW never reached the WWF’s level of popularity, but it kept pro wrestling in the public eye.

In the WCW, which major WWF star turned heel?

Hogan, who’d made his millions as a babyface with WWF, joined the WCW and turned heel. Pro wrestling was turned upside down for a time, truly marking the end of a golden age.

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About This Quiz

For most of its history, pro wrestling has been the sweaty, mascara-streaked stepchild of other forms of entertainment — not quite a sporting event, not quite theater, and always scorned by the daily newspaper. Then, in the 1980s, wrestling was transformed. How much do you know about pro wrestling’s golden age?

The golden age didn’t last long, but during its heyday, wrestlers weren’t sports stars, they were celebrity icons. They appeared in all sorts of TV shows and movies and became the subject of gossip rags the world over. Do you know which organization helped wrestlers hit the headlines? And do recall the names of the most famous wrestlers of the decade?

In just a few years, one promoter manager took wrestling’s shabby look and put a shine to its main events. Do you remember the biggest matches of the golden era? Who won the heavyweight championships of the late ‘80s?

Just as quickly as pro wrestling hit its stride, a number of scandals rocked some of its biggest names. Declining health and age caught up to others. Do you know which factors caused the slow end of the golden age?

Let’s see if you can put our wrestling quiz into a headlock or whether you’ll wind up scoop-slammed to the mat. Take our golden age of wrestling quiz now!

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