Wrestling Review-Timeline:The History of the WWE 1980 told by Larry Zbyszko


Kayfabe Commentaries are back with their Timeline series. That is when host and interviewer Sean Oliver, has a special guest that tells us all the going on in a certain company or territory during a certain time. This time around it is Larry Zbyszko in the start of 1980 in the WWE. Sean Oliver is the king of shoot wrestling interviews, and in terms of production Kayfabe Commentaries lead the way. So, if you are into shoot wrestling interviews and want an education or some knowledge, I would say seek out any Kayfabe Commentary dvd. Unlike, most shoot interviews Sean is not out to be the star like the others seems to do, Sean is out to make his subject shine and feel relaxed. Sean throws a few softballs to get warmed up, but then Sean goes for broke with what he asks and really gives us questions we have not heard before. What the timeline series does is go month to month of a certain year, and gives an event that highlighted that month and the person being interviewed gives his take on what was going with that event and what else was happening at the time.
1980 was a year that change was coming, and people who were still stuck in the Bruno Samartino age were starting to see a new dawn with Bob Backlund, and Larry Zbyszko making his big turn on Bruno, that made a young man’s career. Let’s be honest, even in Larry’s lackluster AWA title run, Larry was never half the star after he left the WWE, as he was in it. To hear Larry in this video may answer the question as to why that is. Larry really never goes the extra mile on this interview; he gives us some stories here and there, but never really wanting to dish a lot of dirt and seems to think that he was a bigger star than he was. What makes this series click is when the guest, not only talks about things that we already know, but when they dish the dirt on things that also were going on we did not know. I love the interviews that people will go on and on and just talk and share. Larry felt a little reserved, like he was sticking with what was asked of him, and not really wanting to give us any more or less than that.

I know a lot of old school wrestlers, hated what the early 80’s brought with the WWE becoming this phenomenon and the famous leg drop on The Iron Sheik that made Hulk Hogan a star immediately and changed pure wrestling to cartoon sideshow just as fast. But, where would wrestling have gone if it did not happen? Bob Backlund was killing business and people were not buying into his reign, and Larry was in no way championship material to turn the next page for business. He would have been more of the same. The territories and the other companies were not setting the business on fire, so we needed this age to open up and get wrestling out of the small arenas and put it in the mainstream. Trust me, if Hulk Hogan signed on to a shoot video I would be first in line to hear what he has to say and how he would answer certain questions. Larry comes across as someone who is bitter about this age of wrestling and you think he thinks in his mind that he was the one that could have overshadowed Hogan and take over the landscape. If that was the case, you had a year run with the AWA title and you guys could not get out of a small casino in Vegas and people were not going to those shows.

I love the YouShoot stuff better, because it is more in my league of fun. You get the goofiness of having the fans interject absurd questions and insults, and you get the stars to talk and dish the dirt whether they want to or not, they all end up with their mouths going on and on. Larry was never a great talker in the ring, or on commentary and he in this interview tries to be entertaining, but Sean Oliver is both the interviewer and the star of this show. I would love to see a Timeline 1980 with Vince McMahon and someone brings up the topic of Larry and why was he not pushed after the Bruno heat died. To me, when you think of a wrestler hall of fame, I cannot see putting Larry in it. I can see putting Jimmy Garvin, and Stan Lane in front of him.

7 out of 10