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Famous Like Me > Actor > B > Bob Backlund

Profile of Bob Backlund on Famous Like Me

Name: Bob Backlund  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 14th August 1950
Place of Birth: Princeston, Minnesota, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Bob Backlund (born August 14, 1950) is an American professional wrestler and minor politician.


  • Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
  • Weight: 233 lbs.
  • Birthday: August 14, 1950
  • Hometown: Glastonbury, Connecticut
  • Trained by: Eddie Sharkey
  • Managers: Arnold Skaaland
  • Wrestlers he Managed: The Sultan
  • Previous Gimmicks: Mr. Bob Backlund
  • Finishing/Trademark moves: Cross Face Chicken Wing, Backlund Bridge, Atomic Spinecrusher

Billed From: Princeton Minnesota


1970s and 1980s

Backlund was an amateur wrestler at North Dakota State University, winning the Division II NCAA Championship at 190 pounds in 1971. Backlund joined the WWWF and became the World Champion on February 20, 1978 defeating "Superstar" Billy Graham in New York City's Madison Square Garden. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, Backlund was picked to be champion by Vincent J. McMahon, who was looking for a younger version of Jack Brisco. Backlund was recommended to McMahon by Eddie Graham and Sam Muchnick. Over a near six-year period, Backlund held the title on three occasions, and defeated some of the most notorious heels in the sport, ranging from Pat Patterson to Don Muraco to Greg Valentine. On November 30, 1979, Backlund was defeated for the championship by Antonio Inoki in Tokushima, Japan. The loss to Inoki has never been acknowledged by the WWF. Backlund's steel cage match against Jimmy Snuka on June 28, 1982 in Madison Square Garden is considered a classic to this day. Also of note were his title vs. title bouts against AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel and NWA World Champions Harley Race and Ric Flair. Backlund's no-nonsense attitude and superb scientific skill made him a durable champion and a favorite of many fans around the world.

However, by the final months of his title reign, many fans had grown weary of "Howdy Doody", as The Grand Wizard had dubbed Backlund, due to his red hair and boyish features. Additionally, Vincent K. McMahon, who had taken over his father's wrestling promotion, wanted to put the title on the more charismatic and muscular Californian Hulk Hogan. Backlund lost the title on December 26, 1983 to the Iron Sheik, when his manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel while Backlund was locked in the Camel Clutch. It's worth noting that Backlund was not defeated via a pinfall or submission. McMahon asked Backlund to become a "punk rock" heel, with dyed hair and face paint, a gimmick similar to that of "Exotic" Adrian Street. Backlund refused, and left the WWF. After a run in the short-lived Pro Wrestling USA, a joint promotion between the NWA and the AWA in which he notably challenged AWA Champion Rick Martel, Backlund soon dropped off the pro wrestling scene. He later resurfaced in Herb Abrams' short lived UWF in June 1991 for Beach Brawl, a pay-per-view event in which he defeated Ivan Koloff.

1992 comeback

In late 1992, Backlund returned to a WWF very different from the one he had left nearly a decade earlier. In his absence, the company had enjoyed a great deal of national success, with many new fans being drawn to the colorful wrestlers of the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" era. Backlund, whose persona remained the same as it was in his heyday, may have been too bland to get over with the fans of the early 1990s. Many of these fans did not even remember him, as he had left just prior to Vince McMahon, Jr.'s national expansion.

While this period of his career was largely uneventful, it was highlighted by his performance at the 1993 Royal Rumble, in which he lasted 61 minutes and 10 seconds, a record that would not be broken until 2004 (by Chris Benoit). Backlund's first appearance at a WrestleMania event, at WrestleMania IX, consisted of a quick match, which he lost to Razor Ramon.

Mr. Bob Backlund

In the summer of 1994, Backlund took part in what was billed as an "old generation vs. new generation" match with Bret Hart. Over a number of weeks, viewers of WWF Superstars were treated to vignettes of Backlund working out and training for his match with Hart. After Hart defeated him, Backlund "snapped" under the disbelief of being defeated by who he saw as an upstart. As Hart held out his hand for Backlund to shake, Backlund stared at Hart maniacally and then slapped him in the face. Backlund then placed Hart in the cross face chicken wing submission hold, laughing hysterically and refusing to let go. When he did let go, Backlund simply stared at his hands in shock. Shortly thereafter, on an episode of Monday Night RAW, Backlund explained that he should still be considered to be the legitimate WWF Champion, as the Iron Sheik had never pinned him, nor had he submitted to the Camel Clutch. Backlund continued wrestling under the new gimmick of an out of touch, yet highly dangerous, maniac out to teach the new generation a lesson. He often appeared in business suits, had a hyperactive personality, and used large words to sound important. He also demanded that he be addressed as "Mister Backlund". On several instances, he attacked wrestlers and other WWF employees and placed them in the cross face chicken wing. These victims included Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, WWF Magazine writer Lou Gianfriddo, and his former manager Skaaland, whom he blamed for costing him the WWF title eleven years before. The gimmick worked as fans, especially the younger crowd, disliked him highly. Many fans, however, enjoyed seeing Backlund, who had spent most of his career as a clean-cut babyface, dive into his new heel role with such zeal.

On November 23, 1994 at the Survivor Series pay-per-view in San Antonio, TX, Backlund regained the WWF Title by defeating Bret Hart in a "Sharpshooter vs. Chicken Wing" submission match. Ironically, Backlund won when Bret's mother Helen (at the urging of Bret's wayward late brother Owen), threw in the towel for her son, who had remained locked in the chicken wing for nearly 10 minutes without submitting.

Backlund's final reign as WWF Champion was short-lived, however, as he lost the title on November 26 to Diesel (Kevin Nash) at Madison Square Garden, home of many of Backlund's victories in the 1970s and 1980s. This match was one of the most famous WWE matches of all time, as the towering Diesel simply kicked Backlund in the stomach and powerbombed him mere seconds after the bell rang. After the 3-count the match was a grand total of eight seconds long. For weeks afterwards fans jeered Backlund with chants of "8 Seconds! 8 Seconds!". In a 2005 interview for the Pro Wrestling Torch, Nash fondly remembered how Backlund sold his powerbomb and crawled up the aisleway back to the dressing room area of the Garden. Nash said, "He couldn't have put me over any stronger."

Though Backlund still wrestled on an occasional basis after his title loss, he never again reached main event status. His final noteworthy WWF match was an "I Quit" Match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania XI on April 2, 1995. He lost, though many viewers have noted that Backlund never actually said, "I Quit". He screamed unintelligibly into the microphone, which special guest referee "Rowdy" Roddy Piper seemed to interpret as "I Quit".

Following WrestleMania, the WWF ran an angle where Backlund declared his candidacy for President of the United States. Several vignettes were shown on television, including one depicting Backlund campaigning at a beach. However, this angle was dropped without fanfare, possibly due to lack of fan interest and because the U.S. presidential election would not be held for another year and a half.

For a brief time in 1996 and 1997, Backlund joined forces with his old nemesis, the Iron Shiek, to manage The Sultan in the WWF.

He later returned to wrestle in the 2000 Royal Rumble. After that, he became a brief-time manager for the then-Intercontinental and European Champion Kurt Angle. During his run, he taught his Crossface Chicken Wing submission to Angle, but later on, Angle fired Backlund after he (Angle) discovered that Backlund booked Angle in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, with both of his titles on the line, at Wrestlemania 2000.

Possibly inspired by his fake presidential candidacy in 1995, Backlund also unsuccessfully ran for a Connecticut seat in Congress as a Republican in 2000.

Title history

World Wrestling Federation

  • 4-Time WWF World Heavyweight Champion
  • 1-Time WWF World Tag Team Champion (with Pedro Morales)

National Wrestling Alliance

  • 1-Time NWA Western States Champion
  • 1-Time NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion
  • 1-Time NWA Georgia Tag Team Champion (with Jack Brisco)
  • 1-Time NWA Florida Tag Team Champion (with Steve Keirn)

Other Titles

  • 1-Time WAR Six-Man Tag Team Champion (with Scott Putski & The Warlord)
WWE Championship
Preceded by:
Billy Graham
First reign Followed by:
Antonio Inoki
Preceded by:
Second reign Followed by:
Preceded by:
Third reign Followed by:
The Iron Sheik
Preceded by:
Bret Hart
Fourth reign Followed by:

World Wrestling Entertainment Champions
Rogers | Sammartino | Koloff | Morales | Stasiak | Sammartino | Graham | Backlund | Inoki | - | Backlund | - | Backlund | Iron Sheik | Hogan | Andre | - | Savage | Hogan | Warrior | Slaughter | Hogan | Undertaker | Hogan | - | Flair | Savage | Flair | Hart | Yokozuna | Hogan | Yokozuna | Hart | Backlund | Diesel | Hart | Michaels | Sid | Michaels | - | Hart | Sid | Undertaker | Hart | Michaels | Austin | Kane | Austin | - | Rock | Mankind | Rock | Mankind | Rock | Austin | Undertaker | Austin | Mankind | Triple H | McMahon | - | Triple H | Big Show | Triple H | Rock | Triple H | Rock | Angle | Rock | Austin | Angle | Austin | Jericho | Triple H | Hogan | Undertaker | Rock | Lesnar | Big Show | Angle | Lesnar | Angle | Lesnar | Guerrero | Layfield | Cena


  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) ranked him # 7 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.
  • He also won several PWI Awards. He was named 1976 PWI Rookie of the Year, won Most Inspirational in 1977 and 1981, won Wrestler of the Year in 1980 and 1982, Won Most Hated in 1994 and won Match of the Year in 1978 (vs. Superstar Billy Graham) and 1982 (vs. Jimmy Snuka).
  • In 2004, Backlund was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

External Links

  • Official Bob Backlund web site
  • Professional Wrestling Online Museum: Spotlight on Bob Backlund
  • Obsessed With Wrestling: Bob Backlund
  • The Accelerator's Wrestling Rollercoaster: Bob Backlund

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bob Backlund