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Bob Backlund

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Backlund

As WWWF Champion in '81

Bob Backlund -- (born August 14, 1949, in Princeton, Minnesota) is a former-wrestler, best known for a six-year reign as (W)WWF World champion during the 1979 transition from the World-Wide Wrestling Federation to the World Wrestling Federation. He was the last champion of Vince McMahon Sr.'s choosing, and he dropped the title to The Iron Sheik shortly after Vince McMahon bought the company but before Vince ushered in the "Rock 'N' Wrestling" era of pro wrestling powered by Hulkamania. Backlund quietly exited the company about six months after the transition, and he went off the radar until 1992 when he returned to a very different WWF.

Although he was packaged as a babyface champion, complete with Arnold Skaaland as his manager, many fans of the era hated Bob Backlund as champion, and if Superstar Billy Graham had stayed the course at the time, his popularity would likely have surpassed Backlund's easily. Regardless, Backlund's first World title reign had its share of noteable feuds with challengers (like Ken Patera, Don Muraco, Stan Hansen, George The Animal Steele, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Greg The Hammer Valentine, Sgt. Slaughter, Billy Graham, and Ivan Koloff) and double title matches against other World champions like Dusty Rhodes, Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race, and Ric Flair.

Bob Backlund made an impact on the 1993 Royal Rumble by entering second and becoming the penultimate elimination at the hands of eventual winner Yokozuna, lasting a record-setting 61 minutes, 10 seconds. Unfortunately, he went almost nowhere for the next 18 months until he challenged WWF Champion Bret Hart on a July 1994 episode of WWF Superstars, which Bret won. After the match Backlund apparently snapped, slapping the champion in the face and applying the Cross-face Chickenwing. These actions led to a short feud, which culminated at that year's Survivor Series, where Backlund won the championship after Owen Hart coaxed his parents into throwing in a towel for Bret. Backlund's second reign was slightly shorter than his first, lasting 3 days instead of 6 years, and he dropped the championship to "Big Daddy Cool" Diesel in 8 seconds in front of a New York crowd.

Afterwards, Backlund continued his rivalry with Bret Hart for some reason, which culminated at WrestleMania XI in an "I Quit" match. In the following months, Backlund declared his candidacy for President of the United States on WWF programming (this news did not reach national media outlets somehow). Backlund paired up with former-rival (Iron Sheik) to manage the career of The Sultan, leading to an Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania 13.

Every televised appearance of Bob Backlund since announcing his presidential candidacy seems to have incorporated the concept in one way or another.

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