As a kid in a WWF town during the pre and early expansion era Backlund wasn't hated or unpopular in a Roman Reigns sense, his act and matches were well past their shelf date, he still got a good pop when he made his comebacks but everyone was snoozing until that point. The likes of Jimmy Snuka & Rocky Johnson pre expansion and Hulk Hogan & Sgt. Slaughter post expansion were what we wanted in Pittsburgh at that time to the point where Backlund basically got demoted on the Civic Arena cards in 1983, he either finished the night in a quick match against the likes of Ivan Koloff and George Steele or was in a B show town, while Johnson and Snuka each worked three match runs against Muraco for the IC belt. Once Hogan showed up Backlund was still positioned as a top face but you could tell his heart really wasn't in it and the influx of new talent both face and heel by the summer of 84 got him lost in the shuffle.
Here's a run down of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena house show main's and Backlund matches in 1983, I went to almost all of these.
January (14,000) - Backlund vs. Muraco in double count out
February (10,000) - Backlund pins Muraco in Texas Death Match, decent drop off from the previous month.
April (16,000 sell out) Rocky Johnson vs. Muraco IC title match in main event slot before intermission, Backlund teams with Snuka & Andre against Studd & The Wild Samoans to close the night.
May (14,000) Rocky Johnson vs. Muraco IC title Texas Death Match that ends with Muraco leaving the ring, this was in the main event slot. Backlund closed the night in a WWF title match against Ivan Koloff.
June (16,000 sell out) Rocky Johnson vs. Muraco in a cage match for the IC title, card also had Andre vs. Studd and Snuka & Putski vs. The Wild Samoans for the tag belts, Backlund is working a spot show in Brooklyn, NY.
July (14,000) Andre vs. Studd in a Body Slam Match in the main event slot, Snuka vs. Muraco double dq for the IC belt and Backlund ends the night in a WWF title match against George Steele.
August (14,000) Snuka vs. Muraco for IC title in pre intermission slot and the night ends with Andre vs. Studd in a cage with Swede Hanson as guest ref, Backlund was in Framingham, Mass against Afa.
October (12,000) Snuka vs. Muraco for IC title in a strap match, no Andre or Backlund on the card and the extra month lay off really cooled off the Snuka-Muraco feud for us yinzers, Backlund was in Waterville, Maine against Slaughter.
November (10,000) Backlund vs. Masked Superstar for WWF title in main event slot, no Snuka or Andre on the card to help boost the house.
December (6,000) Backlund vs. Masked Superstar for WWF title ends in a count out, other big match was Snuka and Arnie Skaaland against Muraco & Captain Lou.