WWF @ Madison Square Garden
by Scrooge McSuck
March 19, 1990
- The Road to WrestleMania VI continues, as the WWF makes its monthly stop at the grandest arena in the country, Madison Square Garden, in New York City, NY. Gorilla Monsoon, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Hillbilly Jim are calling all the action. I never understood a three-man team like this, when all three play the role of babyface on commentary. There's decent chemistry, I give that credit, but sometimes you need a good heel patting the back of cheaters to keep people interested in the audio, just as much as the visual action.
Jim Powers vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
I guess "Crank it Up" is no longer allowed to be used, as we skip introductions for this match and get right into the action... I swear to God, I must've seen this match a dozen times already. These two had to have wrestled a thousand opening matches together, and yet still can barely claw their ways past the one-star range. Stall to start. Sharpe rakes the eyes with the wrist brace and pounds away across the back. Whip is reversed, and a dropkick sends Sharpe to the floor to waste more time. Oh look, there's Superfan Vladimir. We can scratch that off the to do list. Slingshot in and a roll up from Powers gets two. More stalling. Knucklelock, stalling. Sharpe cheats to control, of course, and the commentary is so far gone from this match, it might as well be on another continent. Powers FINALLY counters and works the arm. He traps Sharpe in the Andre Special™, but runs into a big boot like a schmuck. Sharpe with shoulders to the midsection. Piledriver attempt is blocked and countered with a back drop. Powers with a sunset flip for two. The PBP continues hyping tonight's Main Event with Warrior and Perfect, noting Hogan COULDN'T pin Mr. Perfect... forshadowing? This keeps dragging... Powers randomly makes his comeback. Dropkick for two. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and he puts Sharpe away with a Powerslam at 12:53. The more time these two get, the less hope I have for the card overall.
Hercules vs. Black Bart:
See what I mean? This would be a 90-second squash on Wrestling Challenge, but unfortunately, I can see this getting double digit minutes here. Hercules has the honor of looking forward to being squashed by Earthquake at WrestleMania VI. He desperately needed a heel turn after his terrible run as a babyface. Lockup and Hercules shoves him down. Surprise, surprise, hair pull complaints! Hammerlock and waistlock attempts go bad for Bart. He slaps on a full nelson, but Hercules escapes with ease. Herc' with a hip toss and slam. He laughs off a test-of-strength, and easily powers him down. Bart goes to the eyes and chokes. It's like a No Holds Barred Match in WWF Royal Rumble for Super NES, the game that featured referee bumps. Commentary "Zuh?!" of the Match: Gorilla Monsoon accusing Sherri of not shaving her arm-pits. This is just dragging and there's no end in site. Whip to the ropes and Bart with a clothesline for two. Swinging neckbreaker for two. Chinlock! For the love of God, we got a chinlock. Boring chants pick up. Herc' escapes, eats a clothesline, and back to the chinlock. Did Hercules piss someone off, and this is somehow considered punishment? I can't grasp the logic of this getting so much time. Hercules comes back again, connects with a running knee lift and clothesline, then finishes Bart with the Torture Rack at 12:28. Yes, damn near 13-minutes for this horse shit.
Demolition vs. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji):
(Ax & Smash vs. Sato & Tanaka)
Thankfully the Orient Express theme is left intact, after being excluded from DVD releases for a while. I don't know how that generic theme would cause a problem for copyright and trademark issues, but I guess it did. Unfortunately, Demolition's theme is once again edited out, after years of leaving it in... is there some flare up every five years that forces them to pay up or edit out? Nice to see a match like this for rarities sake. We're recycling this from SuperTape Vol. 2, and since my opinion isn't changed much...
Lord Alfred manages to ruin Monsoon's "would you buy a used car" joke, as Smash tosses Tanaka into the corner. Irish whip, and Smash with a clothesline, complete with over-sell. Demolition with a double clothesline, then some double team pounding in the corner. Ax tags in, takes Tanaka over with a snapmare, and does his usual chinlock. Sato tags in, and Ax takes him over with a side headlock, followed by a hip toss. Whip to the corner, and Ax nails Sato coming in with an elbow. Tanaka nails Ax from the apron, allowing Sato to stomp away. Tanaka tags in and works Ax over with chops, but Ax fights back and rams him into the boot of Smash. Back breaker by Smash gets a two count, then he goes to the armbar. Ax tags in and works the arm, as well. Irish whip, and a double back drop to Tanaka puts him up in the lights. Tanaka rakes the eyes of Smash, and Sato tags in for some chopping. Smash fights back and takes Sato down with a hip toss, then smashes away on him. Tanaka surprises Smash with something from the top rope, then tosses him out in front of Fuji, who earns his check for the match. The Express control, doing nothing much worth noting, just lots of kicks and chops. Whip to the corner, and Smash charges out with a clothesline on Tanaka. Ax tags in, and hammers away on Tanaka, then rams him into the buckle. Whip to the corner, and Ax with a sloppy powerslam for a two count. Ax goes after Fuji on the floor, Sato spins him around, salts him, and it's a Count-Out victory for the Express at 10:57. All punchy-kicky. The Express didn't get good until Paul Diamond replaced Sato and pretended he was Japanese.
Koko B. Ware vs. Frenchie Martin:
Holy HELL, what is with the excessive use of Jobbers, and where the hell did they dig up Martin? He hasn't been managing anyone since WrestleMania V, and never wrestled on television. Was he a road agent or something, and they needed one more body to pad out the card? Even Gorilla points out this random appearance. Koko's "Bird, Bird, Bird" theme is left untouched, since I'm on a mission to point out every change in music licensing. He's scheduled to meet Rick Martel at WrestleMania VI, don'cha know. Koko avoids a cheap shot and takes him over with an arm drag. They fight over an overhead wristlock, won by Koko. Martin rakes the eyes and attacks the throat. Slam and elbow drop for two, then it's nerve hold time. Are they trying to make the entire crowd walk out on this show? Koko Bird's Up, but takes a knee to the midsection. Martin with another elbow drop for two, then back to the resting. Koko with a cross body press for two. His comeback is cut short, and then more resting. Slam for two, more resting. Koko with a standing dropkick and the Ghostbuster (Brain Buster suplex) finishes this turd at 12:40. This was almost as bad as the Hercules/Bart match.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart):
If this is the second highest match on the card, we're going to be in serious trouble. As mentioned earlier, Earthquake gets to squash Hercules at WrestleMania VI, and Duggan has a date set to face Quake's buddy, Dino Bravo. Lockup into the corner. Duggan avoids a cheap shot and unloads with rights. Whip to the ropes and Duggan connects with a clothesline. Hart trips him up, drawing him to the floor. He still manages to pull the ropes down on Earthquake's charge attempt, but winds up eating post soon after. Earthquake with choking across the top rope, and it's bearhug time. Duggan with bites to escape. Whip to the corner, Quake misses a charge. Duggan with clotheslines and rights to put Quake down. He sets up for the big clothesline... and hits! Then he tries it again, gets tripped up, squashed in the corner, and an elbow drop finishes him at 6:35. I'm surprised Duggan didn't get himself Disqualified [/Jesse Ventura]. Quake continues the assault, with failed saves from Koko and Powers buying Duggan time to retrieve the 2x4 and clear the ring. Bad match, but thankfully kept short.
- Sean Mooney standing by with the Intermission interviews from Bret Hart, Rick Martel, Brutus Beefcake, and Mr. Perfect. And now, back to the action...
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. "The Model" Rick Martel:
I just sat through a match of theirs from an episode of PrimeTime Wrestling, and this is recycled from SuperTape Vol. 2, but I have this weird feeling that tape edited the match down, so here we go again, this time hopefully for all the marbles! Lockup to the ropes, and we get a clean break. Bret with a headlock, but Martel hooks the rope to force a break. Overhead wristlock with the same result. They trade hammerlocks and a roll up attempt, with Martel showing off. Martel with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Knee to the midsection and he sends Bret to the buckle. Martel avoids a charge, but shows off one time too many and eats a clothesline for it. Whip to the ropes, Bret with a fist to the midsection and small package for two. Whip to the ropes, Bret blocks a hip toss and takes Martel over with a back slide for two. He takes Martel over with an arm drag and slaps on an armbar. Martel with a rake of the eyes to escape, followed by a slam, but an elbow drop misses, allowing Bret to continue going to work on the arm. Bret with a headbutt for a two count, and back to the armbar. Martel climbs over the ropes to try and break the hold, but gets jerked back in. Whip to the ropes, Martel side-steps a charge, tossing Bret to the floor.
Martel follows him out with an axehandle off the apron, then rams the Hitman into the side of the ring. He brings Bret back in with a suplex for two, then starts working over the back. He slaps on an abdominal stretch, and yes, he does use the ropes for extra leverage. The referee eventually catches the cheating and forces a break, but that just ticks Martel off, unloading on Bret with stomps. Whip to the corner, and a charge meets the post. Bret rolls him up for two, but Martel is quickly back in control, driving knees into the back. He goes for the Boston Crab, but Bret counters to escape. Martel with a back breaker, but a slingshot from the apron meets the knees. Whip to the ropes, and a head colission knocks both men down. Slugfest into the corner, won by Martel. Mounted punches are interrupted with an inverted atomic drop. Bret with a snap suplex and elbow drop for two. Scoop slam and second rope elbow for another two count. Russian leg sweep for two, and Martel rolls to the floor for a breather. Bret throws him back in and connects with a back breaker for two. Back to the floor, and again Bret drags him back in the ring. Dropkick for two. Back to the floor again, Martel tries ramming Bret into the apron, but this time Bret counters, then connects with an atomic drop. Bret rolls back in, and suddenly the bell rings at 21:37, with the official result being a Time Limit Draw. It's as if they were trying to apologize for the hour or so of crap that preceeded this... it wasn't a show saving match, but pretty darn good, and a bit better than the PTW match I just recapped. Some of the same formula, but a little bit more consistant throughout, instead of slowly building into something good.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart):
I guess the streak of good matches on this card will end at one, barring a miracle. Beefcake was actually having consistantly good matches around this time, but Bravo drags everyone not named Bret Hart to his level, so I have no hope right now. WrestleMania VI Update: Brutus Beefcake gets to take on the "undefeated" Mr. Perfect. Lockup, Bravo shoves Beefcake to the corner and celebrates. Sucker punch misses and Beefer unloads with rights, then sends Bravo to the floor with a clothesline. Did You Know? Lord Alfred and Gorilla both don't approve of the "kiss my butt" gesture. Test of strength time, because lord knows we haven't seen enough of that spot on this show. Bravo takes control without cheating, but does cheat to keep the momentum later on. HEEL! Beefcake makes a mild comeback, but an inverted atomic drop slows him, and a bearhug completely deflates the crowd again. Seriously, is every resthold required to fill 5 minutes of every match? Beefcake escapes with blows to the neck, followed by clotheslines and second rope first drops. He slaps the Sleeper on, but Earthquake woddles down to ringside, pulls Beefcake out, and sends him into the post, giving Bravo the cheap Count-Out victory at 11:27. Earthquake with further punishment afterwards, but no butt-drop. Lame sauce.
Tugboat vs. Pez Whatley:
They just keep sending out these A-level matches, aren't they? Lockup into the ropes and Tugboat casually slams him off the second turnbuckle. Anyone else ever notice that Tugboat was part of the roster for both WrestleMania VI and VII, but didn't make the card for either? See also: The Bushwhackers. Whip to the ropes, Tugboat catches a body press and turns it into a back breaker. He slaps on a bearhug, but misses a charge to the corner. Pez with some token offense and a headbutt from the second rope for barely a one count. He heads to the top, only to be slammed off. Tugboat crushes him in the corner, then sends him across the ring with a hip toss. They blow a clothesline spot and Tugboat finishes him with the big splash at 5:51. Could've been worse.
- The WWF returns to Madison Square Garden on Monday Night, April 30th. The card is still coming together, but the Main Event is set: Earthquake takes on Hulk Hogan. Note that the Fink did not say "WWF Champion" Hulk Hogan. 'Quake comes down to the ring, pissed off and screaming a lot to sell how much he doesn't want the match.
The Ultimate Warrior (IC Champion) vs. Mr. Perfect:
This is a Non-Title Match, because this card didn't need anything to sell the crowd on. Warrior rushes in and quickly sends Perfect to the floor with chops. Lockup, and Warrior shoves him right back out. Since we're wasting time, why is Lord Alfred constantly calling Hillbilly Jim "Billy"? It's not like Hillbilly is his actual name, it's a stereotype label to go with his name. Whatever... Perfect grabs a headlock, but a shoulder block knocks him through the ropes. Warrior pulls him around the ring by the hair and slams him face-first to the canvas. Warrior throws him across the ring, and Perfect posts himself trying to slide out. Warrior with a clothesline, knocking Perfect to the outside. Back in, he goes for a Splash, but Perfect gets the knees up. He unloads with chops and rights, takes Warrior down with a drop toe hold, and stomps away. He tosses Warrior to the floor, but he surprises everyone with a halfway decent sunset flip for two. Perfect with sit-down splashes across the back, followed by a dropkick to the face for two. Seated chinlock, and yes, it does last forever. Warrior starts doing his seizure routine, wipes Perfect out with clotheslines and shoulder tackles, and the press slam and splash combo finishes him off at 10:05, thus handing him his first pinfall loss in the WWF. Paint by Numbers main event to close things out.
Final Thoughts: I won't be too hard pressed to say that this might be the worst card to ever be featured at Madison Square Garden, at least from my era of watching wrestling. One good match, that being Bret vs. Martel, and then the rest... wow. Half the matches featured scrubs (notably Powers, Sharpe, Bart, Frenchie, and Pistol Pez), and all of them were either boring as fuck or absolutely terrible. The remaining matches featuring name vs. name superstars included non-classics such as Duggan vs. Earthquake, Beefcake vs. Bravo, and Demolition vs. Bad Orient Express. If you subscribe to Classics on Demand, watch part 2, watch Bret vs. Martel, then don't think twice about watching anything else. Nothing even comes close to deserving the time it takes to watch.
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