WWF at Madison Square Garden - March 23, 1992
by Scrooge McSuck
- It's the end of an era for the World Wrestling Federation. While locations like the Boston Garden and Philadelphia Spectrum (among other places) both stopped airing cards on the local television networks in 1989, MSG kept the tradition going for another three years. All those local Event Centers were not just advertising a live card, but a special television broadcast for those with cable. Other than a one-time return to MSG (with very little hooplah), this is out final stop at the most famous arena in sports, two weeks away from WrestleMania VIII. I vaguely remember watching this card as it happened, but was unaware it would be the last one on television....
- Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are calling all the action, unless otherwise noted. At least we're going out with the best of the bunch available.
Tatanka vs. Col. Mustafa
BLECH! Mustafa gets all the introduction of a weekend scrub, already in the ring for Tatanka's entrance (this is T.V., of course), and gets introduced as a second-thought. Tatanka is pretty freshly debuted at this point, not really in any kind of a program, other than a thrown-together match scheduled at WrestleMania VIII with Rick Martel. Heck, he was this close to just being "Chris Chavis" before someone came up with the idea of calling him Tatanka. We play the "Boo the Heel, Cheer the Face" Game. Lockup, and Mustafa shows off his impressive(ly bad) physique. They fight over a waistlock until Mustafa hooks the ropes. Mustafa with a full nelson, but Tatanka quickly counters.For the 87th time, Mustafa points to his head and shows some "muscle" after hooking the ropes for an escape. Whip to the ropes, and Tatanka comes back with a clothesline and dropkick. Tatanka with a pair of elbows to the knee, then a gift wrapping around the post. Mustafa with a cheap shot to the throat and use of the dreaded pointed-boot of doom. Mustafa grabs a chinlock to waste a couple of minutes. Tatanka tries to power out, but a handful of hair helps Mustafa remain in control. Tatanka escapes, but runs into a whatever-the-hell-it-was to the throat. Mustafa covers for two, waddles around, and takes him down with a gutwrench suplex for another two count. Suplex attempt is blocked, and Tatanka takes Mustafa over with one of his own. Tatanka starts doing his War Dance, chopping away in the process. Tatanka with a back breaker, followed by a second rope tomahawk chop and the Fallaway Slam (papoose to go!) for the three count at 8:47. Considering it included an out-of-shape Iron Shiek, it could've been worse. Not the match I would open a card with, but they could've gone with worse, I guess.
"El Matador" Tito Santana vs. Irwin R. Schyster
I could say this is another throw-together match, but then I'm going to be saying it every match, so I'm going to stop. I.R.S. is half of the reigning Tag Champs, "winning" the titles from the Legion of Doom roughly a month earlier. Santana is scheduled to face Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania VIII, so he could use the win here. Tidbit: Both men competed at the first WrestleMania (as well as Col. Mustafa, while we're on the subject), held at MSG. Lockup, and they fight over a wristlock, with Santana going the upperhand. WrestleMania is in Indiana, which allows them to work in a Bobby Knight reference (Heenan: Gladys' brother?). Santana clears I.R.S. from the ring while Heenan and Monsoon speculate wether or not Dibiase is upset at I.R.S. for taking a match like this, so close to WrestleMania. After a bit of stalling, Santana with a headlock takeover. Irwin makes it to the ropes, so Santana drops him on his face. More staling, so we know this is going to get a lot of time. Santana blocks a cheap shot attempt, and sends Irwin back to the floor following an atomic drop. The trend of "Stall, back in, and knocked to the floor" continues. Irwin digs into his pockets for an imaginary weapon, a move that I'm sure impresses the Brain.
Back inside, Irwin uses the (insert idea here) to level Santana, and I'm sure this will lead to a long heat segment. Irwin puts the boots to him and sends El Matador to the floor while Heenan sings a Mexican Hat-Dance tune. Santana attempts a sunset flip, but only gets two, and Irwin regains control. Irwin with a leg across the midsection for two. Snapmare and elbow drops for another two count. Abdominal stretch, and yes, he does use the ropes for extra leverage. Santana breaks with a little help from the referee, and a school boy gets two. Irwin goes to the eyes and slaps on a sleeper hold. Santana escapes with elbows, but runs into a knee lift. Irwin with a short leg drop for a two count, and now it's time for a chinlock. Santana escapes and rams Irwin to the buckle. He meets the knees on a charge attempt, allowing I.R.S. to once again take control. More chinlocks, and we all know what the result is going to be at this point. Irwin hangs up Santana across the top rope for another near fall, then goes back to the chinlock. I.R.S. lays him out with rights, heads to the top rope, and stumbles. He goes back again, and meets a boot on the way down. I HATE that spot! Santana with rights, followed by stomping in the corner. Irwin eats buckle and gets sent across the ring. Santana goes for the forearm, but Irwin slides out of the ring. Santana brings him back in by the tie and pounds away for two. Santana with a suplex for two. Santana goes for a splash, but meets the knees. Irwin hits a diving clothesline for two, but the bell rings anyway at 20:37 for a Time Limit Draw. I guess the timekeeper started falling asleep, too. In a technical sense, this was perfectly acceptable wrestling, but my God, was it really boring for the most part. Santana, sore-loser of the century, KO's Irwin with the Flying Forearm for the heck of things.
J.W. Storm vs. "The Model" Rick Martel
Wow, way to bring out the star-power for this one. The only time I've ever seen Storm was in a losing effort at Halloween Havoc '90, but a quick search has him working house shows for most of the Winter, primarily against Rick Martel, among a few others. Lockup, and Storm grabs a headlock. Whip to the ropes, and Storm comes off with a shoulder tackle. Lockup into the ropes, and Martel with a slap. Martel with a front facelock, and you know how annoying it is to try and recap a show when people keep talking in your ear? Not that I give a shit about this match, but it's the principle of the thing. Lockup to the corner, and Martel offers a cheap shot to the throat. Storm blocks a roll up, and throws Martel across the ring with a slam. Monsoon is bored, so he talks about the upcoming Bulldog vs. Berzerker match at WrestleMania VIII. Then the topic changes to the 8-Man Tag. Storm works the arm as we talk about the possibility of Brutus Beefcake being at ringside for the Hulkster (nope). Martel breaks things up, tossing Storm over the top, to the floor. Martel follows out, and plows through him with a clothesline. This one is just dragging. It's like a super-extended Superstars squash match, except without the canned heel heat. Martel with a seated chinlock, but Storm is too strong to keep down, and rams Martel back into the buckle. Martel to the second turnbuckle, and he takes a fist to the midsection. Storm with an atomic drop and clotheslines. Whip to the corner, and Storm misses a charge. Martel with a roll up (and handful of tights) for the three count at 9:35. Thank you, next please.
Bret "Hitman" Hart & The Bushwhackers vs. The Nasty Boys & The Mountie:
This was originally meant to include the Legion of Doom as Bret's partners, but they decided they were too good for the WWF, and taken off television before making their return at WrestleMania VIII. With Rocco. The ventriliquist dummy. Bret challenges for the Intercontinental Title and the Jimmy Hart Connection are set for 8-Man Tag Action at WrestleMania VIII. Bret and the Bushwhackers are all sporting Hitman glasses... please tell me this isn't going to be a comedy match. I don't care if Bret is involved, I've seen too many matches between the Nasty Boys and Bushwhackers in my life to give a shit anymore. Bret does the Bushwhacker march... ugh. Et tu, Hitman? Bret offers Mountie to start, but gets Saggs instead. Mountie, suffering from Marty McFly Syndrome, decides to enter, and we FINALLY get the action underway. Bret pounds away, and drops an elbow to counter a monkey flip attempt. Saggs comes in, gets taken over with an arm drag, and now the Bushwhackers get involved to tank things. Butch tags in, and quickly gets worked over by Knobbs. Butch fights back and bites his fanny. Saggs gets bit too, while Bret conventionally takes care of da' Mountie. Triple clothesline to clear the ring, and Hart joins the Bushwhacker antics, again. Heels tease a walk-out, but they're tricked back in. Butch plays dumbass-in-peril, but again, I stopped giving a shit about these two tag teams in my recaps years ago. Lots of restholds and generic double teaming. What else would you expect from this collection of garbage? Bret eventually gets the hot tag and lays into the Mountie with rights. Bret with an inverted atomic drop and back breaker, then a double noggin-knocker for the Nasties. Everyone gets in the action again, and a Triple-Team Battering Ram crushes the heels in the corner. Heels get whipped into boots from Hart, then into each other, and Mountie gets rolled up by Hart for three at 13:22. Well, a couple of minutes of action saves this from the dumpser file, but my God, was the heat segment on Butch as worthless as you could imagine.
"Jumping" Jim Brunzell vs. The Warlord:
The JTTS roll call continues! As if the Warlord was doing that much better, right? I'm pretty sure he was shown the door immediately after WrestleMania VIII in the great purging of roid-monsters of 1992, yet somehow Davey Boy hung around for most of the year. How can anyone honestly say Brunzell weighs 240+ pounds? I know, wrestling weights are something not worth questioning, we'd be here all day. Lockup, and Warlord easily overpowers. Brunzell with a waistlock, but Warlord's TOO STRONG. He escapes a leg sweep attempt with clubbing blows while Monsoon promises that no matter what, Hulkamania will live forever. Warlord with a slam, but he misses an elbow. Brunzell goes to work on the arm with a wristlock as I notice Warlord's hair is growing back in. 2 years later, these two would be fighting over the prestigious UWF Tag Titles... sorry, I'm bored and looking for anything to reference. Obvious "Boring" chant as we run down more of the WrestleMania VIII card. Brunzell gets dumped, then rammed into the ring post. Back inside, and it's time for a bearhug. Brunzell escapes with a bee smack, but gets slammed down for daring to create any offense. Warlord to the second rope, and he misses a fist drop. Brunzell grabs the beard, then bites on the nose. Whip to the ropes, and he slaps on a sleeper. Think we'll see a dropkick? Whip to the corner, and Warlord is back in control. Another match that's just dragging on. Brunzell tricks Warlord into the corner, trips him up, and rams the leg into the post. Back inside, Brunzell kicks away. Leg sweep, and Brunzell grapevines the leg. Brunzell comes off the ropes with a running high knee, followed by a clothesline, and not one, but TWO dropkicks. It only gets two. Warlord catches him off the ropes and plants him with a running powerslam for three at 10:19. Brunzell tried on his part, but Warlord's terrible, and the crowd was against it before it even had a chance to start stinking up the arena.
Virgil vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri):
More WrestleMania scheduling: As mentioned before, Michaels is set to face Tito Santana, while Virgil, broken nose and all (thanks to Sid Justice, and kayfabe, I'm sure), is going to be part of the 8-Man Tag. Michaels is still working out the kinks of the Heartbreak Kid gimmick, but it's almost there. Lockup to start, and Michaels unwisely punches Virgil's protective mask. Lockup, and this time Shawn offers a bitch slap before taking a breather to avoid an ass beating. Back in the ring, a criss-cross sequence ends with Virgil grabbing a side headlock. They go through a series of counters before we take it back to the headlock. Michaels escapes in the corner, pounding away. Virgil comes back with clotheslines, but whiffs on a third, and goes spilling to the floor in the process. Back inside, Michaels removes the mask, which means open season on the face. Snapmare and stomp to the face. Michaels pounds away, no-selling the effect of the protective mask (continuity? What's that?). Michaels continues working the face, and slaps on a chinlock. Virgil escapes with elbows to the midsection, but eats boot on a charge attempt, giving control back to Michaels. More pounding on the exposed face, snapmare, and choking. This keeps going on for a while, so I sit back and relax. Virgil surprises Michaels with a back slide for two, then Michaels quickly connects with a clothesline for a two count of his own. Virgil eats buckle, knocking the mask off in the process. Thankfully the referee is nice enough to play fetch and put the thing back on him. BOO! Whip to the ropes, and Virgil counters a back drop by ramming Michaels face-first into the canvas. Virgil with rights, followed by a pair of atomic drops (one of each). Whip to the ropes, Virgil connects with a back elbow, followed by a clothesline and dropkick. Virgil with a shitty Russian leg sweep for a two count. Whip to the corner, Virgil misses a knee to the buckle, and Michaels finishes him off shortly after with his tear drop suplex for the three count at 12:11. Well, that really did nothing for me, but like the match earlier between Santana and I.R.S., I can't say it was a bad match from a technical POV. Just kind of boring.
Hulk Hogan & Roddy Piper (IC Champion) vs. Ric Flair (WWF Champion) & Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
Time for the Main Event, and the only match here I actually was looking forward to. Mr. Perfect is surprisingly absent from Flair's corner. Entrances eat up a lot of time, but even more surprisingly, Piper and Hogan come out together (to Hogan's music, of course). Odd tidbit: In the months leading up to Piper's retirement (in 1987), he started to team with Hogan at house shows. Now, in 1992, it's the same result, roles reversed. Once things calm down, we start with Piper and Flair. Lockup into the corner, and they claw at each other until the referee forces a break. Lockup, and this time we get a battle of shove vs. slap. Whip to the ropes, Piper with a shoulder block, knocking Flair to the floor. Back inside, Flair drives a knee to the midsection, and unloads with chops in the corner. Piper comes back with a wild flurry of rights, lefts and slaps, followed by more punches, this time of the mounted variety. Flair tries escaping with an atomic drop, but Piper responds with a poke of the eyes. Piper unloads with more blows in the corner, and takes Flair over with a back drop. Piper with a running knee lift, and now Flair plays ping-pong before taking a signature face-first flop. Flair thumbs the eyes to take control. Whip to the ropes, and Piper surprises Flair with a back slide for two. Whip to the corner, Flair lands on the apron, and runs into a boot from the Hulkster.
Back inside, and we get the inevitable tagging in of Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice. WrestleMania VIII happens now! Sid with a knee to the chest, followed by clubbing blows. Sid with boots to the chest, followed by a scoop slam. Mounted choking in the corner, as the quality of this match has dropped drastically almost instantly. Hogan blocks being rammed to the buckle, and instead sends Sid from corner to corner. Hogan follows in with a clothesline, but Sid no-sells and goes back to his typical crap offense. Whip to the ropes, and Piper gets the blind tag. Hogan with a slam, and Piper pounds away for a one count. Sid boots Piper coming off the ropes, and takes him over with a side headlock. Piper counters with a head scissors, but Sid nips up and levels him with a clothesline. Sid with a back breaker, and now Flair takes this opprotunity to unload on Piper in the corner. He gets double teamed while Hogan has the referee distracted. You'd think someone who's been around so long wouldn't fall for that spot. Sid with a pathetic chair shot to Piper while the referee continues to play blind/dumb. Back inside, Flair and Piper trade blows again, until Flair goes to the eyes. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross ends with Piper connecting with a clothesline. Sid cuts off a tag attempt, putting the boots to Piper. He connects with a neck breaker, but he chooses to pose instead of make a pin attempt. Sid to the second rope, and he takes a fist to the midsection. Flair with a reverse atomic drop and snapmare. He goes to the top... just guess what happens. Hogan gets the hot tag, and hammers away on Flair with rights. Whip to the corner, followed by a back drop. Hogan with clotheslines and a cheap shot to Sid resting on the apron. Hogan with the boot and leg drop, but Sid nails him with the doctor's bag. He rolls Flair on top, only for Hogan to Hulk Up. Hogan no-sells Flair's offense (surprised?), then works over Sid with eye rakes. Everyone brawls, with the heels clearing them out. Hogan sneaks back in the ring, shushes the audience, hits a clothesline on Flair, and cover for three at 18:04. Weak finish and Sid being involved aside, an acceptable tag team main event, with some decent action sprinkled throughout. Not a must-see, but fun.
This one was a complete turd. A handful of decent, boring matches and a passable main event barely makes up for a pair of scrub matches and the involving of such legendary talents as the Bushwhackers, Nasty Boys, and way-past-his-prime Iron Shiek. Nothing is worth really tracking down except for the novelty of the main event, and this being the last card to be regularly featured on the MSG Network. Take a pass, history isn't worth the time of day, here.
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