WWWF At Madison Square Garden
April 14, 1975
by JJ Flamingo
"You know you're all alone
Commentator: Vince McMahon, along with some "world famous financial mind" who comments every couple of bouts with bon mots like "Wow!" and "That was great!"
Your friends they aren't at home
Everybody's gone to the Garden
As you look into the trees
You can look but you don't see
The flowers seem to tease you at the Garden
Everybody's there, but you don't seem to care
What's it with you man, and this Garden..."
Well, nearly two years after the last AVAILABLE MSG show, comes this one headlined by a wild Bruno Title Defense. Why two years? Because McMahon will NOT release any shows from that interim period! Grrrr.
Note: This show also featured a non-title match with WWWF Tag Champs Jimmy and Johnny Valiant vs Manuel Soto and Pete Sanchez, but apparently McMahon must've thought the Valiants weren't cool enough to be on the official release of this card. Considering what DID get included, it's a perplexing thought.
Match 1: Mike Paidousis vs Tony Altimore
Setup: Two flabby bums jerk the curtain at MSG.
Match: Now these two guys: Altimore (former tag partner of Lou Albano) sports ridiculous-looking graying temples, while Paidousis rather resembles the union boss at an old steel mill. The crowd sits on their hands while these two fatasses exchange rest holds for an extended period of time, until Altimore gets pinned after missing a kick off the ropes(!)
Result: Paidousis via pinfall at 13:05
Rating: 0 (Sh*t) It's really amazing neither of these two suffered a heart attack all the time they were out here, but that's why God invented armbars. Oh, and the referee is horrible too, slow, constantly out of position, and not saying a word when rules are broken or they're in the ropes.
Match 2: Greg Valentine vs El Olympico
Setup: The future Hall Of Famer makes his Garden debut, and his first victim is the pudgy "masked" Mexican jobber.
Match: Wow, it's tough to watch Olympico, whose offense consists solely of punches, kicks, and one dropkick, all sold beautifully by his opponent. Valentine DOMINATES him though, and fans of The Hammer should probably enjoy seeing him use legit WRESTLING skills to kick this guy's ass, and finish him off with a crunching elbow smash off the ropes.
Result: Valentine via pinfall at 7:49
Rating: 1 (Okay) A must-see for Valentine marks to watch their hero kick some wussy ass.
Match 3: Waldo Von Erich vs Chief Jay Strongbow
Setup: Who doesn't wanna see a self-proclaimed "Aryan Superman" take on a Native American who's actually Italian??
Match: Waldo (kayfabe brother of Fritz) walks to the ring with a Nazi helmet, and quickly attacks Strongbow while he still wears the headdress and beats the crap out of him. Before you can say "Kill the f*ckin' Indian!" in your best Dangerfield voice, Strongbow is chucked hard over the top rope and lands on his head, and he doesn't get up.
Result: Von Erich via countout at 39 seconds
Rating: 1 (Okay) Incredibly short, but for sheer entertainment value seeing Chief Jay get his ass KICKED.
Match 4: Sonny Boy Hayes and Little Louie vs Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo (2/3 Falls)
Setup: Our freakshow match sees King Kong Bundy's WMIII team of midgets take on two long-haired dwarfs.
Match: If there's ever a Midget Wing added to the WWE Hall Of Fame, Littlebrook and Tokyo should be the first inductees. This "non-title" match has got the 2 out of 3 stigma, but it shouldn't go long since midgets tire easily. All in all, VERY entertaining bout that had the crowd into it, lots of classic midget comedy spots including our little heels fighting between themselves for several mistakes, and a degrading bit where the referee catches Tokyo cheating before grabbing him and spanking his ass! In the end, Littlebrook and Tokyo show why they're legends.
Result: Littlebrook and Tokyo via 2 falls to 1 at 18:59
Rating: 2 (Good) Should I be depressed that this might be the best match on the card??
Match 5: Bruno Sammartino vs Sprios Arion (Greek Death Match For The WWWF World Title)
Setup: Bruno and Spiros had previously fought to two no contests in the Garden, leading to this, basically an early variation of an "I Quit" match.
Match: People don't remember Arion today, nor do they recall how "invincible" he was promoted as being, but we sure do remember Bruno, who comes out like a house of fire as always, and NEVER fucking gets tired. Arion catches Bruno with a shot to the balls on at least two occasions to take the edge back, only for Bruno to fight back and try to get the sub with his bearhug. Arion comes back and Bruno scoots outside to consult with his manager Arnold Skaaland (though why Skaaland was allowed to stay at ringside and Arion's manager Fred Blassie was made to leave is a bit unfair). Finally Arion hits Bruno with a big atomic drop and goes to the top for a flying knee! Alas, the move that worked for Koloff misses big time here, and you KNOW Bruno is gonna take that injured leg home with him now. A relentless series of kicks and elbows to the injured limb, followed by a half-crab for the submission win. Afterwards, Bruno continues stomping on the beaten Arion before leaving, as Spiros must have REALLY pissed him off.
Result: Sammartino via submission at 14:51 (Retains Title)
Rating: 2 (Good) Lots of action as Bruno beats another bitch into submission, but a little bit of blood would have helped.
Match 6: Edouard Carpentier vs Joe Nova
Setup: The "Flying Frenchman" and former NWA World Champion comes to MSG to take on a fat 300-lb jobber.
Match: Carpentier seemed like a pretty good athlete, but his opponent is something else: a totally out of shape fat boy who constantly stalls and refuses to engage, and has a tendency to hide his face in the corner after Carpentier catches him with a move. Edouard isn't much better, doing a lot of cartwheels and flips, but none of that works to wear down an opponent. Finally, Carpentier gets Fat Boy down and hits three forward sentons to get a thankful pin.
Result: Carpentier via pinfall at 9:16
Rating 1 (Okay) If cartwheels count as work rate, then Carpentier redeemed the bout just a bit.
Match 7: Victor Rivera vs Bobby Duncum
Setup: Two guys had to be sent out and work towards the curfew, so Victor and Bobby get the clean-up detail.
Match: Ah, the days of the Curfew Draw, when the Garden card would forcefully end at the magic hour of 11 PM even if there was a match in progress! It's clear our combatants are just passing time until then, as neither one looks like they really want to be out there. Duncum in particular is not impressive AT ALL, trying to be a Hansen-like brawler but possessing none of Big Stan's heat-drawing charisma. As the wrestlers (and the ref) eye the clock, there is some nice chain wrestling in the last couple of minutes, and just as Duncum begs off for mercy, the bell tolls, and security proceeds to kick the fans out of the building.
Result: Curfew Draw at around the 16 minute mark
Rating: 1 (Okay) Rivera carried it with some nice work towards the end, but you knew how it was going to wind up by the way both guys paced themselves.
Overall Rating: 1 Just an okay card, though really only holding enjoyment for Valentine and Bruno marks, and yes, it is readily available on DVD from online retailers.
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