WWF @ Madison Square Garden
by Scrooge McSuck
July 23, 1984
- The WWF's Rock N' Wrestling Connection is official in motion. Although the entire card was featured on the MSG Network, MTV held a special titled "The Brawl To End It All", which featured just one match from the card... the Women's Championship Match, where Cyndi Lauper would be in the corner of Wendi Richter to challenge the chauvinistic Captain Lou Albano and his new protégé, the unprecedented 28-year holder of the Women's Championship, the Fabulous Moolah. This is a surprisingly loaded show despite it being just another day at the office outside of the one match on MTV. Gorilla Monsoon and "Mean" Gene Okerlund are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted.
"Samoan #2" Sika vs. Ron Shaw:
Surprising choice for an opener (a straight-up squash rather than two prelim guys). I think the Samoans are in the midst of a face turn, but that might've just for a feud with the team of Murdoch and Adonis. Monsoon notes that the Samoans have been working a lot in singles action lately, and successfully as well. Lockup into the ropes and Sika gives a clean break. Lockup to the corner and Shaw whiffs on a cheap shot attempt. Sika no-sells the next cheap shot and retaliates. Sika with a big forearm, knocking Shaw through the ropes and to the floor. Back inside, Shaw goes to the eyes and pounds away in the corner. Sika shrugs it off, sends Shaw to the ropes, and nails him with an elbow. Shaw goes to the eyes again, so far the only offense that seems to work. He does it again to escape a chin-lock. He sells the hand while punching Sika and makes the mistake of going for a headbutt. Sika with a snap mare into another chin-lock. Whip to the ropes, Sika with a chop, and a diving headbutt finishes at 4:59. * They didn't really do much, but at the same time, the match had a decent flow to it and put over Sika's ability to sustain punishment.
Tony Garea vs. The Iron Sheik (w/ Ayatollah Freddie Blassie):
I'm sure that the program between the Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter was far from over, but the card is loaded enough to just give Sheik something to do in the preliminary part of the show. Sheik makes sure to rile up the crowd, since I'm sure nobody gives a crap about Garea. They chant U-S-A in support of the native of New Zealand. Lockup to the ropes, they trade blows and Garea grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes, Garea with a leap frog and slam, then back to the side headlock. Crisscross and Garea with a sunset flip for two. Garea catches a boot and connects with an atomic drop. Whip to the ropes and Garea with a shoulder tackle. He tries it again, but this time Sheik nails him with a shot to the throat. Whip to the ropes and Garea comes back with a boot to the chest. Garea with a hip throw from out of the corner, followed by a dropkick. He comes off the ropes with a body press for two. Sheik reverses a whip to the corner and takes Garea over with a twisting back suplex for three at 5:34. *1/2 Surprisingly fast-paced and watchable.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tito Santana © vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton:
This could either be really good or incredibly dull, depending on the motivation level. It's also scheduled for a twenty-minute time limit, after first being announced as one hour. Orton is NOT wearing the arm cast. He's about 6 months away from that "injury". Orton is coming in after a decent run in Crockett Promotions and instantly formed a relationship with Roddy Piper. Lockup, Orton with a headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Santana comes back with a pair of arm drags and hooks an arm-bar. Orton counters with a head scissors, and Santana counters that by going back to the arm. Santana with a takeover into a cover for two. Feeling out process leads to a back-and-forth battle over a wrist-lock. Orton takes control, not-so-surprisingly with a handful of hair. Chop to the forehead for a two count. Whip to the corner and Orton meets nothing but the post on a failed charge attempt. Santana stomps away at the arm and comes off the middle rope with a hard right to the shoulder. Santana cranks on the arm before hooking an arm-bar. Orton to the ropes to force a break. Orton grabs a side headlock and clubs away at Santana with rights and a boot to the face. Running Powerslam gets a near fall. Orton with a press slam into a back breaker, but he's too busy posing to go for timely cover, allowing Santana to kick out just before the third slap of the canvas. Santana's comeback is slowed with a rake of the eyes. Orton with a fisherman suplex for a two count. Santana fights out of a chin-lock, but Orton remains in control. He lands a diving fist to the forehead for another near fall. Orton with a slam, but a splash from the top rope is met with a pair of knees. Santana sends Orton to the buckle and drops a knee across the forehead for two. He slams Orton face-first into the canvas for another two count. Santana locks on an abdominal stretch, but Orton reverses. Santana grabs a side headlock, countered with a back suplex for two. Santana blocks a suplex and counters with a small package for two. Orton avoids a diving attack and drops a fist across the forehead for two. Whip to the ropes, Santana with a fist to the midsection and a rolling bridge for two. They trade blows from their knees. Santana counters a piledriver with a back drop. Santana with a pair of knee lift and mounted punches in the corner. Orton counters with an inverted atomic drop. Orton and Santana trade blows again as the bell rings at 20:00 for a Time Limit Draw. BOO! ***1/4 The finish was expected, but this was a lot of fun to watch. They kept a good pace and didn't rely on long rest periods.
Bob Backlund vs. "Butcher" Paul Vachon:
Time to take us back to 1978 for VINTAGE Bob Backlund! Vachon was being used primarily as a jobber, so this should be kept short along the lines of the two matches that opened the card. Feels weird for Backlund to be featured underneath on a show with Hogan defending the WWF Championship. Backlund offers a handshake, but Vachon doesn't oblige. Backlund shows off his obvious speed advantage. Vachon grabs the arm, but Backlund quickly counters. Vachon with an over-head wrist-lock, and again Backlund with a counter. Vachon with a side headlock and blows to the throat. Whip to the corner and Vachon with a charging shoulder to the midsection. Backlund reverses a whip, takes Vachon down with a delayed scoop slam, and the Cross-Face Chicken Wing finishes at 2:41. That was indeed quick. No Rating due to the short duration. This turned out to be Bob Backlund's final MSG appearance for over eight years. At least he didn't go out having to wrestle a jabroni like Salvatore Bellomo.
WWF Heavyweight Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (w/ Capt. Lou Albano):
Did Albano just manage anyone who was getting title matches in 1984? Hogan vs. Valentine wasn't a program that was milked for too long, so I'm going to enjoy this since I'm sure I'm doomed for tons of Hogan vs. John Studd matches in the very near future. This is from the original MSG broadcast, so I get to enjoy "Eye of the Tiger" again. Valentine attacks before the bell, but Hogan blocks being rammed to the buckle and unloads with lefts and rights. Whip to the corner and Hulk follows in with an elbow. Hogan catches a boot and connects with an atomic drop. He slams Valentine back in from the apron, drops an elbow, and rakes the eyes with his boot. Valentine counters a side headlock with a back suplex. He drops a series of elbows across the back and mounts Hogan with a seated chin-lock. Hogan gets back to his feet and rams the Hammer back into the corner. Valentine comes back with a flurry of forearms and elbows for barely a two count. Hogan gets the knees up to block a leverage move, but Valentine remains in control. Hogan blocks a suplex and counters with his own. Hogan with a shoulder breaker, followed by a big boot, knocking Valentine to the floor. Hogan follows, connecting with another atomic drop. Valentine surprises Hogan with a knee to the face while returning to the ring and pounds away. He comes out of the corner with an elbow drop for two and grabs a chin-lock. Hogan wags the finger to show us he's OK and fights free. He wins a slugfest, knocking Valentine on his ass. Valentine slides out of the ring, pulls Hogan with him, and works over the leg. Did he hit a fan with a chair?! The ring is really close to the rail and he definitely chucked it into the crowd. He goes for the Figure-Four, but Hogan kicks him off. Valentine with a back breaker. He comes off the second rope with an elbow drop for two. He goes to the top again, but Hogan's up and nails him on the way down with a clothesline. Hogan comes off the ropes with a leg drop, and it's over at 10:31. That was as decisive as decisive gets. **1/2 Good match, and again, kept reasonably short enough to not drag on and get dull.
Antonio Inoki vs. Charlie Fulton:
Inoki is introduced as the reigning WWF Martial Arts Champion, but this is not advertised as a Championship Match. Can't imagine how Fulton, or anyone on the WWF roster at the time, could be considered a true challenger for such a belt. Wait... what the heck is ANTONIO INOKI doing on a WWF card in New York City? I feel like this belongs on a "Unusual Matches" Coliseum Video release. WWF did some co-promoting with NJPW, but this is Inoki's only North American appearance for the year 1984. Inoki with a leg pick. Fulton goes for the arm, but Inoki easily escapes. Inoki with another leg pick and a leg-lock. Fulton takes over control with a rear chin-lock. Inoki comes back with kicks and an enzuigiri finishes at 4:15. ¼* Why the heck was this on the card? At least I've finally learned the proper spelling for enzuigiri.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis © vs. Sgt. Slaughter & Terry Daniels:
Interesting choice for a tag team title defense. Murdoch and Adonis won the belts in TV time roughly two months earlier from Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas. Daniels is the "first inductee into the Cobra Corps" and will likely do the job. Murdoch and Daniels start. Murdoch with a waist-lock takedown, but Daniels quickly escapes. Lockup to the corner and a clean break. Daniels counters a wrist-lock and hooks an arm-bar. Whip to the ropes and Murdoch with a knee. Adonis tags in, as does Slaughter. Lockup to the corner, Slaughter blocks a pair of cheap shots and knocks him across the ring. Adonis manages to chew his gum while getting worked over. Crisscross, Daniels lands on his feet to counter a monkey flip, and goes back to the arm. Crowd appreciated that little bit. Murdoch with a slam. Daniels kicks him off and more working on the arm. Nice of Slaughter to let Daniels do all the work so far. Crisscross and Adonis lands a hard elbow to the side of the face. Whip to the corner for an elbow from Murdoch. Whip to the corner, Slaughter makes the save as a crash pad, and Daniels goes back to working the arm. Slaughter in to clean both their clocks. How are the Tag Team Champions being handled like this?! Slaughter knee drops Murdoch with Daniels across his shoulders for a near fall. Adonis with a running power-slam for two. Murdoch works the arm and applies a flying hammer-lock. The Champs double team Daniels while Slaughter argues with the referee. Slaughter gets the hot tag and unloads with rights on Murdoch. He applies the Cobra Clutch, but Adonis makes the save with a knee to the back. Daniels with a trio of dropkicks and a body press for two. Adonis with a rake of the eyes, back breaker, and Murdoch with a knee drop for the three count to retain at 16:55. ** Fine action, but with the story they were telling, the match shouldn't have gone so long. Slaughter literally worked about 90-seconds of the match.
WWF Women's Championship Match:
The Fabulous Moolah © (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper):
It's THE BRAWL TO END IT ALL! Will Moolah's reign of 28 uninterrupted years continue? The real question is why promoters allowed her underhanded business practices to control women's wrestling for so long? They exchange arm drags to start. Moolah with boots to the midsection and a series of snap mares via hair pulling. Moolah drags Richter back in the ring and chokes. Richter comes back, working the arm. She misses a splash, as does Moolah. Moolah regains control, choking Richter across the top rope. Whip to the corner and Richter meets the post on a failed charge attempt. Moolah with more choking. Richter somehow traps Moolah in the ropes and puts the boots to her. Meanwhile at ringside, Albano and Lauper are getting in each other's face. Richter with one of the worst full nelsons you'll ever see in tour life. Lauper hops on the apron, but does nothing. OK? On the second take, Lauper whacks Moolah with her loaded towel, IN FULL VIEW of the referee, but there's No Disqualification called. Whip to the ropes, Richter with a dropkick and a splash for two. Snap suplex for another two count. Richter with a back breaker and a chin-lock. Whip to the ropes and Moolah with a back drop for two. Albano tries to interfere, unsuccessfully. Moolah with a roll up from out of the corner, but Richter gets the shoulder up and Moolah doesn't, so we have a NEW Champion at 11:12. -*1/2 Awful match and a terrible finish. Nice of Moolah to drop the title by basically pinning herself. Richter celebrates to "She Bop." Insert your own "do they know what the song is about" comment here.
- Wendi Richter celebrates her Championship victory backstage with Dave Wolff, Cyndi Lauper, and WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan.
Chief Jay Strongbow vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff:
Why is Strongbow still being put in the ring!? I should just pretend this match wasn't included, but I'll suffer for you two people reading this at 3 in the morning with leftover lasagna dripping down your chin. Strongbow seriously comes across as someone's grandpa who had a little too much to drink at the Thanksgiving get together and thought it would be funny to hop around pretending to be an Indian. When Monsoon calls attention to the amount of time wasted without contact, YOU KNOW IT SUCKS. Strongbow cheap shots Orndorff in the corner and does some more prancing. Orndorff with a headlock, but Strongbow counters with a head scissors. Crisscross and Strongbow hooks a sleeper. They bop heads, with Strongbow taking a bump over the top rope. Monsoon has the balls to call this a fantastic match after dogging it literally two minutes ago. Orndorff with knees to the back. Strongbow wastes little time to start his dance. Grandpa with some weak offense and they flub a spot in the corner. Whip to the ropes and Orndorff with a clothesline for three at 6:08. I see Strongbow likes jobbing to clotheslines. -* Absolute crap.
"Samoan #1" Afa vs. Rene Goulet:
For Pete's sake, how much more bloated can this card be?! All this show is missing is Salvatore Bellomo. We've already had Tony Garea and Jay Strongbow, and now Goulet. After years of watching this guy as a goof trying to break up fights for most of the early 90's, I can't take him seriously as a wrestler. Afa pounds away. Whip to the ropes and a back drop, followed by a bear-hug. Goulet loads up his glove and clobbers Afa. Afa... selling blows to the head? Dammit referee, this man is clearly cheating! We get a dumb comedy spot with Goulet running into Afa's butt. They ripped that off from Andre. Crowd is DEAD. Goulet stomps on Afa's feet, takes him over with a snap mare, and grabs a claw hold. I'm bored enough to check my Instagram account as this match insists on continuing. Whip to the ropes and Afa with a Samoan Drop for three at 5:26. ¾* Not the worst match of the night, but not anything resembling a good match, either.
- The Fink runs down next month's card on August 25th, including a Six-Man Tag Team Match with THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS (against three scrubs). Jay Strongbow faces Kamala in what should be a -*** match, plus Tony Garea and Salvatore Bellomo are in action. If that's not enough, Pat Patterson returns to the ring to face Ken Patera. There's also an IC Title Match between Tito Santana and Greg Valentine, and a Tag Title Match between Murdoch and Adonis and the Wild Samoans. The referee for the match... is Lou Albano. Fink seems perplexed by that one. Finally, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper faces "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka (big pop for that one).
20-Man Battle Royal:
(Participants: "Samoan #2" Sika, Jose-Luis Rivera, Butcher Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Tony Garea, Chief Jay Strongbow, "Samoan #1" Afa, Steve Lombardi, Dick Murdoch, Bob Orton, Adrian Adonis, Rene Goulet, Ron Shaw, Charlie Fulton, Terry Daniels, The Iron Sheik, Tito Santana, Paul Orndorff, Sgt. Slaughter, "Samoan #3" Samula)
This is clearly NOT the Main Event, just the finale of the night. I'm still never going to let this go: The Main Event is the TOP MATCH ON THE CARD, NOT THE LAST MATCH ON THE CARD. Yes, more than not, the last match IS the Main Event, but not by default. Slaughter and Sheik pair up in a corner, while Murdoch and Adonis target Inoki. Steve Lombardi gets tossed at 1:03. Orndorff is tossed out by Afa and Santana at 2:16. RON SHAW tosses out Strongbow at 2:37, making him my favorite wrestler of the last 30-seconds. Iron Sheik has disappeared, so I'm assuming he's gone. Santana eliminates Butcher Vachon at 4:16. Slaughter and his Cobra Corps Graduate eliminate Fulton at 7:48. Slaughter back drops Adonis out at 9:38, and Murdoch is tossed by the Samoans at 9:44, taking out Slaughter in the process. Inoki reminds us he's in this and dumps Santana at 10:42. Sika and Afa are no longer in there to continue a trend of poor camera work. Shaw dumps Rivera at 11:04. Goulet tosses Daniels at 11:13. Inoki eliminates Samula at 11:26, then Bob Orton, who spent most of the match on the floor, is knocked out at 12:11. Shaw and Goulet tossed out the power of Australia at 12:36. Heel miscommunication leads to Shaw's elimination at 13:17, and Inoki throws out Goulet for the win at 13:23. Boring, nothing Battle Royal.
Final Thoughts: This was a LONG show, especially considering the talent depth when it comes to workers capable of having good matches. Three matches were at least good enough to give recognition, and they were all high profile matches: Hulk Hogan vs. Valentine for the WWF Title, Santana vs. Orton for the IC Title, and Murdoch/Adonis vs. Slaughter/Daniels for the Tag Titles. The biggest match of the night was Richter vs. Moolah and was just atrocious from strictly a match quality POV. The bloating of the undercard is a bit much, especially everything after the abortion of a women's match. A decent show worth giving a look, but give up after the women. It's a bad match, but it's still historic, I guess.
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