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WWF @ Madison Square Garden
by Scrooge McSuck
August 25, 1984
- Last time at Madison Square Garden, we ushered in a NEW ERA of the Women's Division when Wendi Richter (with Cyndi Lauper) finally put an end to the Fabulous Moolah's never-ending Championship reign. We're not going to see Hulk Hogan at this show, but we are promised a Main Event of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, as well as a questionable Tag Title Match with LOU ALBANO as the special referee. Oh, and some lame three-man team from the South are going to appear, too.
- Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. This is the Classics on Demand broadcast, so music that might violate copyright laws are sadly edited out.
Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Kamala (w/ Fred Blassie & Friday):
They are wasting little time trying to torture me. I'm actually happy they're getting this turd out of the way first. I'm not too familiar with Kamala's run, so I didn't expect him to have Blassie. Friday is basically the same gimmick as Kim Chee, a masked man who is in charge of keeping Kamala under control. Monsoon insists Kamala is 400+ pounds. I'd guess he's in the ballpark of 315. I guess in 1984, the Kamala gimmick wasn't long-in-the-tooth. Heck, even in 1986-87 it was still fresh enough to push. By 1992, forget about it. Strongbow looks like someone woke him up from a nice nap. Strongbow hits the ropes, trying to frustrate Kamala. Kamala no-sells his offense and unloads with chops. Strongbow avoids a charge and hops on his back with a sleeper. Kamala takes him to the corner for an easy escape and knocks Strongbow out of the ring. Strongbow tries to dance his cares away, as if he were a Fraggle, and hits a flurry of strikes. Kamala gets a foot up on a charge and comes off the ropes with a splash for three at 2:52. ½* At least it was quick. Not as awful of a match as I had anticipated.
B. Brian Blair vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
I'm pretty sure we've seen this at MSG before, and double-sure it was advertised as Blair vs. someone else, maybe Bellomo. I'm happy we've got Sharpe instead. I can do without Bellomo, thank you very much. Feeling out process and some stalling from Sharpe. Blair does a good job of flustering him. Heels these days need to do the "point to my head because I'm smart" thing. Blair with a pair of dropkicks and arm-drags, sending Sharpe to the floor. Sharpe goes to the eyes to take control. He snaps Blair throat-first across the top rope and pounds away in the corner. Whip to the corner is reversed and Blair with a monkey flip, followed by a flying head scissors. I don't know why, but Sharpe gives me a vibe of a jacked-up Dave Meltzer. They waste a bit of time over a handshake spot. Blair ends up giving the cheap shot and unloads with rights. Blair goes to work on the leg, but it doesn't last for long. Sharpe with a hip toss and a rather weak back breaker. He holds Blair over the knee to keep the pressure on the lower back. Blair fights out and goes for a slam, but collapses under the weight. Sharpe gets the better of a slugfest and throws Blair through the ropes, onto the concrete floor. Sharpe stomps away at him from the apron and rams him into the security rail. Blair crawls under the ring and pops up on the other side, unloading on Sharpe with rights. He comes off the second turnbuckle with an elbow to the back of the head. Blair with another elbow from the apron. They slug it out on the floor, and it's a Double Count-Out at 13:03. **1/4 Cheap finish, but perfectly acceptable wrestling. I'm sure I would've been harsher on the match if I recapped this 10 years ago.
Salvatore Bellomo vs. "Quick Draw" Rick McGraw:
Dammit, a Salvatore Bellomo match. This guy just looks like the very definition of a goof. They shake hands before the bell. Lockup to the corner and a clean break. Bellomo with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. McGraw responds with a pair of arm drags and goes to work on the arm. Bellomo fights free, but only momentarily. This arm-bar eats up a good 3-4 minutes. Please God, tell me these two aren't going the distance. I'm finding more enjoyment watching a Verizon commercial with Selena Gomez. Topical pop culture references that will be dated in a year! You've got to love them. They have a test-of-strength, with McGraw getting the early advantage. Bellomo battles back, taking McGraw over with a monkey flip and snap mare, but again gets caught in another arm-bar. They continue to play nice and the crowd... cheers? THE NEW YORK CROWD CHEERS? I've lost all hope for humanity, and yes, I'm aware this is over 30-years ago! Bellomo's answer for McGraw's boring arm-bars? Boring headlocks. He comes off the ropes with a body press for the first near fall of the match, over 11-minutes in. They try and do a bridge spot, but the camera decides to focus on an old-timey wrestler with major cauliflower ears sitting at ringside. McGraw with a sunset flip for two. Bellomo with a snap mare and rake of the eyes. McGraw sweeps the legs for some "ground and pound." They tussle to the floor and the crowd is actually into it. Back in the ring, McGraw with a back slide for two. Bellomo sweeps the legs and splashes across the thighs for two. Whip to the ropes and a collision puts both men down. Whip to the ropes and both men go for a dropkick, with the expected results. Both men up and another failed dropkick attempt. And a third time. Bellomo goes for a cover and gets two. Bellomo with a slam for two. McGraw with a cradle for two. Bellomo with a sunset flip, and the bell rings at 18:10 for a Time Limit Draw. *1/2 Cheap finish. The work was fine, but incredibly dull for most of the time, but they did pick up the tempo for the last few minutes.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Captain Lou Albano
Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch © vs. The Wild Samoans:
is the questionable choice for guest referee of the match. I'm going to make a bold prediction... there's going to be major shenanigans. That theory is confirmed when Adonis and Murdoch question the Samoans having Albano on their side, and then immediately cut behind the curtain to the Champions and Albano conversing in a rather sneaky manner. Sika and Adonis start. Whip to the corner and Sika with a back drop. Sika pounds away and chokes him out in the opposite corner. Murdoch with knees to the midsection, but an elbow to the head isn't the smartest choice of offensive attacks. Sika no-sells a double elbow and clears them out with a double noggin knocker. Sika plays to the crowd, and I'm tempted to make a Roman Reigns joke... because he's the son of Sika, you see. 2016 TOPICAL CONVERSATION! Sika with slams to both men. Whip to the ropes and a double clothesline to Adonis. Murdoch goes for a noggin knocker, and I'll let you fill the rest of that part in. Adonis and Afa slug it out until Adonis hooks the sleeper, otherwise known as "Goodnight Irene." Afa wags the finger to let the fans know he's over as a baby-face... unlike Roman Reigns. Murdoch with a snap mare and elbow drop for a terrible count. Afa with a unique atomic drop. Sika tags in and gets worked on in the corner. Adonis goes to the top rope and gets knocked to the floor with a headbutt. Double headbutt to Murdoch. Albano makes a slow count then decides to stop and yell at Sika. The Samoans argue and the bell rings at 12:00, and it's a Disqualification victory for Murdoch and Adonis. See, Sika should be used to disappointments... like when his son was pinned at WrestleMania 31. **1/2 Decent match and the story of the match was perfectly fine. You're not getting 4-star matches out of the Samoans, so this is top shelf quality I'd say.
Pat Patterson vs. Ken Patera:
I don't think Patterson's in-ring return lasted beyond the last half of 1984. Patera is a former Intercontinental Champion, and I believe won it from Patterson back in 1980. Crowd with catcalls as Patera removes his warmup pants. I always love when Monsoon gives Patera credit for his retirement. Lockup and Patera shoves him into the corner. Patterson grabs a side headlock, but Patera muscles him to the ropes to force a break. Crisscross and Patterson with a cross body for a near fall. Patera with a cheap shot and a series of forearms. Patterson fights back with strikes of his own, trapping Patera in the ropes. Patterson sweeps the leg and wraps it around the post. I guess I should say "very gently" directs the leg in the direction of the post, but we need to suspend disbelief. Patera quickly regains control and connects with a back breaker for a two count. He hits a chin-lock as we get some "WWE Old School Flashbacks" to August 1984. Did you know Pete Rose returned to Cincinnati as both a player and a manager? Patterson with a sweep of the legs and slingshot to the corner for a two count. Patterson with a slam, but Patera quickly rolls away from an aerial attack. Patterson with a snap mare and knee across the chest. Patera catches him off the ropes, dropping him throat-first across the top rope, and the Full Nelson finishes at 9:01. Patera's Full Nelson always looked good. * Not an awful match, but some of the offense was really weak looking, and Patera didn't do much of anything.
Ivan Putski vs. Jesse "The Body" Ventura:
I can't imagine having anything nice to say about this one. Putski is beyond washed up and Ventura might be one of the worst in-ring performers of his time. If this goes beyond the 5-minute marker, I quit. Ventura makes sure to call him "Padooski" about 10 times in a 30-second promo. You see, Putski is Polish, so making fun of his name is the heel thing to do, according to the book of Archie Bunker. Ventura attacks before the bell, but Putski plants him with a slam and unloads with rights and lefts. They take it to the floor, with Putski ramming Ventura into the ring apron. Putski can't be much taller than 5'5". They do a series of lockups until Putski shoves Ventura out of the ring. Back inside, Putski with punching and kicks, sending him to the floor AGAIN. Putski holds onto the beard to remain in control of a side headlock. More stalling. Ventura grabs an over-head wristlock and uses a handful of hair to cheat a counter. Putski with his usual offense and a lazy chase around the ring. Ventura with a cheap shot to the throat. Ventura chokes him with his wrist tape in a genuinely awesome sleaze-ball way, then hides it in his mouth. The choking continues for a few more spots until Putski grabs it and clotheslines him with the tape. Putski pounds away on the apron until Ventura nails him with a concealed weapon, and Putski is counted out at 11:41. That long for that finish?! -** This sucked, except for the one spot.
The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Pete Doherty, Butcher Vachon, and Ron Shaw:
Two out of Three Falls Match, and yup, the Fabulous Freebirds during their short (2-3 months, tops) stint in the WWF. This would be Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts, for those unfamiliar. Unfortunately, their entrance with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" is edited out. Bastards! I love his music... just kidding, 30-year-old me knows better than 19-year-old me did when I first made the asinine comment not knowing that Lynyrd Skynyrd was a band. Hayes struts and does the moonwalk, which will probably be better than any wrestling he does with Vachon. Not much happens and now Shaw gives it a go. Hayes with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Roberts in with an elbow. He throws a forearm so hard he falls on his ass. Gordy with a press slam. Doherty gives it a go, and doesn't fare much better. Roberts with a snap mare and rake of the eyes. Whip to the ropes and he connects with a dropkick. He plants Vachon with a slam. Hayes with a snap mare, but an elbow misses. The mismatched trio gets a bit of heat on Hayes. Gordy with the hot tag and a diving body press gets three at 5:41.
Gordy and Vachon lockup. Vachon with a side headlock, and gets the better of a shoulder collision. Gordy takes him over with a back drop, plants him with a slam, and drops a knee across the chest. I feel like Monsoon doesn't know his name. It sounds like half the time he's calling him "Brody" or "Grody." Shaw and Doherty try for a double team, but Gordy muscles through it with ease. Roberts with some biting on Shaw. Roberts gets trapped in the corner for the latest heat segment. It's nothing more than punching and biting. He tags both Freebirds, but Hayes comes in as the legal man. Whip to the ropes and a hooking clothesline on Doherty. Whip to the ropes and Doherty comes back with a kick to the chest, but misses a leg drop. Everyone comes in, Shaw and Vachon are cleared out, and Hayes and Roberts back drop Doherty into what was supposed to be a Powerbomb (The Badstreet Bomb), but it failed spectacularly. Roberts drops an elbow and covers for three at 3:21. ¾* A few hot sequences, but otherwise a not-so-impressive debut at MSG for the Freebirds, with sloppy work and a poor choice of opponents.
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:
It was about six weeks earlier on the set of Piper's Pit where Piper smashed a coconut over the head of Snuka after several minutes of offensive, stereotypical antagonizing. Piper with some pre-match stalling to rile up the already rabid fans. The bell finally rings and Piper paces up and down the entrance aisle. They slug it out, with Snuka getting the upper hand with a flurry of chops. Piper begs him off and gets a jumping headbutt for his efforts. Piper goes for his own headbutt, doesn't do much damage with it, and quickly thumbs the eyes to make up for it. Piper with a snap mare and a series of rights. Snuka comes back with more chops, knocking Piper over the top rope, to the floor. Back in the ring, Piper gets clotheslined across the top rope. Whip to the ropes and Snuka slaps on a sleeper hold. Piper's selling isn't the most realistic, to say the least. They roll to the floor, with the hold still applied. Piper finally breaks it, ramming Snuka into the side of the ring. Snuka quickly recovers, sending Piper into the post. Piper goes for a chair, but Snuka fights it away from him and uses it himself. Piper's bleeding and the referee didn't call for the bell. Snuka mounts Piper and targets the cut. He comes out of the corner with a diving headbutt. He goes to the top for a body press, but Piper half-catches and throws him, dropping him neck-first across the top rope. It's a count-out win for Piper at 7:04. Afterwards, Piper smashes a chair across the neck to add insult to injury. They bring a stretcher out with Snuka selling it as a career-threatening injury. **1/4 Just a fight, but with a heck of a finish to build some major interest for rematches in the coming months.
- Terry Daniels (the 1st Graduate of Sgt. Slaughter's Cobra Corps) takes on Fred Marzino (possibly a Graduate of the Terry Garvin School of Self-Defense). The match is nothing more than occasional background noise to the real story back in the locker room, where doctors are tending to the seriously injured neck of Jimmy Snuka. I'd generously say about a minute of the match is shown in between extended shots of the medical treatment. Daniels pinned Marzino with a sunset flip at 3:55, even though Marzino appeared to have his arms under the ropes.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tito Santana © vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
I wonder if they intentionally paced the show out to put a complete scrub match out there immediately after Piper/Snuka, so not to take away from another big match and use that break to make several camera cuts to the doctor's station. Lockup and Valentine goes for a slam. Santana stands his ground and slips away from a takedown attempt. Valentine with a take-over, but Santana quickly counters with a head scissors. Santana with a side headlock and atomic drop. They exchange forearms, with Santana getting the better of it. Whip to the ropes and Valentine with an elbow to the throat. Valentine with a scoop up and shoulder breaker. Forearm across the throat for a two count. They trade blows again. Santana with a pair of knees as we cut to the locker room with Snuka being carried out on a stretcher. We return to the ring with Valentine in control of a seated chin-lock. After another cut, we return with Valentine pounding away with rights. Valentine with a back suplex for a near fall. He connects with a pair of elbows for another two count. Santana gets the knees up to avoid a leverage move, nailing Valentine questionably low. He unloads with rights and lefts. Whip to the ropes and Santana leap frogs into the referee. Santana with the Flying Forearm and the referee counts three despite Valentine having his foot on the ropes. Post-match, Valentine attacks Santana from behind and slaps on the Figure-Four. The fans litter the ring with trash, they're that mad at Valentine. Spoiler alert: I don't think this feud is over. *1/2 Not nearly the match I was expecting, but the big story was still what happened to Jimmy Snuka, so this was a fine decision, as long as we weren't subjected to 20-minutes of nothing.
Final Thoughts: Quite an eventful show from Madison Square Garden. The big takeaway was the injury angle at the end of the match between Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka, and the aftermath of it taking center stage over the last couple of matches presented on the card. You've got the MSG debut of the Fabulous Freebirds, the early stages of a memorable feud between Santana and Valentine, and Captain Lou officially signaling his days of managing the Wild Samoans are over. I'm not too keen on the new pushes for Ken Patera, Jesse Ventura, or Kamala, but I don't think Kamala hung around too long, Ventura's in-ring career was put on hold shortly after this, and Patera really didn't do much of significance. Mild Recommendation for a memorable angle and some fun undercard fluff.
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