VIOLENT PANDA Wrestling Review: WWE Presents MSG Classics 08.09.06
I’m working on a logo, here… Once I get my photoshop computer up and running I’ll have better versions.
Sorry this is late. Something “driver”-related happened. Luckily, my computer-savvy neighbor Omar came over to help fix it.
Mene Gene sets the scene: The year was 1983. Return of the Jedi reached new heights, and so did Superfly Jimmy Snuka. This is the show that Foley hitchhiked to as a teenager. While on other WWE programs, there’s a shot of him jumping up and down in his trademark flannel, on this show I couldn’t see him in the crowd at all. The crowd was actually pretty dark, like how they light the ECW shows now. Supposedly Bubba Ray Dudley is in the front row, and Tommy Dreamer’s in the crowd as well.
Ivan Putski vs. Sgt. Slaughter:
– Our announcers are Gorilla Monsoon and.. Pat Patterson! Slaughter is actually a heel here. Putski is a dude who is just roided up beyond belief. He has one of those white guy ‘fro’s, to boot.
– Putski gets a big reaction from the fans as he does bodybuilder poses to start things off. Slaughter comically tries to match him pose for pose, heh heh. The announcers talk about Putski’s “conditioning program” and also talk about the WWF champ Bob Backlund, and what a great role model he is for the kids.
– Putski cinches in a headlock, which he uses to do more posing and show off his muscles. Man, does Vince love his bodybuilders or what?! He follows up with a shoulderblock, and throws Slaughter’s head into the ring post. Slaughter clearly didn’t connect with the steel at all, but the crowd LOVES it.
– Putski with lots of mincing, now.. Commercial. We’re back.. I think we just skipped over all Slaughter’s offense, as Putski makes a comeback. Ivan Putski is ALL crowd manipulation in this one. He spends most of his time looking to the crowd and showing off, and it gets a really great response.
– Slaughter hits a clothesline. Wants the cobra clutch, Gorilla says noone’s ever escaped it. Slaughter locks it in, Putski gets a quick rope break. Putski throws some nice punches… clubbing, wide-arcing ones.. but one hits the ref by accident. The ref calls for the bell, DQ’ing Putski. The foes continue to brawl…
Not much wrestling, but it worked for the crowd and was sort of entertaining. It’s interesting to watch guys who try to entertain with body language and story-telling over just trying to put on a believeable match. It worked for Putski, here. I think, though, if you go for that kind of performance, you have to have something to hang your hat on. Putski had his muscles, and boy did he milk that for all it was worth. If you’re a skinny kid in the indies and try to ham it up, it’s probably not going to work unless you have a solid gimmick to entertain with.
Who were the champs at the time? Why:
WWF Champion: Bob Backlund
IC Champion: Magnificent Muraco
Tag Champs: The Samoans
WWF Title Match – Masked Superstar vs. Bob Backlund©:
– I’d say the Superstar is slightly more over than Bob, here. Both guys are cheered, to a degree. Masked’s mask is one of the ones with the nose sticking out, heh heh. Kind of like Iron Man’s 70’s helmet that had a NOSE, hahaha.
– They start out with some cool reversal sequences. Then Bob cinches in some agonizingly dull submissions. There’s one cool one, though, where he locks in a head scissors then elevates himself to add pressure. Suddenly, we CLIP TO THE FUTURE…
– Backlund uses a wristlock to FLIP Masked, pretty cool… Backlund is tossed out of the ring, and his stilted, cartoon-y selling makes it come off as fake. Back in, Masked goes for a flying knee. It clearly missed completely, but Backlund sells it anyway.
– Backlund works over the arm, goes for the chickenwing, which is over BIG as a finisher. Twice Bob applies it, and twice Mask gets a rope break. Masked then unleashes his swinging neckbreaker and the crowd freaks.. but Masked doesn’t pin. Masked drags Bob to the floor and hits ANOTHER swinging neckbreaker ON THE FLOOR! Crowd loves it! Masked slides in, and wins by count-out.
I don’t understand the finish. Why wouldn’t Masked want to pin Bob and win the belt? It’s cool if he knows he’s going to get a re-match, but otherwise it’s pretty odd. I liked the idea in this one, but there was a lot of dull submission stuff that dragged it down IMO. It just felt like time-filler. Backlund doesn’t exactly make for a very sympathetic babyface, either.
Winner: Masked Superstar
A much younger Vincent K. McMahon is in the locker room with Jimmy Snuka. Snuka begins the promo in a low, threatening tone and the emotion is very real. He says that Muraco knows what he did, and now it’s time to settle things in the steel cage “like animals”. Snuka gets more animated and more incomprehensible as it goes, and unfortunately this turns into a generic grunting promo by the end.
Vince is SOMEWHERE ELSE, with Don Muraco. Don’s very laid back, and says this is nothing new for him and “it’s all been done before”. He just shrugs and says it’s another day at the office. That might sound sucky, but seriously.. I love Don Muraco promos. Very realistic stuff.. it’s at the point where I think I want to search out a Don Muraco compilation, not so much for the matches, but for the promos and stories.
IC Title Steel Cage Match – Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco©:
– Muraco comes out first. The cage is really short. Seriously, 8 ½ feet tall TOPS. There’s a sign in the crowd: “When Snuka flies, Muraco DIES”. Awesome!
– They start off with some striking, then Don hits a big slingshot, sending Snuka into the steel. Snuka is busted open at that point, his face quickly covered in blood. They set up for Muraco to hit a big fireman’s carry off the top turnbuckle, but Snuka escapes..
– Jimmy whips Don into the corner, Don goes for an odd sell. He ducks his head as he charges, so the back of his neck hits the buckle and he pops up and falls face first on the mat. It’s different-looking, but doesn’t seem realistic. Crowd liked it, though.
– Snuka has the upper hand. The finish: Don asks the ref to open the cage door. Snuka hits a strange charging headbutt, which sends Muraco flying across the ring and out the door of the cage. Muraco wins. Ehhhh….
– But it’s the post-match happening that is remembered. Snuka drags Don back in. Hits Don with a suplex (one of the only wrestling moves between the two all night). Snuka climbs on top of the cage and hits a splash. Crowd freaks out! Snuka poses with the old IC belt, which actually looks really cool.
Not too interesting, really. The bar has since been raised so high for steel cage matches, what with Benoit/Angle and insane bumps like Foley’s dive off the cell.
Winner: Don Muraco
For some reason, in this first hour the only ads are for MSG network shows. The second hour has many more outside advertisers.
Mean Gene lets us know the score. While Dan Quayle campaigns for respect as Bush’s Vice Presidential nominee but can’t spell “potato”, The Rockers campaign for a Tag Title shot.
WWE Tag Title Match – The Rockers vs. Demolition©:
– Rockers don’t look too neon-80’s. Their zebra-striped belt, armbands and boots aren’t overly garish. Demolition is Vince’s Road Warrior rip-off team, except since Vince is a frickin’ pervert he has these guys dressed like the fucking GIMP. Jeez… little kids are watching, and you know Vince gets a big laugh out of the whole thing.
– This will be a battle for the tag titles, but also for the soul of HEAVY METAL~! The Rockers are clearly representing the “unskinny bop”ping, lipstick-wearing, crotch-stuffing hair bands like Poison and Warrant. Demolition is repping the vaguely evil scare-your-parents black metal rat-eating acts like Iron Maiden and King Diamond – whose song “No! Presents! For Christmas!” makes me laugh every time I hear it.
– I’m not sure who the announcers are on this show. The color guys are Lord Alfred Hayes and Superstar Billy Graham, but who is “Roger”, the lead announcer? He has an odd, slightly old-timey way of talking. A little distracting.
– The Rockers come out with some STUNNING tag work. I mean, they’re really fast and really precise, and the crowd loves it. They wrestle four times faster than anyone else on these shows and it rules. They come out on fire, hitting double dropkicks on Axe, Smash, and Axe again. Why don’t teams do stuff like this any more?
– They do a great sequence where Jannety twists Axe’s arm, yanks, tags out. HBK does the same. They do this over and over, quick-tagging like crazy and the crowd just eats it up because NOBODY can survive this for long. But how can Axe break it up? He lunges forward with a headbutt. Beautiful.
– But Michaels goes on the attack, pounding on Smash. He then runs over and punches Axe on the apron. Smash whips Shawn off the ropes, and Axe gets his revenge by lowering the top rope and sending Shawn to the floor in a quick and nasty bump. The SPEED on all this… wow.
– Someone, somewhere, in the wrestling business should sit down and watch this match. THEN go book a tag division. How have things sunk so far from this?
– Smash takes over for some smashing, but the Rockers rally with more swift double teams. The crowd goes INSANE for this.. Things come to an abrupt halt when Smash catches a charging Jannety in an elevated bearhug, and Axe clotheslines him from his position on the apron. Ref didn’t see it. 1, 2, 3. Champs retain.
Seriously.. awesome match! See it! The Rockers were ON like few others. The finish was abrupt but everything else ruled it.
WWF Champion: Randy Savage
IC Champion: WORR YAHH!
Tag Champs: Demolition
Aww… No Warrior match? COME ON!
WWF Title Match – Andre the Giant w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Randy Savage© w/ Miss Elizabeth:
– Who’s better than Miss Elizabeth? Really… she’s got this weird ’80’s squiggly pink dress. I can’t think of any valet who brought this kind of class to the table.
– A lot of time is wasted with confusion at ringside. Apparently, Savage can lose the belt on a count out. Finkel eventually gets on the mic and adds that if Elizabeth or Heenan leave their corner at ringside, then their “protégé” is DQ’ed. He basically just screamed out the finish to all of MSG, there.
– Andre with a choke..zzz… Savage with a kick. Savage goes on the attack with punches, a nice elbow and a double axehandle.. Andre falls into the ropes, leaning into them for support. Savage hits a top rope double axehandle to bring Andre to the mat. Almost 20 years later, and it’s still the “make the big guy teeter” stuff in the WWE.
– Savage goes up for an elbow but Andre moves. Andre rolls out of the ring. Randy hits a double axehandle to the floor. Randy slides back in the ring, and for some reason Heenan leaves his corner and clutches Randy’s leg. I guess Bobby wanted Randy to get counted out or something.
Whatever you’d imagine Andre vs. Savage to be, this was it, but a lot less.
Winner: Randy Savage by DQ
Interesting.. Jake The Snake vs. Rick Rude is the MAIN! Over the title match…
Aww, no Jake promo? Rick Rude cuts one, though. It’s all about Jake’s wife, Cheryl. It’s Vince rape angle #38. Rick says he can see that Cheryl wants him, and after he wins he’s going to take her out on the town and it’ll be like how Tori got raped by X Pac and liked it. Yay!
Finishers only – Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude:
– You must win with either the DDT or the Rude Awakening. It’d be cool if Jake won with his opponent’s finisher. No pin count necessary, say the announcers. Rick Rude has his own face airbrushed on his tights, right on the groin.
– Jake almost hits a DDT right away, but Rick bails. Back in, Jake throws some awesome-looking punches to Rick’s THROAT. Rude ties Jake up in the ropes and advances on Cheryl. Jake escapes and breaks it up.
– Rick regains the momentum, sets up for the Rude Awakening, but Jake escapes by biting Rick’s hand! Awesome. Jake goes off, bodyslamming Rick on the floor and hitting some more brutal throat punches. Hits the knee lift, calls for the DDT. Rude gets a rope break to escape the DDT set-up…
– Rick tries to just run. As he climbs through the ropes, Jake grabs his tights and his bare ass is censored… the ref actually pulls Rick’s tights up for him. Jake goes for another kneelift, but misses big time and crashes to the mat. Rude hits a bad top rope punch and again he comes after Cheryl. To do what?! She sort of slaps him and he sort of blocks it…
– Rick comes back to Jake and goes for a body slam, but Jake switches out and BAM! DDT! Ref… uh.. confusion. Ref wants a pin, so Jake covers. 1, 2, 3.
– After, Jake holds Rick up and Cheryl hits him with two stiff slaps. Jake wraps the snake on Rick and the crowd cheers.
I like Jake, so I liked this. I could really do without all the bare butts and rapey-ness, though.
Winner: Jake The Snake
Next week.. Hogan’s MSG debut! Sweet. I’m starting to like this show.
OVERALL: Rockers vs. Demolition was AWESOME. And Jake is always fun. Snuka’s cage dive was a little underwhelming, but fun enough, I guess. I like getting to see guys I’ve only heard of, like Ivan Putski. A THREE out of FIVE.
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