wrestling / Video Reviews

Madison Square Garden All-Star Wrestling (6.30.1973) Review

September 18, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Madison Square Garden All-Star Wrestling Pedro Morales
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Madison Square Garden All-Star Wrestling (6.30.1973) Review  

-I usually go back for the stuff I review but instead decided to go WAY back for this show. This is the earliest house show available on the Network.

-It’s June 30, 1973.

-Your host is Vince McMahon.

-If June 30, 1973 doesn’t already feel like a long damn time ago, wrap your head around this: Match Game, the plaidest game show in the history of television, premieres two days after this card.

-Originally aired live on HBO.


-Lock-ups accomplish nothing, so Lanza takes Wong down and breaks cleanly. Vince is thrown off by how cleanly the dirty Blackjack Lanza is working this match so far, sticking purely with holds and breaking every time he gets near the ropes. And once everyone is lulled into that sense of security, Lanza rakes the eyes out of nowhere and strangles Wong. That was great. Lanza dragged it out just long enough to convince MSG he was a nice guy.

-Lanza grabs one of Wong’s flip-flops from the corner and jams it into Wong’s eye. Wong tries to fight back, but Lanza targets the throat. He drags Wong over to the corner where Vince’s commentary table is set up and snatches the microphone away from him to choke Wong with the cable, then heaves Wong out to the concrete. Back in, the clawhold finishes. 1 for 1. GREAT squash, with Lanza just breaking out every possible dirty trick humanly possible in five minutes. Post-match, Lanza does jumping jacks just to be extra-douchey.


-So this is a pretty funny match, and purely unintentionally. El Olympico is a masked wrestler, but MSG had a ridiculous policy in place that wearing a mask while wrestling was prohibited, so Olympico is wearing a “mask” with the entire face cut out of it, and it just looks like he’s wearing a helmet. Meanwhile, a little old lady gets right up to the ring because there are no barricades in MSG yet. She heckles the crap out of Tanaka, and Vince looks at her and just deadpans, “It’s Mrs. Kreiger.” He just knows the name of the fan on sight. Yeah, you became a billionaire, but you lost fun stuff like that in the process.

-Additional weirdness from Vince, as he marvels at Tanaka’s physique and calls him a “solid block of granite,” but Tanaka has no definition and an enormous gut and if he came along today, Vince wouldn’t give him a second look. So Tanaka insists on doing a pre-match ritual where he throws salt into the corner a la Yokozuna, but Mrs. Kreiger runs around and sweeps up all the salt every time he tries to do it, and it turns into a game where Tanaka keeps going from corner to corner and she sweeps it up every time, and MSG is losing its shit for the whole scene.

-Olympico applies a side headlock but Tanaka gets free and works the leg over. Referee catches him using the rope and forces a break. Olympico tries a full nelson, but Tanaka flexes free and works the arm. Referee forces him to break for no real reason and Olympico goes to a step over toehold. Tanaka makes the ropes and goes for the most lethal of holds, the double atomic purple nurple, but Olympico stomps on his foot.

-Tanaka tries a wristlock, and no lie, Olympico breaks it with a wet willie. He dropkicks Tanaka into the corner but Tanaka comes back with a choke. Olympico misses a golden opportunity, as Tanaka is leaving his ass unprotected and Olympico could try for a wedgie, but instead it’s left up to the referee to break it.

-Olympico fights back with a NICE dropkick, and another one for two, but Tanaka gives him a judo chop to the throat and rolls up up right away for three. 2 for 2, almost entirely for the pre-match antics. Mrs. Kreiger is the most over star in MSG.


-Albano was a full-time manager at this point. Vince recaps the story leading to this, as Monsoon as wrestling one of Albano’s men (Vince doesn’t say who) and Albano snuck up and busted him open with a chair. Gorilla looks exactly like Gorilla the commentator here, except he’s GIGANTIC, towering over the referee and Albano both and looking every ounce of 440.

-So right away, Albano is regretting all of his life choices and cowering in the corner, but Gorilla gets tired of waiting and goes after him with chops. Albano targets the eyes repeatedly. Monsoon fights back with chops, and Albano does the most ridiculous looking obvious blade job before Monsoon finally gives him one last big chop over the top rope, and Albano gets the hell away from ringside. 2 for 3. Kind of neat if you’re an 80s kid to see these two in the ring, but the match was two minutes of nothing.


-Vince reminds us to watch pro bowling on HBO, which is a sobering reminder that HBO is something that you pay money to watch.

-Rivera does a series of smooth armdrags all over the ring and traps Gordman on the mat with a top wristlock. Rivera releases and Gordman just tackles him as fast as he can and goes to a legscissors. Rivera flails about in the hold and Gordman thinks quickly, grabbing the arms and turning it into a surfboard.

-Rivera manages to reverse it to a thunderous pop, and you’d swear they bussed in a crowd from the Greensboro Coliseum for this card. Every time this crowd reacts to anything, it breaks their previous noise record.

-Gordman fights out and applies a sleeper, but Rivera fights for his life while the fans roar, and the camera catches Mrs. Kreiger inching up to the ring like she’s ready to tag in and start moonsaulting anyone who gets in her way.

-Rivera finally elbows out and throws dropkicks. Flying headscissors send Gordman around the ring and the crowd is freaking out, but Gordman gives Rivera a boot to the stomach and goes back to the sleeper.

-Rivera sends Gordman into the ropes to break and cradles him out of nowhere for three, and it’s a damn good thing because MSG sounded like they were going to riot if Gordman did even one more offensive move. 3 for 4.

-Another sign it’s 1973 is that these women are about 5’4″ bald, but with their hair, they’re 6’3″. Their hairstyles are absolutely identical, too, so it looks more like members of the same cult more than tag team wrestling opponents.

-FALL ONE: Patterson starts with Sheridan, and Patterson turns out to actually be a pretty damn big lady, so she overpowers Sheridan until Sheridan gives her a smack to the throat. And since that works for her, the moment Patterson overpowers her, she does it again. Sheridan, who has a “lot of spunk” according to guest commentator Mr. Grant, takes Patterson’s leg out of her leg, but Patterson hangs onto Sheridan’s leg and applies a toehold with a yank of the tights for leverage. But then Sheridan counters that with a toehold of their own.

-Grable takes in and applies a toehold of her own, but Patterson reaches back and yanks Grable’s hair, and since Grable’s hair weighs 40 pounds, it causes severe whiplash and she’s in trouble. Dottie Downs tags in. Patterson and Downs switch without tagging and work Grable over with a front facelock. They choke the life out of her in the corner while Spunky argues with the referee.

-Grable pretty much falls into the corner for a hot tag and MSG roars for it. Sheridan beats on Downs until she escapes. Patterson gets caught in an armbar as this first fall is going shockingly long.

-Grable tags back in, but Downs heads back in too and takes her down in a stepover toehold. We get a comedy spot where the partners on the apron take turns running in and grabbing hair to reverse the hold over and over again. Grable winds up on top with it until Downs makes the ropes. Grable releases cleanly, but guess what, Downs has a bad leg, so as she limps to the center of the ring to meet Grable, Grable just takes her leg out again and reapplies the hold! That’s a great spot. She’s a face and what she did was totally clean and within the rules, but it was brilliant. Grable connects with a dropkick and gets the three-count to take fall one. Ring announcer declares Fall One in favor of “Team Number Two,” like that’s their name.

FALL TWO: Heels try to stall, so Grable and Sheridan slingshot them simultaneously to get the action started. Grable applies an armbar on Downs. Patterson tags in and continues to have a bad night, so she offers a handshake to Sheridan and gets hammered down. She tags Dotti back in and Dotti takes Sheridan off her feet with another toehold.

-The faces apparently made a tag behind the referee’s back, but the camera missed it and Vince didn’t seem to catch it either, so everything just kind of stops while the referee makes them do it over again. Dotti dodges a dropkick and Grable crashes, and Downs dives on top and gets the three-count to finish and tie the match.

FALL THREE: Heels attack during the rest period, and Sheridan gets good and mad about it so it’s a straight up fight when the fall actually begins, but she gets caught in the wrong corner and overwhelmed. And then Sheridan just shakes it off and finishes with a victory roll. 4 for 5. It’s a shame that one of the weakest workers ended up with a stranglehold on women’s wrestling, because these four just blew Moolah and her hair-pulling snapmares out of the water. Sheridan kind of frustrated me because she just absolutely did not want to be in peril for any part of this, but the other three delivered the goods.


-Steele has the same look but he’s a totally different character, as he’s “The Animal” more because he’s really mean and vicious (He yells “What the hell’s wrong with you?!” to the crowd in perfect English during his entrance). The way Steele told it in later shoot interviews, the more famous “Animal” persona was originally a rib on Vince while they were taping promos, and whoops, Vince actually liked what George was doing.

-Steele tries a sneak attack, but subtlety isn’t his thing, so Pedro sees him coming and Irish whips him. Steele takes a great bump off of that and goes over the top and onto the floor. Back in, Steele plays hide-the-weapon with the referee while taking some illegal shots on Pedro.

-Pedro makes it back to his feet and throws punches, and MSG continues going bonkers for every little thing. Steele tries cowering in the corner but Pedro won’t let him, just straight-up attacking him. Steele fights back and rams Steele into the…uh, the exposed metal beam that connects the turnbuckle to the post. Pedro does likewise to Steele and Steele is lacerated. Pedro lights into the wound with lefts. Steele slumps back into the corner and when the referee checks on him, Steele doesn’t respond, so the referee stops the match. Steele tries to start fighting again after the bell, but Morales chases him back to the locker room. More fight than actual match, with a weak finish, but it’s hard to hate a match with a crowd this amped up. I mean, really, when a crowd is eating it up this much, you don’t have to do much. 5 for 6. I do kind of wonder how George would explain the bandage on his head to students on Monday morning. The kids in Michigan must have thought they had the clumsiest teacher.


-Vince says that Strongbow is “a real credit to his race.” Italians? Meanwhile, Fuji does the salt-throwing ritual, and Mrs. Kreiger heads back to ringside to sweep it all up. Wrestling needs to start courting the old women demographic again.

-Strongbow chops Fuji down. Fuji tries to stall by standing on the apron, but Strongbow darts over and brings him back in with FLYING HEADSCISSORS! Holy shit, who are you and what have you done with the real Chief Jay Strongbow? And then he does it again!

-Strongbow keeps chopping, but Fuji chops back. Fuji heads to the top rope to hit a move that I can only presume was called Air Fuji, but Strongbow meets him with a shot to the stomach and a backdrop. Fuji goes into his tights for some salt, but Strongbow slaps his hand and Fuji blinds himself. He goes out of the ring to clear his eyes out, and Strongbow just stomps on his head from inside the ring while he waits.

-Vince demands a replay of it and times it perfectly, as they cut away right as Fuji applies the double atomic purple nurple, so we don’t really miss anything. Strongbow hiptosses out, but in his weakened state, he can’t resist when Fuji reapplies the double atomic purple nurple. Strongbow breaks free again and bounces off the ropes to go for another chop, but Fuji meets him coming off the ropes with a double atomic purple nurple. Strongbow finally chops free, but Fuji rakes the eyes and, in an unexpected turn of events, he applies the double atomic purple nurple. Strongbow chops free. Fuji reapplies the double atomic purple nurple. Then Strongbow chops free. Then Fuji reapplies the double atomic purple nurple. Then Strongbow chops free. Then Fuji reapplies the double atomic purple nurple.

-Strongbow chops out, Fuji reapplies the double atomic purple nurple and then just lets go after two seconds, like we’re at the point where even he finds this match boring as hell. Fuji whips Strongbow into the corner and runs into him with a shoulder ram, which I’ve never seen a heel actually hit until now. Fuji goes to the top rope again, but Strongbow jerks him down by the tights and then just chops and chops and chops at him before getting the three-count. 5 for 7. Got off to a great start and then it just totally lost me.


-“Moondog” here is another bearded blonde guy, but very unlike the more familiar tag team, his gimmick here is filthy, untamed hippie. Great visual to start, as Mayne tries a sneak attack, and Haystacks walks toward him. Referee tries to hold Haystacks back, and Haystacks just keeps walking, with the referee sliding in place across the mat like a Looney Tunes gag.

-Moondog successfully attacks from behind while Haystacks is trying to hang his lucky horseshoe on the post. Moondog’s chokehold takes about three minutes as this whole event is just limping to the finish line. Moondog is dumb enough to go for a backdrop, and Haystacks counters with a kick, which is bad strategy on Haystacks’ part because the hernia could have ended it right there.

-Haystacks gets a backdrop of his own, sticks Mayne’s head between his legs, and does the lethal Arkansas Teabag, then sits on him. Mayne desperately goes to the top rope and gets slammed off. Mayne tries biting, but Haystacks avalanches him into goo, and a big splash finishes. 6 for 8. The opposite of the last match, as it started off weak and then really picked up steam in the second half, but it didn’t drag the way Strongbow and Fuji did.

The final score: review Good
The 411
I'm actually genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this. With a few notable exceptions, everybody showed ENERGY out there and kept the matches moving and let a white-hot crowd dictate a lot of what they did. Definitely worth a look for any fan who resists 1970s wrestling because it's full of bearhugs and headlocks.