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Madison Square Garden Championship Wrestling (12.19.1977) Review

December 14, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Rick Martel Madison Square Garden Championship Wrestling 12-19-1977
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Madison Square Garden Championship Wrestling (12.19.1977) Review  

-It’s December 19, 1977.

-Your host is Vince McMahon.

-Ahh, a breath of fresh air, Howard Finkel is back to do the ring announcing.


-This is touted as Jones’ return after a stretch in the west coast territories.

-Baron works the arm and yanks SD down to the mat. SD wriggles out and works the arm as Vince says this match is lacking the fire that SD usually shows. I find it funny how the Vince of today would absolutely tear 1977 Vince a new asshole through his headset. Vince in this era did not shy away from telling you that the matches bored the hell out of him.

-Baron goes after the throat. SD takes him down and applies an armbar. Funny to hear Vince grasping for ANYTHING in this match to talk about. “Scicluna has his hand on Jones’ tights…the right hand. Now they’re against the ropes.”

-Baron rams SD’s head into the turnbuckle, and Jones starts dancing and Vince declares the match “a Boogaloo.” Jones throws punches and gets a two-count. Jones applies a rear chinlock, Scicluna gets free and tries to work the leg over the bottom rope, but Jones rolls out of the way and Jones starts working the legs himself. Back to the chinlock, but Scicluna goes after the eyes or possibly nose, we’re not sure, and a big boot by Baron looks like the beginning of the end. Elbow misses and SD gets two. Jones does something or other and Vince hilariously calls him out on how it’s not even a move or a pinning combination, he’s just holding onto Scicluna while taking a rest. Vince’s transparent misery at having to sit through this match is absolutely life-affirming.

-They circle the ring as Vince notes that both men appear tired. Side headlock applied by SD, and Vince gripes that Jones clearly isn’t even applying pressure, he’s just cradling Baron’s head in his arm. SD lays across the bottom rope as Baron gently stomps him a few times, and in the midst of that 3/4-speed action, the bell sounds for the time limit draw. 0 for 1.


-Well, if you were hoping to watch the upcoming Dominic DeNucci vs. Golden Terror match, I’m afraid you can just go have sex with yourself. Vince instead cues up some tape of an NWA title defense in Australia. So we go to World Championship Wrestling with Ted Whitten.

-Martel applies a side headlock. Race knees him down, but Martel rebounds and rolls him up for a sudden two-count. Race is visibly thrown off by that and tries to get his bearings, but Martel acts fast, armdragging him into an armbar. Race fights out with a hiptoss, but Martel backdrops him. Weird edit sends us from an instant replay to what is clearly much later in the match, with Race dropping a knee and double-underhooking Martel for two. Chinlock by Race. Martel comes back to life and gets Race caught in a hammerlock. Race gets to his feet and tries to get out by turning it into a slam, but Martel holds onto the arm on his way down and flips him.

-Race backs him to the ropes and knees him in the ribs to break. Another double-underhook gets two. Martel hangs in there and starts laying into Race with lefts and rights, but an attempted bodypress misses, and a standard-issue traditional no-frills suplex gets the three-count. 1 for 2. Nearly all action, with Race doing this right–he made Martel look like a star, then won decisively enough that he was the bigger star. Better than just squashing him.


-Chops by Rivera, but Butcher takes him down to the mat with hair-pulling. Butcher goes after the throat and chokes Johnny out. Rivera gets a second wind and bodyslams Vachon twice to an audible “ooooooh” from MSG. Vachon goes for Andre tactics, choking Rivera out with his singlet strap. Vince with a funny line, assuring the audience, “Vachon DOES know how to wrestle.”

-Rivera fights back with dropkicks, but Vachon dodges one, Rivera crashes, and Vachon walks across his stomach for the pin. Well, maybe Vachon will wrestle next month. 1 for 3.

-A manager vs. manager feud…This is the blow-off to an absolutely hilarious TV angle that’s unfortunately not on the Network, in which Arnold Skaaland won Manager of the Year to the verbal dismay of all the heel managers, who all cut promos and stormed off before Albano finally attacked Skaaland from behind and destroyed the trophy. Noteworthy for being the first significant bump Vince McMahon ever took in his life, as he got caught in the middle of the brawl and took a bump over the top rope that he clearly was overjoyed to take. Seriously, go find this angle. The way Vince took this bump, it had to be his idea.

-Skaaland goes on the early offensive with punches, and the fans’ reaction would make you think we were seeing a main event dream match. Albano pulls something out of his tights and hammers Skaaland with it for a while…a long while, actually…until Skaaland fires a punch hard enough to make him drop it, and now Skaaland goes on the offensive with it. Albano, now a bloody mess, gets fed up and leaves, and Skaaland takes it by count-out. Woof. 1 for 4. Mildly interesting thing, there are apparently multiple edits of this match and WWE Network is showing us a better edit, cutting away every time Skaaland makes contact with the foreign object. On the Coliseum Video release where I first saw this, Albano turns and faces the hard camera directly every time he runs the blade across his forehead.

BOB BACKLUND vs. MR. FUJI (with Freddy Blassie)
-Blassie refuses to go back to the locker room, as the managers usually did at MSG, so the referee…just gives up after a while and lets him stay. Well, okay then.

-Fuji chops Backlund down and works the arm. Backlund just goes crazy on him with armdrags. Fuji sends him into the ropes and drives a knee into the abs. Fuji goes to work with “martial arts” (a shot to the throat) and a nerve hold. Weird climax to it as Backlund gives Fuji a REALLY hard shove into the ropes and it looks like Fuji is supposed to bump over the top rope and onto the floor, but he seems to just straight up lose his nerve and changes his mind, clinging onto the ropes and holding for dear life.

-Backlund wrings the arm, but Fuji rams him into the corner and slams him down. Fuji heads to the top rope to finish, but Backlund slams him off and dropkicks him, and the atomic drop gets the win for Backlund. 2 for 5. Slow but decent.

-So we have some melodrama before the match as the Grand Wizard refuses to go to the locker room, and since the referees already screwed this up and set a precedent earlier in the night, Howard Finkel announces that the Grand Wizard is being permitted to stay. So Mascaras bolts back to the locker room and returns with Bob Backlund.

-So Mascaras comes out swinging and whips Graham from corner to corner. Graham goes to the floor for a retreat and nervously backs away from Backlund. Back in, they battle for a surfboard and Mascaras gets the better of that battle. Graham demands a test of strength and overpowers Mascaras with that, but Mascaras ‘ranas him from down there and rams him face-first into the ringside table. Wizard riles up MSG griping about the hair, and gets so much heat with so little effort that it’s amazing that they didn’t keep the managers out there more often.

-Mascaras goes for an abdominal stretch. Weird spot as Wizard pulls what appears to be a loteria card out of his pocket, and somehow, Mascaras is so thrown by that, Graham is able to get free. Graham applies a tape-assisted front facelock, but Mascaras powers out with a backdrop and demands that the Grand Wizard leave ringside. Security actually shows up and drags Wizard back to the locker room, with Vince saying that Mascaras wasn’t so much upset about the tape as he was about the Wizard using cards to pass signals to Graham. It’s illegal to tell your guy in the ring what to do? What kind of NFL bullshit rule is that?

-Bearhug duel, but Graham is just too strong and he’s finally had enough and just starts going for the mask, but Mascaras ain’t havin’ it and rams Graham into the turnbuckle hard enough that he falls to the floor. Graham is bleeding from having his face pushed into a padded turnbuckle, so Mascaras goes to work, targeting the wound with punches, and the referee is so concerned about Graham’s head wound that he stops the match and gives Mascaras the win due to blood, although Graham retains, speaking of bullshit rules. 3 for 6. Match wasn’t great, but there was enough heat to make up for it.


-Stasiak works the arm. Then Dusty works the arm. Elbow by Dusty sends Stasiak tumbling to the apron. Stasiak ties him up with a front facelock and gets him down to the mat, and holy moses, all the steam has been let completely out of MSG. Dusty mounts a comeback and Vince says that the hold that Dusty applies in return doesn’t look very painful. And then he just stops talking completely for about 30 seconds. Stasiak fights back with punches and tries to finish with the heart punch, but Dusty blocks it and drops an elbow on the hand that Stasiak uses for the move. Stan the Man just isn’t man enough for Dusty’s onslaught, and a final elbow gives Dusty the victory. 3 for 7. My god there’s still 32 minutes left.


-Tanaka’s chops miss, Strongbow’s connect. They exchange taunts for a bit before Strongbow surprises Tanaka with a roll-up. Tanaka tries something akin to a cobra clutch but then just turns it into a choke. Tanaka switches it to a nerve hold, and Vince takes a time-out from that to do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and watch 60 Minutes, and five minutes after putting his headset back on, Strongbow escapes from the hold and Vince declares that the tide has changed. It’s closer to standing water at this point.

-Strongbow stomps on Tanaka’s bare feet and targets his stomach, which Vince calls “beating the tom-tom.” We call it just a good old-fashioned pink belly. Strongbow applies a sleeper and Tanaka tries to break it by throwing salt in his face, but he misfires and blinds the referee instead, getting himself DQed. 3 for 8.


-You can tell we’re knee-deep into the 1970s because Evans’ entrance outfit has it spelled “Dyn-O-Mite!” across the back. Finkel announces that the match has a one-hour time limit and Vince hastily points out that it’s 13 minutes until curfew and that MSG promised its dad that the car would be back gassed up and without a scratch by then.

FALL ONE: Sharpe and Garea trade Irish whips. Garea slams both opens, getting the crowd good and fired up in time for this show to be over. Evans gets Garea on the mat for a side headlock. Sharpe tags in and the heels use some chicanery AND shenanigans to take over, including double-teaming. Vince is dismayed that double-teaming is allowed. Hey, five-count, buddy. Chill out.

-Hot tag Zbyszko, and Larry finishes Evans quickly with a hard Irish whip and boots to the head to take fall one.

FALL TWO: Heels collect their bearings and go back to what worked before, double-teaming Larry while Vince announces that the next MSG will NOT be television, so you’ll have to come to MSG to see it in person, because MSG is always “alive” whenever wrestling is in the building. Well, zombies are considered “alive” in their own way.

-Pier sixer breaks out to at least give this one a hot ending. Garea and Zbyszko whip their opponents together. Garea goes for the pin and in a funny moment, the referee just stands there and watches, not even bothering with the pin. And sho nuff, bell sounds and it’s the curfew. 4 for 9. They tried, they really did, even with Vince pointing out what a stupidly futile effort it was to start the match that close to curfew.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Vince McMahon being bored out of his mind is genuinely funny, but not so much so that you need to go out of your way to watch it yourself.