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Madison Square Garden Championship Wrestling (6.27.1977) Review

November 20, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Madison Square Garden Peter Maivia
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Madison Square Garden Championship Wrestling (6.27.1977) Review  

-It’s June 27, 1977.

-Your host is Vince McMahon’s pink jacket.


-Hey, it’s this guy again. Referee inspects both wrestlers for weapons before the match, not nearly hard enough has it turned out. They jockey for position, with Gonzalez applying a hammerlock and Nelson making it to the rope. They circle the ring for a bit until Nelson finally starts going to work with kneelifts and an axehandle. Nelson works the arm while I run to Target, buy a week’s worth of groceries and some new pants, come home, take a long nap, and then watch the entire Star Wars saga on blue ray from start to finish.

-Gonzalez rakes the eyes to finally break the hold, and I hope he feels embarassed about taking that long to remember his other hand. Boots and a backdrop by Gonzalez, and a series of four dropkicks puts Nelson away. 0 for 1. The joke’s on anybody in NYC who was angry that they got caught in traffic and missed the first match.


-Leisurely start to this one as Tomayo stalls heelishly for a long time, and Larry pulls a pocket notebook out of his boots and takes diligent notes about Tomayo’s tactics on a page with the heading “Plans for the ’80s.”

-Larry wrings the arm and applies headscissors. He shoves Tomayo into the ropes and tries for a monkey flip, but Tomayo puts on the brakes and struts proudly. Larry gets a hold of Tomayo’s leg and hangs onto it, stretching and pulling on it. Tomayo throws punches and elbows Larry down. He sends Larry into the ropes and goes for a backdrop, but Larry just cradles him for the slowest…three-count…ever. Geez, even the referee had trouble staying awake at the end, I guess. 0 for 2.


-Garea outwrestles Steele right away, and Steele can’t even with that so he runs halfway up the aisle and regains his bearings by picking a fight with a fan and then chasing him back to his seat, and NOW this crowd is awake. Steele goes back into the ring and tries to fight Steele, but Steele gives him a low blow. Steele stomps away for a while and tries an Irish whip, but Garea reverses it and Steele takes a FANTASTIC, almost-Heenan-style bump off the impact.

-Garea puts the boots to him, and Steele looks like he may have injured his shoulder. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Steele reaches into his tights and hits Garea with something, and the referee calls for the bell. 1 for 3. Really not so much to this one, but just for the reactions that Steele got for his stuff, I’ll give it a yay.


-The background to this is that recently on TV, Patera had a match with Billy Whitewolf where Patera injured Whitewolf’s neck so severely with the swinging neckbreaker that Whitewolf was forced to “retire” (and in fact, Whitewolf/Adnan never wrestled with that gimmick again, so it really did appear that he had retired as a result of Patera’s hold). So Strongbow has recruited Andre as a tag team partner for some revenge. Hilarious start to this one as Strongbow just kicks the shit out of Lou Albano during Howard Finkel’s introductions, and Howard calmly remains in the ring, watches Albano take the beating, and when Albano retreats to the locker room, Howard just picks right up where he was interrupted and finishes the introduction.

-FALL ONE: Strongbow and Patera (with his ribs all taped up for some reason) start, and Patera seems really, really scared of the vengeful Strongbow. Strongbow surprises Patera by applying a full nelson immediately. Patera breaks the hold easily and celebrates the show of strength so vigorously that he doesn’t notice Andre tagging in. Andre applies his own full nelson, and Patera isn’t strong enough to break that, so he has to get a foot over to the ropes to finally escape.

-Nikolai tags in and manages to get Andre cornered, but Andre just uses that to his advantage and coconuts the heels. Andre keeps beating on Nikolai in the ring, while Strongbow is still plenty pissed off about what happened to Whitewolf and just takes a moment to run over and blast Patera with a chair to the skull. In the ring, Andre is just making Volkoff’s life hell and applies a bearhug, but Patera is battered and thoroughly afraid of his opponents, so he actually refuses to come in and Volkoff has to make his own save by punching out.

-Strongbow tags in and Volkoff uses the cornering strategy, and it works better with Strongbow this time anbd the heels overwhelm him. Patera is feeling braver, so now he tags in and applies a chinlock. It’s 1977 so it takes about 45 minutes before Strongbow finally escapes and makes the hot tag to Andre, and Patera hastily goes to the apron and hides behind the referee, essentially. Andre gets distracted by Nikolai and they gang up on him in the corner. Andre fights back by pushing Patera to the other corner and ramming him repeatedly. Nikolai comes in and Andre piles the opponents in the corner and rams them both.

-Patera barely avoids a big splash and tags out. Volkoff runs into a sleeper by Strongbow. Patera runs in to break it with a knee to the back, but there’s been so much double-teaming and chicanery so far in this match that it proves to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he calls for the DQ and gives the first fall to Andre and Strongbow.

-Between falls, Patera and Nikolai get into a shoving match over who’s fault it is that the first fall is lost while a security guard stands behind them and has a smoke right there in the middle of the aisle.

-FALL TWO: Andre and Strongbow get Nikolai cornered and use his own strategy against him, beating him down. Nikolai escapes and immediately gets into another argument with Patera. They attempt to do something to Strongbow together, but Volkoff screws up and runs into Patera full-speed, and Patera is so annoyed that he just leaves the ring and Volkoff has to fend for himself now. You’d think that’d be leading to a face turn for somebody, but no, this was just immediately forgotten about.

-Volkoff instantly takes a boot to the face, and a big splash gives Andre and Strongbow the win in two straight falls. 2 for 4. GREAT story all the way through this!


-Hurst is a Jamaican wrestler who bears a striking resemblance to clean-shaven Haku, and for years, the “common knowledge” among long-time fans was that they were one in the same but…they aren’t.

-Hurst gets Stasiak in a toehold. Stasiak finally goes to the eyes to break it. Hurst gets him back on the mat and clamps on headscissors. Stasiak keeps fighting back with taped fists. Hurst dropkicks him into the ropes, and with Stasiak all tangled up Hurst lights into him with kicks until Stasiak kicks back and frees himself, and a heart punch by Stasiak finishes. Good enough for government work. 3 for 5.

WWWF WORLD TITLE: SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM (Champion, with The Grand Wizard) vs. BRUNO SAMMARTINO (with Arnold Skaaland)

-Vince heads up to the apron to ask Graham for some words, and Graham cutting a promo with 27,000 fans booing intensely is a pretty powerful sight. Graham insists on posing as Vince announces that WWWF World Title matches have already been signed in California, Florida, and Missouri because promoters want a piece of Graham.

-Graham tries to get in Bruno’s face and taunt him with the belt, but Bruno’s not feeling like a sportsman tonight and just starts beating on Graham, who’s so shocked that Bruno would do that, he gets out of the ring to escape. Back in, he tries to apologize, but Bruno just whips him from corner to corner, and Bruno stomps a mudhole in Graham and backdrops him. Damn, this is not the mixed reaction Graham got in Philadelphia at the TV tapings, this is a BRUNO crowd.

-Bruno keeps dishing out the ass-kicking, and he’s got the match so in hand that he just stops for a bit to catch his breath. Big mistake as Graham applies a full nelson and Vince concedes on commentary that Graham might actually be stronger than Bruno. Bruno’s grown a mustache though, so that gives him +2 manliness, and he finally powers out and applies his own full nelson. Superstar Billy Graham still has long blonde hair at this point, so it’s more like a full Nelson. Only Time Will Tell if Graham has the Desire to escape from it.

-Yes he does. Graham makes it to the ropes but Bruno is still in position to keep dishing out striking blows. Graham tries slipping behind him for a waistlock and then a surfboard. Bruno reverses the surfboard. Graham gets free and stomps away as Vince declares this match “grueling and rugged” and he’s not wrong. Irish whips by Superstar and he covers Bruno, and the MSG crowd absolutely screams with concern until Bruno kicks out.

-Graham with a bearhug, but Bruno throws punches to escape and then applies his own bearhug. Graham makes the ropes and knocks Bruno out to the floor, not letting him back in. Best part of this is the sight of two security guards surrounding an old lady at ringside. They know this crowd. Bruno makes it back in with a second wind and starts pounding on the abs with lefts and rights. Graham swings back and Bruno accidentally knocks over the referee and you can see where this is going, and yeah, the referee keeps getting knocked over in the fracas until he finally gets fed up and calls for the bell. It’s a double disqualification. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but feeling like things aren’t settled between these two. 4 for 6. Just a masterpiece, it really was.


-They stall for a long damn time to start as Baron keeps trying to do something with a weapon and Putski keeps catching him and tattling to the referee. Putski applies a side headlock and bonks Baron on his bald head. Baron takes him to the mat with a toehold and we make ourselves comfortable in that position, and Vince is grasping for some explanation of why the hold is taking so long. “It must be some kind of leglock he has on Putski.”

-MSG crowd is actually starting to boo the match when Putski finally punches free and applies a chinlock. Ring is miked and they have the New Yorkiest-sounding referee imaginable in that ring. Baron escapes but gets caught in headscissors, and apparently Putski has crazy glue on his inner thighs because we stay in that hold until sunrise. Ivan throws punches to wake up the crowd. Backdrop by Ivan is reversed into a sunset flip for two. POLISH HAMMER OUTTA NOWHERE sends Baron through the ropes. Unfortunately he recovers, which means this match will continue to happen.

-Von Raschke and Putski throws punches, and Putski takes a swing at Baron that sends him through the ropes again, and the bell sounds for the 30 minute time limit draw. 4 for 7. That actually didn’t even come close to 30 minutes (thank you god) but it certainly felt like 45.


-Maivia chops and headbutts the Baron. Baron tries a corner charge but crashes and Maivia just pins him immediately. 4 for 8. Boy, the second half of this show has really been a Baron wasteland, am I right?

-This is touted as Haystacks’ return to MSG after a lengthy absence, and a quick check finds that he has not been in MSG in 13 months.

-FALL ONE: Tanaka and DeNucci trade chops. DeNucci throws punches, and Fuji, a spry 43 at this point, tags in and kicks away at DeNucci. Flying clothesline (dubbed “the kamikaze necktie” by Vince) gets three.

-FALL TWO: Dominic gets his second wind as photographers at ringside are packing up their stuff and already leaving. Dominic gets double-teamed in the corner as the bell sounds for curew. Haystacks never even tagged in and will not return to the garden for another year. 4 for 9.

The final score: review Average
The 411
As a whole, I can't recommend the card, but here's what you do: Start it at Garea/Steele, hit stop at the main event, and that is a perfectly fine 90-minute show you're getting. Watch it that way.