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Madison Square Garden Presents the WWWF (2.2.1976) Review

July 29, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Madison Square Garden Presents the WWWF 2-2-1976
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Madison Square Garden Presents the WWWF (2.2.1976) Review  

-Bringing you this review in the most complete form possible. This one picks up at the second match of the night…

-It’s February 2, 1976.

-Your host is Vince McMahon.

FRANCISCO FLORES vs. LOUIS CYR (with Freddie Blassie)

-Cyr’s weirdly complicated gimmick is that he’s the grandson of the strongest man in the history of the Yukon, and he wears a Mantaur V1 fur hat for his entrance. Flores is here on the heels of his hilarious and memorable run of being “Still dead” during the first season of Saturday Night Live.

-Punches are exchanged before they battle for a top wristlock. They trade hammerlocks until Cyr gets dirty with a handful of hair to take Flores off his feet. Flores pops back up and before long Cyr is trapped in a toehold. You BET it’s 1976.

-Cyr breaks the hold with a handful of tights and applies a side headlock as Vince diplomatically declares that this match is boring and gets us hyped for the main event later tonight. Cyr picks it up with a turnbuckle shot and goes after Flores’ eyes.

-Flores fights back with forearm blows. Irish whip by Flores, and both guys just stare at each other for a moment before Cyr decides it’s his turn and headbutts Flores in the stomach. Vince is pretty much begging for a finish at this point, but a stomp by Cyr only gets two.

-Flores fights back with headbutts and the crowd ROARS for it. Vince declares that this is turning into quite a match on the strength of that spot. Cyr fights back with a slam, but crashes on an attempted somersault splash. Flores misses a splash of his own, but Cyr capitalizes with a lethargic boot. Shoulderbreaker finishes. 0 for 1.

-Ring announcer reminds us to tune in to wrestling on channel 47, Tuesdays at 11 pm and Sundays at 5 pm. That first one seems like a weird slot.


-The story here is that this was advertised as Sullivan vs. some other jobber, but Spiros showed up at MSG and demanded a match, and the card’s been rearranged. Sullivan has a full head of brown hair and 30 extra pounds at this stage of his career and just looks like the exact opposite of a star. You never know sometimes.

-Sullivan wrenches on a side headlock and they criss-cross. Sullivan slams Arion. He goes back to the side headlock. Arion tries to turn it into a fight but Sullivan has him there too, kicking and punching him down before going back to the side headlock.

-Monkey flip by Sullivan, but he makes the fatal mistake of going for a second monkey flip. Arion blocks it, and the atomic drop gets three. Sullivan squashed the hell out of Arion and lost on a fluke. 0 for 2.


-So unlike the usual “king” gimmick with a crown and cape, Ernie Ladd’s gimmick here is that he’s “king” because he has a high opinion of himself but otherwise acts like a normal guy. Vince McMahon calls him “Daddy Ladd” in the weirdest soundbite of the night.

-DeNucci throws punches and Ladd does a big dramatic sell of them, which Vince suspects is a possum act. Ladd’s pretty funny, doing a total coward act at his size and then just stepping forward and taking DeNucci down for a choke. DeNucci gets aggressive, throwing punches and Ladd is doing his huge sell for each of them. Ladd begs for mercy with Richard Nixon-style double peace signs and offers DeNucci a handshake with a big cheesy grin on his face.

-DeNucci ain’t having it and works the arm as Vince again plays up that Ladd’s whole thing is that he fakes being a wimp just to mess with his opponents. And sure enough, Ladd comes to life with chokes and boots, all while hollering at the referee to get off his ass, in stark contrast to the polite wuss he was earlier on.

-DeNucci gets fired up again and batters Ladd in the corner, but Ladd gets something out of the tights, and one good shot to the throat, plus his feet on the top rope for leverage, gives Ladd the win. 1 for 3. Fun story, with DeNucci seeing through Ladd’s entire game plan, except for one final trick. An old woman attacks Ladd with her purse as he walks back to the dressing room and the security staff cracks up as they step in and calm her down.

-Be sure to watch wrestling every Saturday at midnight…IN COLOR!


-To determine the One True Ivan of Professional Wrestling, I guess. At this point the WWWF was still fine with having two guys named Ivan on the roster at the same time, as opposed to modern policy, which would be to rebrand one of them as Finnegan Koloff to avoid confusion.

-They shove it out for a bit before going to the test of strength. Koloff overpowers Putski, but Putski just plants his shoulder into Koloff’s gut, lifts him in a backdrop position, and plants him on a turnbuckle to break the hold.

-Koloff, not appreciating the embarrassment, just goes nuts on Putski with rapid stomps for a two-count. Putski fights back with Irish whips. Note about production: HBO must have used their own crew for MSG shows at this point because the production is just totally different than it is for regular WWWF TV. Among the touches: there’s a boom mike right at every corner, so Irish whips all end with a *CRASH* and they sound absolutely lethal.

-Putski applies a chinlock, but Koloff breaks it with a handful of hair and locks on a bearhug. Putski reverses and hammers away. The fight spills onto the apron and they slug it out until the count of ten, or “twenty” in Vince-counting. 2 for 4. It wasn’t a terrible match; just wish it had a better finish.

-Copy-pasting from an old Coliseum Video review.

Billy applies the side headlock and Louie gets trapped in the heel corner and double-teamed. Koko Kid tries to help but the referee actually carries him back to his own corner. In comes John with a slam and a stomp. Louie fires some forearms, and in comes Koko Kid. Hiptoss and a backdrop by Koko. He works John’s arm as a chase sequence erupts between the partners, and Billy the Kid winds up tripping over his own partner. Fists are exchanged and in comes John. Koko traps him in a full nelson and Billy the Kid accidentally belts his own partner on the attempted save. It happens again and Little John begins threatening his own partner. Billy makes peace by tagging in himself, but Louie dropkicks Billy into John. We get more partners accidentally hitting each other, and then Billy gets bitten on the ass and shoulderblocked. Koko rolls him up for the three-count. 2 for 5. Blah. And may I add, bleh.


-Joined in progress with Bruno caught in something like a surfboard. And he’s caught in it. And caught in it. And caught in it. And caught in it. And then he FINALLY reverses, and Graham immediately gets a foot on the rope to break the hold, which makes Bruno look like a moron given how long he was trapped in the hold.

-Graham bails to the floor, but Bruno brings him back in for a backdrop. Bruno runs into a big boot, though. Graham drags Bruno over to the corner and drives his legs against the post. I had no idea that spot existed at this point. Graham jumps off the top rope, trying to finish with a knee, but he crashes. Graham tries to retreat for a bit to walk off the injury, but Bruno kicks his leg out of his leg and Graham takes a big flying Ray Stevens-style bump and gets hung up on the top rope.

-Graham tries to stop the onslaught by tying up Bruno in a bearhug, but Bruno flings him off immediately. Graham tries a full nelson and that works for a bit, but Bruno eventually escapes. Graham pounds him down and climbs the turnbuckles again for an elbow drop, but Bruno moves yet again.

-Graham tries to bail for a rest, but Bruno grabs him on the way out and rams him into the post, and Graham is bleeding. They slug it out for a bit, but Graham is just a mess, and finally the referee stops the match for blood and gives the win to Bruno. 3 for 6. Overall, pretty enjoyable. Graham isn’t happy about the outcome and grabs the mic to declare that he didn’t give up.

-Ring announcer reminds us that fans who throw garbage into the ring will be arrested. Actually, aside from that old woman, the crowd’s been pretty well-behaved tonight.


-So Spiros showing up and demanding a match has caused chaos with tonight’s card, as this was supposed to be Bobo Brazil vs. the Baron, but Barrett got plugged into this match, and Bobo has been moved into the final match of the night.

-Baron attacks from behind and goes crazy on the Irish one with a series of boots. More boots. More boots after that. The boots continue to be dealt out in bootly fashion. Barrett fights back with a big kneelift and a “cannonball” (jawjack). Also, his gimmick is that he’s Irish, shouldn’t his big move be called a colcannon instead of a cannonball?

-Baron ironically Irish whips Barrett and gets the win just as simple as that. Vince declares that because of the sneak attack, this match was over as soon as it started. Well, then it hardly seems fair that I had to watch it. 3 for 7.

-WWWF President Willie Gilzenberg hand-delivers the March 1 card to the ring announcer for the official announcement. Emerging Minneapolis star Ric Flair will be making his New York City debut!

-Parisi is currently co-holder of the Tag Team Title, but his regular partner, Louis Cerdan, is stranded at the airport in Montreal, so Bobo is stepping in here.

-FALL 1: Heels attempt a double-team manuever, but Brazil counters with double flying headscissors, which is an amazing spot given the size of the guys involved. Parisi tags in and applies a side headlock, using Blackwell’s beard for leverage. Bobo tags back in and now the double-teaming works out, with Bugsy holding Bobo in the corner for an avalanche.

-Bobo fights off both opponents gamely, but Blackwell traps him in a bearhug in the middle of the ring. Bobo fights out but makes the rather dumb decision of fighting out in the direction of his opponents’ corner, and they just gang up on him and choke him out until the referee becomes exasperated by the houligans and their shenanigans and calls for the DQ. Faces take the first fall.

FALL 2: Faces clear McGraw from the ring and double-backdrop Blackwell! Parisi bodyslams him to gasps from the MSG crowd, and a knee from the top rope finishes immediately! Abrupt finish but not bad overall.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
A few keepers here but overall nothing you need to go out of your way for.