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The Name on the Marquee: Madison Square Garden Presents the WWF (02.20.1984)

March 6, 2009 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: Madison Square Garden Presents the WWF (02.20.1984)  

-It’s February 20, 1984, and it’s time for New York’s monthly fix of WWF action. Here we go…

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Pat Patterson. Your ring announcer is Howard Finkel. Your matches are sanctioned & supervised by the New York State Athletic Commission, John Blanka, Chairman. Ringside judges are Jack Gibbons, Ed Walker, and Barrett Morris. Your timekeeper is Fred Abedello. Your ringside physician is Dr. Thomas.

-Gorilla starts things off by announcing that Tito Santana is now the Intercontinental Champion.

-The bell rings in a “ding-dingding-ding” pattern; boy, if you didn’t already know Fred Abedello was timekeeper, you’d know now, am I right? Classic Abedello. Both men jockey for position on a series of lock-ups. Fulton takes control with a side headlock on the mat. Rivera gets to his feet and fights off the hold, but gets a shoulderblock. Hiptoss by Rivera and he tries his own side headlock. Fulton keeps trying to roll up Rivera, but with success. Fulton fights out and rams Rivera into the turnbuckles, but stops after two shots because history shows that bad things happen to heels who push their luck with the turnbuckles. Fulton goes back to the side headlock, but Rivera elbows out and attempts a charge. He gets a kneeful of turnbuckle for his efforts and Fulton goes to a headlock.

-Rivera elbows out again and throws punches. He goes for a backdrop but gets kicked in the chest. Fulton rams him into the turnbuckle again. Rivera gets sent into the ropes and meets an elbow on the way back. Another turnbuckle shot by Fulton and a forearm sends Rivera to the floor. Fulton brings him back in with a slam for two. Rivera rolls him up with a cradle and gets the three-count out of nowhere. 1 for 1. Your standard opener for the most part, except the guys weren’t falling asleep on top of each other under the guise of executing a hold. It’s also fun to see a surprise finish like that in an inconsequential match.

-ORIGINAL COMMERCIAL FEVER! CATCH IT! Mobil 1 is the best protection you can give your car, aside from the new line of Crysler Condoms. Goldome is ready to help you start your IRA, or your Abe or your Saul or whatever your Jewish friend’s name is. The Coleco Adam offers exciting graphics on games like Buck Rogers…surprisingly, this would not be the last time something named Adam was a total failure. Jerry Orbach invites you to watch horse-racing at Aqueduct, then act outraged when you watch footage of dogfights on the news.

-The heat for Iron Mike is just unholy, making me wonder why he wasn’t pushed harder. Blair keeps trying for a lock-up and Sharpe stalls. Blair finally drop-toeholds him on his next attempt and Sharpe angrily rolls out and stalks about ringside with utmost vitrol. Back in the ring, Blair gets a hammerlock but Sharpe makes the ropes. Side headlock by Sharpe is countered with a wristlock by Blair. Blair locks in another hammerlock and Sharpe makes the ropes. Sharpe locks in a full nelson, but Blair jawjacks out and kicks Sharpe in the face for good measure. Armdrag by Blair and Sharpe retreats to the corner. Lock-up leads to a punch by Blair, but Sharpe traps him in the dirty-looking version of headscissors. Blair fights out and goes for a headlock, but Sharpe heads out to the apron. Again.

-Sharpe grinds his forearm brace across Blair’s eyes and takes him on a turnbuckle tour, but Sharpe doesn’t know what Charlie Fulton knows and on his third attempt, Blair reverses and rams him into the turnbuckle. Sharpe comes back with more help from the forearm brace as Gorilla acts outraged. Backdrop by Sharpe gets a two-count. Another forearm shot and a hiptoss for two. Sharpe keeps attacking with the forearm brace, but Blair fights back with his own forearms and grounds Sharpe. Mulekick by Blair and Sharpe begs for his life, and the crowd is absolutely popping like nuts for Blair. Forearm from the second rope by Blair. Elbow to the midsection by Blair, followed by running Sharpe’s eyes across the top rope. Irish whip into the corner, but Sharpe hooks Blair’s legs and Flair-pins him for the surprise win. 2 for 2. Became fun once Sharpe got tired of stalling.

-Twin Boro Ford is celebrating 60 years! Tragically, the following year, a time-traveling youngster would accidentally kill a donkey, turning it into Lone Boro Ford. SportsChannel offers exciting coverage of American indoor soccer; watch it anyway. A Freehold Raceway commercial is set to the song “Afternoon Delight.” If a song about sex during daytime hours makes you think of horse racing, seek professional help at your earliest convenience. PLEASE. The Buick Turbo Hawk brings supercharged excitement for the 80s, which, knowing that decade, means there’s a second tank for your cocaine. Manufacturers Hanover Trust can help you win a marathon…It’s a commercial, it doesn’t have to be coherent. Millions of people have a headache THIS BIG, presumably from trying to make sense of the Manufacturers Hanover Trust commercial.

TONY GAREA vs. AFA THE WILD SAMOAN (with Captain Lou Albano)
-The Samoans and Captain Lou were not getting along at this point. Don’t know if that’s going to come up in the booking here, just noting it. Garea tries for a lock-up, but Afa is all “Screw that!” and punches him a few times. Flying bodypress by Garea gets a two-count and he dropkicks Afa to the floor. Back in the ring, Garea goes to an arm-wringer. Afa sends him into the ropes but gets shoulderblocked and Garea armdrags him into an armbar. Afa fights out and clotheslines Garea. He stomps the mat next to Garea’s head, and the intense virbration causes inner-ear problems for Garea that compel him to grab his head in pain. Chinlock by Afa, but then he remembers he’s Samoan and switches to a nerve hold. Garea starts to Tony up before Afa yanks his tights and keeps the nerve hold locked in. Garea slaps his own forearm, because clearly, that will break the hold faster than, say, prying Afa’s fingers. Garea makes it to his feet and elbows out, then elbows Afa to the ground. Afa fights back and stomps Garea all the way out to the floor. Forearm by Afa on the apron. Garea sunset-flips back into the ring but only gets a two-count. Dropkick connects but a second one misses. Afa misses a diving headbutt. Irish whip by Garea, but Afa meets him with a chop. Falling headbutt gets the three-count for Afa. 2 for 3. Picked up during the end, but not much to look at before that.

-Cable Guide offers descriptions of upcoming TV broadcasts and articles about TV; Holy crap, what an innovative concept for a magazine! “Let your Mitsubishi dealer take you where you’ve never been before!”…and remember to close your eyes tight and bite down on a pencil first.

-Vince McMahon interviews Iron Sheik. Sheik wants a rematch with Hulk Hogan, but first, he’s going to step into the ring with Eddie Gorbull and destroy him.

EDDIE GILBERT vs. IRON SHEIK (with Ayatollah Blassie)
-Eddie Gorbull apparently has the flu, so Eddie Gilbert will be wrestling in his place. Sheik takes down Gilbert but can’t take advantage. He takes down Eddie again with a fireman’s carry but Eddie ties him up with headscissors. Sheik escapes. Criss-cross leads to a sunset flip by Gilbert for two. Sheik gets to his feet and chops Gilbert. Infamous boot to the chest as a “We want Slaughter!” chant erupts. Another boot by Sheik, but Gilbert fights back with shots to the stomach. Camel clutch finishes things. 3 for 4. Pretty hot for a squash match.

-They actually manage to show us three different spellings for Dr. D’s last name before the bell sounds. I’m pretty sure what I have in all caps up there is correct. This is Piper’s first appearance in this run as a wrestler, after working strictly as a manager for his first few weeks in the company. Piper removes his entrance garb, and we get this exchange on commentary…

PATTERSON: Wouldn’t it be something if he took off his kilt and it turned out he didn’t have any tights on underneath?
GORILLA: Oh my god.

-Piper slaps Invader #1 and #1 chases him around the ring, but can’t catch up to him. Piper tags in Schultz. #1 chases Piper around the ring again even though he’s not the legal man, and the heels stall. #1 gets tied up by Piper on the apron, but Schultz misses with the cheap shot and knocks his own partner off the apron. Piper tags in and tries a test if strength, which grounds #1. Piper kicks a kick to the stomach, but #1 fights back with punches and Piper gets pinballed by the Invaders. Invaders take turns with an arm-wringer. Patterson notes that “the Invaders are famous for tagging in and out” during their matches, which makes me laugh for whatever reason. #2 sinches in a hammerlock, but Piper steps backward into his own corner and Schultz breaks the hold for him. Schultz snap mares #2. Piper tags in and tries to take off #2’s mask, gets frustrated, and just punches him down. Chinlock by Piper, and then he tags in Dr. D, who locks in a front facelock. Distraction by Piper prevents a tag being made, and as #1 complains, #2 gets double-teamed behind the referee’s back. Sunset flip by #2 gets a two-count. Piper comes in without tagging and attempts a splash, but #2 raises the knees and tags in #1. #1 just rips into Piper without mercy, slicing into him with chops. He hiptosses #2 on top of Piper, but Schultz comes off the turnbuckle with an elbow and rolls Piper on top for the three-count. 3 for 5. Styles didn’t mesh well, as the Invaders kept trying to speed things up and the heels just kept trying to slow everything down with holds.

-Bally’s Casino presents Walt Frazier, Phil Esposito, Brooks Robinson, and Bruno Sammartino…BRUNO SAMMARTINO…singing and dancing through the casino. Holy shit, why do I feel like I’m dreaming this commercial? Wait, I know why, it’s because it involves BRUNO SAMMARTINO SINGING AND DANCING. That merits a 10.0 right there.

-Tito won’t start the match until Albano leaves. Once he’s gone, collar-elbow lock-up leads to a fistfight. Tito dominates until the referee pulls him away. Another lock-up leads to a Muraco hiptoss, but Tito kicks him away and slams him down. Muraco retreats to the corner. Tito goes to a standing wristlock. Muraco hooks the leg, but that’s not enough for Tito to break it. Muraco throws punches to break it, but Tito throws punches of his own and sends Muraco to the mat with a hiptoss and goes to an armbar into a hammerlock. Muraco takes a shot at the ear to break the hold Santana throws a boot and a punch to keep Muraco from taking advantage and goes back to the armbar.

-Muraco suplexes out, but Tito hangs on and turns it into a cradle for two. He goes back to the armbar. Muraco headbutts out and follows with a Russian legsweep. He drops Tito throat-first on the top rope and sends him out to the floor. Muraco follows him out and drops him throat-first onto the barricade. Tito forces himself back into the ring and Muraco meets him with punches and elbows. Bodyslam gets a two-count. Elbow by Muraco, followed by time-wasting. Tito tries to roll up Muraco, but Muraco uses Tito’s momentum against him and drives him into the ropes throat-first. Muraco takes Tito’s head off with a flying forearm, of all moves, but stalls instead of going for the pin. Tito connects with a flying forearm of his own that causes Muraco to get his head tangled in the ropes, and as he chokes himself out, the referee counts to ten. 4 for 6. Weird finish for the simple reason that Muraco wasn’t really outside of the ring, but it was a still a predictably good battle between these two.

-This time, Bruno is joined by Bobby Riggs and Willie Mays. They made more than one of these ads?

-Copy-pasted from Andre’s Coliseum Video release…The Machines (pre-emptively) explode! Lock-up and Andre shoves him into the corner, which Superstar blames on mask-pulling. To prove him wrong, Andre does it again. This has to be the end of Superstar’s run with the company because Gorilla Monsoon & Pat Patterson are just totally ignoring the fact that there’s another guy in the ring and swapping Andre trivia instead. A quick check of History of WWE confirms this…The next time Superstar was in MSG was as one of the Machines 2 ½ years later. Side headlock but Andre sends him into the ropes and skillfully rams him with his ass, then steps on his chest for good measure. Man, Superstar is getting nothing here. Andre rams him into the corner and Superstar finally gets some offense including an Irish whip, which is kind of a big deal when you’re dealing with Andre. He hammers away and gets a cobra clutch. Clever counter by Andre. After struggling and failing to get out of the hold, Andre uses his free arm to go for the mask, which startles Superstar so much that he releases the hold. Boot to the chest and a splash wins the match. Andre goes for the mask but Superstar escapes. 4 for 7.

-Cable Watch invites you to tune into Showtime for Flashdance, “the movie that made off-the-shoulder fashions a national phenomenon.” Remember how they advertised Boxing Helena the same way?

-Vince McMahon interviews Hulk Hogan, who refers to MSG as “Hulkster’s Pit” in a weird moment. As Vince holds the microphone silently and reacts to Hogan, I can’t help thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to see these guys wrestle in another 20 years.”

-Awkward silence follows when Gorilla throws it to a commercial break and instead we just stay on a wide shot of the ring for an eternity.

WORLD TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. “Mister Wonderful” PAUL ORNDORFF (with Rowdy Roddy Piper)
-Lock-up starts and Hogan shoves Orndorff into the corner. Orndorff tries a side headlock, but Hogan calmly picks him up and deposits him in the top rope. Orndorff goes to the floor to stall for a while. Back in the ring, a shoulderblock knocks over Orndorff. Orndorff finally takes charge with knees and boots that take Hogan down to the mat. Orndorff drops a knee across the back and chinlocks him between the ropes until the referee forces the break. Hogan reverses a turnbuckle shot to take control back and gives Orndorff seven shots in return. It must have been a fairly new spot at this point because the crowd doesn’t count along with it. Clothesline by Hogan compels Orndorff to go to the floor to recover. Back in the ring, Hogan goes to a side headlock and drops Orndorff to the mat. Orndorff breaks the hold and catches Hogan with a kneelift. Elbows and knees by Orndorff get two. Dropkick off the ropes and Orndorff drives a knee into Hogan’s throat. Backbreaker gets a two-count. Hogan reverses the Irish whip to give the fans hope but walks right into a clothesline. Elbow off the ropes by Orndorff. Piledriver by Orndorff and he stops everything to pose instead of going for the pin, and even one month into the title reign, you know what comes next. But there’s a twist, actually, as Orndorff makes a last, desperate move for the win by raking the eyes, but when he tries the piledriver, Hogan backdrops him over the top rope to take the match by count-out. 5 for 8. Good match on its own merit, but the 1986 series was better.

-As seen on “TNT.” Samu (or Samula, or Samuel or whatever the hell Gorilla’s whim tells him to call the guy) attacks from behind and Snuka fights right back and gets a big slam early on. Samu backs off quickly and goes to a lock-up when he’s good and ready. Snuka turns it into a side headlock and gets a flying bodypress for a two-count. Front facelock by Snuka less than two minutes into the match and it lasts far longer than it should before Samu backs him into the corner and takes him down with a shot to the throat. Nerve hold by Samu to keep things from getting too interesting. This just goes on for an insanely long time to the point where I am now openly theorizing that one guy told the other “I’m not feeling it tonight” in the locker room beforehand. Snuka finally reaches a level of boredom equal to the crowd and wakes everybody up with flying headbutts from every direction. Suplex by Snuka and he heads to the top rope and gets a flying bodypress for the win. 5 for 9.

-Howard Finkel introduces Nigeria’s #1 wrestling promoter, Paolo Mike. Mike asks the fans for their social security numbers so he can bail his father out of prison, in exchange for frozen monies to be released at a later date.

-Crowd reactions for this one are weird, as Slaughter’s face turn had already taken place, but the match had been advertised before hand, so he’s basically a face teaming up with two heels. Try to figure out where this is going.

-Fuji starts with Putski, and Putski starts off hot with clubbing forearms and a backdrop. Fuji chops the throat and tries a wristlock, but Putski powers out with such force that it knocks Fuji over. Lee, wearing what appear to be sweatpants, tags in and gets trapped in a side headlock. Putski punches away while keeping it locked in. Putski gets sent into the ropes and Lee meets him with a thrust kick. He follows with a purple nurple, so apparently Kamala wasn’t the only wrestler ever to do that as an actual hold. Slaughter tags in but gets backed into the opposing corner. Johnson tags in and unleashes a flurry of punches (and gets a mixed reaction for it). Atlas tags in and Slaughter gets double- and triple-teamed. Irish whip is BADLY whiffed by Slaughter & Atlas. They give it another go and Atlas gets rammed into the turnbuckle. Fuji tags in and so does Putski. Kick and an elbow ground Putski and Lee comes in and drives some bare feet into the back. Slaughter re-enters and gets a backbreaker. Fuji starts hassling Slaughter about not hitting Putski hard enough while Putski keeps kicking out of two-counts. Fuji tags in and yells “Watch me!” and hits Putski a few times. He turns to Slaughter and slaps him across the face. Slaughter shoves him and Fuji walks into a Polish Hammer for the three-count. The faces befriend Slaughter post-match. 6 for 10. Fun match with a angle involved as a bonus.

-Slaughter cuts a pretty awesome promo post-match, basically threatening to kill Iron Sheik the first chance he gets.

Check out Game Show Utopia, a website that couldn’t have less to do with what you’ve just read.

The 411: Fun card with little snippets of history (Piper's first appearance as a wrestler, Slaughter's face turn) and some good matches (Tito/Muraco jumps to mind) as well. Keep this one.
Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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