wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: Madison Square Garden Presents the WWF (10.22.1984)

February 12, 2014 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: Madison Square Garden Presents the WWF (10.22.1984)  

-It’s October 22, 1984.

-New theme music for the MSG shows starting tonight. Really good piece of music, too; it really has an “event” feel to it.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Mean Gene Okerlund.

-Schultz finds himself in the completely unenviable “main event run is done and they don’t have anything else for me” position. He torched every one of his bridges on his way out of the territories earlier in the year and after nine months, he has nothing else to do.

-It’s a straight wrestling match to start, with Schultz getting a takedown and Bellomo turning it into headscissors. Schultz gets back to his feet and fires knees to the midsection, which Bellomo sells with some super-dramatic screaming. Hard elbow by Schultz, which “will jar your mother’s preserves,” according to The Mean One.

-Elbow from the second rope by Schultz gets the thr—holy shit, SALVATORE BELLOMO KICKS OUT OF THE FINISHER. All of MSG is shocked by it and Schultz is understandably pissed. He absolutely wails on Bellomo, and a suplex gets the win. 0 for 1. Squash-o.

-An old favorite of ‘80s booking, dragging out a tag team feud by splitting everyone up and doing singles matches at the house shows. Afa is billed at 299, but Gorilla Monsoon thinks he’s over that 300-pound mark.

DID YOU KNOW: “300-pound mark” can also describe the guy writing this.

-Murdoch backs into a corner, begs for mercy, goes to the floor, threatens ringside fans, heads back in, complains to the referee, cowers in the corner, begs for mercy, and goes to the floor. “Main event in any arena in the world” is whipped out for this one, meanwhile.

-Action finally gets rolling with a side headlock by Afa. Murdoch cowers into the corner again. Murdoch throws verbal threats at Afa, and Afa responds by hitting himself on the head a few times. Side headlock by Murdoch and we get some insight from the commentators about how Afa is so strong that Murdoch might just have to stay in the hold because attempting to jerk himself free at this point is probably going to hurt worse.
-Murdoch backs Afa into the corner and we get a series of comedy spots where Murdoch repeatedly targets the head and winds up injuring his own arm and hand in the process. Turnbuckle shot by Afa, which Murdoch sells by staggering clear to the other side of the ring and then tumbling to the floor.

-Back in, Afa gets Murdoch in an arm wringer and headbutts the shoulder a few times. Murdoch tries to break free with his own headbutt and knocks himself silly. Murdoch goes to the eyes and tries to show off how hard his own head is by ramming his head into the turnbuckle…and instead he makes himself dizzy and collapses onto the mat, ass elevated. We go to ringside, where a great big hillbilly in bib overalls is watching the action and getting into it. Gorilla and Mean Gene wonder about this big hillbilly and how he keeps getting to New York to see WWF action.

-Murdoch comes to life and gets Afa out to the floor, where he puts some boots to the Samoan. Afa tries to come back in and Murdoch strangles and snaps Afa over the top rope. Referee makes him break, so Murdoch grabs one of the tag ropes and chokes away with that. Afa’s fading, but Murdoch makes the mistake of targeting the head again, having failed to learn his lesson, and Afa comes back to life and goes right to work. Murdoch turns his back to Afa, hoping that Afa will just go away if nobody’s looking at him, but Afa reacts by raking the back. Afa follows with an atomic drop that will “leave Murdoch standing up for breakfast,” and Murdoch does a tremendous tight-assed walk across the ring to sell the pain.

-Headbutt by Afa, and this time, Murdoch sells it with a Curly spin around the mat. Murdoch is so out of it that his punches barely make contact, so Afa just stands there and takes Murdoch’s punches until he’s too tired and collapses to the mat again. Murdoch emerges from the floor with a glass bottle in a paper bag and clocks Afa with it. Murdoch goes to work from there. He goes for a pin, but Afa presses him and flings him across the ring to break the pin, and Murdoch looks to the referee with confusion and asks if he got the three-count.

-Both men go off the ropes and collide. Referee administers the count and both men revive around seven. JYD-style headbutt by Afa gets two. Afa keeps pounding and pounding on Murdoch until the bell finally sounds and gets a time limit draw. And there you have it, two fat guys went 20 straight minutes and didn’t let it get boring. 1 for 2. Great match, with Dick Murdoch putting on a comedy clinic.

-Gorilla Monsoon talks to Mad Dog Vachon, who says he’s only welcome in MSG because he’s a winner. He’s already a legend in professional wrestling and nobody in the WWF can stop him from winning. MSG is where he belongs.

-This is the first time I’ve ever seen a match with no women and no midgets where the referee was taller than both competitors.

-Armdrag by Vachon to start, and the commentators are a little surprised that Vachon appears to be quicker than McGraw. McGraw rolls over and turns it into a pinfall attempt, and we get an interesting contrast in styles in commentary as Okerlund raises his voice for the “One…TWO!!!…” and at the same time, Gorilla calmly says there’s no way that’s going to end it.

-Commentators note that McGraw is wrestling against doctor’s orders as both men get to their feet and trade chops. Vachon goes to work with rakes and biting. McGraw fights back with chopping and a dropkick. Vachon fights back but misses a corner charge and McGraw gets a near-fall. Dropkick by McGraw for another two.
-McGraw tries another dropkick, but Vachon dodges and McGraw crashes. Bossman leg drop by Vachon gets a two-count. Piledriver by McGraw finishes. 2 for 3. Actually somewhat decent.

-Gorilla talks to David Bruno Sammartino, who is making his MSG debut, and Gorilla knocks that big things are coming for this exciting youngster. Gorilla notes that his big goal is to “be himself.”

-Gorilla once again calls into question the logic of being from Parts Unknown, and Mean Gene says even Mr. Fuji couldn’t give him a clear answer.

-David trips Spot to start. Spot throws punches, but gets Irish whipped. Press slam by David, and Spot retreats to the floor for a breather. Back in, an impressive spot where David applies an armbar with Spot in a lying position, and David does armcurls to fling Spot into the air and bring him crashing down again. The hillbilly likes it.

-Spot misses an elbow and David goes back to the arm. Interesting note about commentary: They repeatedly pronounce his name “David BRUNOSAMMARTINO” to hammer home the connection.

-Elbows by Spot. David ducks and fights back with punches while Gorilla notes that Chuck Wepner is in attendance for tonight’s card. Slam by Spot gets two, with David kicking out hard enough for Spot to fly off and crash on top of the referee. One thing that irks me is that the referee gets up immediately. I mean, if it happened by accident, I get it, but if you’re a referee and that accidentally happens, stay down a little bit. It makes the next thing that accidentally KO’s you a little more believable, and the fact that you took a bump and nothing happened can make it a little more shocking the next time a referee gets bumped and something DOES happen.

-Chinlock by Spot, and then he hammers David a little more. David retreats to the corner to sucker Spot in and then kicks him down. They trade blows and David wins that battle, with a Scott Steiner “Huh!” for good measure. Delayed suplex by David gets two. He tries a backdrop but Spot meets hgim with a kneelift for two. Spot tries a slam, but David holds onto him during the moment of impact and rolls over to make it a cradle for three. 3 for 4. David Sammartino just got a thumbs-up, everyone. Post-match, Spot attacks from behind, but David fights him off and chases him away with his own bone.

-Gorilla Monsoon talks to Tito Santana, who is on the mend following his knee surgery. He wants his title belt back, and he wants revenge on Greg Valentine. He promises that payback will be hell.

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: GREG “The Hammer” VALENTINE (Champion, with Captain Lou Albano) vs. TITO SANTANA
-Tito’s knee is bandaged up, as this is just weeks after Valentine injuring his knee, taking his title, and causing Tito to go in for surgery. Valentine looks scared shitless of Tito and tries to duck out before the bell, but Tito grabs onto him and beats the piss out of him. Crowd is going nuclear for every shot, too.

-Valentine manages to get a little offense at long last, but he can’t get an advantage. It just turns into a slugfest, and Tito wins it, with Valentine tumbling through the ropes and onto the concrete. Crowd continues going apeshit for everything.

-Back in the ring, Tito continues murdering Valentine. Valentine finally grounds Tito with an atomic drop, which does some harm to the bad knee. Valentine sends Tito to the floor. Albano takes a cheap shot in full view of the referee without consequence, which totally pisses off the crowd. Tito drags Valentine out to the floor (with Valentine clinging to the referee for dear life).

-They brawl on the floor and Valentine goes for a chair, but misses. He heads back into the ring and Tito heads in and connects with the chair himself, and now Valentine’s bleeding. Tito punches the wound 834 times and the referee steps in to break it up, but Tito shoves him down, and that gets the DQ. Interference from the manager, fine. Use of a foreign object, okeedokee. But we draw the line at love-tapping. Crowd is pissed and Tito dishes it out on Captain Lou after the bell. 4 for 5. Short, but hot, with an incredible crowd that added to it.

-Jheri curl…BAD idea, Rocky. Gorilla notes that Patera wears the Olympic rings on his tights, even though he’s on record as saying that the Olympics were meaningless to him because he never got paid for participating.

-Patera hammers Johnson, but targets the head and incurs the blackness of Rocky Johnson in doing so. Johnson applies a side headlock and manages to hang onto it. Patera goes for the pin and Gorilla is right there to note that you’ll never win a match with that, and this time, Gene follows his lead and goes “No, no you won’t.”

-Patera breaks the hold and kisses his biceps to celebrate. He tells Rocky to do the hold again just so they can do it again, but this time it ends in a stand-off and they have a staredown. Gene Okerlund predicts that this match is going to explode any minute.

-Headscissors by Rocky. Patera tries to escape and a GREAT, simple spot sees Rocky scoot backwards with it, causing Patera’s face to get dragged across the mat. Patera punches his way to freedom this time and puts the boots to Rocky. Headlock by Patera. Rocky manages to turn it into a top wristlock. Patera reverses it. Rocky bridges out of it and Patera retaliates with another headlock.

-Johnson gets a second wind with a flurry of punches. Headbutt by Johnson. Series of dropkicks by Rocky. One misses, Patea goes for an elbow that misses, and both men are out of it. Sunset flip by Johnson, Patera reverses and pulls the tights, and it gets three. 4 for 6. A little bit of action surrounded by a whole lot of nothing. Gene Okerlund is a damn dirty liar.

-Sika goes right to work, wringing the arm, stomping the ribs, and then tossing Adonis to the floor, all in the span of about thirty seconds. Back in, Sika applies a wristlock. Adonis breaks free but runs right into a slam. Armbar by Sika. Adonis gets free and comes to life with a clothesline and an elbow. Adonis goes to the top, but Sika punches him in the gut and Adonis lands balls-first on top of the turnbuckle.

-Adonis goes into the tights and puts something on his hand. He throws a punch, but Sika ducks and Adonis accidentally punches the referee, getting himself DQed. 4 for 7. Never got going.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Luscious Johnny Valiant, making his return to the WWF after a few years absence. Valiant cuts an incoherent promo about all the places he’s been, from Saudi Arabia to the Golden Arches. He appears to be looking into the wrong camera for most of the promo, which is amazing given that there’s obviously only one camera in the dressing room. Gene tries to talk to Brutus, but Johnny says that Brutus has explicit instructions never to speak.

-Sgt. Slaughter says he’s more concerned about Nikolai Volkoff than he ever was about the Iron Sheik, because Russia is larger than Iran and Iran has never been fully competitive in the Olympics. Okay.

-Ken Patera cuts the most insane promo ever, pointing his bicep and chest and says he has two little holes in his skin, and two people in the world know what caused those holes, including one black man, and now he’s coming for four little white boys. Fucking WHAT?!

SGT. SLAUGHTER vs. NIKOLAI VOLKOFF (with Classy Freddy Blassie)
-Volkoff sings the anthem, and tonight, it actually IS the anthem. Those first few months were weird. Blassie calls it a night after the anthem. The old way that managers were used is just so bizarre to me and just seems like money down the sink. Why would any promoter pay a manager to walk to the ring and then leave immediately?

-Feeling out process goes Volkoff’s way, as he shoves Slaughter in the corner and declares victory on the spot. Commentators talk about the big hillbilly at ringside again as the men in the ring collide and don’t go anywhere. Volkoff goes off the ropes, giving Slaughter a brief opportunity to show the MSG fans why he should never, ever, ever attempt a leapfrog under any circumstances.

-Volkoff boots away at Slaughter and clamps on a bearhug. Volkoff squats and leans back with it, which is supposed to be “painful” but really just looks like Slaughter is visiting Santa. Volkoff stomps away. Slaughter slugs back and tries a slam, but his back is too hurt and he collapses.

-Volkoff continues with a Sammartino-style assault on Slaughter where he’s just doing one offensive move over and over and over again, but he’s doing it from a variety of angles to create the illusion of a moveset. Nerve hold by Volkoff as the commentators are concerned that Slaughter is bleeding, and then realize that he isn’t.

-Irish whip by Volkoff and Slaughter does his usual awesome sell on it. Backdrop by Volkoff gets two. Volkoff keeps unloading on the Sarge. Slaughter mounts a comeback with forearms and elbows. Slaughter whips Volkoff back and forth until Volkoff reverses one, and this time Slaughter does the REALLY awesome version of the sell, where he flies completely over the turnbuckles and crashes onto the floor.

-Volkoff goes to the floor and lays a beating on Sarge, then rams him back-first into the post. Slaughter is writhing in pain on the floor and Volkoff gets bored waiting for the count-out, so he just goes back outside and does a backbreaker. Slaughter fights his way back up to the apron and applies the cobra clutch out of nowhere, but still…he’s on the apron. So hanging onto the clutch actually causes Slaughter to lose the match via count-out. Oops. 4 for 8. It came to life a little bit toward the end, but not enough to save it.

TONY GAREA vs. BRUTUS BEEFCAKE (with Luscious Johnny Valiant)
-Brutus taunts Garea by sidestepping every lock-up attempt and strutting. Brutus is finally ready for a lock-up and Garea ducks his lock-up attempts, which gets NOTHING from the crowd. Okay, this is basic crowd-working and Garea screwed it up. Garea just sort of sidestepped it and then went straight to his next move, instead of pausing to taunt Brutus to drive the point home, “LOL, I just did the thing to you that you did to me.” You taunt the heel when you do that. ALWAYS.

-Bodypress by Garea gets two. Snapmare by Garea gets two and Brutus turns it into headscissors. Brutus misses a corner charge and Garea capitalizes with a series of punches. Dropkick by Garea sends Brutus to the floor and Garea follows him. A chase around the ring leads to a sunset flip in the ring by Garea, which gets two. Garea goes off the ropes and Brutus happens to jump up as Garea comes toward him, gently caressing Garea’s chest with part of the knee, and Garea happens to pass out at the same time due to an undisclosed heart condition, allowing Beefcake to cover him and get the pin. 4 for 9. Yes, the finish DID look that terrible.

-Howard Finkel announces that the New York State Athletic Commission has waived the curfew for tonight!

-The WWF returns to MSG on November 26, when Cowboy Bob Orton meets Swede Hansen…Mr. Fuji faces “Big Nasty” Angelo Mosca…David Schultz faces Rocky Johnson (the crowd actually boos this match; not Schultz, but the match itself)…Samula faces SD Jones…Salvatore Bellomo meets Bobby Heenan…The Executioner wrestles Ivan Putski…Moondog Spot meets Billy Jack (no he won’t…)…Moondog Rex battles Barry Windham…David Sammartino faces Ken Patera…Greg Valentine defends the Intercontinental Title against Tito Santana in a rematch from tonight’s brouhaha, with no disqualifications…and Rowdy Roddy Piper will meet the Tonga Kid.

WWF TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. BIG JOHN STUDD (with Bobby Heenan)
-Thanks to some slick contract negotiating by The Brain, Studd can win the title on a count-out.
-Hulk knocks Studd out of the ring with a kneelift right off the bat. They slug it out and Hulk knocks Studd right out of the ring again. Hulk rather stupidly goes outside to brawl, which he kinda shouldn’t given the stipulation. Studd rams Hogan into the post and goes back inside IMMEDIATELY, but Hulk beats the count.

-Chinlock by Studd, and Hulk almost breaks it before Studd drives a knee into the back. Action goes to the floor again and Studd slams Hulk on the floor, and again, Studd goes right back inside to wait out the count. Hogan is out cold, but in some impressive drama by Hulk, the sound of “FIVE!” causes Hulk to revive and force himself back into the ring, and then as soon as he breaks the count he collapses back on the mat again.

-Studd keeps working on Hogan, but Hulk gets his second wind. Series of elbows by Hulk gets two because he hasn’t quite perfected Hulking up again. Lariat by Hulk and Studd kicks out right at three, but Hulk gets the duke and retains. Pretty anticlimactic. 4 for 10.

-Postmatch, Hulk demands a shot at the $15,000. Studd gets on the mike and says he can have the challenge of Hulk is willing to put his belt on the line, so it’s $15,000 vs. the belt on this bodyslam attempt. Hogan actually lays the belt on the mat and gets in position for a slam, and Studd is all, “Uh…shit…” and leaves without giving Hogan a shot.

The 411: Man, the early part of this card was just on fire and then the rest of the guys couldn't keep the momentum going. What a letdown.
Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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