WWWF at Madison Square Garden 3/17/75

“WWE Old School” opening.  This is from the WWE Network.

Straight to the ring introductions for our first match.  A young Vince McMahon is the play-by-play man.  I have know idea who the ring announcer is, but he does the old school “repeat the guy’s last name” thing that Ken Anderson would turn into a gimmick 30 years later.

Paul “Butcher” Vachon vs. “Indian” Jay Strongbow.  Yes, “Indian” Jay Strongbow.  The ’70s were a different time.  Neither of these guys are what you’d call “in shape” by modern standards, but Strongbow is actively flabby.  The match is slow, plodding, and exactly what you’d expect from 1970s WWWF.   Vachon spends an impressive amount of time working a hold on the neck muscles.  Strongbow comes back and slams him around.  Vachon heels on Strongbow some more.  Vachon bites Strongbow, which is about as heelish as you can get.    Vachon gets a near fall, but pulls Strongbow up at 2.  He is immediately shown to have been a fool, as he shoots Strongbow into the ropes, but Strongbow catches him with a Thesz press for the pin in 6:26.  **

Texas Style Match for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship: Bruno Sammartino (c) (w/ Arnold Skaaland) vs. Spiros Arion (w/ Freddie Blassie).  Main event time!  You see, back now, the WWWF always puts the champion on before intermission at MSG, so they can announce the main event for the next card prior to the last match.  This is announced as a “Texas Style Match,” which I assume means it’s a Texas Death Match.  Despite that stipulation, the referee still checks the wrestlers for weapons.  Arion takes advantage of the situation by jumping Bruno before the bell, but Bruno immediately rallies and kicks his ass.  Arion cuts him off and gets the heat briefly.  The style here is pretty realistic, as they largely just kick the shit out of each other.  The momentum swings back and forth.  Maybe I’m imagining this, but there seems to be a lot of emphasis on liver/kidney attacks and blows to the lower back, which I enjoy a lot.  Bruno makes a big comeback with hip tosses and body slams.  Arion cuts him off, but Bruno comes back again with another body slam for the pinfall in 11:52.  Arion’s foot was in the bottom rope, but the referee didn’t see it.  I assume that will lead to a rematch.  I also don’t know what was “Texas” about this match.  The match time is announced as 14:52.  Either they’re lying, or exactly 3 minutes was cut out of this.  **1/2

Killer Kowalski (w/ The Grand Wizard) vs. Victor Rivera.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kowalski wrestle.  He’s very lanky.  The original tape here skips and goes wonky at a couple of points early.  Kowalski works the knee.  He’s a rather vicious fellow.  Rivera attacks Kowalski’s shoulder when the match is going in his favor.  At one point, Rivera gets Kowalski tied up in the ropes and beats him up a bit.  Kowalski breaks free and bites Rivera.  They brawl a bit.  Then they bite each other.  Kowalski bites Rivera again, and the ref calls for the DQ (13:04 shown).  So you’re allowed three bites until you get DQ’d?  Rivera is announced as the winner in 15:50-something.  *3/4

The Wolfman vs. Ivan Putski.  I have no idea who the Wolfman is.  Vince refers to Putski as a “one man gang.”  He also states that this is Putski’s wrestling debut.  I cannot confirm for deny.  Putski is 275 lbs., and most of that is his beer gut.  I miss fat wrestlers.  Putski grabs a headlock and hammers Wolfman in the head.  Repeat.  Putski with a shoulder block.  Wolfman cuts him and wins on him briefly.  Putski fights back with punches and headbutts.  Wolfman with bites and claws.  Putski retaliates in kind.  They beat on each other some more.  Putski gets the bear hug for the win in 5:51.  Fun little mean guy match.  **  Wolfman tries to attack Putski after the match, but gets punched in the face.  The match time is announced at 6:45.  Again, I didn’t notice any editing.  Putski drinks beer in the ring 20 years ahead of Steve Austin.

This was interesting.  Obviously, modern WWE is very different from 1975 WWWF, but fundamentally, they are very much alike.  The psychology of the Bruno match was much like a John Cena match today, and as I mentioned before, the show closed with a beer drinking, working man-type babyface.

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One Response to “WWWF at Madison Square Garden 3/17/75”

  1. […] 1975 3/17- WWWF Madison Square Garden […]

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