Archive for July 9, 2014

WWWF at Madison Square Garden 6/27/77

Posted in WWE with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by Grappleholic

WWE Old School intro.

Announcer Vince McMahon introduces the show.

Howard Finkel, sporting a powder blue suit and a full head of hair, is the ring announcer.

Jan Nelson vs. Jose Gonzalez.  I assume this is the same Jose Gonzalez who would murder Bruiser Brody in a dirty bathroom 11 years later.  He’s a big babyface here in New York.  An “Old School Flashback” in the bottom right corner informs me that Kanye West was born this month, June 1977.  That’s unfortunate for the world.  But I digress.  Gonzalez is the more experienced grappler, while Vince touts Nelson as a future star.  I don’t know that Nelson ever lived up to that.  Gonzalez makes the heel Nelson look foolish, and you can hear Nelson Muntz guffaw in the crowd more than a decade before The Simpsons debuted.  Lots of good ol’ fashioned arm work in this match. as Nelson works an arm lock for several minutes.  Gonzalez fights back with some arm wrangling of his own.  Nelson quickly cuts him off and then beats him  up.  Gonzalez avoids a charge in the corner and makes his comeback.  Gonzalez hits four dropkicks and scores the pin in 9:46.  *3/4

Rocky Tomayo vs. Larry Zbyszko.  Holy crap, Larry is young here.  I’ve never heard of Rocky Tomayo.  More basic, old fashined grappling.  They actually do a bit of chain wrestling, which always makes me giddy.  This is actually kind of fun.  Larry is a fiery young babyface here, very quick to take Tomayo down and grab a hold.  Of course, this is Larry Zbyszko, so there is some stalling.  Tomayo endures a lot of trauma to his hamstrings.  Larry catches Tomayo with an inside cradle for the pin in 7:30.  Man, this referee counts slow.  **1/4

Tony Garea vs. George “The Animal” Steele.  Fiery young babyface Garea is ready to fight, which befuddles the Animal.  Steele stalls a bit, then gets the advantage on Garea by wrestling heelishly.  Garea makes a fiery comeback.  The referee DQ’s Steele in 7:22 for hitting Garea with a foreign object.  Steele continues to lay the beating on.  Garea rallies and runs the big man off.  **

2/3 Falls: Ken Patera & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Captain Lou Albano) vs. Andre the Giant & Chief Jay Strongbow.  The babyfaces run Albano off during the introductions.  This seems to be a grudge match.  Patera stalls a long time before getting in the ring to start the match.  Vince calls Strongbow a “fired up redskin.”  The ’70s were a different time.  Strongbow gets Patera in his own hold, the full nelson.  Patera escapes.  Andre tags in and puts Patera in the full nelson.  Patera manages to make the ropes.  Volkoff tags in.  The heels try to cut off Andre in their corner, but Andre is a giant, so he’s like “fuck that.”  Strongbow comes in.  Volkoff puts a hurting on him briefly.  Andre tags in and bear hugs Volkoff.  Volkoff gets free, but Andre punches him the face.  Strongbow tags back in and gets caught on the wrong side of town.  Andre gets a hot tag at point, but the referee didn’t see it.  Heels continue getting the heat on Strongbow.  Andre finally gets the tag and runs… well, he doesn’t really run wild, but he wrecks shit like a destructive giant briefly.  Clusterfuck breaks out, largely involving Strongbow running into Andre, causing him to shoulder block both heels in the corner.  Andre goes for a big splash on Patera, but Patera avoids certain death and makes the tag.  Strongbow comes in with a big babyface flurry and locks Volkoff in a sleeper hold.  Patera saves, but gets his man DQ’d in 13:46.  My stream turns shitty, which is just lovely.  After I get it straightened out, Volkoff and Patera get into it at ringside.  Presumably, Volkoff is pissed that Patera cost them the fall.  Insta-commercials.  Strongbow and Volkoff start the second fall.  Andre hold Volkoff for Strongbow to hit him, which is illegal.  The heels are still not getting along.  Patera shoves Volkoff.  Volkoff takes a swing at him.  Volkoff goes to leave the ring, but Patera clubber his back from behind.  Patera leaves.  Andre gives Volkoff a big boot and a splash for the pin in a little over two minutes.  Finkel gives the total time as 16:25.  Fun match.  **3/4

Lenny Hurst vs. Stan “The Man” Stasiak.  This is Hurst’s MSG debut.  I wonder if he ever made it back.  Stasiak is a former WWWF Champion, and the father of a guy who would someday run into shit in backstage segments.  Stasiak is from Buzzard Creek, Oregon, which is a great name for a wrestling hometown.  Vince touts the 225 lb Hurst as the lightest wrestler in the WWWF.  I’ll bet he wishes that were still the case today.  Anyway, Stasiak is the ornery old heel, Hurst is the fiery young babyface, and they work the match accordingly.  Hurst delivers a dropkick that sends Stasiak to the apron.  Stasiak comes back in and puts a beating on the young man.  Hursts makes his comeback, then eats a boot to the face.  Stasiak lands the heart punch for the pin in 7:55.  **

Vince interviews WWWF Champion “Superstar” Billy Graham (w/ The Grand Wizard) in the ring prior to his match.  I’m almost certain I’ve seen this interview before.  “I am the man of the hour, the man with the power, the man too sweet to be sour.”

WWWF Heavyweight Championship Match: “Superstar” Billy Graham (c) (w/ The Grand Wizard) vs. Bruno Sammartino (w/ Arnold Skaaland).  Bruno has a mustache and a Jew fro here.  I think this is 2 months after Graham took the title from Bruno in Baltimore.  Graham taunts Bruno with the belt, and by god, Bruno wants that belt back.  The beauty of this is that Graham cheated Bruno out of his belt, so Bruno is PISSED OFF and wants it back.  He does not laugh it off and talk about how championships come and go.  Bruno attacks Graham to jumpstart the match and MSG comes UNGLUED.  Graham manages to subdue Bruno with a full nelson.  Vince notes that this hold is attacking Bruno’s neck, which was broken not all that long ago by Stan Hansen.  Bruno reverses it and almost puts the champ down with it.  Graham manages to avoid having his arm drop the third time and gets to his feet, but Bruno keeps the hold.  Graham finally manages to get free and takes a powder.  Graham comes back and manages to get the advantage, putting pressure on Bruno’s back and arms.  Bruno again reverses Graham’s hold and puts the pressure on him.  Graham manages to get some momentum going and puts the boots to Bruno.  They work a bear hug for a bit.  Bruno takes a spill to the outside, and Graham tries to keep him there.  Bruno gets back in and goes on the attack.  Graham begs off to no avail.  Graham rallies, but knocks down the referee in the process.  The guys brawl and the referee tries to break it up, only to get taken down repeatedly.  The ref finally calls for the bell in 18:15.  It’s a double DQ.  Fun strong guy match.  **3/4

Baron Von Raschke (w/ Freddie Blassie) vs. Ivan Putski.  Putski’s beer belly is a little bit less prominent here than on the last show I saw.  Raschke is announced as the “European Heavyweight Champion” 20 years before the WWF actually created a European Championship.  These two went to a 20 minute draw previously, so now we’ve got a 30 minute time limit.  Oh dear.  Blassie is taken to the back before the match starts, for some reason.  Raschke has a gimmick in his hand.  Putski informs the referee of such.  Raschke successfully conceals it on his person.  They finally lock up after a lot of stalling.  They also work the lockup for a long time.  This is going to be a long one.  Raschke with some desultory leg work.  Putski with a rear chin lock, then transitions into some kind of wonky head scissors hold.  Putski finally wakes up and shows some babyface fire.  They go back and forth a bit.  It goes to a 30 minute time limit draw in 19:13.  I don’t care if they lied about the time, I missed some editing, or what.  I don’t need to see these two wrestle for another minute ever.  Putski, that son of a bitch, calls for one more minute.  They brawl a bit.  Raschke takes a powder.  Long and boring.  *3/4

Baron Mikel Scicluna vs. “High Chief” Peter Maivia.  Maivia is making his MSG debut.  His now-five year old grandson would later go on to some success in pro wrestling and Hollywood.  Scicluna gets the jump on him.  Maivia quickly rallies and kicks some ass.  Scicluna tries to use an object, but fails.  Maivia avoids Scicluna in the corner and pins him with a prawn hold in 1:08.  It’s announced at 2:09, which is a lie.  DUD

2/3 Falls: Dominic Denucci & Haystacks Calhoun vs. Mr. Fuji & Professor Toru Tanaka.  Calhoun’s kayfabe hometown is Morgan’s Corner, Arkansas, which endears him to me.  I know of all of these guys, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of them wrestle.  Denucci and Tanaka brawl.  Denucci applies a full nelson and allows Calhoun to hit a lackadaisical punch.  Tanaka beats on Denucci a bit.  Denucci fires back with Mongolian chops.  Fuji tags in and hits a “Kamikazi Necktie” (think Sling Blade) for the pin in 3:06.  Denucci makes a comeback as the second fall starts.  Tanaka and Fuji double team Denucci in the corner.  Calhoun comes in to help out, but only distracts the referee.  We’ve got a curfew draw in 1:00 of the second fall!  Calhoun comes in to beat the heels up for a bit, having never actually tagged in to the match.  Fuji & Tanaka win the match, having won the only fall in a 2/3 falls match.  3/4*

And there’s another 1970s WWWF show from the Network.  There’s one more show from the 70s, then we’ll move into the 80s.

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