The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – MSG 05.21.84
I guess the time changed again everywhere else in North America so once again I have to do math and remember when to post these.
Taped from Madison Square Garden
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Mean Gene
Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Paul Orndorff
We seem to have skipped the usual scrub openers. FINE BY ME. Check out young Danny Davis refereeing this happening. And he immediately starts counting Paul out of the ring when he’s standing on the apron stalling, so you KNOW he’s a referee that stands for law and order. Gorilla even puts him over as “one of the premiere officials in the WWF”! After Paul actually gets into the ring, he argues with the ring attendants because he doesn’t want the same person who carried Tito’s jacket to be carrying his, and demands a fresh attendant. And then we get some posing as Mean Gene keeps telling us to “look at his package!”
After literally 5:00 of stalling from Orndorff and putting on his elbow pads and posing, they finally lock up and Orndorff immediately hides in the ropes and complains about hair pulling. His hair IS pretty nice. So Tito takes a swing at him and Orndorff does a hilarious comedy bump running into the ropes, getting his arm tangled in the ropes and then flailing to the floor in terror. Back in, Orndorff hides in the ropes again and complains about pulling the tights this time, so Tito starts working the arm and Orndorff hides in the ropes again. They fight for a wristlock and of course Orndorff pulls the hair to win and then runs away while claiming he was the one who was fouled. Danny Davis keeps fast-counting him to get him back into the ring, which is no better than favoring the heels, honestly. Tito takes Paul down with an armbar and cranks on that, then hits him with a hiptoss and CM Punk bodyslam to send Orndorff to the floor. “He’s looking for a Tasty Cake Break!” notes Gorilla. The fuck is he talking about? Is that like someone who’s looking for the Shell Answer Man where you have to be 65 years old and from a specific part of the country to understand the reference? Because I’m pretty old and I don’t savvy.
Tito goes for the arm again but they collide and Orndorff puts him down with a clothesline to take over. Paul puts the boots to him and drops the precursor to the Boogie Woogie Elbowdrop, but Tito fights back for a bit and Paul slaps him down again. Orndorff rakes the face on the ropes and goes to a chinlock, but Tito fights out of that and Orndorff drops him on his head with a back suplex in an awesome spot. Paul just has to stop and give us an “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED” Gladiator pose and I don’t blame him, he SPIKED Tito with that one. Paul goes to a facelock this time and Tito powers out of it, so Orndorff just whacks him with a knee to the kidneys and Tito drops like a rock. Tito fights back with a sunset flip but Orndroff slugs him down to block, and then drops a knee on him for two. Paul beats on him in the corner, but Tito fights back and shoves Orndorff into the other corner and makes the comeback. Tito goes up with a flying elbow, but the bell rings for some reason. And the announcers and wrestlers just ignore it and keep going as Tito gets two. Dropkick sets up the flying forearm and Orndorff is out, but he lands in the ropes so Tito drags him out and slugs him down again. Another flying forearm, but Orndorff ducks it and Tito takes a MAN-SIZED bump to the concrete and gets counted out at 17:17. I don’t know what was up with the bell ringing at the 15 minute mark but this was a FANTASTIC show opener. **** Tito, after dropping “some 12 feet to the floor” according to Gorilla, goes out on a stretcher. Well if he fell 12 feet onto concrete I should hope so.
Salvatore Bellomo v. Jesse Ventura
Jesse is back from the AWA here, but was unfortunately forced into retirement by injury a year later. Jesse poses for Pat Patterson (replacing Gene on commentary) and dedicates it to Pat, which is thoughtful of him. Sal flips out of a wristlock and tries to overpower Jesse, but that’s a lost cause. Sal with a crossbody for one, but Jesse puts the boots to him and sends him to the apron for a further beating. Back in, Sal mounts a comeback but walks into a backdrop and he takes a dangerous bump into the ropes, landing on his head. And Jesse quickly finishes him off with the backbreaker at 4:20. And with that, Jesse is calling for CHUMP HOGAN as his next target. Never happened at MSG, sadly, but they did have a few title matches on the house show circuit in the fall. *
The Iron Sheik v. Sgt. Slaughter
This is the rematch from last month’s crazy brawl, which of course is setting up one of the most famous matches in wrestling history on the NEXT show. Some kid at ringside has a sign saying “the Iron Geek”. I bet Sheiky Babe would roast that nerd on Twiter these days. They slug it out and Slaughter hits him with a standing dropkick and then loads up his own boot and kicks Sheik in the ribs. Danny Davis checks the alleged boot and declares it fine. So Slaughter loads it up again and stomps on Sheik’s head, and Davis checks it again and can’t find anything wrong. Slaughter beats on him in the corner and grabs a headlock, then puts him down with a forearm and blatantly tosses him over the top rope. He’s just lucky it’s not the NWA! Back in, he just punches Sheik in the face to put him down and drops a knee on him repeatedly, and then picks him up at one. Back elbow and he picks him up before the ref can even count and rakes the face on the top rope before beating on him in the corner. Sheik finally whips Sarge into the other corner for the patented Slaughter Bump and the tide is turned. They fight to the floor and Sheik gives him a pretty nasty chairshot and PANDEMONIUM HAS BROKEN LOOSE. Sheik puts the boots to him on the way back in and gives him the USA HOCK-TOOEY for good measure, but Sarge fights back FOR AMERICA, standing firm like Biden trying to pass an infrastructure bill. Sheik puts him on the floor with a back elbow and loads up the boot, then sends Sarge back to the floor and puts the loaded boots to him on the way back in. Sarge goes into the pointed boot and decides to gig off that, and he’s quickly bleeding all over the place. He’s wearing the CRIMSON MASK and Mean Gene demands that they immediately stop the match, but Sheik bites the cut and Sarge won’t quit. Amazingly, Sarge made sure to wear a white tank top and it’s stained red. Sheik with a gut wrench and he drops an elbow and the crowd is outraged, throwing trash into the ring in anger. Sheik actually goes to the top rope, but he misses a flying boot and Sarge makes the comeback with a suplex. Sheik pounds on him and he fires back with the Popeye punch as the crowd goes batshit. Slaughter Cannon follows and he decides to steal the Sheik’s boot, but he gets too worked up and shoves the ref down, and the match is thrown out at 14:32. He keeps trying for the boot while geeks run in and try to pull him off the Sheik, and finally Sheik is able to run away. This was WILDLY entertaining and I’m pumped to finally see the Boot Camp Match next week. ****1/4
The Wild Samoans & Samu v. SD Jones, Rocky Johnson & Bobo Brazil
Jesus, how old was Bobo here? 60? Must have been damn near. I feel like if you took the look and talent of Rocky Johnson and somehow combined it with the charisma of the Samoans you’d have a pretty good wrestler. Sika attacks Bobo to start and beats on him with headbutts, but Bobo ain’t selling shit here. Everyone quickly comes in and brawls and Bobo traps Sika in the babyface corner and puts him down with an elbow. Over to SD and he double-teams Sika along with Rocky. Rocky gets a crossbody on Samu for two, but they trap him in the corner and go to work on him. Rocky fights out of that and brings SD in for a headbutt battle with Samu, and luckily he’s able to win that battle without the universe exploding. Bobo comes in and headbutts all the Samoans and I’m skeptical about the science behind that but it’s Bobo’s thing so I’ll let it pass. SD backdrops Samu for two. But then the ref is distracted and the Samoans triple-team SD and put Samu on top for the pin at 7:25. Really bad, with Bobo in particular looking embarrassingly out of his league at that point. -*
WWF Women’s title: Fabulous Moolah v. Cowgirl Wendi Richter
Wendi gets a title shot after last month’s tag team match, although she hadn’t turned babyface yet and this isn’t the famous match between them. By July she would have changed gimmicks, doing a reverse cowgirl, you could say. Moolah is actually the babyface here, as Wendi attacks to start and Moolah fights her off with hairtosses and yanks her out of the ropes. They slug it out on the ropes and Wendi gets a hiptoss and a splash for two, but then Moolah slugs her down and goes to an armbar. Richter rolls her over for two while screaming about her hair getting pulled, and then reverses out and pulls Moolah’s hair. Moolah gets a backdrop for two, but the ref gets squashed on the kickout and everyone rolls around the ring in a wacky spot. Moolah takes Wendi down with a bodyscissors and that goes on for a while until Wendi slams out of it. Moolah takes her down again and does a standing legbar as they’re having a weirdly awkward match for two people who probably wrestled 1000 times before this. Moolah with another bodyscissors, but Richter makes the ropes. Wendi chokes her out on the ropes and tosses her, but Moolah pulls her out and they brawl out there for a bit. Back in, Wendi puts the boots to her in the corner but then ignores the referee’s warnings about kicking too much ass and gets DQ’d at 12:24. There you go, that finish was around for decades before they brought it out of mothballs in the modern era. This was bad and way too long. *1/2
At this point, we join a tag team match in progress, which I guess is the reason behind the “Most complete version available” disclaimer for the show.
Mr. Fuji & Tiger Chung Lee v. B. Brian Blair & Tony Garea
We join things with Fuji hitting a low blow on Garea while Blair gets all worked up on the apron, and Lee comes in with a nerve hold on Garea. Tony fights out and Tiger chokes him out before going right back to it. And then Team Fuji switches off behind the ref’s back, but Tony makes the comeback, and then misses a dropkick so that Fuji can go back to it again. Back to Tiger for some kicks and then it’s back to the nerve hold again. Lee decides to go to the top, but Blair shakes the ropes and knocks him down, allowing Garea the chance to slam him off and make the hot tag. Blair runs wild and dropkicks Lee for two. Kneedrop gets two. Lee hits him with a karate shot and the heels take over again, double-teaming him in the corner until Lee misses an elbow. Garea gets another hot tag and monkey flips Lee out of the corner, and a crossbody gets two. Tiger tries a hiptoss but Garea blocks with an abdominal stretch and turns it into a small package. But then Fuji pushes them over and Lee gets the pin at 9:00 shown. Truly a miscarriage of justice. **
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Dr. D David Schultz
Another one where we’re joined in progress after the introductions for some reason. Dr. D runs away for a bit, but runs Hulk into the corner and tosses him into the timekeeper, who rings the bell accidentally. Hulk pulls him out and they brawl on the floor, where Hogan gets an atomic drop. Back in, Hulk with a suplex for two and he picks up the Doctor and hits him with the Axe Bomber. They fight to the floor again and Hulk hauls him back in, but misses the corner clothesline and Schultz puts him down with a lariat. Schultz goes to the top with a flying elbow for two, but Hulk makes the comeback in a proto-Hulk Up. Hulk with the clothesline and legdrop to finish at 5:33. Well that was surprisingly definitive. **
Private Terry Daniels v. George The Animal Steele
Steele was still solidly a heel at this point, although national TV exposure would quickly necessitate a turn. George hides a foreign object while calling for Mr. Fuji, and hits Daniels in the throat as we cut to the back and see Fuji watching happily. George gets all worked up and tears up the railing at ringside and then tosses Daniels to the floor while Fuji cheers him on from the back. Steele keeps blatantly hitting Daniels with the object as the idiot ref is somehow unable to see the giant white shank, and George finishes with the flying hammerlock at 2:52 anyway. He bites open a pair of turnbuckles for an encore, but they’re solid pads and not the foam chunks that we’re used to. DUD
At this point, the Fink announces the card for next month and it’s a BANGER. I won’t spoil it here if you want to wait for the rant. I’m just impressed that Vince McMahon was booking this shit a MONTH in advance at that point!
Ivan Putski v. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Speaking of bangers, this was set up by Putski getting pinned by “The guy in the skirt” and he was none too happy about it. I sense a brawl coming. They immediately fire away in the corner with a crazy slugfest and Piper runs away from that, but Ivan chases him and continues the fight. Piper then has the bigpipers play a distraction while he finds a foreign object, possibly a Scottish one, and puts Putski down to take over while they continue playing. This must be where Paul Heyman got the idea for New Jack’s matches from. Can you play “Natural Born Killaz” on bagpipes I wonder? Putski makes the comeback despite the bagpipes motivating Piper, but he gets too worked up and nails the referee for the DQ at 4:05. Well this was weird, and that’s the show! ½*
Only two worthwhile matches this time around and a SHITLOAD of terrible non-finishes, but the two matches were great and made this an easy thumbs up regardless.