The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – MSG 08.10.85
Taped from Madison Square Garden
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes
Paul Roma v. Charlie Fulton
We are JOINED IN THE ACTION as Roma takes Fulton down with a headlock, without even an introduction from Gorilla or Finkel or anything. Fulton reverses to a headscissors on the mat while Gorilla and Alfred basically talk about how Fulton was in the Korean War and just sits quietly by himself in the corner of the dressing room not talking to anyone else. Um, that sounds like some First Blood PTSD type of shit to me. Did he perhaps have a large collection of AR-15 rifles at home? Fulton drops a knee for two and goes to a chinlock that goes on FOREVER. Roma fights out and walks into an elbow in the corner, and Fulton drops a knee on him for two. And back to the chinlock, but Fulton drops another knee on him for two and we go back to that chinlock for a third time. Fulton tosses Roma for a pretty nasty bump to the concrete and then slugs him off the apron as Roma takes another bump out there, but he fights back with a sunset flip to finish at 10:28. Well after those two bumps I’m glad he at least got to win. ½*
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. Iron Mike Sharpe
Sharpe hides in the ropes to start while Alfred marvels at Poffo doing some kind of backflip off the top rope to get into the ring. If only we had a name for that move! Poffo quickly takes Mike down with armdrags and chases him to the floor, which gives Mike a chance to complain for a while out there. Back in, Sharpe tries his aerial skills with a sort-of leapfrog, but he misses a dropkick and Poffo dropkicks him to the floor. Back in, Sharpe offers a hand in friendship, but Poffo outsmarts him and sends him to the floor with an atomic drop before Sharpe can turn on him. Back in, Sharpe goes with a headlock while our announcers envy Poffo’s luscious locks of hair. And then Sharpe grabs the hair to maintain the headlock, proving that he’d be better off with shorter hair! Sharpe, who is Canada’s Greatest Athlete, decides to offer a test of strength to prove it, but Poffo takes him to the corner and walks up into a monkey flip to escape. Sharpe takes a break on the floor again and discovers some fresh complaints before using the forearm brace to take over. Poffo runs him into the turnbuckle, but Sharpe suckers him in for a cheapshot to put him down again and then chops him down for two. Sharpe beats on him with forearms on the apron, but Poffo pulls out a superkick and Sharpe gets tied in the ropes as a result. Poffo tries to capitalize for once in his career, but the ref pulls him back. THAT’S NOT YOUR JOB, REF! Lanny pulls him out of the ropes and slugs away on him, but Sharpe again suckers him into the corner and puts an impressive beating on him. He was really laying them in! Sharpe tries a piledriver and Poffo backdrops out of it, so Sharpe gives him another nasty chop and Poffo hits a bodypress for two. Majastral cradle gets two. Poffo goes up with a flying splash for two. A swanton gets two! Poffo finally gets frustrated and just chokes out Sharpe, then tries a goddamn springboard splash, which hits knees. Poffo tries a sunset flip and Sharpe drops him on the ropes to counter, and then unlaces his arm brace and chokes him out on the ropes. Sharpe misses a blind charge and Poffo gets the lacing this time and chokes out Sharpe as the idiot ref misses all of this, but Poffo puts his head down and gets booted. Poffo comes back with another superkick and goes back to the deliberate choking, but Sharpe takes him to the floor and the bell rings for a draw at 19:00. A very entertaining undercard match! ***1/4
Tony Garea v. The Missing Link
So strange that I completely missed the whole midcard push of the Link at the time and now I get to see it unfold month by month in the MSG shows. Link attacks Garea throws headbutts, but Garea manages to slug back, but Link tosses him. Back in, Garea goes after the leg to finally slow him down, and Link misses a blind charge, allowing Garea to roll him up for two. Crossbody gets two. Link finally clobbers him to put him down, and then finishes with the diving headbutt at 4:10. Probably about as good as a Link match was going to be at the time. **
Pedro Morales v. Barry O
Pedro quickly chases Barry to the floor as the sound drastically improves at this point. It was really muddy for the first three matches for whatever reason. Pedro works the arm with a hammerlock and takes Barry down with a headlock, but Barry catches him with a clothesline for two. Barry drops a fist for two and tosses Pedro for a HUGE bump over the top rope, and then he rams Pedro into the post and puts the boots to him to take over. Pedro gets all fired up and makes the comeback with the Popeye punch, as Barry sells it like crazy, and Pedro finishes him with a backbreaker at 5:00. Perfectly acceptable wrestling. **1/4
Big John Studd v. Uncle Elmer
Oh dear. Studd attacks Elmer and puts the boots to him, but Elmer slugs back out of the corner. Elmer hits him with an avalanche, but Bobby Heenan runs in for the DQ at 2:20. And then Hillbilly Jim gets involved and everyone brawls as the crowd goes crazy. This had incredible heat but there was nothing to the match. DUD
Tony Atlas v. Les Thornton
Atlas grabs a headlock to start and holds onto that, which Gorilla declares to be Excedrin Headache #5. Is that code for the concussion protocol, I wonder? Huge if true. Thornton trades hammerlocks to reverse out, but Atlas gets a pair of leapfrogs and takes him down with an armbar. Atlas works on the arm while Gorilla and Alfred discuss soccer and hooligans. Thornton hits him with knees on the ropes to escape that and drops a knee on him to take over, and we go to a chinlock. Thornton puts him down with forearms and goes back to the chinlock as this is going nowhere. Slowly. Atlas gets his own hammerlock, but Thornton rams him into the turnbuckle to break. Of course, this has no effect because of wrestling science, so Les sends him to the floor instead. Back in, Thornton slugs away with forearms and they fight to the floor, where Atlas gets run into the post. Back in, Thornton misses a blind charge and Atlas hits him with a press slam and splash to finish at 11:32. This was a major clash of styles and Atlas looked pissed off at the end and just left before the announcement. Not sure what that was about. *1/2
Meanwhile, Gorilla Monsoon interviews Paul Orndorff, who announces that his mystery partner tonight is Andre the Giant. Plus Roddy Piper does an unhinged promo until Gorilla just cuts him off, and Randy Savage has no respect for the Canadian Football League.
Rowdy Roddy Piper & Bob Orton v. Paul Orndorff & Andre the Giant
And we’re back to the muffled sound again. I never even knew this match happened. Surprised it was never featured anywhere, unless it’s total dogshit or something. The faces quickly double-team Piper and Orndorff uses Orton’s cast on Piper, sending both guys to the floor in a funny spot. Back in, the heels try to double-team Andre and he’s having none of that. He holds Piper so that Orndorff can dropkick him, and Paul works on the arm. Piper gets a kneelift and then talks shit to Andre before tagging Orton in to the dirty work. So of course Andre promptly destroys Orton and goes after the cast. “It’s only been on there for six months, Alfred!” Gorilla declares in mock horror. Orton helplessly flailing around while Andre casually drags him around the ring is tremendous. Piper finally attacks Andre from behind to save his bodyguard, but Andre chokes out Piper with his own tag rope and then ties him up in the corner! I’m not liking their chances here, guys. Andre casually steps on Orton and Orndorff gets two off that. The faces work on Orton’s arm and Andre continues ripping it apart, but Orton tags Piper and they manage to choke Andre out in their corner. Orndorff saves and runs Orton into the railing, but Piper continues his attack on Andre. So Andre bites him and brings Paul back in. Atomic drop for Orton and he goes to put the beats on Piper. Orton tries to save and Andre grabs him from behind like a horror movie villain, as Orton does this incredible terrified sell. Finally the heels double-team Andre and Orton tries to go up with the cast, but he lands on Andre’s foot and Orton falls dead, with Orndorff getting the pin at 8:30. I loved every second of this. ***1/2 And then a delighted Andre tells Orndorff that the fans used to call him “Paula”, but tonight they’re two happy men! How could you not love this?
Randy Savage v. Jose Luis Rivera
Rivera is actually a last minute replacement for George Wells, who apparently suffered an eye injury in the dressing room before the match. Big stall from Macho to start and he slaps Rivera off the lockup and retreats to the floor to have words with the front row. Back in, Macho takes him down for a facelock, but Rivera gets a bodypress for two. Sunset flip gets two, but Savage puts him down with a back elbow and follows with his own bodypress for two. Rivera slugs him down and dropkicks him to the floor. Back in, Rivera makes a comeback and runs Savage into the corner, but Savage puts him down with the clothesline and drops the knee on him for two. He tosses Rivera and drops the axehandle on him, then runs him into the post and beats on him on the apron and suplexes him back in the ring. Macho throws him out and drops another axehandle on him before having some words for Gorilla, but Rivera fights back. Back in, he misses a dropkick and Macho gets two before picking him up. Rivera with a small package for two, but Savage chokes him out on the ropes and drops an elbow on him. He misses a knee, however, and Rivera makes another comeback, going after the leg, but Savage hits him with a gut wrench and then goes up to drop the MACHO ELBOW to put him away at 16:10. Not sure why they stretched this one out so long but Rivera was fine to hang with the Macho Man out there. *** By next month Macho would start demolishing people and get on track to become the star we knew he could be.
WWF tag team titles: Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo v. Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake
So since our last show in MSG, Tito Santana has regained the Intercontinental title from Greg Valentine, and the US Express regained the tag team titles from Sheik & Volkoff, and now Valentine and Beefcake are teaming as “The Dream Team” with a dual manager setup for the moment. Windham works the arm on Valentine to start and the champs double-team him in the corner, while Alfred and Gorilla discuss remote northern Quebec locations for some reason. Beefcake comes in with a snapmare on Rotundo for two, but Mike gets a sunset flip for two. Windham comes in and dropkicks Brutus into the corner before going to a headlock on the mat and then an atomic drop to send Brutus into the corner. Windham continues working the headlock for two, and Rotundo switches in for his own. Gorilla and Alfred have a funny discussion about how Valentine’s strategy is seemingly letting Beefcake absorb the punishment and then coming in to clean up, which Gorilla notes would be a recipe for getting turned on if anyone tried that crap with HIM. Rotundo keeps control on the mat, but Valentine gets a cheapshot from the apron and the Dream Team takes over. Hammer with a backbreaker for two. They toss Rotundo out, and Brutus brings him back in for a backbreaker, which gets two. Rotundo gets a crossbody for two, but Beefcake tosses him again to prevent a tag. Back in, Beefcake traps him in the corner and the Dream Team double-teams him, but Rotundo gets a small package on Valentine for two. Valentine cuts him off with a Boston crab, but Rotundo powers out of it. Mike goes for the tag, but Valentine cuts him off again, so Rotundo puts him down with an elbow and dives for it again, landing in a bearhug from Valentine this time. Greg sends him back into the heel corner with an atomic drop and goes back to work on him, as they cut off the ring while Beefcake goes to a facelock. We get the false tag behind the ref’s back as the crowd goes BATSHIT, and Rotundo gets worked over some more as a result. Beefcake slams him for two and Valentine drops knees on him in the corner before cutting off the ring again with a bearhug. Rotundo gets a nice amateur takedown for two out of that, but Valentine reverses for two. Rotundo bridges out of that pin attempt and then escapes a piledriver attempt, and it’s HOT TAG Windham as the crowd goes nuts. He slugs away, but Beefcake cuts him off with a back elbow and Valentine attacks him from behind. Windham makes his own comeback and fights off a figure-four attempt, and they collide for a double down. Back to Rotundo, but the Dream Team swarms him as well and it’s ALL CATTYWAMPUS. Airplane spin for Valentine gets two. Greg tries the figure-four, but Windham hits Valentine with a sunset flip to counter and gets the pin to retain at 24:00 despite being the wrong man. Hell of a tag team match to close out the show. ****
And with that we come to the end of another batch of MSG shows, with no word on when they’ll continue the 1985 series. When they resume, it’ll be the COLOSSAL JOSTLE from September 85, though. Hopefully they do pick it up again, because 1985 is such an underrepresented period on the WWE Network and deserves to be covered more.
As for this one, the two tag team matches are GREAT, the rest is just the usual midcard filler.