December 22, 2012
JJ Flamingo

WWF At MSG, October 19, 1981

Commentator: Vince McMahon

The Garden is rocking again with three hot title matches and other action!

0=Shit
1=Okay
2=Good
3=Great

Match 1: Curt Hennig vs Joe Cox

Setup: The young Mr. Perfect gets an opening bout against someone who refuses to break the rules.

Match: Cox is not all that impressive to look at, but we get a handshake at the bell and surprisingly, a 100% clean scientific match. Hennig obviously has the pedigree and skills and ends the sportsmanlike contest with a sunset flip.

Result: Hennig via pinfall at 9:14

Score: 1 (Okay) Nothing that great, but a nice change of pace from two guys wanting to kill each other.

Match 2: Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito vs Rick Martel and Tony Garea (WWF World Tag Team Title Match)

Setup: Arguably the biggest tag team match of the year sees the former champs try to regain their gold!

Match: Whereas most tag team matches of the time relied on the tried and true formula of babyface gets trapped and beaten down, makes the hot tag, proceed to finish, this bout actually gives us a look ahead to the prime of tag team wrestling in the mid to late 80s, with lots of fast action featuring the tide turning this way and that, hard hitting offense, and Fuji and Saito mixing things up with some martial arts tactics in addition to the wrestling. Finish comes when Fuji outsmarts Martel and throws him over the top rope. Garea comes in, and gets doubleteamed for his trouble until the referee decides that he’s had enough.

Result: Martel and Garea via DQ at 11:44 (Fuji and Saito Retain Titles)

Score: 2 (Good) Definitely a sign of what was to come in the tag team division.

Match 3: Magnificent Muraco vs Pedro Morales (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)

Setup: The beloved Pedro gets his chance to reclaim what was once his: The IC Gold!

Match: It was already clear by this time that Morales was starting to slow down. Never the most technical or best conditioned wrestler, his work style was now consisting mostly of him clapping his hands together and kissing his fist before landing a big haymaker. However, the fans loved him, and here he was in with the Master Heel Muraco, who goes above and beyond to give the fans their money’s worth, working his sadistic, deliberate offense to Pedro’s chagrin, and later, when both men tumble outside, taking some shots to the head on the steel barricade and enacting a nice blade job for our entertainment. Back in the ring, Muraco continues to fight like a wounded animal, but he is bleeding so profusely that the referee becomes concerned for his safety and stops the match for blood loss.

Result: Morales via Referee Stoppage at 18:46 (Muraco Retains Title)

Score: 3 (Great) As much of a tribute to the greatness of Muraco as you’ll ever see.

Match 4: Dusty Rhodes vs Ron Shaw

Setup: Fresh off losing the NWA World Title, The American Dream stops off in MSG to face the challenge of…Big Ron Shaw?

Match: Dusty was obviously tuning up for his hotly anticipated rematch against Flair on New Year’s Day '82, and Shaw of course is a bum that never could quite hack it. After a mock feeling-out process, Dusty get him down and drops the bionic elbow for the quick finish.

Result: Rhodes via pinfall at 1:28

Score: 1 (Okay) Nice to see Dusty in The Garden again, but they could’ve given him a better opponent.

Match 5: Bob Backlund vs Greg Valentine (WWF World Title Match)

Setup: Two years after taking Backlund to the limit in MSG, The Hammer returns to once again challenge for the gold!

Match: I’ll tell ya, I’ve seen a LOT of Backlund matches, and I’d have to say, outside of Muraco, Valentine might be the single greatest and toughest rival Bob ever had, thanks in no small part to Valentine’s amazing and superlative level of physical conditioning, which allowed him to go in the ring for an inordinate amount of time, and of course we know that Backlund was a cardio freak as well. For the most part, we get a tight, hard-hitting battle with neither guy giving an inch and great psychology as well. The problem is the finish: Valentine tries an airplane spin and the ref gets knocked down in the process, Backlund manages to fall on top, and the referee counts three, then declares VALENTINE the winner and new champ! Soon a state athletic commissioner as well as the entire referee roster comes out and after a long discussion, two things are clear: the referee of the match is an idiot who should be fired on the spot, and the title will now be held up pending a rematch between the two.

Result: No Contest at 19:32 (Title Held Up In NY State Only, As Backlund Would Continue To Defend Elsewhere)

Score: 2 (Good) The screwiest of finishes takes some of the luster off this bout, even as Backlund came back a month later to cleanly beat Valentine and clear up the confusion.

Match 6: King Kong Mosca vs Pat Patterson

Setup: After getting jumped and beaten up by Mosca on television, Patty Pat gets a chance for redemption here.

Match: Patterson comes in “fired up” and beats Mosca to the outside to start, but much of the match itself is basically stop and start offense (one guy hits a move, both lay there). Once Mosca gets his mojo going, he starts to beat Patterson senseless. He locks on a full nelson, but Pat kicks out of the corner and falls on top for the Moolah Finish.

Result: Patterson via pinfall at 9:18

Score: 2 (Good) Actually a solid showing for Mosca, and proof that Patterson should keep his wrestling activity part time.

Match 7: S.D. Jones and Dominic DeNucci vs Jose Estrada and Johnny Rodz

Setup: The Latin Connection faces off against a team that can best be called…uh, The Pennsylvania Connection?

Match: This match should certainly act as a testament to how Rodz (a good worker) and Estrada (a decent one) are actually able to carry the aging past the point of no return DeNucci and the flaccid Special Delivery to a REALLY good match, keeping it fast paced and interesting all the way up to a botched double team that sees Jones pin Estrada with a sunset flip.

Result: Jones and DeNucci via pinfall at 11:29

Score: 2 (Good) Rodz and Estrada do themselves proud here.

Match 8: Tony Atlas vs Killer Khan

Setup: Mr. USA gets the Mongolian Madman to close things out at the Garden.

Match: On paper, this match sounded good, but in reality what we get is a lot of stalling along with the unimaginative trading of blows from two guys who weren’t exactly technical geniuses. Finish comes when Atlas does an impressive overhead press slam on the 300+ lb Khan, who takes the move and then decides he’s had enough as he rolls outside and heads to the back.

Result: Atlas via Countout at 9:49

Score: 1 (Okay) Just two guys who didn’t have very good chemistry. It happens.

Overall Score: 2 (Good) Certainly some quality action, and if you don’t mind the horrid picture and sound of this particular release, be sure to order it from your most trusted online retailer.

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