September 8, 2012
WWWF At MSG, Dec. 29, 1980
Commentator: Vince McMahon
Another Japanese invasion in the Garden with another new year on the horizon!
Note: Two major title changes have just recently taken place. On November 8 in the Philadelphia Spectum, the team of Tony Garea and Rick Martel had defeated The Wild Samoans to win the WWF World Tag Team Titles. Also, on an untelevised, unfilmed show on December 8 in MSG, Pedro Morales (with help from guest referee Pat Patterson) had defeated Ken Patera to capture the WWF Intercontinental Title, setting the stage for this show.
Match 1: Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Jose Estrada
Setup: Our first Japanese appeal match sees newcomer Yatsu take on veteran jobber Estrada.
Match: Yatsu certainly is blander than bland, even by Japanese standards. Jose takes him to a fairly clean scientific match that the crowd can’t even wake up the crickets for. Finish comes when Yatsu locks in a bearhug and then turns it into a belly to belly suplex for the pin.
Result: Yatsu via pinfall at 8:47
Score: 1 (Okay) A scientifically sound bout that regardless had no rooting interest for the casual fan.
Match 2: Seiji Sakaguchi vs Sika
Setup: Another match for the Japanese fans to enjoy sees their star put in there with the former tag team champion Samoan.
Match: Afa comes out with Sika for this match, and even stays at ringside throughout(!) As usual, putting a Samoan in a singles match is a death sentence for viewer enjoyment. Soon Sika gets tossed outside, but Afa sneaks in and takes the helm to beat down Sakaguchi. Soon BOTH Samoans are in there kicking his ass, which brings Inoki out (to a HUGE pop) to clean house and inspire the referee to stop the match.
Result: Double DQ (Announced As A Draw) at 5:34
Score: 1 (Okay) A clever finish, but otherwise little to see here.
Match 3: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Don Diamond (WWF Jr. Heavyweight Title Match)
Setup: A Japanese star who is also a WWF title holder defends the belt in MSG.
Match: I like Fujinami. He has a charisma second only to Inoki and he can definitely go in the ring. I don’t know Diamond, but he can go too, as the two shake hands at the start to begin a CLEAN scientific match whose greatest quality is not only its realism, but the ability of both men to get the crowd into it as well. Fujinami soon hits a back suplex into a bridge to win a very enjoyable bout.
Result: Fujinami via pinfall at 10:28 (Retains Title)
Score: 2 (Good) I tried to resist this match at first, but it eventually won me over.
Match 4: Tony Garea and Rick Martel vs The Moondogs (WWF World Tag Team Title Match)
Setup: Garea and Martel are the new champions, but will their reign be short-lived against Albano’s crazed new team??
Match: What’s a Moondog?? From the looks of it, it appears to be a cross between a crazed hippie and a fat backwoods inbred. For those out there who are marks for Moondog Spot in the mid 80s, keep in mind that this incarnation of the team is actually Rex and King. The match gets rolling and after some pretty scientific work from the babyfaces, Martel gets trapped in the ring and gets the hellacious shit beat out of him before making the hot tag to Garea and his perm. Tony enters and gives a babyface beatdown before locking King in his trademark abdominal stretch, but alas, Rex grabs one of their milk bones they keep in the corner and bashes Garea in the head with it, splitting him open wide and causing a DQ and post-match melee.
Result: Garea and Martel via DQ at 13:16 (Retain Titles)
Score: 2 (Good) A fun active tag title bout with a brutal finish.
Match 5: Hulk Hogan vs Dominic DeNucci
Setup: In order to compensate for losing the Andre feud, the Hulkster gets handed an easy opponent.
Match: DeNucci looks really really broken down by this point, so much so that he can’t even properly sell anymore, looking like he’s about to collapse one minute and shrugging it off the next like nothing happened. With his most impressive offensive maneuver moving out of the Legdrop O Doom, he makes the mistake of brawling with the monster Hogan and finally gets hit with a powerslam for the merciful finish.
Result: Hogan via pinfall at 4:38
Score: 1 (Okay) Hogan is still too young at this point to carry someone who obviously doesn’t want to work anymore like DeNucci.
Match 6: Bob Backlund vs Killer Khan (WWF World Title Match)
Setup: Main Event Time sees Bobbsy defend against the sinister Mongolian superstar.
Match: It would appear to this reviewer that Backlund had declined a bit in the last few months, not having as high a quality matches as he did early in his reign. This bout thankfully resulted in a return to form, against an intimidating opponent made to look like a monster by the resilient babyface champion. I really liked the way Khan would scream like a maniac as he applied any of his offense, with psychology worked perfectly with the use of a rest hold on the nerves. Backlund fights back, hitting both a piledriver AND his patented atomic drop, but cannot put Khan away! Khan gets the edge back and hits his flying knee off the top rope (the same one that broke Andre’s leg), but Bob’s heart of a champion causes him to kick out. Some more back and forth until Backlund hits a German suplex out of nowhere into a bridge to get a hard fought, hard earned pinfall victory.
Result: Backlund via pinfall at 12:23 (Retains Title)
Score: 3 (Great) Intense epic battle that in the best sense puts both men over.
Match 7: Antonio Inoki vs Bobby Duncum (World Martial Arts Championship Match)
Setup: In the main event for those watching on the Japanese closed circuit, Inoki takes on the Cliché Cowboy.
Match: I wasn’t looking forward to this one, simply because Duncum is as smooth as a pile of broken glass, but Inoki does a commendable job of carrying him here, making for a exciting match even as Duncum is completely blown up about ten minutes in and can’t even hit a bulldog without falling on his ass, though he does juice hardway which is nice. Eventually Inoki hits an enziguri and a legdrop to get the win and earn our respect.
Result: Inoki via pinfall at 12:47 (Retains Title)
Score: 2 (Good) A masterful carry job by the legendary Inoki no doubt.
Match 8: Fabulous Moolah and Joyce Grable vs Candy Malloy and Peggy Lee
Setup: Oh shit. Moolah’s here with her calvacade of unattractive female wrestlers.
Match: Only the blond Malloy has anything resembling an athletic physique (didn’t these women ever exercise?) as McMahon points out that Moolah has been Women’s Champion for many many years. Well duh, Vince, Moolah trained all of the women and OWNED THE RIGHTS to the Women’s Title. As usual, the heel women screech like witches and Peggy Lee flops around the ring like the pudgy, clownish female babyface that she is. Amazingly, Moolah allows herself to be on the receiving end of some punishment and doesn’t seem too offended by it. Maybe she actually respected one or two of these girls. Finish comes when Peggy gets hit by a double clothsline and Moolah (of course) gets the pin.
Result: Moolah and Grable via pinfall at 5:09
Score: 1 (Okay) In the grand tradition of “Tom Mix Wept” from Tombstone…“Moolah Sold”.
Match 9: Pedro Morales vs The Hangman (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)
Setup: Pedro defends his newly won title against the overpushed tub of flub.
Match: Watching this match, one can see why Morales was a highly regarded commodity: the fans loved him AND like Inoki, he could carry almost any wrestler to a good match, including the stumblebum Hangman. Some lively brawling, along with a nasty spill to the outside by both men are the highlights here, unti Pedro hits a rollup for the quick pin.
Result: Morales via pinfall at 7:07 (Retains Title)
Score: 2 (Good) If Pedro can take the friggin Hangman to this level, he is truly a legend.
Match 10: Pat Patterson vs Ken Patera
Setup: As a special guest referee, Patterson had screwed (not literally, thankfully) Patera out of the IC belt, and now Kenny wants revenge.
Match: It’s almost surreal, seeing a guy built like a monster like Patera, have such a hard time with a below average physique like Patterson, despite the way McMahon raves on about how great he is. A shootfight here wouldn’t last two minutes, but instead it goes almost eight ending when Patera refuses to stop battering Patterson on the ropes and gets DQed, and continuing to beat on Pat until he gets bored and goes back to the locker room.
Result: Patterson via DQ at 8:12
Score: 1 (Okay) An uninspired outing by Patera standards.
Overall Score: 2 (Good) While not a good card on paper, some great showings and impressive carry jobs makes this one that any fan of the era might want to order from their most trusted online retailer.