March 11, 2008
Eric Drews

Madison Square Garden
December 30, 1985

Well this would usually be the spot where I write something about what has been going on of note in the WWF, but in this case, there really isn’t anything. It’s December in the World Wrestling Federation and they’re gearing up to start the build to WrestleMania 2. But for you tonight it’s a slew of random matches on Madison Square Garden Network! Hulk Hogan defends his title against the heel of the month, only this newcomer is here to stay, Randy “Macho Man” Savage. The Mega Powers EXPLODE ARE INTRODUCED TO EACH OTHER!

Our hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes. Not my first choice of announcers, but they always had a somewhat entertaining chemistry. Let’s get to the ring!

SD Jones vs. Ron Shaw
Oh goody. If this doesn’t get the crowd going nothing will. Alfred says 1985 has been a year of dedication for SD Jones and it will show in 1986. So he’s planning on getting in some offense in 1986 and maybe, just maybe, winning a match? Well let’s not get carried away. Gorilla says Ron Shaw has been getting some “tremendous victories” as of late. Prove it! They talk about all the major upsets they’ve seen from Shaw as of late without mentioning any names, which means it’s all lies. I looked in the illustrious, spectacular, incomprehensibly extensive ring results section of thehistoryofwwe.com to see that Mr. Shaw was involved in a Bret Hart like screw job win over David Sammartino at the Spectrum in November. Alfred says SD has an advantage because he’s familiar with MSG. He is. He can tell you where every single light is and draw, in exact detail, the Garden’s famous ceiling from memory because that’s all he sees when he wrestles here. Ok, you got it SD loses a lot, I’ll move on. They trade hammerlocks to start. Shaw with a headlock takedown, but SD counters into a head scissors. Back up, SD tries a backdrop but gets booted in the face. Shaw slaps on front facelock. 90 seconds in and we get rest holds. SD Jones gets out and hits a slam, but misses a headbutt. Shaw slaps the chinlock back on. There is actually an “S.D.” chant! Shaw continues to control with the chinlock. SD finally fights out and tries a backdrop again and eats two more boots. Chinlock back on! He tries to pin him with it and keeps him in a position to make it look very un-painful. Now Jones “SD’s Up” until Shaw rakes the eyes. Alfred says 1986 may be Ron Shaw’s year. Thankfully it’s not. Reverse elbow by Shaw gets 2. SD with a powerful kickout sends Shaw on the ref. SD takes control with a headbutt, big punches, and a HUGE slam for a 2. SD slaps on the chinlock. OH IT’S ON NOW!! Shaw rolls out and misses a sledge on the ground and hurts his hands. SD finally nails and Irish whip move, but it’s just a knee to the gut. It gets a two count. Back to the chinlock. Randy Orton ~ “These guys…use…a lot…of…chinlocks” Shaw fights up and catches a charging SD with a knee to the gut. An elbow drop gets only 1. Shaw puts the damn chinlock back on. SD fights back with a leg sweep and starts to work on the leg (obviously). Apparently Shaw broke a leg in the past so it makes some sense. SD’s got Shaw set up for a wishbone but he lets go ‘cause “someone from Antigua making his home in Philadelphia wouldn’t do that” says Gorilla. I suppose a person from Portugal making his home in Cleveland would though huh? Jones knocks Shaw back into the ropes and goes and sits on the second rope on the far side of the ring while the ref gets him out. What a funny guy. Big headbutt sets up an INTENSE CHINLOCK!! This is getting in the Savage/Steamboat range of awesomeness now! The MSG crowd is starting to get restless. Shaw gets out and hits a slam and the worst leg drop ever for 2. Shaw resorts to the most basic heel tactics. SD no sells the turnbuckle smashes ‘cause he’s black and in the WWF that means you have a hard head. SD hits a backdrop for 2. Shaw reverses a whip, but gets caught with a small package for the 3 count. (13:22) What an awful match. I like my SD Jones better when it’s less than a minute long. DUD

Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart vs. B. Brian Blair (w/ Captain Lou Albano?)
What the hell is Albano doing with Blair? Can this guy just manage whomever he wants any time he wants? Alfred says the Albano is going to make the Killer Bees a better team by splitting them into singles competition ‘cause that makes any sense. Gorilla says this match stems from the bad blood between the Bees and the Hart Foundation. Neidhart powers Blair into the ropes. Blair comes off with a cross body for a 2.896 count. Anvil takes a powder after almost getting beat. Alfred talks about Muhammad Ali’s famous saying, “fly like a bumblebee” Hahaha. That’s not even close. Gorilla corrects him. Anvil wants a test of strength. Blair falls for it and gets a bunch of boots to the midsection. Blair nicely back rolls the leverage his way and drills the Anvil with some punches and an elbow drop for 2. Anvil regains control with a side headlock. Blair gets out, but gets plowed with a shoulder block. Anvil invites Blair to give him one but Blair hits him with a dropkick instead. Blair controls by working the arm. Gorilla and Alfred talk about how Brunzell grew a good luck beard and said Blair didn’t have one cause he can’t grow one. Gorilla and Alfred joke about Blair’s inability to grow facial hair as we get a close up of Blair’s moustache. Idiots. Anvil tries to power out of the arm bar with a slam but Blair rolls through. Anvil nails Blair with an elbow, but Brian hits a drop toehold and slaps the armbar back on. Anvil works himself into the corner and levels Blair with a sucker punch during the refs clean break attempt. Anvil is in control now. He just hammers away at Blair. Anvil keeps awesomely taunting Blair and the crowd. Neidhart slaps on a bearhug. Blair gets out and tries a small package but Anvil powers out and hits a body slam. Blair back up with a shot to the st..belly and gets that small package for 2. Anvil misses a clothesline and they run into each other. Anvil rolls over and slaps on a front facelook. Blair fights to his feet and hits a big suplex. Blair levels Anvil with some punches. Anvil begs off, rakes his eyes and puts him in a chinlock. Blair fights out but misses a charge and flies like a bumblebee outside. Neidhart slams him on the outside and tries to get a countout win, but Blair gets back on the apron. Anvil keeps beating him down to the outside, so Blair crawls under the ring to the other side while Anvil taunts the crowd. Blair sneaks up on him and starts hammering away. He sends the Anvil into the corner for Bret’s sternum bump. Blair with a heelish eye poke and drags Neidhart’s head across the top rope for payback. Blair hits a top rope elbow and covers, but Anvil kicks out as the bell rings for the time limit draw (19:26) The fight continues for about 30 seconds until Anvil leaves. Anvil teases getting back in but goes to the locker room instead. Well they jumped the gun a little on the finish, but that was a hell of a match. The attention to detail made the holds and counters that much more interesting. That was a pleasant surprise. The Anvil brought his working boots tonight. **3/4 I just noticed, where the hell did Albano wander off to? He was gone after the intros. Pretty good manager. Isn’t he supposed to stick around and, you know, manage?

Jose Louis Rivera vs. Hercules Hernandez (w/ Classy Freddie Blassie)
I don’t remember Blassie being with Hernandez ever, but I don’t remember a lot from 1985 since I was born in 1987. Hernandez still has his Roman garb and long hair here. Hercules dominates to start. Rivera comes back with a quick flurry of offense, but Herc puts that down real quick. Herc is back in control. He drops Rivera from the gorilla press position across the top rope. He drops 3 elbows and picks Rivera after a 2 count. Blassie yells “kick his brains out”. Ha. Herc continues the beat down. Alfred says when he looks at Hernandez he’s reminded of the saying “about ores or boats or something” Gorilla says “He doesn’t have both ores in the water?” That’s the one. Apparently it doesn’t remind him too much. Rivera is thrown outside and suplexed back in. Herc yells gibberish at the crowd. Hercules keeps dishing out the punishment and picking Rivera up out of his pinning attempts at 2. Rivera finally fights back with a flurry of punches and a dropkick, but gets nailed when he tries a backdrop. Herc hits a gorilla press slam and slaps on his version of the torture rack and Rivera submits as Herc calls out Hulk Hogan. (8:28) I can understand having Herc squash Rivera but 8 and a half minutes is way too long. DUD

Adrian Adonis vs. Leaping Lanny Poffo
Alfred can’t wait to see the newly dubbed “Adorable” Adrian Adonis. At his last MSG appearance, Adonis was still in his black trunks and leather jacket. Now he’s blond and covered in ribbons and bows. He still has the black trunks for now. I have no idea when he made the switch, but the crowd hates him. I always thought Adonis did a pretty good job with this gimmick as bad as it was. Poffo’s poem says Adrian needs a bra. I agree. Adrian’s hammerlock attempt is countered. Poffo hits two nice armdrags. Apparently on Tuesday Night Titans, Adonis “came out of the closet”. Oh boy. Two more armdrags by Poffo followed by an armbar. I hear some guy yelling at Adrian about being a fag. Adrian keeps fighting out and then getting caught back in the armdrag. Gorilla says Adonis has recently put on 40 pounds to help him execute the “reverse bulldog” or as it’s known now the DDT. This is still 2 months before the debut of Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Poffo keeps on step ahead of Adrian and reverses a corner charge into a sunset roll pin for a 2.84932. Sorry, I meant 2.84931. It wasn’t that close. Adonis posts himself on another corner charge. Poffo hits a sloppy moonsault for 2. Poffo tries a springboard flipping senton but misses allowing Adrian to take control. Adonis punches Poffo with a bow on his hand. How sweet. Adrian tries a piledriver but Poffo counters with a backdrop. Poffo applies a backslide for a 2.9. A small package gets 2. Poffo hammers away and sends Adrian into the corner. Adonis flips up into the buckle like Shawn Michaels. Poffo misses a corner charge though and Adrian nails him with a bulldog, and that’s enough for a 3 count. (9:04) That match made Leading Lanny look like a legend. Well not really but better then you’re typical squash. I think Poffo had more offense than Adrian did. It could’ve been worse *¼

WWF Championship Match
Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (w/ Elizabeth) (1:05:38)

Savage has only been in the WWF for a few months, but is already getting major heat. Hogan enters with the extended edition of “Real American” with the slow beginning! Alfred says all other World Heavyweight Champions in the world are insignificant compared to Hulk Hogan. I do believe Ric Flair may have something to say about that. A big “Hogan” chant erupts in the Garden. Savage mocks Hogan’s poses. Tie up. Hogan shoves Savage across the ring and poses. Savage bails. Savage tries a side headlock but gets shoved off in for the ride and gets nailed with a shoulderblock. Savage bails and throws a chair into the ring. “Hogan” chants start up again. Savage gets back in and bails on the other side. Hogan tries a wristlock, but Savage thumbs him in the eye. Savage hits a snapmare and a knee drop, but misses his Austin rope attack. Hogan hammers away and nails Savage with a clothesline in the corner. Hogan hits an atomic drop sending Savage to the outside. Hogan pursues Savage, but Randy pulls Elizabeth in front of him. Back in Savage tries a top rope cross body but Hogan catches him and gives him a backbreaker. Savage rolls outside and screens himself with Elizabeth again. Hogan catches Savage jawing with some fans and sends him back inside. Savage catches Hogan with a knee on his way in and levels him with a top rope double ax for a 2 count. Savage throws Hogan outside and nails him with another top rope double ax handle smash. Back inside Savage hits an elbow to the head gets 2 as Hogan starts to Hulk Up. Hogan comes back with a big clothesline and big boot, but Savage rolls outside again. Elizabeth steps in front of Hogan and gets picked up and moved by Hogan. Savage catches Hogan with a kick as he attempted a backdrop and follows it up with the Macho Elbow Drop for 2.73. Savage argues with the referee allowing Hogan time to get up. He charges with a clothesline, but Savage ducks and Hogan levels referee Dick Kroll. Savage hits Hogan in the back with a knee while Hulk checks on the ref to send him outside. Savage grabs the belt and nails Hogan with it off the top rope to the outside. Hogan is busted open even though it hit him in the back of the head. Savage gets in the ring and revives the ref and makes him count Hogan out which he does, giving Savage the win. (10:00) After the bell Savage grabs the belt and puts it on and celebrates to the crowd. They respond by chucking stuff at him. Howard Finkle informs the crowd the belt doesn’t change hands on a count-out to a massive pop. Savage responds to this news by decking Dick Kroll, picking up Elizabeth and leaving with the belt. Hulk won’t stand for that. He grabs Savage and brings him back to the ring for a beat down. Hulk gets his belt back and tries to nail Savage with the belt baseball bat style but Savage ducks and runs to the back. Hogan stays after for the gun show. Not a bad match. Some of Savage’s early stuff is frustrating at times because of how much stalling he does. Once this match got going though it was pretty good. **

A sweet commercial for All Star Wrestling, Championship Wrestling and Superstars of Wrestling on MSG network is shown. All Star Wrestling would be replaced by Wrestling Challenge, Championship Wrestling by Superstars of Wrestling, and Wrestling Spotlight I believe would replace this version of Superstars. Got it? There will be a quiz later.

Gorilla Monsoon is in the back with Big John Studd. Studd looks in phenomenal shape. The best I’ve ever seen him look. Studd says he’s the only true giant. He’s cut Andre’s hair and has almost gotten Hogan’s belt. Studd says tonight his opponent Tony Atlas won’t be able to slam him cause no one ever has. Apparently he forgot about WrestleMania. He’s going to pin Atlas tonight and that’ll put him a step closer to Hulk Hogan.

Back from the break Gorilla is with Jumping Jim Brunzell. He’s meeting Bret Hart tonight. I can’t wait for that one. Brunzell has a full “lucky” beard. He hasn’t lost a match since he grew it. He’s going beat Bret Hart tonight in hopes he stops being so cocky. Well I’m sure he won’t be cocky anymore, but I can’t say he won’t be bitter.

After another break Gorilla is in the back with the WWF Tag Team Champions The Dream Team and Luscious Johnny V. Gorilla asks them about tonight’s defense against the “hillbilly contingency”. Johnny V predicts a quick and crippling victory for his team. I hope he’s right. He says the Dream Team are going to break the hillbillys’ legs, a neck or two, their noses, kneecaps and then maybe things will “turn for the worst”. Isn’t that a death threat? Johnny V says tomorrow on New Years Eve Hillbilly Jim is going to be riding the ball in New York and it’s going to come down on Uncle Elmer’s big fat gut and explode all over the United States and “5,4,3,2,1 baby. Look for the Dream Team to win.” What the hell is Johnny V on? That was hilarious!

Gorilla is back at ringside with Alfred. They discuss the WWF Title match. Lord Alfred says that is Hogan’s only loss on record. That might be a stretch. They blame the loss on Elizabeth of all people. Then they suggest she do whatever men tell her to do and stop coming to ringside, go to the kitchen and make them a sammich!

Big John Studd vs. Tony Atlas
Two WWE Hall of Famers in this one. Yes Tony Atlas is in the Hall of Fame and Randy Savage is not. It’s not how you perform when you’re there; it’s how you leave when you’re done. Tie ups to start with no one gaining an advantage. Now they try shoulderblocks but no one gets an advantage there either. Atlas finally hits Studd with a headbutt. Studd tries a test of strength and wins. They talk about Andre the Giant and how his weight can shift “25 pounds in single day”. Yeah he should really see a doctor about that one. Studd hits a hip toss and applies a wristlock. Studd has a really hairy torso. Atlas eventually over powers Studd into an armbar. Atlas hit a sunset flip for 2. Studd grabs a headlock. Atlas throws him off and hits a cross body for 2. Studd applies an armbar, but Atlas powers out. Atlas picks him up for a slam but Studd grabs on to the top rope. Atlas hits an atomic drop. Studd takes a powder. Back in he hammers away on Atlas and slaps on a bearhug. Atlas wiggles his way into his own bearhug. Studd rakes the eyes to get out. Studd hammers away on the back on Atlas and slaps the dreaded bearhug back on. Atlas is able to keep his arm up before it drops 3 times. Atlas works himself in to the corner on up to the second rope to get out. Headbutt from the second rope gets Studd down. An elbow drop followed by stomps gets a 2 count. Atlas with a bunch of headbutts and tries a slam but Studd has the ropes again. Atlas ducks a clothesline, but Studd ducks his cross body attempt allowing Studd to drop an elbow. That’s enough for the 3 count (11:40) That might be the worst match I’ve ever seen. It was atrocious. It was sooooo sllloooooowwww. I don’t like to give negative stars but if I were to ever dish them out, this would be the time. SUPER DUD

The Haiti Kid vs. Butch Cassidy
You follow Studd/Atlas with a vertically challenged match? Do you want me to change the channel? Butch Cassidy looks like the mini equivalent to Ivan Drago. He’s huge. He wears an MTV shirt to the ring. Midget shenanigans start this match. Watch them run! Aren’t they tiny! Bwahahaha! The Haiti Kid hits an armdrag, slam, hip toss and another armdrag. Arm bar. A freakin rest hold in a midget match? Haiti Kid is sporting a Mr. T like haircut. I believe that was courtesy of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bob Orton. Haiti Kid continues to dominate. We get all the typical midget spots; the spin around on the opponent’s head, the kickout into referee’s arms, only for the ref to throw him right back on his opponent and then both midgets get mad. Cassidy tries some amateur moves on Haiti. Haiti Kid knocks him down and gives him a slingshot. Haiti knocks Cassidy all over the place. Cassidy tries to ram Haiti into the buckle, but it doesn’t work. You see, even if he is tiny, Haiti is still black which means his head is too hard to be hurt, at selective moments. Haiti fights back with a headbutt. Gorilla and Alfred just laugh and make light of these guys the entire time. Alfred called the Haiti Kid “a resilient little beast”. Wow. Haiti Kid hits a swinging neckbreaker but Cassidy no sells. Butch gets back on the offensive with a dropkick and hits a snap suplex for a 2 count. Powerslam gets another 2. Cassidy hits a nice shoulder breaker, but Haiti has had enough. He fights back. The two criss cross. When Cassidy drops down, Haiti rolls him up for the 3 and the win. (11:35) How did they give more time to Atlas/Studd and this little person match than to the World Title match? Ridiculous. Anyway for what it was worth, these little guys gave it their all and actually executed some really nice moves. Plus they’re tiny people! Wrestling! Bwhahahahahaha ½* hahahahahahaha.

Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell
It’s about time we get something worth watching. They’re lucky that I stuck around to see this one. Apparently they still haven’t found Captain Lou Albano because he’s not here. How did he win Manager of the Year over Bobby Heenan? Brunzell strikes first with a hip toss. Brunzell goes for an overhead wristlock, but Bret powers him down into a side headlock. Brunzell throws Bret off and catches him with a headscissors. Brunzell goes to work on the arm of the Hitman. Brunzell gives him an arm stretcher. Bret tries to roll up and over back into the side headlock but Brunzell squirms out of it and into a hammerlock. Cool sequence. Schoolboy roll up on Bret gets 2. Jim controls again with an armbar. Gorilla says he likes Brunzell better without the beard. He makes fun of Brunzell for having one and Blair for not having one. He’s a tough guy to please. Bret throws Jim off and catches him with a knee to the gut and follows it up with an elbow. Bret is dishing out the punishment now. Bret works on Brunzell’s upper body. He nails him with some stiff strikes and slaps on a chinlock. It’s way cooler when these guys do it, cause it actually looks painful and the recipient never stops trying to get out of it. It’s little things. Brunzell fights out and tries a hiptoss but Bret counters with a punch right to the face. Bret chokes Jim on the top rope and jerks him back into the center of the ring, but Jim rolls through and dropkicks Bret to the outside. Bret gets up and runs in to slap a front facelock on the weakened Brunzell. Bret recovers from the dropkick as he has the facelock on. Alfred talks about the drive the Japanese photographers have to have better photos than the Americans. What the hell? Isn’t there a match going on? Bret bites Brunzell in the face, but it looked more like a long, passionate kiss to me. They keep talking about the damn Japanese photographers. Brunzell comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Bret gets up and gives Jim a big boot to the gut. Bret ties Brunzell in the ropes and charges. You know you’re gonna miss Bret why even tr…Brunzell moves and Bret nails the ropes hard getting tied up in the bottom two in the process. Jim drags him out and kicks Bret in the gut and bites him for revenge. Brunzell hits the dropkick, but Bret gets his foot on the rope. They both get up and Bret levels Brunzell with a clothesline and 2 legdrops. Bret hits a backbreaker but Jim has his foot on the ropes. Bret argues with the ref so Brunzell rolls him up for 2. Bret gets up and hammers away. He levels Jim with a European uppercut. Bret tries another, but Brunzell turns and hooks Bret in a backslide for the 1…2…3 (13:52) Bret kicks the crap out of Brunzell after the bell and tosses him to the outside. The lucky beard is still working. Why did he ever shave it? Good match. I can’t say I liked it more than Anvil/Blair, but I didn’t like it any less either **3/4 Howard Finkle wishes us a happy and healthy 1986. Thanks Howard. I’ll try me best to get conceived. The thought of that just ruined my day. Howard plugs the next MSG card. It’s Monday January 27 at 8pm you know. Here is the complete card: Tiger Chung Lee vs. Ted Arcidi, George Wells vs. Iron Mike Sharpe, Moondog Spot vs. Pedro Morales, Scott McGee vs. Terry Funk, Barry O vs. George “the Animal” Steele, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis vs. Junkyard Dog, The British Bulldogs will be appearing, Big John Studd vs. Paul Orndorff, and in the main event “Macho Man” Randy Savage faces Hulk Hogan in a return bout. Um, I think I’ll skip that one. At least it won’t have a hard act to follow.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Champions Brutus Beefcake & Greg “the Hammer” Valentine (w/Luscious Johnny V) vs. Hillbilly Jim & Uncle Elmer

Brutus Beefcake is responsible for breaking Hillbilly Jim’s leg a while back. The Dream Team won the titles from Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo a few months before this. Uncle Elmer looks like Santa’s loser brother. Valentine starts with a side headlock, but is thrown off and eats a big boot from Hillbilly and does his “timber!” fall forward sell. He follows it up with a shoulder block for a 2 count and tags Uncle Elmer. Elmer applies a lifting chokehold and ever…so…slowly walks over to the corner with his fist clenched to punch the Hammer, only to get popped with an elbow of the second rope by Valentine. That sends the big guy down. Tag to Bruti. He hits bunch of running stomps and tags the Hammer. Valentine drops an elbow for a 2 count. Elmer still hasn’t gotten up. Tag to Brutus. Brutus hammers away on Elmer who has finally gotten up to his knees. He pushes through Brutus on his knees and tags Hillbilly. He goes off. He nails Brutus. He nails Valentine. He puts Brutus in a bearhug. Wow, way to kill your momentum there slick. Valentine breaks it up with a knee to Hillbilly’s back. Jim is able to roll away from Brutus and tag Elmer. Elmer hits a slam and a big legdrop on Brutus for a cover but the Hammer breaks it up with an elbow drop. Hillbilly comes in and starts brawling with Valentine to distract the referee. Johnny V gets up on the apron and Hillbilly grabs him. While the ref tends to that, Elmer avalanches Beefcake in the corner and slaps on another bearhug. Valentine comes off the top rope and drops Elmer with an elbow to the back of the head. Brutus covers for the 3 and the champs retain (4:36). The crowd was really into the “hillbilly contingency” and were pretty bummed that they didn’t take the gold. This was really short and sour. How many stomps and elbows and bearhugs can you stuff into four and a half minutes? But somehow Greg “the Hammer” Valentine came off as a really cool heel in this match. ½*

Final Analysis: This was one sorry MSG show. The main event and singles matches between the Killer Bees and Hart Foundation were pretty good, but everything else was so terrible it almost made those matches less enjoyable. The good on this show is available on various Best of the WWF volumes. See it there if you can, because it’s not good enough to bother sitting through all the other crap on this show. And if you can’t see it there, you’re really not missing much. Oh, I forgot, the Johnny V interview is the clear-cut highlight of the night.

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