March 12, 2011
WWF House Show, April 6, 1981, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Announcer: Vince McMahon
Let's go old school this week with a trip to Madison Square Garden in 1981. No real reason for this, it's just a nice little change of pace from the usual more current shows. Our big matchups here are Bob Backlund defneding the WWF Title in a steel cage against Stan Hansen, and coming off of the Cobra Clutch Challenge angle on TV, Pat Patterson will take on Sgt. Slaughter. This is, by the way, the 24/7 version of the show, so if there's anything missing, blame the WWE censors.
Opening Match: Irish Terry Gunn vs. Yoshiaki Yatsu
The Setup: House show prelim match.
The Action: Yatsu wrestled for Japan in the Olympics, and then turned pro for New Japan to much fanfare not long before this show, and the WWF relationship with New Japan brings him to MSG tonight. He did alright for himself in the years to come, but was never really a huge star. Gunn starts out working the leg, which has the crowd quickly getting restless, and then Yatsu goes to the arm, which is equally as exciting for everyone. He's not really showing much here at all. Gunn finally breaks free with a forearm, but Yatsu fires back with one of his own. They collide and then Yatsu gets him with a belly to belly throw for a very fast 3 count at 5:03. I suspect they were sent home early after doing nothing for most of that time.
The Verdict: This was a poor match that left nobody with any impression of either guy other than that they're both pretty boring. -1/2*
Dominic Denucci vs. Killer Khan (w/Fred Blassie)
The Setup: Another prelim match, but this time we've got someone getting a push in Khan.
The Action: Khan takes it right to him with chops, stomps, choking and a lot of screaming. Denucci avoids a charge and starts laying in shots, but Khan won't go down, and ends up raking the eyes to take over again with moire of the same. Denucci finally takes him down, but that advantage is short lived as he runss into a boot and takes a kneedrop for another fast 3 count at 5:16.
The Verdict: It was better then the opener, and it was good for Khan to get a win over someone the fans cared about, but it still wasn't that great. DUD
Intercontinental Championship Match: Pedro Morales vs. Moondog Rex (w/Captain Lou Albano)
The Setup: Last month, Morales successfully defended his Title against Moondog King, so this time the other Moondog gets a shot at the belt.
The Action: The Moondogs won the Tag Team Titles at the last TV taping, but Rex doesn't have a belt so I guess it hasn't aired yet. Rex takes control following the feeling out process and goes to work on the arm. There's not much going on here, but the crowd is more patient then they were earlier. Morales makes it to his feet, but gets knocked out to the floor. Back in, he takes a backdrop and elbow for 2. Morales finally gets in some offence and the crowd comes alive, as he nails a bolo punch and sends Rex to the buckle. He then gets the win with a small package at 9:29.
The Verdict: Morales really didn't show that much fire here, but the crowd loved him anyways, so what he did do was effective. 1/2*
Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/The Grand Wizard)
The Setup: Patterson tried the Cobra Clutch Challenge on TV and succeeded in breaking it only to be brutally attacked afterwards, so he's out for revenge here tonight.
The Action: Patterson tries jumping him before the bell, but Sarge gets away. Sarge keeps running until Patterson turns his back in disgust, which draws him back in, but he gets nailed and now Patterson starts killing him. Sarge gets rammed from pillar to post and the ref is helpless to get Patterson off of him. He begs for mercy and gets none as Patterson keeps up the beating. A Boston crab is hooked, but Sarge makes the ropes for the break, and then rakes the eyes for his first offensive move. Patterson briefly takes over again, but ends up getting tossed to the floor when Sarge avoids a charge. He beats Patterson down on the floor, rams him to the post, and won't let him back in the ring. Finally he makes it in, only to take more of a beating until Sarge misses a kneedrop off the top and Patterson gets him in the figure four. Sarge gets another rope break, but that leads to Patterson taking it to the floor where he nails Sarge with a chair. Back in, the ref tries breaking them up, but Patterson keeps shoving him away. Sarge does the same and then they both just toss the guy to the floor. Sarge hooks the Cobra Clutch, but stops to boot the ref again as he gets back in, and that's finally enough as the ref calls for the bell at 13:35. It's ruled a double disqualification.
The Verdict: Now this I liked. It was a great brawl, the crowd was way into it, and even though we have a DQ finish, it was done in a way where I want to see more. Of course a pretty famous rematch followed this one. **1/2
Moondog King (w/Captain Lou Albano) vs. Mil Mascaras
The Setup: Mascaras was popular in New York and often brought in as a special attraction, so here he is facing the other Moondog.
The Action: Albano tries a sneak attack, but gets dropkicked and then Mascaras clears King out as well. He then proceeds to outspeed, overpower, and outwrestle King with ease, which bears out the reputation he's always had. 5:00 in, King gets his first offence, which is a single kick to the gut, but then he's immediately taken over with a headscissors. He finally gets a bit of a sustained advantage, but keeps going for the mask rather then doing anything useful. Mascaras soon takes over again, reversing a corner whip, and then he comes off the top with a bodypress for the 3 count at 8:12.
The Verdict: It was a showcase for Mascaras and show himself off he did, giving almost nothing in return to one of the Tag Team Champions. But even with that issue, it was fine as far as these prelims go. *
Main Event, WWF Championship Steel Cage Match: Bob Backlund (w/Arnold Skalland) vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen
The Setup: After two straight inconclusive finishes here at The Garden, we have a cage match to settle things between these guys.
The Action: We get some shots of Vince McMahon Sr. backstage as the guys make their way out. Hansen jumps Backlund, but ends up getting run to the cage repeatedly. Hansen fires back and now Backlund eats the cage as well. The tide turns again with Backlun hittin a piledriver, but Hansen lowblows him as he climbs. They continue trading shots to the cage, with Hansen getting busted open. It's just a crazy brawl here as they let the fists fly with no one really trying to win yet. Hansen finally goes for the door, but Backlund stops him. Now they try climbing, which leads to a brawl on top and both guys getting crotched. Hansen then tries again, with Backlund pulling him down face first on the buckle, and that puts him down long enough for Backlund to go out the door for the win to retain at 8:46.
The Verdict: It wasn't that long, but for as long as it did go it was a fast paced, intense, violent brawl, and I enjoyed it. ***
SD Jones vs. Baron Mikel Scicluna
The Setup: Back in the day, the main event would always go on at a point where it could get in its full time limit before curfew if needed, so they had these standby matches ready to go in the event it ran short like it did tonight.
The Action: We start with an extended feeling out process where not much happens except some grappling on the mat. Scicluna gains control by constantly pulling the tights, but makes the mistake of ramming Jones to the buckle, which just fires him up. But nothing really comes of it and Scicluna soon takes over again, but can't put Jones away. Jones then comes off with a leapfrog and sunset flip for the pin (back to the fast count again) at 8:51.
The Verdict: The show had a good run going there, but it came to an end here. DUD
Jill Fontaine & Suzette Ferriera vs. Leilani Kai & The Fabulous Moolah
The Setup: Women were also considered a special attration at this point, so Moolah and some here her crew were brought in here tonight.
The Action: Fontaine show some good athletic ability early on with a cartwheel and a kip up, but for her troubles she gets beaten down by Kai and Moolah. She eventually escapes and tags Ferriera who takes over on Kai. Ferriera ends up isolated in the corner and the heels cheat like nuts in working her over. Fontaine gets the tag out of nowhere and hits some dropkicks. It ends up with all four in the ring , but while the ref puts Ferriera out, Moolah and Kai get Fontaine with a double flapjack and that gets the pin at 7:06.
The Verdict: Well, it was no worse then anything we might see out of the Divas today. 1/2*
Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe & The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz vs. Tony Garea & Rick Martel
The Setup: One final match to flesh out the card here. Martel and Garea just lost the Tag Team Titles to The Moondogs and need to get back into contention against this makeshift team.
The Action: The heels take over very quickly on Martel, but he comes back and tags out to Garea who starts working over Sharpe's arm. There's not much heat for this one, even though the faces are pretty firey in what they're doing when they're not being beaten up. They do eventually get somewhat into a hot tag to Martel and the subsequent four way brawl that sees the heels whipped into each other and then Martel jackknifes Rodz for the 3 count at 7:05.
The Verdict: This was actually pretty decent, and even though there wasn't really anythign special about it, it was an alright way to close out the show here.
Overall Thoughts: Well, the big matches did deliver here and really on a show from this period that's all you can ask for because you know the other matches aren't going to be worth very much. And even then, with the exception of the opener, and really Scicluna/Jones as well, none of them were terrible or anything. So with the lowered standards in mind, this was a pretty fun way to spend two hours. Thumbs Up for Madiosn Square Garden on April 6, 1981.