May 19, 2006
Jared Insell

WWF @ Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York, May 18th 1987

Madison Square Garden presents…the World Wrestling Federation! This is the first time the WWF has been back in the Garden since February. A lot has gone down since then with Wrestlemania III and all. Tonight WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan, who is still riding high after his Wrestlemania III victory, will defend his title against “The King” Harley Race. Also, the WWF Women’s title is on the line, plus The Honky Tonk Man is scheduled to take on Jake “The Snake” Roberts and in tag team action The Killer Bees are looking to get past Demolition. All that and whole lot more, coming up in just a moment!

Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Lord Alfred Hayes are on commentary tonight. Bobby Heenan is wearing a neck brace courtesy of Ken Patera who attacked him on Superstars on May 2nd. Monsoon and Hayes immediately start teasing Heenan about the neck brace, but Heenan seems more concerned about tonight’s World title match, claiming Hogan is still not 100% after his match with Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III. All I can say is hopefully Heenan stays on commentary all night because I don’t want to have to hear too much of Lord Alfred Hayes.

*Sam Houston vs. Terry Gibbs

According to ring announcer Mel Phillips, Sam Houston is making his WWF area debut here. Strangely, Houston wouldn’t appear on WWF TV until October. Houston extends a handshake but Gibbs ignores him. Terry Gibbs stalls a bit before they lock up. Gibbs tries to go for a roundhouse but misses and ends up on the receiving end of a fist. More stalling on the part of Terry Gibbs before he slaps on an arm ringer, but Sam Houston reverses it. High cross body gets two, but Sam follows it up with a deep arm drag. Gibbs tries to reverse it but Houston hangs on to his arm bar. Houston executes an atomic drop on Terry before going to back to his arm bar hold. He continues to work on the arm but an elbow from Gibbs changes things in a hurry. An Irish whip is reversed and Houston goes back to work on the arm. Gibbs corners Houston and unloads with some fists but Sam reverses and Irish whip again then he telegraphs a corner charge and spills onto the floor. Gibbs continues his assault on Sam Houston, who is really hurting. Houston goes for a sunset flip but can’t take Terry down. Knee drop gets two. Houston makes a comeback with a series of jabs. He delivers a flying elbow and reverses a slam attempt with a small package that only gets two. Backslide gets two. An Irish whip by Houston but he puts his head down and pays for it. Gibbs misses an elbow drop though and Houston finishes him off with a bulldog for the pin fall win. **1/4

Match Analysis: This was an okay match. Nothing was too flashy, but good wrestling and the part of both guys. I always thought Sam Houston was underrated myself and it was unfortunate he never really rose past prelim matches.

*Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. & Magnificent Muraco vs. Paul Roma & Jim Powers

Powers and Roma have been together as a team for a couple months at this point but are still relative enhancement talent. Orton and Muraco have not done much since coming off a loss from Wrestlemania III. Considering their manager Mr. Fuji’s absence, it is obvious this team was getting lost in the shuffle. Jim Powers and Don Muraco start off and Muraco immediately dominates. Orton tags in and goes to work with a nice backbreaker. Powers reverses an Irish whip and Orton crotches himself on the ropes. Ouch! Paul Roma comes in and drops an axe handle from the top. Roma goes to work on Orton but a leverage move sends him to the concrete floor. Muraco attacks Roma on the floor sending him crashing into the post. Orton delivers a beautiful vertical suplex on Roma from the apron and keeps him in the air for several seconds. Tag is made to the Magnificent one who delivers a back breaker and a slam before heading to the second rope. He misses a diving head butt though and Roma makes a comeback with a nice drop kick. Muraco is in the wrong corner and gets battered by Powers and Roma. Paul Roma slaps on a full nelson on Don but he reverses it and in the confusion Orton accidentally clocks his own partner. Tag is made to Jimmy Powers who slaps on a headlock in a very weird way. Muraco whips Powers off the ropes but Powers is too quick and ends up drop kicking him as well. Powers goes back to the headlock but takes him down. He catches a knee from Orton coming off the ropes though and the tide turns. Belly-to-belly suplex by Orton gets two. The Ace whips Powers into the corner hard and then he slaps on a big bear hug. Powers breaks the hold but is unable to make the tag. Muraco catches Powers with a clothesline off the second rope. Muraco slaps on a bear hug of his own but Powers breaks the hold with a series jabs. A hot tag is teased but things change when Orton nails Powers with a drop kick. Orton goes for a splash but Powers gets his knees up in time. The hot tag to Paul Roma is made. Romeo cleans house on both Orton and Muraco and all four men are in the ring. Powers and Roma look to whip Orton and Muraco into each other but end up colliding themselves. The heels are back in control but not for long as Roma gets Orton in a small package. The referee is tied up with Powers and Muraco while Orton reverses the small package. Muraco doesn’t notice it though and accidentally turns over Orton putting Roma on top. The miscommunication costs them dearly as Roma pins Orton. **1/2 Big win for Paul Roma and Jim Powers, who were definite underdogs going into this match. After the bout, Muraco thinks they’ve won and Orton is pissed. When Howard Finkle announces the winner the heels go bezerk and assault Powers and Roma.

Match Analysis: Decent tag match that told a nice little story. Some rest holds caused the match rating to go down but otherwise this was a good match. This marked the beginning of the dissention in the tag team of Orton and Muraco. It also marked the first big win for Paul Roma and Jim Powers, who would see more success in the near future.

*Koko B. Ware vs. “Dangerous” Danny Davis

I’d be lying if I said I was excited about this match. Davis jumps Koko before the bell but Koko delivers a flying elbow that sends Danny to the floor. Koko catapults Davis back in the hard way and Danny stalls a lot. They finally lock up and Davis pushes Koko into the corner and unloads with some fists. Koko responds with some of his own jabs and Davis is to the floor again. More whining and complaining by Jimmy Hart and Danny Davis on the outside. Back in, the same lock up sequence as before and Davis goes for an Irish whip but he ends up hitting the corner himself and walking right into a backdrop. Davis to the outside AGAIN! Man, Danny Davis sucked! Danny Davis enters again and goes for the old hand shake routine. Koko’s an idiot if he buys into it. He doesn’t thankfully and stamps on Davis’ hand. Danny Davis bails to the outside again. Okay this is getting stupid! Back in, Davis goes for a sunset flip but Koko sits right on his chest and Danny Davis once again takes a powder. Okay I’m no longer making any note of when Danny Davis bails to the outside of the ring! More stalling during a test of strength as the crowd chants, “Danny sucks.” Davis gets the upper hand but Koko responds with a drop kick to the evil referees face. Koko misses a broncobuster in the corner and Danny Davis begins to stomp a mud hole in him. Davis starts to give the referee flak for a slow count. A running clothesline only gets two. Davis slaps on a sleeper hold and Koko goes down. The Birdman powers out of it and then slaps on a sleeper of his own. Davis runs into a corner causing Koko’s head to connect with the turnbuckle though. Both guys are dazed and confused. Danny goes for a splash but ends up crashing down on Koko’s knees. Koko makes a comeback and Davis tries to bail but the Birdman chases him back in. A series of head butts knock Davis into the middle of next week. Koko follows up with an ugly power slam too close to the ropes. He goes for the pin but Davis gets the rope break. The Birdman continues to lower the boom but is held back by the referee, which gives Jimmy Hart the opportunity to hand Davis some brass knuckles. Danny ends up clocking Koko with them and getting the pin fall win. 1/2* Much of this rating goes to Heenan’s commentary here NOT the match, which sucked.

Match Analysis: I really don’t see the point in giving these guys almost 15 MINUTES of ring time. Whoever booked that deserves to be fired! They could’ve had the exact same match in about half the time and simply cut out the stalling and the lame cartoon antics. The match did get better towards the end when Davis wasn’t bailing to the outside of the ring every time Koko mounted some sort of offense. Still, anything below one star is definite crap.

*“Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. Dave Barbee

I’ve never heard of Dave Barbee, but I’m really surprised the WWF creative team didn’t make him change his name to Ken. Lanny Poffo runs through another poem and then hands some Frisbees to Gorilla Monsoon, who tosses them into the crowd. Funny bit here as Monsoon throws one and it clocks Bobby Heenan (neck brace and all) in the head. Lots of shoving at the beginning of this match. The 277 pound Barbee easily out muscles Lanny with a slam. Poffo gains control with his speed though but Dave corners him and begins to unload. Poffo returns the favour with some jabs and kicks of his own. Barbee takes a breather before raking Lanny’s eyes. Dave drops Leaping Lanny throat first on the ropes. Swing neck breaker by Barbee gets two. Poffo makes a bit of a comeback with some kicks. Barbee stalls and then ends up slamming Lanny again. Monsoon and Hayes make it clear that Dave Barbee is a rookie as they criticize the guy for being inexperienced. Once again the commentary here on Heenan’s part is classic. Leaping Lanny is thrown to the outside where he is able to regroup. Back in, Barbee continues to attack Poffo planting a clothesline. Lanny regains control and tosses Barbee to the outside. The crowd is dead here. Poffo keeps Barbee from getting back in. It’s clear Lanny pissed and he ends up missing a drop kick. Barbee executes a vertical suplex but only gets two. Poffo retaliates with a slam and finishes off Barbee with a moonsault for the win. 1/2*

Match Analysis: Dull prelim match. Most of it was kicking and punching. The crowd could’ve cared less and if not for the commentary this would’ve been worse.

*WWF World Championship Match: (Champion) Hulk Hogan vs. (Challenger) “The King” Harley Race

Heenan is in Race’s corner, which means we will not have the pleasure of his commentary anymore. Damn! The Brain gets on the mic and asks fans to bow, which just isn’t going to happen. The Garden erupts for Hogan upon his entrance. The two lock up and Harley gains control his a knee. The King corners Hogan and begins to hammer away relentlessly. An Irish whip is reversed though and Hogan follows it up with a clothesline. He executes another one, which causes Race to do a 360 over and out of the ring. That was a nasty bump Harley took on the outside. The King gets back on the apron and Hogan nails him back in. Race tries to stall and ends up suckering Hogan in. Harley Race now has the advantage and begins to measure Hogan with some knee drops. Hogan makes a comeback with some fists. A big boot sends Harley to the outside and Hulkster goes right after him. Race rakes Hogan eyes and rams Hogan into the steel barricade. He goes for a diving head butt but ends up connecting with the concrete. Ouch! Back into the ring, Hogan slams The King but misses an elbow. Race slaps on a sleeper but Hogan tires to power out. He breaks the hold and begins to run over Harley, but the pace swings back in Race’s favour with a head butt. Hogan is now busted open. Race goes for a diving head butt from the top but misses. Hogan ends up rolling him up for the pin. Harley Race is beside himself but leaves ringside quietly. Hogan begins to pose but Race returns and jumps Hogan from behind and decks him with the belt. The King leaves ringside while Hogan sells the attack as officials help him backstage. As for the match, it was pretty good. ***

Match Analysis: This was a bit of a surprise. It seems to me that Hogan and Race always had fairly good chemistry in the ring. This match was fairly vicious and it didn’t end in the typical Hogan hulking up crap that always happened. The finish clearly indicates that this is feud is far from over as a rematch would be scheduled for next month. More on that later.

Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are backstage during the intermission with WWF Women’s Champion The Fabulous Moolah. Wow! Moolah was ancient even in ’87. Monsoon compliments Moolah nicely but Lord Alfred feels she’s bitten off a bit more than she can chew facing Debbie Combs tonight. Alfred better watch it as I’m pretty sure Moolah was about to bitch slap him!

Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are with The Honky Tonk Man and “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart. Honky seems geared for Jake “The Snake” but when he leaves the room Monsoon tells Lord Alfred Hayes that Jake Roberts is unable to compete tonight due to injury. However, the WWF has found a replacement in former-Olympian Ken Patera, which will be a big surprise for Honky and The Mouth.

Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are now with Ken Patera who looks fired up for his match tonight.

*Women’s Championship Match: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Debbie Combs

Debbie Combs looks like a cupie doll. Moolah tries to intimidate the referee but Combs blindsides her with a forearm. Debbie runs through a series of snap mares to get things going. A roll up only gets two. Drop kick only gets two as well. Moolah goes to the outside to regroup. Combs throws her back in slingshots her around a bit. A slam gets two. Moolah to the outside again and more stalling. Back in, she gains control with a hair pull and then begins choking her on the ropes. Moolah measures up some slams of her own but can’t put Debbie away. She ends up getting caught in a full nelson though. Moolah breaks the hold but Debbie gives her a monkey flip. Moolah regains control though then reaches into her bra for something. Eww! It’s clear she has a foreign object and when the referee checks for it Moolah hides it in her mouth. Sure enough Moolah uses it then hides it when the ref checks again. Combs is in trouble but manages to make a comeback. Debbie goes for a series of monkey flips but goes to the well once too often. The Fabulous one goes for the Boston crab but ends up being catapulted onto the floor. Debbie heads to the outside and slams Moolah on the concrete before ramming her into the steel post. Ref calls for the bell and Moolah is counted out. Therefore, she loses the match but keeps the belt. Moolah comes in to start shit but Debbie beats up on her. Debbie celebrates with the belt even though she didn’t win it. The referee snatches it from her and she throws a hissy fit. Meh… 3/4*

Match Analysis: The wrestling wasn’t horrible but 90% of the women’s wrestling pre-attitude era sucked. I don’t really see the appeal in watching a 60-year-old woman and a homecoming queen go at it. This match was just blah!

Hogan comes to the ring unannounced with a bandage over his head. He announces that he wants to face Harley Race in a no holds barred match. Hulkster also promises that if Harley beats him in a match like that he’ll quit professional wrestling.

*Demolition vs. The Killer Bees

Demolition’s new manager Mr. Fuji is not present for this big match with The Killer Bees. Gorilla Monsoon feels it’s only a matter of time before the tag title gold is around the Demos’ waists. Monsoon’s prediction is well founded as within a year the would be reigning WWF Tag Team Champions. B. Brian Blair starts off with Ax and Ax clearly has the strength advantage. Lord Alfred says he was talking to Jim Brunzell prior to the match and he said that they have something new in mind for this Demolition team. Ax starts hammering away on Brian but he misses an elbow drop and B. Brian fires back with some punches of his own. Irish whip into the corner and a thunderous forearm floor Ax and he quickly tags out to Smash.

Jumping Jim Brunzell tags in to go head to head with Smash. He goes to work on Smash’s arm but Smash ends up whipping him into the ropes. Brunzell uses his speed and agility to avoid Smash’s clothesline attempts and plants a high cross body for two. Back to work on the arm, but Smash stops him with some thunderous blows. Jim turns things around with a drop toehold and The Killer Bees begin to work on Smash’s leg. Smash manages to make the tag after raking B. Brian Blair in the eyes. Ax comes in and attempts to rush him but Blair is waiting in the weeds and floors him with a drop toehold and begins to work on Ax’ leg. It’s been all Killer Bees so far which is really rare in a Demolition tag team match. I guess zeroing in on the Demos’ legs is the battle plan. Brunzell tags in and tries to go for a pin unsuccessful, so instead he begin to destroy Ax’ leg some more. Ax tries to stop things with a reverse chin lock but it goes nowhere. Blair slaps on a figure four but the referee is tied up with Brunzell and Smash. Smash manages to sneak in and break the hold dropping an elbow on B. Brian.

Smash tags in legally now and begins to relentlessly pound away on Blair. Brian gets caught in the wrong corner and Demolition begins their own double team tactics. Ax applies a double reverse chin lock and Blair plays face in peril. Smash tries to rearrange Brian’s face but the Killer Bee manages to break the hold and try for a sunset flip. Ax regains control with a snap mare and goes back to working on B. Brian’s neck. Blair manages to slip in a pin fall attempt but Ax is still in control. Ax sucker punches Brunzell on the apron, which prompts him to come in and get tied up by the referee. Demolition continues to double team Blair who is in deep trouble. Smash sends Blair to the outside and clobbers him as he tries to get on the apron. B. Brian tries to make a comeback but Ax stops him from making the hot tag. Blair tries to retaliate again but Ax sends him to the floor. Smash comes around and rams Blair’s back into the apron. Back in, Smash catches Blair in a bear hug but Brunzell breaks it up in a hurry.

Demolition attempts to regain control when Smash slaps on the bear hug again but Blair plants two fists across Smash’s head and the hold is broken. Smash is dazed but still seems in control until a double clothesline catches both men. It looks like Smash got the worst of that one because he is really selling a head injury. A hot tag is teased but the referee doesn’t see it. Ax comes in without tagging and begins to hammer away he misses a forearm though and Blair follows it up with one of his own. B. Brian Blair finally makes the hot tag to Jumping Jim Brunzell. Brunzell is a house of fire as he dismantles both members of Demolition. Jim whips Smash into the ropes and lands his trademark drop kick on him. He goes for the pin but Ax breaks it up. A brawl with all four men erupts and Brunzell rolls up Smash, but Ax (who is not the legal man) drops a chop to the back of Jim’s head and goes for the pin and gets the win. Great tag team match! ***3/4

Match Analysis: This is a really great tag team match that was given plenty of time. Demolition has improved greatly as a team since their last visit to the Garden and they get a big win over The Killer Bees here. I have to give credit to the Killer Bees though as they were able to dominate the early goings of this match (something few tag teams could do with Demolition). This is definitely the match of the night.

*“Outlaw” Ron Bass vs. Jose Luis Rivera

Outlaw Ron Bass gets in Gorilla Monsoon’s face during his ring entrance. It looks as if they’re almost going to go at it, but Monsoon brushes him off. Bass gets on the mic and begins to challenge Gorilla but the crowd still drowns him out with boos. The Outlaw stalls a lot as he heads to the outside and argues with the fans. He tries to conceal a foreign object and more time is wasted as the referee searches him down. The Outlaw finally begins to pound away on Jose Luis Rivera and the match quickly heads to the outside. Bass rams Rivera’s head into the apron and steel barricade while on the floor. Outlaw continues to assault on Jose on the apron. Rivera gets in some offence but Bass loses his temper and goes for a steel chair. The referee gets rid of it though and Bass and Rivera lock up. Rivera plants a drop kick that sends The Outlaw bailing to the floor. Bass continues to stall on the outside having a few choice words with Gorilla and the fans. Back in, Jose Luis goes to work on Bass’ arm but the Texan gains easy control and begins to choke out Rivera on the ropes and even uses the microphone cord right in front of the referee! Why hasn’t Bass been disqualified? He continues to bully Jose by tying him in the ropes and beating on him. Rivera makes a comeback by ramming Ron’s head into the turnbuckle and follows up with another drop kick. Bass gets tied in the ropes and Jose unloads on him. As soon as he breaks free of the ropes though, Bass regains control and puts Jose away with the Texas Gourd Buster (pedigree). Blah! 1/4*

Match Analysis: Well Outlaw Ron Bass dominated the majority of this match, which consisted mainly of punching, kicking, eye rakes, and lots of stalling. This was a lousy unimpressive bout and if not for the activity with Gorilla Monsoon towards the beginning this would probably be a DUD.

Howard Finkle announces that the next MSG card is to be held on June 14th 1987. He runs through three matches that have already been signed for the card including Paul Roma & Jim Powers vs. The Islanders, Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes, and The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis vs. The British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware. Interesting…

*The Honky Tonk Man vs. Ken Patera (sub. for Jake “The Snake” Roberts)

As mentioned earlier on Jake “The Snake” Roberts is unable to compete due to injury so Ken Patera has taken his place to face The Honky Tonk Man. Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart both complain that he is not supposed to face Ken Patera, but the referee ignores Honky’s protests. Honky Tonk Man heads to the outside, seeming hesitant to lock up with the former Olympian. Patera makes some rude gestures towards Honky and the two finally lock up. Honky goes for a punch but misses and Patera slams him like a rag doll and he bails to the outside. Back in, Patera goes to work on Honky’s arm with an arm ringer. Honky tires to break the hold with a roundhouse right but ends up getting an atomic drop. Patera follows up be messing up the Honky Tonk Man’s hair just to get under his skin. Honky is all bent out of shape as he bolts to the outside again and begins to leave ringside. Jimmy Hart persuades him to come back though and the two lock up again. Patera still dominates Honky with some quick amateur wrestling moves. An Irish whip but Patera misses a corner charge and is in trouble. Honky begins to go to work on Patera injured left arm and shoulder, by ramming it into the post. Honky continues to zero in on the injury and the tide has turned drastically. Ken tries to reverse an Irish whip but Honky boots him in the face when he puts his head down. Honky follows up with a series of knee drops before heading to the second rope and dropping a double axe handle. Honky plays up to the crowd and goes for a weak cover. Honky ends up telegraphing a double axe handle blow though and he misses. Patera makes a comeback with a monkey flip and follows up with a clothesline and back breaker. He goes for the pin but Honky gets a rope break. Jimmy Hart manages to distract Patera but not long enough for Honky to gain any control. Jimmy Hart tries again and Honky tries to jump Ken Patera but instead jumps right into a bear hug. Honky submits but the referee is tied up with Jimmy Hart so he doesn’t see it. The Mouth of The South hits the ring and wallops Patera with his megaphone out of desperation. Patera no sells it and catches both Honky and Jimmy Hart in a double bear hug before tossing them out of the ring. ** Ken Patera wins via DQ.

Match Analysis: Not as bad as I thought it would be. Both Honky and Patera worked a solid match even though the recently returned Patera beat the crap out of Honky for the most part. The finish was also a bit of the lame side but I guess they couldn’t have Honky submit because he was only a month away from becoming Intercontinental Champion.

Jinsell’s Bottom Line: Apart from the great Demolition vs. Killer Bees tag match, the rest of this card is pretty weak. The Hogan vs. Race title match was good but would pale in comparison to the Texas Death match they would have next month. Honky vs. Patera was okay but nothing to write home about. The rest of the card was filler that ranged from decent to almost unwatchable. Too many prelim bouts and squash matches. If you can find the Demos/Bees match on a compilation tape then go for it. Otherwise I wouldn’t go out of your way to find this show.

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