June 7, 2009
Alexander Settee

MSG House Show, June 21, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Mean Gene Okerlund

With the release of The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection coming up next week, here’s a look back at a show featuring a match that is included on that set.

Opening Match: Terry Gibbs vs. Leaping Lanny Poffo
Well, I already mentioned that Randy Savage would be here in one of his earliest matches for the company, and here as well is his brother, Lanny Poffo, in one of his first matches. Poffo wows the crowd right away with a backflip. Opening sequence sees Poffo show off his athleticism and quickness leading to a bodypress for 2. He works the arm for a bit until Gibbs is able to put together a cheap shot to take control. Kneelift followed by an elbowdrop get 2, and then he tosses Poffo to the floor where he slams him on the concrete. Back in, Poffo gets a sunset flip attempt, but Gibbs blocks and drops a knee for 2. Suplex also gets 2 and leads into a bearhug. Poffo hiptosses out, but misses a flipping senton. Gibbs covers with his feet on the ropes, but the ref sees it and stops the count. Poffo comes back with a crescent kick and hiptoss. He then connects with a dropkick and goes up to nail a moonsault to finish Gibbs off at 6:37. I bet the MSG crowd hadn’t seen very many moonsaults prior to this. Poffo got a pretty good reaction based on being something different compared to most WWF guys of the time but never made it past prelim status. *1/2

Tony Atlas vs. Matt Borne
Borne shoves Atlas off a couple of times and then flexes, prompting Atlas to shove him down harder, and follow up with a couple of armdrags and a dropkick sending Borne our. Back in, Atlas hits an atomic drop, but Borne hooks a wristlock. Atlas flexes out of that, but gets nailed again. Borne controls with basic and boring stuff before hurting his hand nailing Atlas in the head. Atlas then Hulks Up, with Gene actually calling it that. Borne tries to run, but ends up tied in the ropes. Atlas bets him there, then gets him out and rams him to all four buckles. Back suplex gets 2 before Borne briefly takes back control with a snapmare. He misses a 2nd rope elbow though and Atlas finishes him off in a way that may have inspired the Ultimate Warrior, with a press slam/splash combo at 7:03 ˝*

Jose Luis Rivera vs. The Missing Link (w/Bobby Heenan)
Link didn’t really seem to fit with Heenan, although I guess that somebody had to manage him. Rivera attacks, but that goes nowhere for him. Link comes out of the corner with a headbutt and then drops another from the 2nd rope. Two powerslams and a 2nd rope splash get the win for Link at 1:44. DUD

Moondog Spot vs. Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell
Not a very exciting show so far. Spot holds a side headlock, but Brunzell is out with a flying headscissors. Another one leads to a monkey flip into an armbar. Gene tries to put over Brunzell’s athleticism by noting that he can high jump 6’10”, but Gorilla kind of ruins it by noting that he could do that in his younger days as well. Spot escapes the hold, but runs into a backdrop and gets put right back in it. He’s out again, and this time slams Brunzell, and then nails a 2nd rope fistdrop for 2. Spot stomps him to the floor where he rams him to the steps. Brunzell recovers to grab Spot’s leg and drag him to the corner where he rams it to the post. Back in though, Brunzell gets hit with an inverted atomic drop for 2. After a rear chinlock segment, Brunzell comes off the ropes and they collide. Brunzell controls when the recover, hitting an atomic drop for 2. Spot then gets sent off and Brunzell nails the dropkick, which gets the 3 count at 12:24. Pretty long for such a crappy match. ˝*

“Quick Draw” Rick McGraw vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
So here we are with the match that inspired this review as it will be included on The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection coming out this Tuesday. He made his WWF debut four days earlier at a TV taping, which hasn’t aired yet, but even without the benefit of TV exposure they decided to put him right out on the house show circuit. Some fans do seem to be aware of who he is though, I guess through magazines because I don’t think ICW or Memphis wrestling was available in New York. He already has a real star aura about him and is introduced by The Fink as the “Number One Free Agent” in wrestling. Savage brings his Memphis heel stalling tactics with him here to the Garden, running, and running, and running some more. The fans are throwing crap at him which has him pretty pissed off. We finally get going with Savage holding an armbar. McGraw tries to headscissor his way out but gets dropped. To a rear chinlock, but McGraw picks him up and uses an airplane spin into a Samoan drop for 2. Savage boots him to the corner, but McGraw monkey flips out and gets a backslide for 2. Savage bails where he chases a photographer to the back. Back in, Savage takes control with a snapmare and elbow for 2. Suplex also gets 2 before an elbow off a whip sends McGraw to the floor. Savage goes up, and drops the double ax handle on him, which has MSG buzzing as they probably hadn’t seen that before. He then rams McGraw to the rail and suplexes him on the concrete. After having been knocked back out several times, McGraw finally gets a shot in to get in the ring, but gets caught and set on the ropes. Rope straddle by Savage hits, but McGraw avoids the second try. He gets Savage in the Tree of Woe and stomps him for a bit and then sends him to the opposite corner, but Savage comes out with a clothesline. Savage goes up, and drops the flying elbow which of course gets the 3 count at 12:51. Nice debut for Savage, and it certainly gave off the feeling that there were big things in store for him. **

Adrian Adonis, Big John Studd, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Mike Rotundo, Barry Windham, & George “The Animal” Steele (w/Lou Albano)
Steele has just turned babyface and realigned with Albano, so here he teams with Albano’s other guys against Adonis, Studd, and Heenan. Heenan wants in with Windham for some reason, but the Windham tags Steele who chases Heenan right out. We get going for real with Windham and Adonis and Windham dominates him. Tag to Studd who gains control for his side. Windham fires back, even trying the slam, but can’t get it. He does hit a crossbody for 2, but Studd is right back on him. Tag to Heenan, who gets sent to the corner and flipped over the top to the floor. Steele then chases him and takes out both him and Adonis on the floor. Back in, we get tags to Rotundo and Studd with Rotundo outwrestling him, but making the mistake of getting caught in the corner. Tag to Adonis, who drops Rotundo on the top rope and then nails a DDT. Although that term is not yet known in the WWF, so Gorilla calls it a “reverse under the arm piledriver”. Tag to Heenan again as the heels work Rotundo over in the corner some more. Finally Windham and Steele have had enough and come charging in. It breaks down into a six way brawl. Steele gets sent to the floor, and comes back in with a chair. After chasing the heels out, he hits the referee for no apparent reason, and that draws the disqualification at 10:00. This was pretty decent as most of the guys in the match were good workers and the ones that weren’t had their time in minimized. *1/2

Desiree Petersen vs. Judy Martin
When I was looking over the results page and saw that this match got more time than any other one on the card, I immediately sensed trouble with this show, but we’re passed halfway so there’s no stopping now. A bit of back and forth to start until Petersen hits a sit down move of some sort and Martin bails. Back in, Martin takes control and ends up tossing Petersen right onto the announce table which annoys Gorilla and Gene. In the ring, Martin drops her for 2 and then tosses her to the floor again. Petersen makes the apron, so Martin rams her to the post. Petersen gets hooked in the Tree of Woe, and Martin goes to the floor to yank her hair from behind. Petersen gets out with help from the ref, but Martin keeps working her over. She tosses her on to the announce table for a second time and stomps her from the apron. Was this some sort of rib on Gorilla and Gene or something? Gorilla actually picks Petersen up and shoves her back in the ring. Martin gets a powerbomb, something almost unheard of in North America at this point, for 2. Petersen tries to fight back but gets tossed to the floor again. She has gotten practically no offence thus far. She makes it back in, only to be stomped to the floor one more time. She gets in again and finally starts a comeback that sticks, ramming Martin to the buckle and hitting a dropkick. She goes for a headscissors, but gets dropped to put an end to that though. Martin goes for a whip, which is reversed and Petersen catches her coming off with a rollup which gets the 3 count at a much, much too long 16:01. It was the usually crappy women’s match of this time period which if not on Gorilla and Gene was almost certainly a rib on someone. DUD

Tony Garea vs. King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart)
Bundy is still in “Buildup for Hogan” mode here so it should be squash city. Bundy, of course, dominates with power, dropping Garea with an elbow. Elbowsmash misses though and gives Garea the chance to work on the knee. Bundy shakes that off pretty quickly though and gets back to work. Snapmare and elbow get a 2 count. Garea ducks off a whip and hits a dropkick and some more shots, but his corner whip is reversed and he gets hit with the Avalanche. Bundy follows with a splash and that gets 3 (no 5 count is requested) at 6:17. DUD

Intercontinental Championship Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Other than the Savage match, this was the only thing on this card that looked interesting to me. There was no feud or issue here that I’m aware of, but it’s a really good choice of pairing in any case. Valentine keeps back as Steamboat adopts a karate stance, but manages to take him down anyways. Steamboat reverses which has Valentine backing off, and then bailing after a chop. Back in the ring, Steamboat nails him and hooks a rear chinlock. Valentine escapes, but gets hit with a crescent kick. Bodypress by Steamboat gets 2. Valentine then gets him in the corner and hits some elbows. He then drops a couple of forearms from the apron. Steamboat fires back from there and hits a top rope chop for 2. He slams Valentine, but his splash hits knees. Valentine gets a gutbuster for 2 and then starts going through his figure four setup routine. Steamboat cradles for 2 when Valentine looks to hook it. Valentine then falls on top on a slam attempt for 2. He knocks Steamboat to the floor a couple of times. Eventually Steamboat fires himself up and gets back in to beat the crap out of Valentine. Chops and kicks setup a cover for 2. Bodypress off the tope gets another 2 as Valentine just gets his foot on the ropes. Valentine recovers and hits a back suplex, followed by a couple of elbows for 2. Steamboat kicks off a figure four attempt and then nails an ensiguiri to knock Valentine to the floor where in spite of Hart’s efforts to shove him back in, Valentine fails to beat the count and loses the match but not the Title at 14:20. It was match of the night as I expected, even with the crap finish, but I also expected it to be better than it was. **1/2

B. Brian Blair vs. Barry O
I guess by putting a prelim match in this spot, they also expected the previous match to be better than it was and wanted a cool down match before Hogan had to come out. O attacks, but ends up taking a backdrop out of the corner. Blair controls until missing an elbow, but O misses one of his own and Blair goes right back to an armbar. Blair with a shoulderblock, but then he gets caught coming off the ropes with a clothesline. O hits a backbreaker for 2 and then maintains control for quite a while with basic stuff. Blair escapes a rear chinlock and comes off the ropes with a bodypress for 2. O then manages to send him to the floor. Blair actually goes under the ring and comes out the other side so he can attack from behind, knocking O to the floor in the process. Blair rams him to the apron and then gets him back in for a clothesline. He drops an elbow from the top and then hooks a sleeper which puts O out for good at 8:14. This was actually a reasonably good match as Blair was good and Barry O wasn’t bad in the ring himself. **

They need time to setup the cage for the main event, so we get some interviews at this point. First up, Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji get mic time without really saying anything of note. We then talk to Brian Blair about the recent jump from the AWA of Jim Brunzell and their formation of the Killer Bees. Finally Hulk Hogan discusses putting not just his belt, but his whole career on the line in the cage.

Main Event, WWF Championship Cage Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Magnificent Muraco
This is actually the culmination of a three match series, something that was somewhat rare for Hogan as he usually ended up winning the first match and moving on. Muraco beat Hogan on a countout back in April, but then lost on a DQ last month, so here we have them in a cage to settle things for good. The Fink also announces that the 11:00pm curfew has been waived. I’ve always wondered if that was a legit regulation that they had to deal with, or just something they made up to give the fans an excuse for a screwjob in the last match of the night. If they can arbitrarily waive it, that probably means it’s just made up. Hogan throws the belt at Muraco and dares him to pick it up, which he does, but when Muraco tries to attack, Hogan avoids it and gets his shots in. They both manage to block shots to the cage early on. Muraco takes control with a low blow, but when he goes for the door, Hogan stops him. Muraco still controls though and works Hogan over some more before Hogan starts Hulking Up. Hogan nails a clothesline, drops an elbow, and runs Muraco to the cage twice, busting him open in the process. Muraco avoids the next shot and now it’s his turn to send Hogan to the cage a couple of times which has Hogan bleeding as well. Muraco climbs, but Hogan is there to stop him. Muraco knocks him back and then follows him down to deliver more punishment. Hogan ducks a clothesline and nails a big boot which leads to Muraco doing his trademark “head caught in the ropes” spot. Hogan goes for the door, with Muraco freeing himself just in time to lunge for the save, but Hogan kicks him off and walks out to retain at 9:06. This was short, and kind of weak as the blowoff of a feud that they obviously had a lot of faith in. Hogan’s win sends them home happy, but it’s really a disappointing end to the show. *

This was a pretty weak show overall. As I just said, the main event really doesn’t deliver as far as I’m concerned, and there’s nothing in the way of hidden gems or surprises. So, with nothing that I would classify as better than reasonably good and nothing really historic outside of the MSG debut of Randy Savage, I can only call this one a thumbs down and give a recommendation to leave it be.

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