The Name on the Marquee: Madison Square Garden Presents the WWF (3.17.1985)
Posted by Adam Nedeff on 04.10.2014
If you can get 18,000 people to drive to an arena and pay money for tickets to see THIS card, you deserve to be a billionaire.
-We're live, two weeks away from the biggest card ever, in the SAME ARENA WHERE IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. Good god, that's astounding.
-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Gene Okerlund.
ROCKY JOHNSON vs. CHARLIE FULTON
-They go through a feeling out process and Fulton rolls up Rocky, only to have it countered with headscissors while in the pinning position. Gorilla notes that Rocky looks close to that 260-pound mark, which, knowing Gorilla, means Rocky probably weighed about 120.
RENE GOULET vs. BARRY O
-Barry O is dressed like a member of the Rock & Roll Express for some reason. Commentators treat this match as background noise while they discuss Wrestlemania. Gene Okerlund discusses his workload for the past week, flying to San Francisco, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Florida to promote the show. Fuck. He says that Wrestlemania is the talk of the country.
-Headscissors by Barry O countered by a roll-up from Rene while Gorilla & Gene discuss the Wrestlemania main event and predict a non-scientific knockdown drag-out affair. Gene notes that Wrestlemania is the talk of the country.
-Side headlock by Barry O as the announcers finally comment on the ring gear and can’t figure out why Barry is suddenly dressed like that. Bandanas wrapped around his long navy blue tights; that’s such a weirdly specific look that he’s got to be aping the Express.
Goulet applies a clawhold on Doughy Morton. The commentators elaborate that Rene’s version of the hold is more effective because his glove is smelly. Barry O breaks free and mounts a comeback, and this match is so lethargic that the silent crowd buzzes at the sight of a bodyslam.
-Side headlock by Goulet as Gorilla surprisingly predicts that he won’t get a pinfall from that. Corner charge by The O is countered by a knee, but when Goulet tries to capitalize, O meets him with a small package for three. 0 for 2. This match jarred no woman’s preserves.
JIM “The Anvil” NEIDHART (with Jimmy Hart) vs. SPECIAL DELIVERY JONES
-MSG debut for the heels. Gene Okerlund brings up Hart’s past with The Gentries and Neidhart’s past with the Oakland Raiders, then mentions that Wrestlemania is coming up.
-Lock-up dual is won by Jones, surprisingly, which upsets Neidhart and reminds Gorilla that Andre the Giant and Big John Studd will be attempting to bodyslam each other at Wrestlemania. Neidhart tries to flip Jones, but Jones just winds up stepping on his head, as Neidhart can’t get a damn thing going tonight. Gorilla suspects that Neidhart didn’t take this match seriously, and Gene says—seriously—that he can’t understand why you would underestimate anyone with the reputation of SD Jones.
-Neidhart finally gets off the blocks with a shot to the throat and a choke. Gorilla mentions the throng of photographers from Europe and the Orient at ringside, and Gene notes that they’re here in anticipation of Wrestlemania.
-SD gets pissed and fires off a series of headbutts that leave Neidhart dazed, but Neidhart manages to reverse an Irish whip and powerslams Jones for the win. “Oh well,” thinks Jones. “Next time will go better.” 0 for 3. This crowd is getting nothing tonight.
KING KONG BUNDY (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOSE LUIS RIVERA
-Bundy goes right to work with a kneedrop that could finish, but he decides to pull Rivera up at two and beat on him some more. Rivera gets a few dropkicks fired off at the big man, but Bundy fights back with a chop, which Gorilla classifies as pulling out all the stops. Avalanche and an elbow get three. 0 for 4.
-Gene Okerlund is in the locker room to talk about Wrestlemania which is coming up. He brings in Hulk Hogan & Mr. T for an interview. To show team unity, Hogan wears a button with Mr. T’s picture on it, and Mr. T wears a button with…uh…Mr. T’s picture on it. T says that Piper is dead meat, and Gene asks what he means by that. Hulk asks the fans to forgive them for whatever they end up doing to Piper and Orndorff.
Piper’s guest is Mr. T, but since neither guy trusts the other, Piper shows up with Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton, and Mr. T shows up with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka.
-Piper offers T a clean chair to sit in because he know T isn’t used to clean surroundings, but T still doesn’t trust Piper. Piper offers T a chance to back out of Wrestlemania and Piper says he’s ready and he ain’t worried. And then he offers Piper a chance to back out. He says he knows that Piper’s crazy behavior is just an act, because he’s smart enough to take cheap shots. Piper responds by showing Orton a series of drawings spoofing the Wrestlemania I poster, showing T wearing a series of body casts. Piper finishes his tour de force by putting on a Mohawk wig and showing T how ridiculous he looks, and when T looks ready to fight, Piper and his crew call it a night…but first they throw a cup of water in T’s face. Actually pretty entertaining. 1 for 5.
,b>DAVID SAMMARTINO vs. MATT BORNE
-Hard shove by l’il Dave as Gene notes that both men are second generation wrestlers. Borne gets the ball rolling with kneelifts and a belly-to-belly. Chinlock by Matt as Gene Okerlund earns his pay by pointing out that Borne appears to be talking to David while they're in the hold. Gorilla clarifies that he’s probably saying something like “Come on!” And hey, speaking of talking, Gorilla notes that everyone is talking about Wrestlemania. Gene Okerlund says Billy Martin told him that his friends in baseball are all talking about Wrestlemania. Gorilla predicts that it will be a happening.
-David throws punches and additional punches. David applies a chinlock of his own. Rear chinlock by Borne. David crawls across the ring with Borne on his back, and then from that position thrusts Borne into the turnbuckles. I think in David’s mind, that was supposed to get a bigger pop than it got. Irish whip by Borne. Neat effect caused by that; at MSG, the ring they used actually had the bell attached to it, and David hits the corner so hard that it causes the bell to sound.
-David goes to the top rope and gets Flair-slammed for two. Borne attempts a slam, but David rolls through and makes it a cradle for three. 1 for 6. Match of the night so far, but still a ponyloaf.
ANDRE THE GIANT, SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA, & JUNKYARD DOG (with Captain Lou Albano) vs. KEN PATERA, BIG JOHN STUDD, & JESSE “The Body” VENTURA (with Bobby Heenan)
-Wow, somebody screwed up the booking for this match. There are six guys in there and nobody’s a jobber! Bet someone got fired over that.
-Andre makes a beeline for Studd and immediately knocks him out of the ring. Match starts proper with JYD and Patera. Fists are traded and the Dog backdrops Patera. Andre tags in and noggin knocks Heenan’s boys. JYD adds more headbutts and Patera calls it a night. Patera stalls for five minutes, apparently forgetting that in a tag team match, you can tag members of your team.
-JYD winds up in the wrong corner and Jesse strangles him until all six men are in there brawling. Referee gets the ring cleared and Jesse makes the mistake of targeting the Dog’s head. JYD rams Jesse into the turnbuckle, and The Body does a tremendous sell. Snuka tags in and adds a diving headbutt from the second rope. Jesse gets the ball rolling again with some cheating and choking.
-Studd tries to finish early with a slam but Snuka breaks free. Bearhug by Studd. Snuka doesn’t give up, so Patera tags in to try his own bearhug. Snuka is still alive so Studd applies another bearhug. Mean Gene assures us that “Snuka is still coherent,” which makes me think Gene isn’t paying attention when they tape promos together. Snuka finally thinks to punch the guy bearhugging him and tags in Andre.
-Andre goes fucking nuts on Studd with chops and headbutts. He gets Studd in the air for a slam, but Patera attacks from behind to keep it from happening. Ventura tries to take advantage with a quick attack, but Andre boots him into position for a Superfly splash, and that gets three. 2 for 7. Fun if unspectacular action.
RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. TERRY GIBBS
-MSG debut for Steamboat.
-Slam by Steamboat and Gibbs immediately goes on the retreat. Gorilla mentions that Wrestlemania is coming up and will be a happening. Gibbs tries some hit & run & stall techniques to stay alive. Steamboat gets fed up and chases Gibbs around the ring apron. Gibbs gets back into the ring and manages to go on the attack. Slam by Gibbs gets two. Steamboat comes back with chops, and a bodypress from the top gets three. 2 for 8.
LUMBERJACK MATCH FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: GREG “The Hammer” VALENTINE (Champion, with Jimmy Hart) vs. TITO SANTANA
-This is from the MSG show that took place a week before Wrestlemania, where Greg was already slated to defend the title against Junkyard Dog. I really, really hate it when wrestling promotions do this. Honestly, do you think anybody who came to MSG for this match believed Tito was winning? It makes me nuts when they do a title match when they’ve already announced a title match for a future show. In the same vein, it drove me up a wall when they were building up Flair vs. Michaels at WM24 with Flair’s career on the line. How did they hype it? By having Flair wrestle with his career on the line every week on RAW! He shouldn’t have been in the ring at all leading up to that show!
-Oh, right, the match. Your lumberjacks are Barry O, Matt Borne, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Terry Gibbs, Charlie Fulton, Junkyard Dog, Rocky Johnson (actually called “The Rock” by Gorilla!) Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and about 20 photographers still milling around ringside.
-Valentine attacks during the referee’s instructions and hammers away. Eyerake and Tito ducks a clothesline and comes back with a right hand and some stomping. Valentine ducks out for a breather, but he does it on the heel’s side so they actually let him stay out there for a while. Valentine begs off in the corner but Tito catches him in mid-cheap shot and gets an atomic drop and a kneelift. Valentine ducks out for another breather, and JYD forces him back in this time.
-Another bail-out by Valentine, but this time he does it on the face side and gets tossed right back in, and Tito fires away again. Valentine escapes again (We GET it!) and Snuka forces him back in. Tito fires away and Irish-whips Valentine, but Valentine meets him with a boot and tosses him out of the ring, and now the heels are happy to immediately toss him back in the ring. Greg tosses him out again, and now the faces let him rest for a moment, irritating King Kong Bundy, who, by the way, somehow looks rounder in street clothes than he does in wrestling gear.
-Greg finally goes for a figure-four, but Tito reverses it for a small package…Okay, I take it back, the crowd totally believed a title change was coming there. Valentine tries to escape, but Tito yanks his tights to force him back in, because if there’s one thing my video & DVD collection was lacking until now, it was Greg Valentine’s bare ass.
-Tito with a lot of knees and stomping, and now it’s his turn to go for a figure-four, and Valentine blocks it. Valentine shocks me by actually bailing out, but the lumberjacks block him. Tito comes off the ropes with a running forearm, rather than a flying variety, and Tito finally gets the figure-four locked it. Jimmy hops on the apron, and the referee is distracted long enough for Studd & Fulton to pull Greg over to the ropes. Slugfest is won by Tito. He sends Valentine across the ropes and their heads collide, but when they both fall over unconscious, Valentine’s leg happens to be draped over Tito’s arm, and the referee counts the pin! 3 for 9.
The 411: Huh. Well, this copy seems to be missing a match pitting Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik against Bret(t) Hart & George Wells, and for all I know, that could have been a show-saving classic with wall-to-wall action. I don't feel right judging this incomplete version now, but I dare say that without the proper context that may have been added by that extra match, this show sucked a dick assembled from the meatiest portions of one thousand much smaller dicks.