Stan Stasiak v. Dominic Denucci:Ref-Gil Roman
This was a great match. Both guys were on equal footing the entire time as Stasiak relied on strikes and Denucci relied on submissions and counters. Denucci worked the arm with a shoulder breaker but Stasiak hit a kidney punch and tried a heart punch but was stopped. Denucci did a version of a Japanese arm drag and kept working on the arm and wrist. Out of a wrist lock, Stan nipped up and reversed into his own wrist lock. Subsequently, Denucci nipped up but was yanked back down. Later, Stasiak hit a dropkick that sent Denucci out to the apron.
Stan moved in for the kill and was on Denucci pretty bad with strikes and stomps and even an eyerake. Stasiak missed another heart punch but got in a full nelson. Denucci tried to roll out of it, failed, but just reversed it with a go-behind. Stasiak tried the same thing and was very slow in his roll and caught a fist, as a result. Stasiak got back on him with some chokes that the ref tried to break up and even got into Stasiak's face. This gave Denucci a chance to get up and they traded right hands. Stasiak stopped him but only for a little while as Denucci began fighting back hard with thrust chops and then an abdominal stretch. They both ran at each other, collided, and fell but they got up. Stan missed a standing heart punch, then he punched the mat when he missed on a lying Denucci. Then, Denucci went after the wrapped up hand of Stasiak and ripped the bandages off and he stomped his hand. Denucci then hit his own heart punch and Stasiak sold like a crazy person. He even hit a second punch and then, Stasiak got his own in but Denucci shook it off completely. The idea that Vince had tried getting across early in the match was that many people thought Stan was taping some type of object in his hand. The fact that his heart punch had no effect without the bandages, proved that. Denucci was on him more and Stasika got caught up in the ropes. Shortly thereafter, the bell was rung as the time limit had expired and it was a draw.
Haystacks Calhoun v. Baron Mikel Scicluna-Ref:???
I was not expecting much and did not get much. Baron tried to make Haystacks look good by selling and giving him offense but it did not help. Haystacks splashed him in the corner and Baron escaped to the apron. Baron got the advantage with some kicks but they both started trading right hands and Baron was sent down and went back onto the apron. Like a minor tidal wave, Haystacks caught him coming in with a bearhug that was eventually stopped with one eye poke. Baron had Calhoun in the corner but that did not last long as Baron ended up tangled in the ropes. Calhoun sat on the middle rope to prevent him from escaping too soon. The crowd was into this, to an extent and Haystacks gave him an eye poke. Baron was free and got Calhoun down and delivered stomps and chokes. Calhoun fought back with an elbow and some kicks. Wisely, Baron ran and put on a waist lock to the big man. Not a smart move. Baron got bumped back, elbowed, and hit with a big running splash and lost.
S.D. Jones v. Victor Rivera w/Fred Blassie “The Hollywood Fashion Plate”-Ref:???
Rivera suckered Jones to start with as Jones was running at him and got tossed outside. Rivera would not let him back in despite repeated attempts. Finally, Jones hit some shoulder blocks and got back inside. Rivera begged off and like an idiot, Jones followed him and got suckered and thrown back outside. Rivera was still relentless in stopping Jones and he even went on the apron to hammer some sense into Jones. Maybe he will learn to be more careful as Rivera is asking for mercy. Rivera bit him and it fired Jones up. He charged into the ring, nailing a headbutt and a hip toss and Rivera escaped outside. Now, Jones would not let Rivera back inside. Of course, right after he got back in, Rivera suckered him in again and even delivered a low-blow right in front of the referee. Jones was not very bright, maybe that is why he never won many titles in New York. Rivera put on a nerve hold with some disguised chokes. Rivera kept stopping a couple hope spots by Jones. S.D. Finally got fired up again and got out of the nerve hold. He gave Rivera a headbutt and two back drops but he missed a dive in the corner and hit his shoulder. Then, Rivera gave him a suplex and pinned him. This was a serviceable match with good heat. I really like Jones' fire and his comeback was nice. Rivera got heat on him pretty good. Jones debuted with the McMahons on April 25, 1974, in Trenton, NJ, against Nikolai Volkoff. He wrestled mostly in the Northeast and rarely won matches.
Ivan Koloff w/Capt. Lou v. Bob Backlund w/Arnold Skaaland:Ref-John Stanley
What a match, just great. This was the battle of the headscissors for both fighters featuring a ton of good mat work. Bob tried some hip tosses early but blocked. Ivan was too strong for him but Bob nailed a headscissors and got him down. He had it on pretty tight as Ivan tried twisting out but could not. Eventually, Ivan got his back on top of Bob and tried pinning him while in a waist lock. Backlund kept bridging out and he finally flipped him over, put him in the corner, and kicked him away. They were back on equal footing and this had good heat real early. Both competitors tried a test of strength but Bob lost control. He got out and put on a wrist lock that was countered into a ground headscissors for Ivan. Bob almost got out quickly but Ivan pulled his hair and got him back in. Bob did a handstand to get out but ate a mule kick and followed up with a drop kick and a flying headscissors take down.
Backlund went after the leg again but got kicked around quickly. Ivan hit a backbreaker but Bob grabbed another headlock. He was then sent into the ropes and they both collided as Bob went crashing to the floor. Backlund was suplexed back in and hit with another backbreaker. Ivan went to the top and missed a flying knee drop but he persevered and sent Bob back outside. Ivan went back to the top as Bob was on the floor and actually hit a flying foot stomp towards the apron.
He did not go all the way to the floor. By this point, Backlund was cut and Stanley wanted the doctor to check him out. However, Bob kept fighting and they traded blows back-and-forth. Backlund hit a drop kick and a back drop but the ref still called for the bell. Bob was furious and put Koloff int the atomic drop. Howard Finkel gave the word that Stanley had stopped the match due to Backlund being unable to continue and Ivan got the victory.
Their re-match was on September 25 and Backlund won clean, in MSG. Koloff beat Backlund on October 2 with a similar finish, in Boston and on the fifth, in Pittsburgh. They went on to wrestle numerous other times in 1978 including a cage match in Baltimore on December 30. Koloff was done with the territory by 1980 but he did wrestle Bob one more time on a JCP show on March 29, 1981. He returned to New York in 1983 and had another fight with Backlund on April 23, 1983, in Los Angeles and April 25, at MSG. Of all places, they last wrestled for the WWF/WWWF Title in East Liverpool, OH on November 19, 1983.
Ivan Koloff's final WWF match was at Madison Square Garden, on December 26, 1983, losing to Tito Santana. Bob Backlund's final WWF match until the 90's was against Salvatore Bellomo in Philadelphia, PA, on August 4, 1984.
“Crazy” Luke Graham v. Peter Maivia:Ref-Jack Lotz
Boring and dull match. Maivia comedy early on and he controlled the offense early, as well. Graham got the heat on Maivia with a combo nerve-wrist lock but the crowd did not care much when Maivia fought back and was on top. Maivia put on a bearhug and Graham teased getting an object from his tights. Graham broke it with a shot to the throat and started destroying Maivia with strikes and double-axe handles. Eventually, Maivia fired back and even choked Graham on the mat and almost got disqualified for it. Couple that with an earlier eye rake and Maivia was cheating hard here for a babyface. As Maivia was being admonished by Jack Lotz, Graham got an object from his tights and later, nailed Maivia with it in the throat. He tried some more shots but the ref saw the object and called for the bell with a disqualification of Graham.
Luke Graham, along with Tarzan Tyler were the first WWE Tag Team champions in 1971. He also held the United States Tag Team titles with Dr. Jerry Graham for almost a year from 1964-1965.
Dusty Rhodes v. “Superstar” Billy Graham:Ref-Jay Strongbow-Texas Bullrope Match
These guys had to answer an eight-count or they would lose. The story was that Strongbow kept trying to break up Graham's offense in the corner, even though there were no disqualifications. At first, Graham did not want to be tied to the rope but Dusty hit him with the cowbell and got tied. Lots of stalling from Graham by trying to escape and getting pulled back in. Graham's facial expressions, as usual, were very good. Dusty missed a flying elbow in the corner and Graham got some offense in. Graham grabbed the cowbell and nailed Dusty with it and threw him to the floor. He dragged Rhodes back in and Dusty was bleeding heavily. Graham started choking him and Strongbow tried to break it up. Graham followed up with a bearhug but Rhodes fought out with an elbow to the head. Graham went to the top-rope but got yanked down, as Dusty was fired up and ready to fight. He dug the cowbell into Graham's forehead causing him to start bleeding. Again, Dusty missed in the corner and Graham pounced with knees. Strongbow started pulling on Graham to get him out of the corner and they started arguing. This allowed Dusty to hit a cowbell shot to the face that sent Graham to the floor and he could not answer the eight-count.
This match reminded me how under-rated Graham was. His facials were excellent and his bumping for Rhodes was top-notch. Rhodes and Graham wrestled in Boston on January 16 to 10,400 and again on March 6. Andre reffed their next encounter in Boston on March 27 to a blood stoppage, which was common for their feud. Their first match at Madison Square Garden on July 24 ended with Graham winning after Dusty hit the referee, which led into this match in August that Vince referred to as the rubber match on commentary. Their last big match was on November 18 in Philadelphia to 15,249. Graham's last match in this time frame was on November 23 against Andre in Nashua, NH, of all places.
The Fabulous Moolah v. Vicki Williams:Ref-Jack Lotz-NWA Women's Championship
Pretty solid match here. Williams got a lot of action and kept fighting. The fighting was non-stop through the whole match. Williams bumped really well for Moolah's offense. They exchanged quick snap mares and Moolah begged off a little on the apron. Williams got a slam in and started working on Moolah's left arm, stretching it out. Moolah got a rope break and got some hard kicks in but Williams held her own. Moolah put on a key lock on the mat and Williams kept trying to reverse it with a cover but was always yanked out of it by her hair. Williams got rammed into the corner hard and Moolah came running at her on the third one. Williams used a good roll-up for a two-count. Williams hit a monkey flip and tried to pin Moolah on top her but Moolah reversed it into another pin and won the match.
Vicki Williams worked a lot putting over Moolah throughout the 70's. She also won the NWA World Women's Championship with Joyce Grable twice on opposite ends of the 70's. Their feud was actually mentioned in a Sports Illustrated piece about Moolah from 1974. Williams was also involved in a small feud with Roddy Piper over the place of women in wrestling. Williams wanted to prove that women were as tough as men at pro wrestling but Piper did not agree. They did a series of angles where Piper attacked her. Ron Starr did not like this and confronted Piper about it. He grabbed Piper and held him so that Williams could slap him. These angles led to a tag team match with Piper and Judy Martin losing to Starr and Williams on April 24, 1979.
Yukon Lumberjacks (Eric and Pierre)/Spiros Arion v. Andre The Giant/Dino Bravo/Tony Garea:Ref-Jack Lotz
Not much here. Garea worked over all three of his opponents early on but got caught and thrown into the corner. The heels ganged up on him and Jack Lotz disqualified them for the first fall.
Garea and Eric started the second fall but Bravo finally got in there with Arion. They did a criss-cross that ended with a Bravo hip toss. Pierre got in and went to work on Bravo with a back breaker but it could not keep Bravo from making a tag to Andre. Andre, acting as the executioner for a heel tag team and a former WWWF prodigy, gave Pierre an atomic drop, big boot, and then, a splash for the win. The heel were treated like losers, especially considering the Lumberjacks were WWWF Tag Team Champions at this time.
After having read Mad Dogs, Midgets, and Screwjobs, I went into this match with hopes of seeing Dino Bravo in action. It was disappointing to not see very much of him in this match. Prior to reading the wonderful book by Pat Laprade and Bertrand Hebert, I only knew Bravo from his heel WWF run, alongside Frenchy Martin, and later, Earthquake. Bravo is number five on the list of all-time draws in Montreal. He was seen by some journalists as a possible successor to Bruno Sammartino, as a babyface. Bravo owned shares in International Wrestling, a major Montreal organization, before leaving for the WWF as Vince expanded into Montreal in 1985-1986. He worked with numerous greats in the territory, including Nick Bockwinkel, Rick Martel, Hulk Hogan, and Billy Robinson. On April 8, 1985, Martel and Bravo beat the Road Warriors by DQ in the Forum. In total, he was International Heavyweight Champion six times and International Tag Team Champion once with Tony Parisi. Parisi was a former WWWF/WWF Tag Team Champion with Louis Cerdan/Gino Brito and WWWF US Tag Team Champion with Johnny Valentine and Spiros Arion. Gino Brito was also a partner in International Wrestling. Bravo was the last great draw for the Montreal territory before the WWF took over. In 1985, the WWF even gave him the distinction as Canadian Champion, due to his being International Heavyweight Champion, at the time.
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