Monday, February 25, 2013

WWWF MSG-August 1, 1977

  This review is missing the Ivan Putski v. Baron Von Raschke match from this card...

Just a reminder, I still have a contest going for a free back issue of the Observer with an amazing article on the history of the WWWF/WWF until 1984, here are the rules...

1...Follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps and look for my contest tweet and then re-tweet it to your followers

2...Email me at and tell me you want to win

3...Comment on any post of mine on my blog at until March 1st

4...Refer anyone to my blog and have them do any of the prior three steps. Be sure to mention to them to note your referral.

Carlos Colon v. Johnny Rodz-Referee Mike Thanosoulos
Carlos Colon

Pretty decent opener here with a ton of innovative offense, for the time, from Colon. Literally Rodz did nothing but strikes and was on top most of the time. The story of the match was that Rodz was pounding on Colon and even knocked him to floor and stopping him from getting back in. However, once Colon got some momentum, it was Rodz who was thrown outside and not allowed back in until Colon flung him back in. The crowd was into the match especially considering Colon's offense. He fired the crowd up with a cartwheel first, and later, hit two ranas. The finish was Colon climbing on top of Johnny's shoulders and rolling forward for the pin. Every time Rodz begged off, the crowd wanted Colon to go in for the kill. This was Colon's first time in MSG since 1969.
Roll-up pin
Toru Tanaka/Mr. Fuji v. Lenny Hurst/Jose Gonzalez-Two of Three Falls-Referee Mike Thanosoulos
Tanaka and Fuji

Not much to this much but it had good heat and the crowd was really behind Hurst and Gonzalez. Gonzalez started off really hot with some dropkicks that sent both opponents out to the floor. Whenever the faces would get some momentum going, Fuji and Tanaka would shut them down with karate thrusts and strikes. Fuji hit Gonzalez with a big clothesline, dubbed the Kamikaze clothesline, a jumping version. The rules were always that the last two guys to finish the last fall would have to start the next one and Jose was in trouble. Hurst tried to motivate him but Fuji stopped that. Gonzalez was thrown into the corner and did a crazy flip bump into the middle buckle and went tumbling out to the floor. Afterwards, Tanaka missed an elbow and Hurst got the tag in and cleaned house but was stopped dead in his tracks by Tanaka's throat shots. Tanaka put Hurst in a cobra clutch/Japanese sleeper and then pinned him for the second fall. This was only Hurst's second MSG appearance and the second time he teamed with Jose in the WWWF. They actually ended up fighting a couple times later in 1977.
Japanese Sleeper finish
Tanaka begging for mercy
“Chief” Jay Strongbow v. Ken Patera w/Lou Albano-Referee Dick Kroll
Chief Jay

What a wild match this was, with great heat as the crowd was in love with Strongbow. They both wanted to kill each other. Jay chased Albano, grabbed one of his shoes, and delivered some shots to the Captain who bumped like a madman, before being escorted out of ringside. Jay nailed a bunch of shots to Patera, including chops, and Patera begged off. Patera ended up with the advantage and an arm bar but Strongbow rallied and targeted Ken's knee with several kicks. As a result, Patera got caught in the ropes. Ken stopped his momentum and put him in the full nelson but Jay got to the ropes early. Vince was selling that even though it was only on for a short time, it may have done serious damage to Strongbow. However, Ken put on a bearhug, which was broken quick and a full nelson that was broken when Jay used momentum to fling Patera into the corner. This was Jay's big comeback and the crowd was wild for it. Strikes, knee lifts followed by a sleeper but Patera pushed Strongbow out of it into the ropes and they collided, sending Jay out to the floor for a count-out. Jay had until twenty to get back in and he made it to the apron by around twelve but stalled getting in, selling the collision like crazy, almost comically. Strongbow came back in for revenge and put the sleeper on again but Patera escaped and left ringside. Pretty fun match here with very few bumps.
Patera armbar
Billy Graham w/Grand Wizard v. Bruno Sammartino w/Arnold Skaaland-Guest Referee Gorilla Monsoon-WWWF Championship
Gorilla as ref with HUGE bow-tie
This was a follow-up to their match on June 27th, that Graham said was the match where he heard the most heat in his career.  Wild, wild match with both guys ending up bloody. Graham tried to attack Bruno but Gorilla pulled him off allowing Bruno to get a sucker punch in and start hammering on the champ. Bruno stayed on him with boots and even a choke, which was broken up by Gorilla who picked Bruno up and away from Graham. 

On commentary, Gorilla said that sometimes a ref has to get physical in order to break a hold. However, for years, I can recall him making the opposite argument about how a ref should never put his hands on a wrestler. Graham managed to pull Bruno outside and he grabbed a rope from under the ring. They got back inside the ring, Graham tried to use the rope but Gorilla stepped in and tried to take it away. Bruno then got the rope and began choking Billy with it before Gorilla finally tossed it out of the ring. 

Graham missed a big running high knee in the corner and Bruno went to work on his leg as Graham ended up tied in the ropes. Then, Graham got an eye poke in followed by a low blow and went to the top rope but missed with a knee drop.

Logically, that probably was not Billy's best thought out move considering the work Bruno already put on his knee. Bruno missed a charging should tackle in the corner and Graham grabbed the title and nailed him with it, cutting open the challenger. Gorilla kept checking the cut as Bruno made a comeback. Billy tried to leave and was chased by Gorilla. Billy took a swing at him, missed, and Gorilla picked him up and threw him back into the ring to amazing heat. 

Graham was rammed into two posts and ended up bloody too. Bruno was fiery, by this point, and hoisted Graham up in a bearhug but Graham punched Gorilla to break the hold. 

However, Gorilla did not call for the DQ as his shirt was extremely bloody. By this point, Bruno was destroying Billy but Gorilla finally called for the bell and a double DQ. Bruno came back and kept attacking Superstar. This match had a ton of heat but not quite as much as the previous June show. In comparison, this match was more wild as Bruno was ready to fight. Good match and Graham's selling was top notch. He always gets criticized for being a “bad” worker but he could sell like a beast and make his opponent's offense look brutal and grueling. This was the last time they would wrestle in MSG until 1978, after Superstar lost the WWWF Title.
Superstar tied in the ropes
Graham bringing in the rope (bad pic)
Peter Maivia v. Nikolai Volkoff-Referee Dick Kroll

Maivia was undefeated so far in the WWWF and these guys wrestled several times before this match, including two television matches. Maivia's next match the following day was a count-out win against WWWF Champion Billy Graham on August 2nd in New Bedford, MA at the Hetland Skating Arena. This started out as a power slugfest with Nikolai controlling the tempo with a couple bearhugs. Vince even thought Maivia was done for until he exploded with some hot offense and had the place going nuts. Later, Maivia nailed a back breaker on his knee and then his own bearhug resulting in Nikolai collapsing. Dick Kroll administered a ten-count but Nikolai made it up as Vince questioned why Maivia did not go after him instead of letting him get back up. Next was a series of humorous spots designed to humiliate Nikolai. Out of a greco-roman knuckle lock, Maivia stepped on his hands. He patted his ass in a submission as Nikolai was getting upset. He grabbed Maivia's arm and tried to work on it but Maivia stuck his thumb in his ear. 
Thumb in the ear

The crowd ate this stuff up and Maivia was smiling the whole way. Volkoff then bit him and tried ramming his head into the corner several times which did not work at all. He hit a knee and then tried a back drop but Maivia slipped behind him and rolled him up for the win. This match was boring at times but Nikolai was fun to watch as the evil striker and the foil to Maivia.

Tony Garea/Larry Zbyszko v. George Steele/Stan Stasiak-Two out of three falls-Referee Jack Lotz

The ref did the worst job any referee could ever do during this match. The story was the heels were passing around a foreign object amongst themselves and using it on the faces, Garea and Zbyszko. Occasionally, the faces would get something going but would be shot down quickly. This all occurred for about a half-hour. Some of the cheating was actually seen right in front of Jack Lotz and he never called for a DQ. In the beginning, I liked the heel work of Stasiak and Steele but it never really led anywhere until the very end. The ref kept trying to check the heels for the object but they would pass it away from Lotz before he could see it. Steele brought in a chair, and later an umbrella, that were grabbed by Garea and used on Steele. 
Stasiak tried for the heart punch three times and failed every time. The heels tried to ram the heads of the faces into one another but they ended up being pushed into each other instead. Still, Steele nailed Garea immediately after the heels collided. Vince wondered how Garea was still breathing at this point. The faces were being destroyed and sweating like pigs by the end of this match. Vince also said Garea looked like he aged a bit during this match. Finally, Steele put Garea in a nerve hold that was broken and the foreign object went flying. Garea grabbed it and went to town on Steele and the faces finally got retribution. The faces were double-teaming Steele and Stasiak when the ref called for the bell and awarded the entire match to Zbyszko and Garea. This match started to drag on towards the end but it finally did lead to a conclusion after all the non-stop heel cheating. This was not an exciting match but the heel work was great.
Garea finally has the foreign object
The object is in Steele's mouth
Steele getting the tag rope
Steele stuck in the ropes
Before the big collision
Referee Pics

Dick Kroll
Jack Lotz

That is it for this huge update.  I will be back with the next Primetime episode in a week or so.  Please remember to join my contest as I do not have very many entrants so far and it is almost over.  Thanks.

Steve Viglio

Contest info

 Each month I will be giving away new prizes to those who help promote my blog.  This month I am giving away the March 24, 2003 Wrestling Observer Newsletter issue with a look back at the history of the WWWF/WWF from Bruno Sammartino up until the start of the national expansion and Hulkamania. Here are the ways to win it...

1...Follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps and look for my contest tweet and then re-tweet it to your followers

2...Email me at and tell me you want to win

3...Comment on any post of mine on my blog at until March 1st

4...Refer anyone to my blog and have them do any of the prior three steps. Be sure to mention to them to note your referral.

From now until March 1st, you can enter and after that date I will put everyone's name into a hat and pick one. I will contact you, get your info, and mail the prize to you!

We only have a couple entrants so far so please enter and you'll have a great chance of winning!

Friday, February 15, 2013

WWF Primetime-March 21,1988

It is the go-home show for WrestleMania IV and Gorilla is at Trump Plaza getting ready. He is looking for Bobby, asking the attendant if he has seen him, and he has never even heard of Heenan.

Next, we see Heenan trying to check in at the front desk but they can not find his reservation that Miss Betty made for him. The clerk says all they have for him was a Trump Plaza hat and Bobby was appalled at this and called the lady a bimbo. Bobby insisted that she call Donald Trump but she had not direct number to him and Heenan said he had it though. Gorilla finally met up with him and the lady and security all knew exactly who Monsoon was. Gorilla said he could stay in his suite but he had to use a roll away bed.

The Killer Bees v. The Conquistadors-Winston-Salem, NC March 9, 1988
This was a short, basic but very fun match with the Bees in control most of the time. The Bees kept getting the upper hand as the Conquistadors could not communicate very well. Blair put on an abdominal stretch and for some reason, Brunzell distracted the ref which allowed for an illegal tag and isolation of Blair. This led to all the usual tag match spots and hope spots including a tag that the ref missed. Then, the Bees managed to get their masks on and kept switching out illegally much like the Conquistadors had done earlier on Blair. The ref was totally lost by this point and I believe Blair came off the ropes with an elbow and got the win. The parts of this were very fun with the Bees switching out. The Conquistadors were Jose Estrada and Jose Rivera.

Gorilla and Bobby arrived at their suite and Bobby was very impressed. He stole something off a table but Gorilla said he would be frisked and searched before leaving the hotel. Gorilla told him not to touch anything but Bobby touched a chandelier and got smacked for it.

S.D. Jones v. Steve Lombardi-March 5, 1988 Boston Garden

This match was about as boring and basic as you can get. Jones spent most of the time selling and his comeback was slow and dull. Apparently, Terry Garvin was at the Boston Gardens to watch Lombardi during this match. I can't seem to imagine anyone, even Garvin, desiring to watch this match. Heenan was shown at the hotel picking Jones to win this match because he would not pick someone associated with Garvin. Lombardi sure has a ton of back-ne. Lord Alfred said Lombardi has gotten some wins lately and Gorilla asked if this was when he was away. Gorilla said that Lombardi must have met up with Brutus Beefcake for his haircut and that he could not imagine anyone paying for his haircut. The only decent/unique part of this match was a hope spot where Jones kept rolling, trying to trip up Lombardi as he was running the ropes. The finish was a small package by Lombardi in the middle of the ring and no one could believe it. Lombardi finally got some heat for this match after he won. Tremendous dud here.

Bobby was back at the hotel and he did not want champagne that the waiter was handing out as he brought his own big bottle of sparkling water. He was trying to lay off stuff like that because he was training for his match at Mania. 

We had a Craig update and he asked who would be champ after Mania. The show is sold out and he ran down the tourney. We saw very short promos from Don Muraco, Dino Bravo, Jake Roberts, and Rick Rude for their matches. We then got a Robin Leech promo as he was announced as the guy who would present the belt to the winner of the tournament.

Craig interviewed Hulk Hogan and he ran down the status of Hulkamania. He said it was in a positive upswing. Hulk saw the dollar signs in the eyes of Andre and Dibiase's laugh after being handed the belt made his Hulkamaniacs cry. Hulk said his fans would never cry again and that Andre has never beaten him. Well, at least not in the last seven to eight years. Dibiase has no chance at Mania and he still saw dollar signs in Andre's eyes. At Mania, he will prove that if you live by the buck then you die by the buck and the Maniacs will have the last laugh.

Heenan talked to his friends on the phone whom he promised tickets but could not make good with that promise. They are now going to rent out MSG and watch the show on giant closed-circuit screens in their own private viewing party. He said something went wrong with the mail as to why the tickets did not come through. Next, we got a Bob Eucker promo.

Gorilla and Bobby were playing blackjack. Bobby was given $8000 in chips to play but they were actually chocolate mints and they would not let him play. Also, he could not get a line of credit to play anything. He told Gorilla that he was too good of a player to play there anyway.

Hercules w/Bobby Heenan v. Scott Casey-Bristol, TN March 8, 1988

Hercules had just got done doing a few jobs to guys like Ken Patera and Ricky Steamboat, prior to this taping. Vince McMahon seemed to have a fascination with Bobby's “posterior” during this match. He kept talking about it and saying how he could not wait until Mania to see Matilda bite him in that location. Scott Casey got some good offense in the beginning but things did not pan out too well for him in the end. Hercules threw him over the top rope but Casey held on and ran at Herc with a cross body on the other side, spilling both men outside to the floor. Casey gave him some shots outside and a suplex and backbreaker, inside the ring. However, all Herc had to do to stop him was hit him in the throat. Either Casey's offensive moves are executed poorly or Hercules does have mythological powers in his hands. Vince can not wait to see Matilda's face on a giant closed-circuit screen as she bites Bobby's posterior. Casey got a short comeback but it was not much and lost via the torture rack and he got dumped with a backbreaker on Herc's shoulders for good measure. This was not the worst squash I have seen but nothing too amazing. On a side note, Hercules and The Warrior went to a twenty-minute draw on January 22nd in Rochester! Anyone got a handheld of that one?

Bobby ordered some drinks for him and Gorilla and he gave the waitress a mint as a tip and then left for the health club at the hotel.

Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart v. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC

Poffo had a short poem that Vince was very excited about. I have no idea how anyone could think that this gimmick would work for a babyface. Valentine showed that he was the veteran by dominating Poffo with clubbing strikes and knees. He tried to hit Poffo from the top and got a fist in the gut as a result. They duked it out in the corner but Valentine dished out an eye poke to stop it and continued his dominance. Poffo got some hope spots but nothing major and then a comeback. There was even a small Poffo chant. He tried a leap in the corner and missed big, allowing Valentine to hit him from the top and put on the figure-four for the win. Pretty average squash but Valentine is always a fun watch. I can't think of much historical stuff to say about Poffo other than Frenchy Martin beat him in Toronto in November 1987. He also took the fall during Boris Zhukov's TV debut in that same year in Green Bay.
Missed dive

Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart v. Jim Evans-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC

Short squash match. Jesse Ventura said that one thing Honky has going for him is luck and that can not be easily overcome. Honky did some strikes, a clothesline, and the Shake, Rattle, and Roll for the win. Vince hates his hair and is eagerly anticipating Brutus Beefcake cutting it at Mania. Honky tried to sing and wanted to his music played but Brutus cut it off. He said that he would also cut off Honky's hair at Mania.

Bobby is in the gym filled with archaic equipment that is probably housed in some fitness museum today. He is on the bike and Gorilla asked how long he had been going and he said he has not stopped peddling since he got there. Gorilla tried looking for an odometer but it was broke and Bobby said he was keeping track of his distance in his mind. Later, in another segment in the gym, Bobby was seen sweating and he said he would try to move around a lot during his Mania match. He also predicted Andre would win the title, if Rick Rude got eliminated.

George Petraski v. Junkyard Dog-March 8, 1988 Bristol, TN

Petraski had a build like an old-school wrestler, similar to Stan Stasiak, just fatter. He did not fare very well against JYD. At one point, he attempted a slam but it was blocked. Later, like a dummy, he tried for another slam which was also blocked. JYD hit a powerslam for the win and he had the crowd behind him the entire match. Petraski only worked a handful of matches in 1988 and for the WWF and ended up back there in 1992 under the last name Petrovsky. He was trained by Ox Baker and also worked some WCW and AWA as a job guy, under the name The Russian Brute. Wikipedia seems to also have him working with Angelo Savoldi in ICW earlier in the 80's.

Interview with Dibiase and Andre about Mania. Dibiase said that no one will stop his destiny to become WWF Champion. All the Hulk-A-Morons have no faith in Hogan anymore because he is a loser. Andre said he was still undefeated and by the end of Mania, Hogan will still be the ex-champ.

Ken Patera v. Tom Stone-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC

It was pretty ironic that Patera faced a guy named Tom Stone. No intros for this one and it was a pretty boring squash. The only entertaining thing was Stone getting slammed on the floor outside. Patera won with the full nelson. Nothing but squashes is how this episode is ending up.

Bobby was getting a massage from a woman named Barbara. Bobby asked her to go a little harder but Gorilla took over for her. He went really rough on her until Bobby realized it was him.

WrestleMania report with Mean Gene running down all the matches. He called One Man Gang tons of fun. We saw short promos from Hercules, Ultimate Warrior, JYD, Harley Race, and the Bolsheviks.

Bobby was training on the boardwalk by running on the beach. He said his guys have been training there for a week.

Harley Race v. The Ultimate Warrior-March 5, 1988 Boston Garden

This was a rematch of sorts from the February 22nd show (January 26th event). Race made the Warrior look about as good as anyone could. In the beginning, he sold and bumped a ton for Warrior's strikes including falling down the ring steps and getting his foot tangled in the railing of them. At one point, they collided and Warrior went down as Race bounced off the ropes and fell head first into Warrior's crotch. Later, Race hit some headbutts and a piledriver and used Warrior's momentum to fling him outside. He tried to suplex him back in but the Warrior got behind him and rolled him up for the win. Not a very good match here but who really expected one?

Heenan told Gorilla he drank a carrot, banana, sour kraut, and dill pickle health drink for his training. We got a very short Strike Force promo followed by the closing of the show as Bobby pushed Gorilla away on the boardwalk in a cart.

My goal is to do an update once a week for the next few weeks to catch up on things, including more Primetime episodes.

I am going to be giving away a back issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It is the March 24, 2003 issue with a look back at the history of the WWWF/WWF from Bruno Sammartino up until the start of the national expansion and Hulkamania. It is an amazing article and here are the ways to win it...

1...Follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps and look for my contest tweet and then re-tweet it to your followers

2...Email me at and tell me you want to win

3...Comment on any post of mine on my blog at until March 1st

4...Refer anyone to my blog and have them do any of the prior three steps. Be sure to mention to them to note your referral.

From now until March 1st, you can enter and after that date I will put everyone's name into a hat and pick one. I will contact you, get your info, and gladly mail the prize to you! You can enter as many times as you do any of the above ways but only once for number two!


Steve Viglio