Monday, February 25, 2013

WWWF MSG-August 1, 1977

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

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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

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