Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WWWF January 17,1977-Madison Square Garden

This was Howard Finkel's debut at MSG. 

Baron Mikel Scicluna v. Pat Patterson-Ref Terry Terranova

Match was nothing special, mostly Pat working from the bottom. This was his MSG debut and he was billed as the North American Champion. It was also Pat's second match for Vince Sr. as he had only previously wrestled in August 1967 in San Francisco against Jim Osborne. That card looks to have been a Shire show with some New York guys sent to help out. Not sure if that was just a mistake in announcing him by Finkel on the title. Vince kept mentioning he was in contention for the United States Championship, alluding to the NWA San Francisco US Title that he had lost to Mr. Fuji around a year earlier. It certainly was not the WWF North American Title he won in 1979 that was referred to. The match was built around the fact that the Baron was hiding a foreign object. The match was back and forth, in a way, as Baron would be stomping on Pat for a while and Pat would get a quick hope spot and get shut down soon after. Baron got in a back drop and when he tried for a second, Patterson gave him a sunset flip and won. Baron attacked him after the match but Patterson fired back and Scicluna retreated.

Bruno Sammartino w/Arnold Skaaland & Larry Zbyszko v. Ken Patera w/Capt. Louis Albano-WWWF Championship-Ref:Danny Bartfield

This was a back-and-forth match with a pissed off Bruno towards the end. This was also Patera's first match in MSG. The fans were whistling at Patera as he disrobed. Captain Lou went at Bruno and got nailed and he ran to the back. Patera won a lock-up but Bruno followed up with a slam. Patera called for a test of strength and despite a small attempt at some shots, this stopped Bruno for a bit. Bruno's lower back was hurt and Patera knew it and targeted it with knees and elbows. Ken initiated some bearhugs that were stopped and Bruno was fired up. He hit a back drop after a corner mule kick and he mocked Patera with a biceps pose, which was great.
They both ended up on equal ground again with a lock-up with Bruno getting an arm drag in. This was countered into some elbows, a chin lock, and a full nelson attempt that was thwarted. Bruno was fired up again and Patera was bewildered. Bruno had a front face lock in but it was broken by the ropes and Patera followed up with several chokes and was close to getting disqualified. Bruno hit one of his numerous mule kicks and they began dueling on their knees with punches. Bruno won out and nailed some stomps to the head. Quickly, after an irish whip out of a headlock, they both were in a criss-cross and they collided sending Bruno to the floor. Patera followed as they brawled and Ken grabbed a chair and hit him in the back and got back in. Bruno was counted out for the win by Patera but they both still wanted to fight. Patera charged at him but was met with a kick and Ken left. This match set up some future matches between the two with four major matches held at Madison Square Garden, of which Patera only won this one. Check out their great blow-off to this feud in my write-up of August 29 show.

Billy White Wolf/Chief Jay Strongbow (WWWF Tag Champs) v. The Executioners (Big John Studd/Killer Kowalski)-WWWF Tag Team Championship-Ref:Danny Bartfield

The Executioners won the tag titles on May 11, 1976 but were stripped of the belts for foul play in a previous encounter with Chief Jay and Billy. The Executioners were disqualified after an October 5 match when a third Executioner (Nikolai Volkoff) interefered. Strongbow and White Wolf won the belts on December 7, 1976 in a tournament.

Not too unentertaining. I liked Studd and Kowalski a lot. They spent most of the time double teaming Billy and Jay. Kowalski did some great strikes off the top and middle rope. In fact, he went to the top a lot here. All four guys got in but Kowalski was knocked outside. Studd was hit with a running chop and lost the first pinfall.

Chief Jay got isolated really early in the second fall with lots of double teaming from the heels. At one point, he was in a double bearhug. Jay started to pull at Studd's mask and almost got it off. I am left to wonder if the fans in the territory knew who the Executioners were under the masks. Jay made the tag and Billy got no offense in at all. He got brought back into the heel corner and hit with a double slam and a pin.

Third fall started with another bearhug on White Wolf. He was not too bright in this match. He got pushed into the heel corner more and Kowalski hit a couple moves from the top. Billy managed an ugly sunset flip but could not win. Billy went behind Kowalski later as Jay nailed him, and he tripped over Billy and got pinned.


Ivan Putski v. Bruiser Brody-Ref:Terry Terranova

Not much to this match, just a lot of clubbering. Putski had Brody reeling with headlocks initially until Brody got some offense in. Brody hit an atomic drop out of a headlock to stop Putski. Later, they started hammering each other and were fighting in the corner. Terry Terranova warned them to stop but they did not and he disqualified both guys. There was never a blow-off for these two and Brody left the territory later in 1977, for the time being

Stan “The Man” Stasiak w/The Grand Wizard v. Bobo Brazil-Ref:???

Mostly striking and brawling for this one. Early on, Stasiak tried for the heart punch twice and failed. Neither guy had much of an advantage. They ended up fighting twice on the apron teasing a count-out both times. After the second attempt, Stan choked Brazil in the corner and would not break it and got disqualified.
Danny Bartfield
Terry Terranova
The whole card was not shown and here's the whole thing...

Jose Gonzalez fought Pete Sanchez to a draw
Doug Gilbert defeated Don Serrano
North American Champion Pat Patterson pinned Baron Mikel Scicluna with a sunset flip at 11:15; after the bout, Patterson cleared Scicluna from the ring after he had attacked hi from behind (Patterson's MSG debut)
Greg Gagne defeated Johnny Rodz
Tor Kamata & Nikolai Volkoff defeated Dominic DeNucci & Manuel Soto
Ken Patera defeated WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino (w/ Arnold Skaaland) via count-out at 19:54 after hitting Bruno with a chair as he was climbing onto the apron after they briefly fought on the floor; prior to the bout, Capt. Lou Albano escorted Patera to the ring and also Larry Zbyszko was introduced to the crowd as Bruno's protege, and that he would be wrestling at MSG on 2/7 against Executioner #1 (Patera's MSG debut)
WWWF Tag Team Champions Chief Jay Strongbow & Billy Whitewolf defeated the Executioners in a Best 2 out of 3 falls match, 2-1; fall #1: Strongbow scored the pin at 5:14 with a double chop to the chest; fall #2: Whitewolf was pinned at 4:55 following a double bodyslam and kneedrop; fall #3: Whitewolf scored the pin at 4:38 after Strongbow hit a shoulderblock, sending the Executioner falling backwards over Whitewolf, who was on his knees behind him
Ivan Putski fought Bruiser Brody to a double disqualification at 6:10 when both men ignored the referee and kept brawling in the corner
Bobo Brazil defeated Stan Stasiak via disqualification at the 5-minute mark when Stasiak refused to stop choking Brazil in the corner; prior to the bout, the Grand Wizard escorted Stasiak to ringside

Check @stevesgraps on Twitter for some unused pics and gifs.  Contact me at with questions and I'll do my best to answer them. 

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