Chris' Blog


WWF From Madison Square Gardens – March 17, 1975

Once again we’re back with more classics. Now that I have the network, I decided to start at the oldest show on here, all the way back to 1975. About nine months before I was born, as we head back to the days before Hulk-a-Mania and even PPV. To set the stage for this classic show, the WWF World Champion was Bruno Sammartino who was fifteen months into his second reign. Our Tag Team Champions are The Valiant Brothers, Jimmy and Johnny, having held the belts for the last ten months. There was no Intercontinental Champion, as that title had not been created yet. With this being only an hour long, I assume we will be missing a large portion of matches, or there is a lot of clipping. Let see what we get.

   Surprisingly this actually aired on HBO and is also the day the wrestler who would become Test (aka Andrew Martin) was born. We get a real cool old school opener showing some of the greatest arenas of the WWF history, Spectrum, Boston Gardens and Madison Square Gardens. Vince McMahon is on commentary, but has no one with him which seems weird as we go straight to the ring for the opening contest.

1. Paul Vachon v. Jay Strongbow

   Strongbow is actually introduced as “The Indian Jay Strongbow”, Strongbow was around for about forty years in wrestling and one of his last appearances involved Tatanka in the mid 90s. Paul Vachon is best known as the father of Luna and brother of Maurice and Vivian, one of Canada’s most famous wrestling families. The arena looks so dark, as the ref checks both men before the match and we start with the old school criss-cross move but Jay holds the ropes. More stalling from Paul as he complains to the referee, as Vince keeps calling Jay “The Indian” We finally get a tie up and Paul goes for a cheap shot, Jay blocks and hits on of his own sending Paul to the corner. Paul comes back with a chop to the neck but Jay hits a big chop knocking Paul down. Jay unloads in the corner on Paul and the ref separates them, Jay runs into a knee from the Canadian star. Paul with the double neck nerve hold driving Strongbow to his knees. Jay fights free and slam Paul down and as he gets up Jay slams him again. Jay gets a near fall, as Paul gets a leg on the rope and rolls to the apron. Paul slowly gets in the ring and catches Jay with a chokehold, and the ref forces the break so Paul slams Jay’s head into the turnbuckle. Vachon resorts to biting and scratching the Indian, but Jay gets the crowd fired up and makes the big comeback with a series of kneelifts. Vachon catches Jay with a big boot and that slows him down, a second big boot and a cover, but Paul pulls him up. Paul shoots him into the ropes and Jay comes back with a Thesz Press for the surprise win. 4.5/10 a slow paced opener with a lot of stalling from Vachon.

1. Jay Strongbow pinned Paul Vachon 4.5/10

2. Spiros Arion v. Bruno Sammartino

 This is the main event, a Texas Death Match and is for the WWF World Title, Arion comes out with manager Freddie Blassie. I honestly don’t know a lot about Spiros, he was a face who teamed with Bruno only to turn him, much like Paul Orndorff did to Hulk Hogan. Bruno is one of the greatest WWF Champions of all time, having held the title for twelve out of the first fourteen years of the company and sold out MSG regularly. As the ref checks Bruno, Arion gets a cheap shot in and knocks the champ down. The ref pulls him back which gives Bruno time to recover and he hammers Arion with boots and gut shots. Bruno slams Arion down and covers for a near fall, Bruno continues to hammer the challenger as he is fired up and locks on the bearhug. Spiros breaks the hold by raking Bruno’s eyes and both men are slugging it out with Arion getting the advantage. Arion continues to unload on the champion and gets a cover for two. Now it’s Bruno coming back with knees to the face of Arion and the crowd is going crazy for Bruno who knocks Arion out of the ring. Bruno follows and continues to unload, back in the ring and Bruno catches Arion coming in. The ref holds Bruno backs so Arion can get back in the ring, and Arion gets a low blow in to knock down the champion. Arion slams Bruno and covers, but Bruno kicks out, Arion goes for the atomic drop but Bruno fights him off and clobbers Arion sending him out of the ring again! Arion staggers to his feet as Bruno kicks him in the head sending him into the guardrail. Arion stumbles back into the ring and Bruno goes for a sleeper, but Arion makes the ropes so Bruno smashes a forearm across his stomach then follows with the big boot. Bruno stomps the challenger as the crowd cheers him on, Arion begs off on his knees and Bruno answers with a kick to the face. The Champion continues to work over the back of the challenger and locks on the camel clutch, but Arion makes the ropes and Bruno has to break it? In a Texas Death Match? That seems wrong as this should be no disqualification. Bruno takes too long going after the man and this allows Arion to get a shot in as he shoots the champion in and nails him with a big forearm. Sure is a lot of kicking and stomping in this match, and not much else, was all the old school style like this? Bruno comes back with a series of slams on Arion, but Arion again comes back with a knee to the face, he sends Bruno in and Bruno catches him with the boot. Bruno with a powerslam and scores the pin, but Arion’s foot was on the ropes. 5/10 another slow paced match with a lot of stomps and kicks and not much else. The World Title was so tiny looking back then, nothing like the massive title nowadays.

2. Bruno Sammartino pinned Spiros Arion 5/10

3. Killer Kowalski v. Victor Rivera

   Killer Kowalski was a huge star in the fifties, sixties and seventies and later went on to become a trainer. He is best know for training stars like Saturn, Chyna and Triple H among others. He was also a tag champion under a mask with another man he trained, Big John Studd. Victor Rivera was active through the seventies and was a former tag champion about six years earlier. The size difference between the two is insane, as Kowalski stands about half a foot taller then Victor. Kowalski is accompanied by the Grand Wizard as the bell rings and they tie up, Kowalski overpowers the man and we get a clean break. We clip forward a bit as Kowalski is working over the left leg of Victor, including using the claw on his knee. Victor able to take down the bigger man with an arm drag, but Kowalski overpowers him again. Kowalski goes back to the knee and stomps away on his much smaller opponent. Victor again tries to fight back and arm drags the big man over, then locks on an arm bar but Kowalski tries to work on the knee with his free arm. Victor releases the hold and hammers the shoulder of Kowalski, but Kowalski sweeps him down and goes back to the knee for a third time. Victor grabs the ear of Kowalski to break the hold, and that just angers the giant as he knocks Victor down again and right back on the knee. Vince talks about Kowalski sometimes wearing a mask, why wear the mask if people know it’s you, doesn’t that defeat the point of being masked? Kowalski meanwhile has moved the claw upwards to the stomach of Victor who just lays there, both arms and legs are free, why not kick and punch free? Just have to say, nice to see someone with some colour to their outfit as Kowalski has purple tights with a yellow lightening bolt on them. Victor finally breaks the hold and dropkicks Kowalski into the buckle, but one shot takes Victor down again and Kowalski unloads on him. Victor comes back with a big uppercut and then slams Kowalski’s face into the mat repeatedly. Victor jumps on his back with a sleeperhold and Kowalski makes the ropes drawing the break, but Victor keeps hammering his larger opponent before reapplying the sleeper. Kowalski powers out and goes to ram his head into the buckle, but Victor blocks and Kowalski eats buckle. Victor ties him in the ropes and hammers him, the ref finally frees Kowalski who runs into a big forearm. Kowalski bites Victor’s forehead and then smashes a forearm across the back, but misses a second shot and now we have a slugfest which Victor wins, but Kowalski goes back to biting the face, so Victor bites back. Kowalski snaps and starts biting him in the corner as the ref calls for the bell and disqualifies Kowalski. 5/10 once again very slow paced with a lot of time spent on the claw hold that didn’t even become part of the finish.

3. Victor Rivera beat Killer Kowalski by disqualification 5/10

4. The Wolfman versus Ivan Putski

   Ivan Putski, also known as Polish Power, was a big name in the WWF during the late seventies and early eighties. He made a brief appearance in the WWF again in the late nineties with his son Scott. The Wolfman hails from Canada and was managed by both Freddie Blassie and Captain Lou, he didn’t stick around the WWF long, but worked a while in Canada in Toronto and Calgary for Frank Tunny and Stu Hart respectively. Wolfman is in fur with a huge beard like Daniel Bryan or the Wyatt’s, while the crowd is going wild for Ivan. This is Ivan’s debut as he looks odd with a beard, as I’ve never seen him with the beard before. The bell rings and Ivan catches him in a side headlock and unloads, Wolfman shoots him in and Ivan bowls him over with a pair of shoulderblocks. Another lock up and Wolfman gets a few shots in on Ivan, mainly in the throat area, he then chokes Ivan who overpowers Wolfman and headbutts Wolfman down. Wolfman slowly gets up and both men slug it out a little, but Ivan clobbers him so Wolfman bites him. Sure was a lot of biting in WWF back in the seventies, what is up with that as Putski bites Wolfman now? Did these guys not get fed before the show? Wolfman kicks Ivan repeatedly and locks on a bearhug, but Ivan counters with a side facelock. Ivan begins to hammer the back but Wolfman comes back with more biting and kicks . Ivan has had enough as he hammers the Wolfman and then locks on a high bearhug and Wolfman finally gives up. 5.25/10 a little better then the other matches, but still nothing major here. Wolfman attacks after the match and Ivan knocks him out of the ring. Putski drinks a beer as the crowd goes insane for him, loudest the crowd has been all night.

4. Ivan Putski beats The Wolfman by submission 5.25/10

MATCH RECAP

1. Jay Strongbow pinned Paul Vachon 4.5/10

2. Bruno Sammartino pinned Spiros Arion 5/10

3. Victor Rivera beat Killer Kowalski by disqualification 5/10

4. Ivan Putski beats The Wolfman by submission 5.25/10

   Overall not a great show, but for historical purposes it’s interesting to see how different shows were back then. There was a lot of stalling and a lot of biting in the matches, and that’s a show with George Steele! The missing matches from this show were, Johnny Rodz over Bill White, Mike Paidousis beat Jack Evans, Manuel Soto & Pete Sanchez defeated Joe Nova and Hans Schroeder, and Dean Ho with Tony Garea went to a draw with Jimmy and Johnny Valiant. The Tag Title match would have been nice to see, but with only an hour things were cut out. At least the next show is over two hours so we should have most of the matches as we zip forward to 1977 for the next show.

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