Chris' Blog


WWF From Madison Square Gardens – June 27, 1977

   Our next show from Madison Square Gardens takes place a little over two years after the last show. A lot has changed in the WWF landscape as Bruno Sammartino lost the World Title to Superstar Billy Graham about two months prior to this show, after over three years as champion again. The Tag Team Titles changed hands a few times in the two years, finally resting in the hands of Billy White Wolf and Chief Jay Strongbow. White Wolf would be later known as General Adnan in the WWF with Sgt. Slaughter in 1990. There was still no IC title yet, the title would be formed a little over two years later. Hopefully this show will have some better matches then the 1975 show, as it is over two hours long so there should be more then four match. Let’s send it down to ringside.

   This show aired live on the MSG network and is hosted by Vince McMahon, like the last show. After we get the Old School opener we hear the show is live and in colour. Superstar Billy Graham will defend his title against former champion Bruno Sammartino as Vince welcomes us in a salmon coloured suit, and we go to our opening contest.

1. Jan Nelson v. Jose Gonzalez

   Not starting out good, as Jose Gonzalez is better known as Invader One from Puerto Rico, and is the man accused of murdering the great Bruiser Brody. I have no clue who Jan Nelson is, I assume he’s just a random jobber. We get a look at the crowd, as Vince tells us the arena is sold out like usual when WWF came to the Gardens each month. Vince calls Jan a future star, well, he can’t be right all the time or we never would have got the XFL! Lots of stalling to start the match, as they finally lock up and Jan with a hammerlock, but Jose reverses the hold so Jan makes the ropes to break the hold. We repeat the sequence with the same results, and a third lockup as Jan overpowers the man to the ropes and we get a clean break, much to Vince’s surprise. Back to the ropes and Jan goes for a cheap shot and Jose avoids it, as we hear someone loudly laugh like Nelson from the Simpsons. Jan gets a couple knees in the midsection of Jose and begins to hammer him down. Jan continues to work over Jose with the armbar, every time Jose fights his way up Jan pulls him down by the tights. The armbar has been on for a long time as Jose finally fights free but then gets pulled down by his hair. Jose fights free for the fourth time and rakes Jan’s eyes then rams his head into the turnbuckle as we finally get some action. That had to be the longest rest hold I’ve seen in a long time, had to be over five minutes long. Jose now works over the shoulder of Jan, but Jan powers free and slams Jose into the buckle. Jan misses a shoulderblock and Jose shoots him and then backdrops Jan down. A series of dropkicks takes down Jan and after a slow count Jose wins. 1.5/10 almost the entire match was an armbar, felt like it would never end.

1. Jose Gonzalez pinned Jan Nelson 1.5/10

2. Rocky Tamayo v. Larry Zbyszko

   Larry is on his second run in the WWF, and this time he is being mentored by Bruno Sammartino. Larry would go on to future fame as AWA champion and commentator of WCW Nitro. No idea who Rocky is however as I could not find any information about him. The bell rings and Rocky stalls by taunting the crowd while Larry waits patiently. We finally get the lockup and Larry quickly takes him down with the armdrag and maintains the armbar. Rocky reverses but Larry fights free with the headscissors, and Rocky quickly breaks the hold. Larry quickly applies the hammerlock and Rocky reverses by grabbing the leg however Larry kicks him into the ropes. We’ve seen more action in the first little bit of this match then the entire last match. Larry sweeps the leg and starts to work over the knee of Rocky. Rocky breaks free with a knee to the mouth of Larry, and they slowly circle each other. Rocky taken down again and Larry cranks the leg of Rocky, who’s hurting now, as Larry continues to work the leg and knee. Rocky rakes the eyes and quickly rams Larry’s head into the turnbuckle then hammers Larry in the face. Larry shot in and eats a big elbow which gives Rocky a near fall. Into the ropes again and Larry catches him in the small package. Another slow count but still enough to give the win to Larry. 4/10 a much better and faster match then the last one, although I hate seeing them work over a body part and not go for a submission. Hopefully this is the beginning of an uphill climb of good stuff.

2. Larry Zbyszko defeated Rocky Tamayo 4/10

3. Tony Garea v. George Steele

   Tony is a multiple time tag team champion with various partners and also was a road agent with WWF for many years. He was also on Raw as recently as 2010 as a lumberjack during a match between Ted DiBiase Jr and Christian. George Steele is true legend who worked with the WWF from the sixties through the nineties. He was in Ricky Steamboat’s corner at Wrestlemania 3 and in 1998 was with the Oddities stable, he also appeared on Raw in 2010! George comes out in classic Animal mode screaming and flailing his arms, as Tony is not afraid and takes the fight to George who quickly bails to the floor. Howard Finkel, in a pastel blue suit and hair, finally gets to do the introductions. Tony is ready to fight as George tries to intimidate him, but Tony won’t back down. Tony takes down Steele with a pair of armdrags then monkey throws Steele out of the ring. The crowd is finally woken up and they are going crazy for Garea! Steele chases some fans from ringside before slowly getting back in the ring. Garea quickly unloads on Steele in the corner but gets caught with a big right and now Steele has the advantage. Steele stomps Garea slowly as Garea tries to fight back up and Steele clubs him back down. Garea tries to pull himself up with the ropes and Steele continues to work him over, although very slowly. Steele shrugs off a gut shot from Garea and kicks him back down. Steele misses the corner charge and now Garea starts to stomp the Animal as the crowd explodes. Garea kicks away at Steele but Steele clobbers Garea with something and the ref catches him and disqualifies Steele. 5/10 was actually better then expected and fun to watch. Steele continues to clobber Garea with the foreign object as the ref tries to pull him off, this allows Garea to get a shot in on Steele. Garea sends Steele out of the ring and now the ref has to hold back Garea.

3. Tony Garea beat George Steele by disqualification 5/10

4. Andre the Giant & Chief Jay Strongbow &  v. Nikolai Volkoff & Ken Patera

   Andre was the first true giant of pro wrestling, is also the man who ended Hulk Hogan’s first World Title reign and the first man in the WWF Hall of Fame. Nikolai Volkoff worked in the WWF from the seventies to the nineties, as a Mongol, a Russian, a Patriot and a man down on his luck. Nikolai was actually on Raw early in 2014 singing the Russian National Anthem backstage, they should have brought him out with Rusev to sing the anthem. Ken Patera is a former weightlifting champion who would later become IC champion and then spend time in jail. Upon his return he turned good and feuded with former manager Bobby Heenan and wrestled at PPVs in 1987 and 1988. This match is two out of three falls, and Nikolai is still announced as from Mongolia not Russia! Andre chases Lou Albano from ringside during the introductions, as Vince says Andre and Jay have teamed before unlike Volkoff and Patera. Patera bails out right away and tries to leave ringside and Strongbow goes after him, Patera finally returns to the ring as Volkoff watches cautiously. Jay and Patera start out and Patera quickly backs off, they lock up and Patera overpowers the Indian to the corner and drives the knee in. Strongbow comes back with a big chop staggering Patera, Jay locks on the full nelson, but Patera fights free. Patera poses as Andre tagged in from behind and locks on the full nelson, Patera struggles to the ropes and Andre releases but also gives him a forearm to the back sending Patera to the floor. Volkoff tagged in and gets caught in a side headlock, Andre pops him sending Volkoff to the corner. They try to double team Andre, but he rams their heads together then headbutts Patera to the apron. Andre works over Volkoff as Strongbow cracks Patera with a chair, Andre drops his weight on Volkoff and works over the leg. Strongbow tagged in and Volkoff kicks Strongbow away then rams his head into the buckle. Volkoff locks on a bearhug and Strongbow fights free, but Volkoff right back to the hold. Strongbow rakes the eyes and slides under Volkoff to tag in Andre, who puts Volkoff in a bearhug of his own. Volkoff hammers his way free but one shot from Andre staggers Volkoff and tags in Strongbow. Volkoff gets a shot in and tags in Patera quickly, as Patera begins to wear down the Chief. Andre tries to get Strongbow back in the match and reaches for the tag, but the ref doesn’t see it, and this allows the heels to double team Strongbow. Strongbow fights to his feet and makes the tag to Andre who comes in and tosses Patera across the ring, then clobbers Volkoff for fun. Patera rolls to the apron and Andre focuses on Volkoff, which allows Patera to nail Andre from behind but Andre gets him in the corner and squashes Patera. Strongbow tosses Volkoff into Patera and they double splash the heels. Andre headbutts Patera down but misses the splash, Patera kicks Andre in the face and then tags in Volkoff. Volkoff hammers Andre, but Andre powers his backwards and tags in Strongbow. Strongbow with a series of knee as Patera tagged in and Patera eats the knees. Patera makes the tag to bring Volkoff back in and Strongbow locks on the sleeper hold, Patera breaks the hold and the ref calls for the bell disqualifying Patera and Volkoff. Outside the ring Patera and Volkoff are screaming at each other, blaming each other for the loss. Second fall begins with Strongbow and Volkoff in the ring, and Andre catches and pulls him in the corner, allowing Strongbow to chop Volkoff repeatedly. The lock up and Volkoff kicks Strongbow in the stomach then applies the headlock, tags in Patera as Strongbow shoots him in. Strongbow moves and Patera and Volkoff collide, causing more friction between the partners. Patera cracks Volkoff from behind and leaves the ring as Strongbow takes down Volkoff and Andre splashes him for the easy win. 6.5/10 a solid tag match that was very fun to watch and actually faster paced then expected.

4. Chief Jay Strongbow and Andre the Giant beat Ken Patera and Nikolai Volkoff 6.5/10

5. Stan Stasiak v. Lenny Hurst

   Stan is the fifth man to hold the WWF Title, beating Pedro Morales before quickly dropping it to Bruno Sammartino after only nine days as champion. Stan’s son was also in the WWF in the late nineties and early 2000s, Shawn Stasiak also known as Meat. Lenny is from London, even though here he was introduced as from Jamaica and that’s about all I know of him. Vince makes note of Stan’s short title reign and says people think Graham’s title reign will be short as well. Stan is just staring at his opponent as the bell rings and they lock up, we get a clean break, another lock up and Lenny takes down Stan but Stan reverses. Lenny counters out and snapmares Stan down, Stan looks stunned by the youngster’s offense. Stan locks on an armbar and takes down Lenny, as Vince wonders what is happening backstage with Nikolai and Patera, while Lenny breaks the hold and sweeps Stan down then begins to work the leg. Stan fights free with a series of rights and takes down Lenny and goes for the heart punch but Lenny blocks in clobbers Stan sending him to the apron. Lenny takes down Stan with a headscissors and squeezes the head of the former champion, as Stan is finally able to break the grip but seems stunned. Lenny has got a lot more offense in then I expected, I thought this would be a squash, as Stan seems to have some respect for Lenny. Stan powers Lenny down but gets cocky and eats a dropkick, sending him back to the apron again. Back in the ring and Stan gets caught going for a kick as Lenny kicks him in the leg, Stan quickly applies the headlock and pops Lenny in the face. Stan begins stomping Lenny on the mat and unloads, but Lenny won’t give up as he dropkicks Stan twice sending him into the ropes. Lenny refuses to stand back and goes after him, but Stan gets a leg up and Lenny runs into the boot. Stan wastes no time hitting the heart punch for the win. 6/10 surprisingly a good back and forth battle as Lenny put up quite a fight against the former champion.

5. Stan Stasiak pinned Lenny Hurst 6/10

6. Superstar Billy Graham v. Bruno Sammartino

   Superstar is the current WWF Champion having defeated Bruno for the title and would later come back for a brief run in 1987 before being forced to retire due to injuries. Graham then managed Don Muraco for a little while then did commentary on shows including the first Summerslam PPV. Bruno is going for his third title reign, and would leave WWF for a while then came back in 1985 with his son David and did commentary for a while. With almost an hour left of the show, I assume we have some matches after this. Graham taunts Bruno with the title and Bruno attacks, stomping the champion out of the ring. Graham slowly back in the ring and gets tossed across the ring and Bruno continues to stomp him the backdrops Graham down to the mat. The crowd is insane right now, as Graham bails out of the ring, and Bruno keeps the crowd fired up. Bruno catches Graham as he comes back in the ring and continues to tear him apart, Graham tries to hide in the ropes but Bruno is relentless tonight and the crowd is loving it. Graham slides behind Bruno and locks on a full nelson to slow down the challenger, Bruno drops to his knees as Graham is wearing him down. Bruno fights to his feet and breaks the hold, then quickly locks on his own version. Graham having a lot of difficulty breaking the full nelson of Bruno, as he slowly drops down and the ref checks on him. This crowd is anticipating Bruno winning his third World title tonight, as Graham is trying to fight free. Graham finally makes the ropes and the ref makes Bruno break the hold, as Graham falls to the floor. Graham slowly crawls in the ring and Bruno right back on him throwing Graham across the ring and works the back. Graham finally gets a waistlock on Bruno but Bruno powers out, however Graham pulls the arms back and drives a knee in the back. Bruno reverses the hold and powers Graham to the mat. This has been a complete dismantling of the champion, as Graham has been beaten down the whole match. Graham makes the ropes to break the hold again and begs off, Superstar finally gets a cheap shot in and is on the offense. Bruno gets shot into the buckle and crumples to the mat as Superstar covers for a near fall. Superstar shoots Bruno in and locks on the bear hug, slowly Bruno goes limp as Superstar squeezes the former champion. Bruno finally breaks the hold and catches Graham in a bearhug of his own. What is this you do a move then I’ll do it, it’s like a mirror match? Graham makes the ropes and as Bruno breaks the hold Graham sends him to the floor. Graham tries to keep Bruno out of the ring but Bruno catches the leg and takes the champion down. Bruno gets back in the ring and goes to destroying the champion, Superstar is getting beaten from corner to corner all around the ring. The ref gets bumped and this allows Superstar to get a shot in, they keep fighting and the ref tries to pull them apart and gets sent to the mat. The ref finally has seen enough and calls for the bell, and the crowd is irate about that. 5.5/10 was more of a beat down on the champion as Bruno just kept killing the poor guy. Bruno’s style really doesn’t hold up anymore, as it’s basically just a series of power submissions and nothing more. Every time Graham did a move Bruno broke it and did his own. After the double disqualification is announced the crowd responds with a bs chant.

6. Superstar Billy Graham and Bruno Sammartino wrestled to a double disqualification 5.5/10

7. Baron von Raschke v. Ivan Putski

   The Baron was a big star in the AWA back in the late 70s and early 80s and was introduced as the European Champion here. Baron returned to the WWF briefly in 1988 as the manager of the Powers of Pain, but didn’t last long. Vince says this is a rematch from last month when they went to a thirty minute draw, hope this doesn’t go as long. Fred Blassie, manager of Baron, is screaming at the crowd and the ref as he finally leaves the ring to start the match. The bell rings and it looks like Baron has something in his hand, he slips it back in his tights as they circle each other, and the ref goes to check Baron but unable to find it. Way too much stalling to start as they have not locked up yet and the bell rang about three minutes ago. Finally we get the lockup and Ivan powers him to the ropes, we get a clean break and another lockup and Ivan with the side headlock but Baron makes the ropes. Back to the side headlock and Ivan cranks the pressure, as this match is slower then an iceberg. Baron takes out the leg of Ivan and I’m thinking the crowd is sleeping at this point. Ivan hammers his way free of Baron, but Baron uses the tights to take Ivan back down. Ivan finally breaks the hold and begins to hammer the Baron and snapmares him down, and right into a rear chinlock. This is one of the most boring matches I’ve ever seen as nothing is happening, I hope this doesn’t go thirty minutes. Bruno counters free but Ivan quickly locks on a headscissors now, as the restholds continue to add up in this match. Baron tries to break the hold and Ivan smacks his ass, really, that was just wrong. Vince is trying to make this sound exciting but nothing can make this match good, as he says they are so evenly matched neither guy can get an advantage. Why is there no boring chants happening? Just as I wondered that the crowd starts to boo, I think they’re as bored of this as I am. I’d rather watch Orton and Cena over this horrible match. Baron finally breaks the hold and stomps away on Ivan, but Ivan comes back with punches as the crowd makes up. Baron sent head first into the buckle and tosses Ivan into the opposite corner. Ivan locks on a bearhug as Baron is in the ropes and he breaks it with a chop to Baron’s chest. Baron snapmares Ivan down and drops an elbow for a near fall, then Baron locks on the brain claw. Ivan breaks the grip and we’re back to a slugfest, well at least they’re doing something. Ivan shoots him in and goes for a backdrop but Baron with a sunset flip, Ivan kicks out and hits the Polish Hammer on Baron. Baron tumbles to the floor and Ivan catches him coming in with more right hands, but Baron fights back and sends Ivan in. Baron sends him in again but eats a forearm sending him to the floor again as the bell rings. We went to a thirty minute time limit. DUD horrible match which was slow and plodding. Ivan wants five more minutes, pleas no, don’t let this match continue. Ivan chases Baron out of the ring as the crowd boos. They should just be glad this match is finally over.

7. Baron von Raschke and Ivan Putski battled to a time limit draw DUD

8. Baron Mikel Scicluna v. Peter Maivia

   Baron was a part of the WWF for almost two decades and was the opponent for Gorilla Monsoon the night Muhammad Ali got involved. Peter Maivia is the grandfather of The Rock, and the father in law of Rocky Johnson. Both men are in the Hall of Fame. Baron jumps Peter as the bell rings and hammers him down, Peter eats turnbuckle but that just fires him up. Peter with a headbutt but Baron has a foreign object and clobbers Peter, Peter gets it from him and tosses it. Peter sent to the corner and Baron misses the charge, Peter rolls him up for the easy win. 2/10 just a quick squash for the debuting Peter Maivia.

8. Peter Maivia squashes Baron Mikel Scicluna 2/10

9. Mr Fuji & Toru Tanaka v. Haystacks Calhoun & Dominic Denucci

Mr Fuji is a five time tag team champion and also the manager of Demoliton, Yokozuna and many others. Tanaka was a former tag champion as well and also acted in The Running Man, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and the greatest TV show of all time The A-Team among others. Haystacks was a huge start starting back in the fifties and is a former tag champ with Tony Garea. Dominic is a two time tag champion and also known as the trainer of Mick Foley and Shane Douglas. This is the return of Fuji, Toru and Haystacks, as Denucci and Tanaka start the match and Tanaka does the legendary salt ritual before the match. Toru gets him in the corner and they exchange shots, sending Denucci back but Denucci returns fire. Denucci with the full nelson and with the ref busy with Fuji, Haystacks gets a shot in. Toru comes back with a chop and begins to take down Denucci, Fuji tagged in and rakes the eyes. Fuji hammers Denucci down and then hits a nice clothesline for the quick win. Haystacks doesn’t even get in the match as that was the first fall. They really like two out of three falls back in the old days. Fall two starts and Fuji overpowers Denucci to the corner, but Denucci reverses and backdrops Fuji out of the corner. Fuji shot in and chopped down, as Denucci covers and Toru breaks it up to save his partner. They double team Denucci and here comes Haystacks, but this distracts the ref and Fuji and Tanaka double team Denucci as the bell rings. Haystacks chases Fuji and Toru off of Denucci as the match is awarded to Tanaka and Fuji as the curfew has arrived. 2/10 just a quick time filler to get us to the curfew, Seems odd to realize the show ended due to a curfew, never see that nowadays.

9. Mr Fuji & Toru Tanaka beat Haystacks Calhoun and Dominic Denucci 2/10

MATCH RECAP

1. Jose Gonzalez pinned Jan Nelson 1.5/10

2. Larry Zbyszko defeated Rocky Tamayo 4/10

3. Tony Garea beat George Steele by disqualification 5/10

4. Chief Jay Strongbow and Andre the Giant beat Ken Patera and Nikolai Volkoff 6.5/10

5. Stan Stasiak pinned Lenny Hurst 6/10

6. Superstar Billy Graham and Bruno Sammartino wrestled to a double disqualification 5.5/10

7. Baron von Raschke and Ivan Putski battled to a time limit draw DUD

8. Peter Maivia squashes Baron Mikel Scicluna 2/10

9. Mr Fuji & Toru Tanaka beat Haystacks Calhoun and Dominic Denucci 2/10

  Not a great show, but still better then the last show. I’m looking forward to the eighties as seventies style just doesn’t hold up well. Lots of restholds and cheap finishes. Still a couple fun matches but that Putski match just about killed the show, who decided he would go thirty minutes? That was one of the worst matches I’ve seen in years. We have one more show from the 70s, but it’s only 45 minutes long, and then we get to the eighties. At least this was the full show, unlike the last one or the next one. Onward we go to 1978!

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