WWWF From Madison Square Garden – August 7, 1976

Finally back to Old School WWF programming. The Network has since updated and finding the Hidden Gems, in the ring order, is almost impossible so I think those are going on the back burner. However for now, we’re going back to 1976 for the next house show, from as always, Madison Square Gardens. Since the last house show the Tag Championships have changed hands, Louis Cerdan and Tony Parisi dropped the gold on May 11th to the Executioners, Killer Kowalski and Big John Studd. Bruno Sammartino is still the reigning World Champion, midway through his second year of a three and a half year reign. With that let’s see what is happening in the Gardens, let’s go to the ring.

Vince McMahon welcomes us to the show and announces the main event as Bruno Sammartino defends the gold against Stan Hansen, inside the steel cage. Vince then throws it to the ring announcer for the opening contest.

1. Jose Cadiz v. Johnny Rivera

We’ve seen Rivera a lot in this era, while Cadiz is making his MSG debut. The bell rings and they circle and Rivera with a take down and a hiptoss stuns Cadiz. Cadiz with a boot to the gut and a wristlock but Rivera reverses and Cadiz rakes the eyes. A side headlock from Cadiz who pops Rivera and then argues with the ref. Vintage old school heel action from Cadiz, something sorely lacking in the current programs. Cadiz with an airplane spin then drops Rivera across the ropes. We get a look at the old lady always at ringside who’s screaming at Cadiz. Nothing better then the old lady at ringside gimmick, they took it so seriously back then. Rivera with a dropkick sending Cadiz to the apron, Rivera slings him back in and Cadiz begs off. Cadiz back to the airplane spin and slams him, ala Wade Barrett, before dropping the leg for a near fall. Crowd is really into this considering it’s the opening contest, Rivera with a series of snapmare, but Cadiz comes back with one of his own and a rear chinlock. Flow through to the full nelson, but Rivera reverses into one of his own. Cadiz breaks free but Rivera quickly hits a nice hurricanrana for the near fall. Another rana from Rivera, but a dropkick misses and Cadiz rakes the face. The ref keeps counting and Cadiz keeps going back to the cheap tactics, as Vince screams for a disqualification. Cadiz with a side headlock but Rivera attempts to reverse and Cadiz pulls the tights to keep the advantage. Rivera gets locked up in the ropes and Cadiz dives at him, a second attempt fails as Rivera catches him with a dropkick. Rivera unloads on Cadiz and snapmare him down before applying a rear chinlock. Cadiz fights free into one of his own and powers Rivera to the corner, Cadiz shoots him in and eats a pair of dropkicks. Rivera with a big slam and follows with a diving cross body for the victory.

1. Johnny Rivera defeats Jose Cadiz ***

A really good opening match that crowd was into. Both guys worked well together and a nice start to the show.

2. Johnny Rodz v. SD Jones

This would be our first time seeing Jones, who’s best remembered for his record loss to King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania. Bell rings and Jones powers him to the ropes, we get a clean break. The crowd is already on Rodz, as he takes down Jones as we get a nice amateur wrestling showcase. Rodz uses his experience edge to control Jones on the mat and Jones finally fights free. Both men on their feet and Rodz unloads on Jones with a series of rights and eye gouges. Rodz uses the second rope to drop a pair of knees and gets a one. Rodz hits him in the head, and hurts his hand, this allows Jones to do the comeback. The crowd comes to life as Jones unloads in the corner on Rodz, Rodz fires back and takes down Jones. Rodz ascends the ropes and drops the knee across the neck. Jones catches Rodz, who takes to long taunting the crowd, but then does the same thing allowing Rodz to take over again. This crowd is just loving it, MSG fans were rabid back in the day. Rodz with a German Suplex but both men are down and SD gets his shoulder up for the win.

2. SD Jones over Johnny Rodz ***

Another really good match, way better then I expected it to be. Both guys we’re over with the crowd and put on a great show.

3. Domenic Denucci & Jose Gonzalez v. Executioners

This is our first title match of the night, as the tag champions the Executioners defend the gold, without their manager Lou Albano for unknown reasons. Gonzalez starts with 1 who overpowers Gonzalez and hammers him on the ropes, 1 with a side headlock but Gonzalez fights out, but a hair pull reapplies the hold, and 2 tagged in. The problem with masked teams is it’s hard to remember who’s who, as Gonzalez winds up the arm and tags in Domenic who unloads on 2 the pops 1 on the apron. Domenic handling both men and gets a near fall as the crowd is loud, Domenic gets caught in the wrong corner and 1 back in. 1 works the back and tags in 2 who comes in via the top rope to continue working the back. Gonzalez comes in illegally and this allows the Executioners to double team and make an illegal switch. They repeat the spot again, and the crowd is furious, as they do the spot again, seriously that just looks cheap repeating the same thing three times in a row. A slugfest ensues and Domenic gets the better than tags in Gonzalez as all four in the ring. The Executioners collide as the ref has lost control of the whole thing. Gonzalez with a sunset flip for a near fall, but gets caught with his head down, as Vince announce this is two out of three falls, that’s not good news as this has not been a great match. All four men in again and Domenic begins to unmask an Executioner before slinging them into each other again. Chaos continues as everyone in the ring and the ref chases Gonzalez out as the Executioners hit a double backbreaker on Domenic for the first fall. Second fall starts with the Executioners double teaming Domenic and working over the now injured back. Gonzalez has to save Domenic and this allows double teaming from the Executioners, but Domenic catches him on the top rope and pulls him down, but Executioner gets back in control and work the back. Gonzalez again makes the save, but this makes him miss the tag opportunity. Domenic makes the comeback and tags in Gonzalez who dropkicks both Executioners out of the ring and the crowd explodes. Gonzalez with a kneelift and then drives the Executioner’s face into the mat repeatedly. Domenic back in and an airplane spin on the Executioner gets Domenic the second fall, as this match rolls on. We come back to the third fall as Domenic hammers the Executioner down, and he wanders to the wrong corner for the tag and Gonzalez pops him. Executioner finally able to make a tag to the other Executioner, and all four men in the ring now. Tag made to the Executioner who falls off the top rope, so original Executioner stays in. Domenic back in and unloads on Executioner. Airplane spin attempted but the other Executioner comes in to break that up. Again all four men in and it ends back for Gonzalez who gets pinned after being kicked by the illegal Executioner.

3. Executioners defeat Jose Gonzalez & Domenic Denucci **1/2

A good match, but way too long which hurt it. The crowd was into it though and kept it going at a brisk pace.

4. Kevin Sullivan v. Bruiser Brody

Brody makes his MSG debut, this is awesome to see and one of the reason I love the Network. He’s announced as undefeated and accompanied by the Grand Wizard. Still weird seeing a face Sullivan with a full head of hair. Bell rings as Wizard heads to the back, which always seems odd, and Brody takes him down quick and stomps him. Brody hammers the head of Sullivan and no sells Sullivan’s kicks. Brody bites the face and then sends him to the far corner, he follows in with more kicks and forearms. Sullivan sent in to the corner and Brody misses the charge allowing Sullivan to hit a few shots but that just angers him. Brody with a backbreaker and the ref calls for the bell.

4. Bruiser Brody destroyed Kevin Sullivan *1/2

A nice showcase for Brody as this was just a squash as Brody no sold everything Sullivan did. Nice to see Brody on the Network though.

5. Baron Mikel Scicluna & Rocky Tomayo v. Billy White Wolfe & Chief Jay Strongbow

Tomayo & Strongbow start the match, and Tomayo misses the first shot. Headlock by Tomayo and we get a criss cross, Strongbow under the legs and a hiptoss sends Tomayo to his corner. Baron tagged in and we get stalling tactics as he has a foreign object which he hides from the ref. Baron gets a shot in and hammers Strongbow down in the corner. As Baron distracts the ref Tomayo gets a shot in. Strongbow struggles to his corner and tags in Billy who chops the Baron, but gets taken down. Tomayo tagged in and continues to work over Billy. Quick tags from the heel team but Strongbow tagged back in, and Strongbow chops away at Tomayo. Double team and now all four men in the ring, as the ref loses control. The Indian team on the warpath, so says Vince. Chops takes down Tomayo and Billy scores the win.

5. Jay Strongbow & Billy White Wolfe over Rocky Tomayo & Mikel Scicluna *

Just a quick match to allow fans to get a break before the World title match.

6. Stan Hansen v. Bruno Sammartino in a Steel Cage for the World Title

This is a rematch from a few months earlier when Bruno had his neck broken by Hansen in a match. Hansen attacks Bruno as he enters the cage and works the neck, but Bruno quickly comes back. Can barely hear Vince over the crowd which is just in a frenzy, as Bruno rams Hansen into the cage and unloads on the challenger. This is a vicious brawl as both men are just slugging it out, and Hansen eats the cage again. Sammartino just hammering the head of Hansen who fires back with forearms to the neck. Hansen finally gets some offense only to get kicked down by the champion who chokes Hansen with the bottom rope. Hansen goes for the lariat but Bruno ducks and kicks Hansen in the stomach then smashes him into the cage. Hansen gets a shot in and hammers on Bruno but the makes the mistake of going for the door early and Bruno catches him. Hansen gets a low blow in and quickly starts to ascend the cage but Bruno grabs the leg and pulls down. Hansen gets rammed into the steel post and Hansen is split wide open. Bruno pulls of Stan’s loaded elbow pad and hammers him repeatedly with it, and Hansen is just gushing blood all over. Bruno casually walks out of the cage for the victory leaving a bloody Hansen in the ring.

6. Bruno Sammartino defeats Stan Hansen ***

A good violent brawl, as expected, ending the feud between the two. A rabid, loud crowd added to the spectacle of it all.

7. Bobo Brazil v. Doug Gilbert

Gilbert attacks before the bell rings as the announcer tries to do the introductions. Bobo reverses and Gilbert backs off. Two headbutts sends Gilbert to the outside and he leaves. Match over?!?

7. Bobo Brazil over Doug Gilbert No Rating

Nothing to see here as Bobo wins in 35 seconds. Just a quick appearance for Bobo.

8. Ivan Putski v. Skandor Akbar

This should be brief, as Akbar was more of a manager then wrestler. Racist comments from Putski before the bell, it was a different time. Lockup and Putski with side headlock and cranks the neck. Putski with a couple right hands as the ref is distracted, Akbar rakes the eyes and applies a front headlock to try and power down the massive Putski. A chokehold from Akbar wears down Putski in the ropes, as Akbar stomps on him, but Putski powers free and hammers Akbar. Putski with a Polish Hammer and vertical splash for the easy win.

8. Ivan Putski squashes Skandor Akbar DUD

Just a quick squash again to end the show. Boring as always with Putski.

MATCH RECAP

1. Johnny Rivera defeats Jose Cadiz ***

2. SD Jones over Johnny Rodz ***

3. Executioners defeat Jose Gonzalez & Domenic Denucci **1/2

4. Bruiser Brody destroyed Kevin Sullivan *1/2

5. Jay Strongbow & Billy White Wolfe over Rocky Tomayo & Mikel Scicluna *

6. Bruno Sammartino defeats Stan Hansen ***

7. Bobo Brazil over Doug Gilbert No Rating

8. Ivan Putski squashes Skandor Akbar DUD

Another fun show from the late seventies, as the in ring action may not be the best, but the crowds are just insane back then. They loved everything and made the matches better. Three good matches highlight a great snapshot of the era. Our next show sends us two months forward to October with Bruno defending the title against Nikolai Volkoff.

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