WWF From Madison Square Garden – April 8, 1981

We finally return to Madison Square Gardens for a huge house show. Tonight we’re headlined by Bob Backlund defending the gold inside the Steel Cage against the Lariat Stan Hansen! That could be phenomenal. With only just under an hour shown, it looks like the preliminary matches are missing, we’ll see what those are later. Let’s go to the ring.

The awesome mid 80’s style opener showing mid 80’s stars, plus MSG, Boston Garden, Maple Leaf Gardens and Spectrum is really cool. We go to the ring for the opening contest as Howard Finkel introduces the combatants.

1. Pedro Morales v. Moondog Rex for the Intercontinental Championship

Odd they didn’t introduce Rex as one half of the tag champions. Albano finally removed from the ringside area, as managers are not allowed at ringside in this era still. King lost to Morales lost month here in the Gardens, tonight Rex has his chance. Pedro goes right after the Moondog, and staggers him a bit. Rex gets Pedro in the ropes and nails him, so Pedro hits him back and Rex is getting mad. Rex with a side headlock but Pedro gets him up and hits a kneebreaker on Rex. Rex gets the arm of Pedro and applies a nice hammerlock, Pedro reverses and we wind up in the ropes as Rex kicks the arm of Pedro and keeps working on it. Some impressive scientific skills from Rex, as he keeps Pedro on the mat and keeps working the arm. Pedro rammed shoulder first into the turnbuckle and Rex with a hammerlock slam, as he continues to work the arm and shoulder. Pedro again rammed hard to the turnbuckle as it’s been almost all Rex, which is good. Rex drives multiple knees into the midsection of Pedro, which causes Pedro to tumble head first to the floor. Pedro struggles in and Rex shoots him in and a back body drop followed by a big elbow smash for a near fall. Pedro gets a thumb in the eye of Rex staggers the big guy as the crowd explodes. Morales all over Rex suddenly and a big punch knocks down the Moondog. Rex staggers looking for a tag, but there is no one as Pedro sends him into the turnbuckle. Scoop and slam on Rex as Pedro in full control, snapmare on the big man and a shoulderblock. Pedro off the ropes, Moondog ducks and Pedro rolls him up for the win. Good solid opener, nice start to the show.

1. Pedro Morales pins Moondog Rex **3/4

2. Sgt Slaughter v. Pat Patterson

Patterson goes right after Slaughter as he enters the ring, and Slaughter back on the floor. The ref holds Patterson back so Slaughter and Wizard can enter the ring. Bell rings and Slaughter bails out again, as the ref tells him to get in. Patterson goes right after him as Slaughter gets in and again Slaughter runs out. Slaughter slow to get in, and again bails to the apron, Patterson looks to the crowd and Slaughter sneaks up on him. Patterson catches him and unloads, then sends Slaughter hard to the corner. Slaughter bounced off the turnbuckle, as the crowd roars it’s approval. Patterson chokes Slaughter, and Patterson shoves the referee away. Patterson pulls Slaughter to his feet and unloads on him, sending Slaughter crashing to the floor with his hand stuck in the ropes. The ref gets Slaughter untied and slowly he gets in the ring, he begs off from Patterson. Patterson sends him in and catches Slaughter on the rebound with a back drop. Patterson slingshots Slaughter into the steel post and gets two, as the crowd is going crazy. Slaughter taken down again, and Patterson goes for the Boston Crab, which he is able to get Slaughter in but Slaughter makes the ropes breaking the hold. Patterson quickly drives the knees into the back of Slaughter, who rakes the eyes of Patterson. Slaughter fires back but Patterson rakes the eyes, Patterson off the ropes with a shoulderblock but the second one doesn’t go well. Slaughter avoids and tosses Patterson throw the ropes to the cement. Slaughter goes after him, dropping a knee across the back of Patterson. Slaughter ascends the ropes and drops to the apron, stomping on Patterson. Patterson struggles to his feet and Slaughter goes back out, ramming Patterson head first into the steel post. Every time Patterson tries to get back in Slaughter attacks him, as Patterson in deep trouble. Patterson finally gets back in the ring and Slaughter nails a backbreaker and a knee to the chest for a near fall. Slaughter bites the face of Patterson and a brutal slam before going up the ropes. Slaughter misses the big kneedrop of the top rope, and both men are down. Slaughter up first but Patterson sweeps the leg and locks on the figure four. Slaughter screaming in pain as the crowd is going crazy, but Slaughter makes the ropes causing a break. Patterson goes after the leg sending Slaughter over the top to the floor, Patterson follows and smashes a chair on the leg of Slaughter. Both men back in the ring and Slaughter tries to beg off, Patterson goes for the leg. The ref tries to pull Patterson off Slaughter and Patterson launches the ref twice. Slaughter rakes the eyes again and we have a slugfest, Slaughter shoves the ref. The ref gets in between them both, and they double team the ref out of the ring. Slaughter gets the Cobra Clutch on Patterson but Patterson is not going down, as the ref comes back in and Slaughter kicks him. Both men slugging it out now as the bell is ringing and the ref tries to separate them. Crazy, wild brawl. Just an amazing match for it’s time, complete insane and the heat from the crowd was off the charts ****1/4 Would’ve been five stars if it had an ending.

2. Pat Patterson and Sgt Slaughter both disqualified

3. Stan Hansen v. Bob Backlund for the World Title in the Steel Cage

The cage is old school wire mesh stuff, as we see Gorilla Monsoon at the locker room door where Stan Hansen is making his way to the cage from. At the previous MSG show Stan Hansen beat Bob Backlund by countout after hitting the lariat on Bob on the apron. Hansen is screaming for Backlund to get out here, as Howard Finkel is asking for the microphone to be lowered again. Finkel announces the only way to win is over the top of the cage or through the door. The cage is really small, as Hansen is almost as tall as the cage. Backlund slow to enter the cage as Hansen paces, Hansen quickly catches Bob. Bob throws Hansen into the steel cage repeatedly then the turnbuckle. Bob is all over Hansen right away, as Hansen thought he had an advantage, Backlund rakes Hansen across the cage wall. Hansen tries to leave and Backlund nails him, Hansen gets a boot in and now Bob tastes the steel cage multiple times. Hansen drives an elbow into the top of Bob’s head and back to the cage, Backlund sends Hansen into the cage then hits a piledriver in the middle of the ring. Bob starts to climb but Hansen catches him in the ding-dong to stop that. Hansen unloads on the champion, sending him into the cage repeatedly, but Bob blocks and Hansen eats cage. This is a crazy brawl, love it but needs blood! Hansen into the cage, and there’s the blood I requested! Bob grinds the head of Hansen into the cage wall, but Hansen comes back with a kneelift as Vince confuses the nickname of Hansen. Both men slugging it out, as Hansen is gushing blood and Hansen hits a back elbow but misses the elbow of the top rope. Backlund back in control opening up the wound of Hansen, as the crowd is just wild for this. Hansen gets sent in and Backlund with a back body drop, but takes to long to continue the offense as Hansen gets a shot in. Big slam from Hansen and a kneedrop to the chest, as Hansen decides to leave. Bob just catches the leg of Hansen, stopping him from exiting. Both men fighting at the door, and now Hansen starts to unload on the champion. Hansen climbs the ropes, and almost loses his tights. Both men fighting on the top rope, and Backlund with a headbutt staggers Hansen. Both men fall to the mat, and the crowd is electric. Hansen tries to escape again, but Bob yanks him down hard and walks out the door for the decisive win. Anti-climatic finish as it came out of nowhere, and wasn’t as good as I hoped.

3. Bob Backlund beats Stan Hansen ***

4. Rick Martel & Tony Garea v. Larry Sharpe & Johnny Rodz

The former tag champions face the jobber team, not expecting a lot here. Martel & Rodz start out and Rodz goes for the eyes, then tags in Larry who goes on the offense on Martel. Martel sent to the corner and Larry hammers away, then to the opposite corner, but takes to long going in as Martel kicks him. Larry goes right back on him, and Martel fires back sending Larry in and sledge to the stomach. Garea tagged in and works the arm of Larry, and Martel in to continue working the arm. Larry powers Martel to his corner, and gets a tag to Rodz who comes in via the top. Rodz drives a knee to the midsection and hammers the former tag champion. Martel comes back and staggers Rodz, Martel with a nice dropkick but Rodz with a hiptoss and misses the elbowdrop. Tag to Garea who unloads on Rodz and sends him to the corner, but misses the charge. Rodz slams Garea and drops a knee then tags in Sharpe. Sharpe hammers Garea and drives him into the knee of Rodz, then tags him in. Rodz misses the big splash, but Rodz prevents the tag and drives Martel headfirst into the knee of Sharpe before tagging him in. Sharpe with a slam and an elbowdrop gets two. Garea whipped in and catches Sharpe with his head down. Tag made on both teams and Martel unloads on Rodz, all four men in the ring and the heels rammed into each other Jackknife pin on Rodz from Martel for the win. About as good as can be, nothing to complain about.

4. Rick Martel & Tony Garea beat Johnny Rodz & Larry Sharpe **

MATCH RECAP

1. Pedro Morales pins Moondog Rex **3/4
2. Pat Patterson and Sgt Slaughter both disqualified ****1/4
3. Bob Backlund beats Stan Hansen ***
4. Rick Martel & Tony Garea beat Johnny Rodz & Larry Sharpe **

A really good hour of MSG goodness here, as we had two great brawls. The opening and closing matches were okay, but Slaughter and Patterson stole the show, as expected. Matches that were not shown were Yoshiaki Yatsu over Terry Gunn, Killer Khan beat Domenic Denucci, Mil Mascaras pinned Moondog King, SD Jones over Baron Mikel Scicluna and Moolah & Leilani Kai defeated Jill Fontaine & Suzette Ferriera. Would’ve rather had the women over the tag match personally. Next we’re back to All Star Wrestling, next MSG show on the network is November.

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