WWF From Madison Square Garden – November 23, 1981

We finally head back to MSG for a house show, this is the second and final one for the year on the Network. Wish they had more of these, as they are so fun. This runs about ninety minutes, so some matches are missing, but we have a main event of Bob Backlund versus Greg Valentine. Plus Don Muraco faces Pedro Morales, which should be a good match. Let’s go to the ring.

1. Mr Saito v. SD Jones

Odd seeing the tag champions in singles matches at MSG, but here we are. SD Jones was somewhere between jobber and midcard star at this point. Vince on commentary, by himself, as the bell rings and Albano escorted to the back. Wonder when managers were allowed at ringside, as it seems so odd. Jones overpowers Saito, but Saito with an armdrag and a bow to Jones. SD comes back with one of his own, including the bow and the crowd cheers that. Some nice amateur moves from both men and SD gets the advantage. Saito with a side headlock, SD sends him in and Saito with a shoulderblock and and back elbow but misses the elbowdrop. SD with another armdrag and bow, and Saito is getting angry. Saito with a nice takedown, and into a wristlock on the mat. SD breaks the hold and dances for the crowd, and Saito is getting even more upset. This allows SD to catch him with a series of shots and rams Saito into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Saito catches SD with a chop and begins to work over the back of the neck with chops and stomps. Boston Crab from Saito and Jones powers out, but Saito quickly back on his opponent. Jones rammed into the turnbuckle, which does nothing but fire him up, and Jones hammers away on Saito. Saito whipped in and SD charges in, but runs into the knees of Saito. Saito with a kneedrop off the ropes and scores the victory. **1/2 A solid opening contest as both men worked hard and kept it exciting.

1. Mr Saito defeats SD Jones **1/2

2. Rick Martel v. Hans Schroeder

Another tag team star in singles action tonight, as Vince talks about Martel and his hockey skills. Martel with a top wristlock takes Hans down, but Hans powers up and to the ropes for a clean breaks. Side headlock from Martel who cranks on the neck of Hans, who gets him in the ropes and drives a knee into the midsection of Martel. Snapmare from Hans and into the rear chinlock, growling the whole time. Martel powers up and into the wristlock on Hans, who struggles to get free but Martel gets him to the mat. Hans claims a hair pull and the ref demands he break the hold, Martel gets in the referee’s face. Martel grabs the arm and cranks away at it, driving an elbow into the arm multiple times, Hans makes the ropes again and a clean break., Hans catches Rick with a knee to the gut and unloads on Martel. Vince wonders about the referee and his impartiality with Hans, who misses a big splash. Rick fires himself up and goes after Hans, rams him into the buckle and gets two. Martel with a side headlock and again Hans makes the ropes, this is getting repetitive, as this has been most of the match. Center of the ring and Hans wants a test of strength, Hans overpowers Martel as he slowly sinks down to one knee. Martel makes a comeback and a pair of dropkicks sends Hans out of the ring. Hans slowly gets back in the ring, and Martel sends him to the turnbuckle multiple times, then shoot him to the opposite corner. Martel makes the same mistake as SD earlier and charges into the knees of Hans. This gives a chance to unload on Martel and smashes his face into the turnbuckle, as the crowd is cheering for Martel. Hans crushes him in the corner and bites Martel, as the ref is not calling any of the illegal moves Hans does. Martel finally fires back and sends Hans crashing to the mat, but as he pulls Hans up Hans nails him in the midsection. Hans sends Martel to the corner, Hans charges and Martel jumps over him and rolls Hans up for the three. **1/4 Slow paced match, but a nice finish helped a bit.

2. Rick Martel pinned Hans Schroeder **1/4
3. Pedro Morales v. Don Muraco (IC, Texas Death)

Muraco sporting a beard and has his hair slicked back, wonder if he arrived in a pink Cadillac? Muraco tosses the Intercontinental title at Pedro and says let’s start. They start with a slugfest and Pedro gets the advantage sending Muraco to the corner. Muraco is irate screaming at the crowd, as they boo him. Muraco gets a shot in and Pedro answers back with one of his own, and both men just glare at each other. Muraco powers Pedro to the corner and unloads, but Pedro sends him to the corner and a double sledge to the gut sends Muraco to the apron. Back in and they tie up, Muraco with a side headlock and pop Pedro, then drives him down with elbows. Muraco drops a knee across the face and gets two, Muraco then tosses Pedro over the top rope to the cement floor. Muraco follows and stomps on Pedro, then drops Pedro crotch first on the steel guardrail. Muraco back in the ring and poses, as the crowd is all over him. Pedro pulls back in and rammed into the steel post as Muraco is all over the former champion. Pedro sent in and a nice dropkick from Muraco sends Pedro back out and crashing into the guardrail. Muraco follows and rams Pedro headfirst into the steel post, a second time countered and Muraco smashes into the post. Both men struggle to get back in, and Muraco sends Pedro in and a back body drop sends Pedro crashing to the mat. Muraco in full control takes his time stomping and kicking Pedro, but goes for a spinning toe hold and Pedro pulls him closer so he can rake the eyes. Muraco tries for the thumb and Pedro with a shot to the midsection staggers the champion. Pedro sends Muraco into the corner where he crashes upside down, and leaves the ring, so Pedro follows. Muraco eats the guardrail and then into the steel post, as Pedro in full control now, as Muraco into the post again. Pedro back in the ring and Muraco is gushing blood as he struggles back in and Pedro all over Muraco. Pedro nails Muraco and he’s tied in the ropes, Pedro charges and Muraco nails him. Both men are hurting but Muraco up first and a headbutt to the lower midsection send Pedro into convulsions. Muraco with a side headlock and Pedro sends him in, both men crash hard into each other, both men struggle to get up but Muraco up first. Muraco sends Pedro in and Pedro ducks under the clothesline and hits a headbutt to the gut and a big right scores the pin and title. ****1/2 Best Pedro match I’ve seen, just a crazy brawl. On the replay we see Muraco drop brass knuckles, and Pedro scoops them up after avoiding the clothesline and nailing Muraco with them.

3. Pedro Morales pinned Don Muraco to win Intercontinental title ****1/2

4. Little Boy Blue v. Haiti Kid

Ugh, not this again. I just can’t stand this crap. Vince says this is always fun for laughs as he makes fun of them, stay classy Vince. Anyway, skipping this garbage. Next match.

4. Haiti Kid pinned Little Boy Blue

5. Bob Backlund v. Greg Valentine (World, No Holds Barred)

As Greg is being introduced, wearing Bob’s belt, Backlund charges the ring and attacks Greg, and we are underway. Backlund gets the title and smashes Greg with it, sending him to the floor as the crowd is insane. Greg gets back in and Bob all over him. Backlund sends Greg corner to corner introducing him to the turnbuckles, and Greg reverses but charges into an empty corner. Backlund right on the knee of Greg, which he injured charging into the corner. Bob ironically works over the leg of Greg, as Vince says the title is being held up right now after the last match and this match will determine the champion. Greg begs off and Bob will have none of that as he continues to work the leg, as this is a very vicious Backlund. Backlund just all over the leg of Valentine and is just destroying Greg. Valentine finally gets Bob down and now he works the leg of Backlund, dropping an elbow across the thigh of Backlund. Greg cranks on the knee of Backlund, who fires back with rights and one shot to the knee sends Greg back. Greg slides outside and pulls Bob out to the post and rams the leg of Backlund into the steel post. Greg goes for the figure four and Bob rolls him up for a near fall, Bob goes for a slam and can’t hold the weight and Greg on top for a near fall of his own. Greg quickly back on the leg of Backlund, and locks on the Figure Four. Backlund shows his stamina by not giving up and reverses the pressure as both men are jockeying for position. Backlund slaps Greg to break the hold, but Greg right back on the leg and to the figure four but Bob reverses the pressure again by rolling over. Greg rolls back over and now it’s Bob in trouble as Bob tries to roll again and does as they wind up in the ropes. Greg breaks the hold and snaps the leg of Backlund on the bottom rope. Valentine having trouble getting in the ring, as he slowly goes after Bob who nails him. Backlund to his feet and Greg smashes him and goes for figure four again, but Bob kicks him off. Bob with a back suplex and both men are down, both slow to get up and Greg off the ropes with a running elbow for two. Valentine slams Bob but misses the elbowdrop, and Bob with a German Suplex for three! **** a slow methodical battle between two great technical marvels!

5. Bob Backlund pinned Greg Valentine to retain the WWF World Title ****

6. Dusty Rhodes v. Angelo Mosca

Well this is not something I expected to see, as Dusty makes a rare WWF appearance. Dusty mocks Mosca and dances around the ring as the bell rings, and Mosca doesn’t look impressed. Mosca powers Dusty to the corner and nails him, Dusty fires back and Mosca backs up. Mosca with a side headlock on Dusty, Mosca sent in and comes back with a shoulderblock, second time and Mosca eats an elbow sending him to the outside. Mosca demands the referee check the elbow pad of Dusty, as he returns to the ring. Mosca catches the arm of Dusty and cranks on it, pulling the hair to get Dusty on the mat. Dusty finally reverses the hold and drives an elbow into the shoulder. Mosca rakes the eyes and begins to unload on Dusty with forearms and fists. Dusty comes back with jabs and elbows sending Mosca into the ropes, and Dusty unloads on him. The ref tries to free him and Dusty tightens the ropes to make it harder, which the fans love. Mosca finally free rakes the eyes of Dusty and clobbers him, knee to the face sends Dusty to the floor. Mosca follows and they slug it out, on the apron and they are still hammering each other. Mosca ducks under a shot from Dusty and Dusty falls in the ring as the ref reaches ten. ** Boring match but innovative finish.

6. Dusty Rhodes beat Angelo Mosca by count out **

7. Mil Mascaras v. Masked Executioner

Ron Shaw dons his mask again, as the Masked Executioner to face the always annoying Mil Mascaras. Mil with a side headlock and Executioner sends him in and Mil with a shoulderblock and a rollup for a near fall. Executioner bails out and takes him time coming back in, Mil easily takes Executioner down again and anything Executioner does Mil just reverses. Mil is just frustrating to watch as no one can do anything to him as he reverses everything. Two flying chops and powerslam followed by the crossbody get three. * nothing bad but nothing worthwhile either.

7. Mil Mascaras crushed Masked Executioner *

8. Tony Atlas v. Mr Fuji

We open with one half of the tag champions and close with the other half. I guess we were building to a tag match next month, as Fuji does the ceremonial salt to start. Atlas grabs the arm and Fuji makes the ropes to break the grip. Fuji with a top wristlock and drives Atlas to one knee, but Atlas powers back up and sends Fuji flying. Fuji complains of a hair pull and Atlas denies it. Fuji quickly goes behind and into a full nelson, Atlas powers out with ease sending Fuji down again. Fuji chops Atlas who blocks and comes back with a headbutt and Fuji goes flying again. Fuji catches Atlas off guard with a chop to the chest and one to the throat. Fuji continues to chop away on Atlas and locks on a shoulder claw. Atlas fights his way up and Fuji uses the hair to take Atlas back down. Atlas slowly fading away, as the ref checks the arm, which drops once, twice but the third time it stays up and the crowd fires Atlas back up. Atlas nails Fuji with a right but misses the dropkick and Fuji drops a knee before going back to the claw. Fuji sends Atlas in and catches him with a vicious chop to the chest and then a scoop and slam plants Atlas. Fuji ascends the ropes and drops a leg but Atlas moves and Fuji crashes. Atlas press slams Fuji and covers for the quickest three count ever. *1/2 slow paced match that dragged a bit in the middle.

8. Tony Atlas pinned Mr Fuji *1/2

MATCH RECAP
1. Mr Saito defeats SD Jones **1/2
2. Rick Martel pinned Hans Schroeder **1/4
3. Pedro Morales pinned Don Muraco to win Intercontinental title ****1/2
4. Haiti Kid pinned Little Boy Blue
5. Bob Backlund pinned Greg Valentine to retain the WWF World Title ****
6. Dusty Rhodes beat Angelo Mosca by count out **
7. Mil Mascaras crushed Masked Executioner *
8. Tony Atlas pinned Mr Fuji *1/2

A couple of fantastic matches really saved this show, as the show really died out after the World title match. Both title matches were spectacular, everything else ranged from good to okay. It’s a long time till we return to MSG, December of 1982 to be exact.

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