And could headline shows.
WWF House Show
Date: August 25, 1984
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Alfred Hayes, Gorilla Monsoon
I found a few shows from 1984 and it’s always interesting to look at these house shows, as they were the main cards back in the day. This is just after the Brawl to End it All the previous month, meaning this is either a very exciting time for wrestling or a bit of a downturn from the previous MSG show depending on how you look at it. The main event here is Santana defending the IC Title against Valentine which is almost always good stuff. Let’s get to it.
Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Kamala
Kamala has Freddie Blassie with him here. The match takes forever to get going as Kamala has to be prepped for the match by his handlers. Strongbow runs around to start but his chops have no effect at all. Kamala misses a splash in the corner so Jay tries a sleeper, only to be rammed into another corner. Strongbow is sent to the floor for a bit before Kamala chops him down back inside. We get a quick warpath from Strongbow but he runs into a foot in the corner and the splash ends Strongbow in a hurry. Not much to see here.
B. Brian Blair vs. Mike Sharp
This is way before the Killer Bees so Blair is just a guy. Apparently Sharp is called The Wimp. Feeling out process to start until Sharp bails into the ropes to escape a hammerlock. Blair kicks him into the corner and we get a few crisscrosses. A few armdrags put Sharp down and a dropkick sends him to the floor. Sharp tries to bring in a chair which goes nowhere of course.
Mike goes to the eyes like a good villain and pounds away with some forearms to the back. A guillotine across the top rope has Blair in trouble but he comes back with a monkey flip out of the corner. Blair headscissors him to the floor and into the crowd as the match slows down again. Back in and Sharp wants a handshake and tries to get one for almost two full minutes. Blair cranks on the leg to no avail so Sharp hits a few backbreakers to take over.
A slam doesn’t work for Brian so they slug it out for a bit with Sharp taking over again. Blair is sent to the floor and kicked in the head a little bit…..then he’s kicked more…..and more……until Blair finally slides under the ring and sneaks up on Sharp. You know, because Sharp isn’t going to notice Blair disappearing. Brian sneaks up on him and knocks Sharp to the floor so they can brawl to a double countout.
Rating: D+. The match wasn’t bad but it just kept going. It ran over thirteen minutes with about four of those spent standing around. This is one of those things that you got a lot of back in this period: random matches which had no story and no reason for them fighting, which is why the matches had to be excellent. The problem is this never got close to excellent, as was the case most of the time.
Rick McGraw vs. Salvatore Bellomo
This would be another match just like the previous one. Sal takes him down with a headlock but McGraw fights out with some armdrags. Off to an armbar on Sal as the match slows WAY down. Sal fights up twice and gets put back in the hold both times. Bellomo counters into a wristlock and is put back into the armbar. We’re five minutes into this match and about three and a half of them have been spent on this armbar. You can see the draw coming from here.
Back up and they grab a test of strength with Sal going down into a bridge. McGraw drops down onto him but can’t break the bridge. Sal goes to a quick chinlock but gets countered into a hammerlock so we can lay around EVEN MORE. Back up again and Bellomo fires off some forearms….and put back in the armbar. Bellomo fights up and puts him onto the turnbuckle before backing away. The fans are booing this out of the building. Sal puts on a standing chinlock of all things as we’re somehow ten minutes into this disaster.
Since that’s too interesting, we go down into a headlock on the mat. We actually get an entertaining bit as McGraw monkey flips him over but Sal lands on his feet and hits a quick crossbody for two. That’s too much for them though and we head to the mat for another armbar on Bellomo. Sal sends him out to the floor as this somehow slows down even more.
A sunset flip gets two for McGraw and it’s time to brawl. They slug each other down to the floor before heading back inside for a backslide by Rick and things stop dead AGAIN. Sal starts working on the legs before they get up and collide with each other to lay down even more. Both guys try dropkicks and since that works so well let’s do it again! They do it a third time in a row before trading near falls until the time limit expires.
Rating: F. I think you get the idea here. For one thing, apparently this match had an 18:07 time limit and the decision was made to spend about half of that in armbars. I understand that the idea is to burn through some time on the card, but there’s no excuse for boring your audience like this. Seriously, do SOMETHING with that time. It can’t be that difficult. Bellomo would be jobbing clean to BOBBY HEENAN in a few months.
They raise each others’ hands post match.
Tag Titles: Adrian Adonis/Dick Murdoch vs. Wild Samoans
The Samoans are challenging here and are definitely the crowd favorites. The champions say they’re going to win. Lou Albano is guest referee here for some reason and gets caught talking to the champions in the back before the match. Adonis and Sika get things going but everything breaks down in just a few seconds. The Samoans clean house with Adonis being choked in the corner before bailing to the floor.
Back in and Sika knocks Adonis into the corner for a tag to Murdoch. Dick tries an elbow to Sika’s head which has no effect. I miss the days of the racial stereotypes. The champions have their heads rammed together and bail to the floor again. Back in and both champions are slammed down with Afa coming in to help out as well. Murdoch gets double clotheslined and Adonis bails to the outside.
Murdoch tries a sneak attack but rams the Samoans’ heads together to no avail. Dick charges into a knee in the corner and tries to tag in Afa out of confusion. Off to Adonis for a slugout and a sleeper on Afa who finally sends Adrian into the corner to escape. The champions change with no tag and Murdoch comes in to pound away even more. An atomic drop puts Murdoch down and it’s off to Sika. Adrian goes up and gets crotched as everything breaks down. The Samoans tale over but yell at Albano and that’s a DQ.
Rating: D. Not the worst match in the world but it was a lot of standing around until the lame finish. Presumably this sets up a later rematch, but it wouldn’t be anything I’d be interested in seeing based on what we just sat through. The Samoans wouldn’t be around much longer, but their family would be coming back for years on end.
The Samoans clear the ring post match.
Ken Patera vs. Pat Patterson
Patera is a legit strongman and was in the World’s Strongest Man competition. These two feuded for the IC Title back in 79 with Patera taking the title from Patterson so there’s an actual history here. Patera takes forever to strip off his warmup stuff and I have a feeling Patterson wasn’t complaining. We hear about Patera being the reason Monsoon retired before moving on to the Wepner vs. Andre the Giant match back in the 70s. In other words, the announcers are already bored and will talk about ANYTHING else to avoid the match.
Patera shoves Pat around to start before getting locked in an armbar. A cross body gets two for Pat and he pounds away to tie Ken up in the ropes. Patterson takes it to the mat and wraps Patera’s leg around the post. He stomps on Ken a bit but Patera pokes him in the eye to take over again. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Patterson comes back with a slingshot into the corner for two. Pat goes up but Patera rolls away before any jumping occurs. Patera comes back with a hot shot and the full nelson ends Patterson.
Rating: D+. Another lame match here but given who was in there I can’t say I’m that shocked. Patera would be put in jail about a year later for fighting with cops at a McDonalds and not many people would care. Patterson retired the next month, which actually surprises me as I didn’t know he was even around at this point.
Jesse Ventura says he’s going to beat up Ivan “Puduski” tonight and then he’s coming for Hogan.
Jesse Ventura vs. Ivan Putski
Putski jumps Ventura on the entrance and the fans are actually waking up a bit here. Ventura hides on the floor for a bit before going back in, only to be shoved right back to the outside. Ivan hooks a headlock and pounds on Jesse’s head a bit before kicking him to the floor again. Back in (again) and Ivan grabs Jesse by the beard to pound away on him even more. Ventura rolls to the floor again as the stalling continues.
The Body puts a top wristlock on the much shorter Ivan and pulls him to the mat by the hair, meaning we can lay around again! Putski fights up and knocks Jesse to the floor but Ventura gets in a shot on the way back inside. Jesse pulls out some kind of foreign object to choke Ivan but of course doesn’t get caught. Ivan steals it away and clotheslines Jesse with it before choking as well. The referee seems to be fine with this. They head to the apron with Jesse hitting him in the throat and getting back in for a countout win.
Rating: F+. You wouldn’t believe this match was twelve minutes long would you? Jesse was a master at doing absolutely nothing in a match but still getting booed and this was no exception. Putski continues to be one of the most worthless wrestlers I’ve ever seen, as he has nothing of note at all and the match was incredibly boring.
Fabulous Freebirds vs. Butcher Vachon/Ron Shaw/Pete Doherty
Now here’s a rarity for you. This is 2/3 falls and to the best of my knowledge, this is one of the only matches for the Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy) in the WWF. The Birds are good guys here and it’s Hayes vs. Vachon to start things off. Feeling out process to start with Hayes avoiding a shot in the corner before it’s off to Shaw. Hayes puts on a headlock and kicks Shaw in the face for good measure. Off to Roberts who pounds away on Shaw for a bit as we seem to be in squash territory.
Gordy comes in for a one arm slam before it’s off to Doherty. Back to Roberts who chases Doherty into the corner for a tag to Vachon. A slam puts Butcher down and here’s Hayes again, only to have him miss an elbow drop. The unnamed team pounds on Hayes in the corner but Gordy comes in for a save. Michael slides through the legs and tags in Gordy for a cross body to pin Vachon for the first fall.
After a break we start the second fall with Gordy locking up with Vachon. A few slams put Butcher down and it’s off to Shaw again. This goes about as well as you would expect for a jobber against a team the company is trying to get over as Buddy snaps Ron’s neck over the top rope. Doherty comes in and starts some triple teaming on Buddy which goes nowhere so here’s Hayes again to pound away. Doherty misses a legdrop and everything breaks down. Gordy gets all fired up and Doherty is backdropped down. An elbow from Roberts gets the pin.
Rating: D. I’m getting tired of writing that but it’s another uninteresting match which just kept going. The Birds would be back to likely Texas soon after this as the WWF wanted to split them up. To be fair, a three man team was only going to be able to do so much in the WWF, so the Freebirds weren’t the best fit around here.
Roddy Piper vs. Jimmy Snuka
Ok, this MUST be better than anything else tonight. I mean, by pure talent alone it has to be. This is just after the coconut attack by Piper so this is a really hot feud. Piper bails to the floor to start (popular move tonight) before coming back in for a hot slugout. Snuka easily chops him down and adds a headbutt for good measure. Piper tries a headbutt of his own and looks like he has a concussion. Roddy goes to the eye instead and pounds away at the head but Jimmy comes back with a chop to send Piper to the floor.
As they come back in, Snuka gets Piper caught up in the ropes and pounds away before hooking a sleeper. Piper gyrates his way out to the floor again and finally breaks the hold. Jimmy rams him into the post and into a chair for good measure to bust Piper open. They head back inside and Roddy looks TERRIFIED. Another headbutt puts Piper down but he counters the top rope cross body and sends Jimmy into the ropes. Snuka falls to the floor and is counted out in record time.
Rating: C+. This was BY FAR the best match of the night so far as it felt like these two wanted to kill each other. Piper charging in to fight Jimmy was a good idea as he looked more crafty than cowardly, which is a nice thing to see given how lame heels are booked in modern wrestling. These two feuded for a long time, with the feud being incorporated into the main event of the first Wrestlemania.
Post match Piper drills him in the neck a few times with a chair, resulting in a Snuka stretcher job.
Terry Daniels vs. Fred Marzino
Daniels is a small guy who hung out with Sgt. Slaughter around this time. We cut to the back to see Snuka being looked at by the doctor. We cut back to the ring to see an armbar then go to the back again to see Snuka have a neck brace put on. Marzino has a headlock on but it’s back to Snuka. Jimmy is starting to respond a bit here but can’t move his right arm. We cut back to the ring to see Daniels win with a sunset flip and a VERY fast count. We only saw about 40 seconds of the match so no rating.
Jimmy is now getting oxygen. Alfred Hayes can’t get much info but it’s some kind of a concussion.
Intercontinental Title: Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine
Tito is defending. Valentine tries to take it to the mat but Tito is too quick for him and it’s a standoff. Tito tries the same thing and it’s another standoff. Santana hooks a headlock into an atomic drop and Valentine begs off. A back elbow puts Tito down and there’s a shoulder breaker followed by a forearm to the face for two. Valentine pounds away but Tito comes back for a slugout to take over. We cut again to Jimmy being taken out on a stretcher.
Back in the ring and Valentine has Tito in a reverse chinlock but he counters into….something as we cut back to Snuka being wheeled out. Greg pounds away on the back and neck before getting two off a belly to back suplex. Valentine keeps on the ribs but Tito gets in a shot to the Hammer’s ribs to escape. Santana tries a leapfrog but takes out the referee instead. There’s the flying forearm for the pin on Valentine, but the referee misses the foot being on the rope.
Rating: C+. Not bad here but it was designed to set up another match later on which is fine. These two had some insane chemistry and with some more time and more of a focus on the match, they could have had a FAR better match. Either way, decent stuff here and a good way to get the fans to want to come back later. Tito would drop the title to Valentine a month later.
Post match Valentine puts Tito in the Figure Four and cranks on the knee something fierce.
Tito is in the back and says his knee is hurt. He sounds like he’s in labor. Tito says he’ll be back for Valentine and he’ll defend the title in 30 days.
Valentine is very pleased with himself and what he did to Taco Bell Santana.
Overall Rating: D-. Oh MAN this was lame. The Piper vs. Snuka match is good stuff but much like the main event, it was all to set up another match. The problem is the rest of the show was DREADFUL with the third best match of the show being Mike Sharp vs. Brian Blair. They were at least trying which helps a lot. Terrible show here which was desperately lacking Hogan.
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