WWWF: Madison Square Garden (02.02.76)

WWWF: Madison Square Garden
February 2, 1976
New York City
Madison Square Garden

Your current WWWF champions are as follows:
WWWF Heavyweight Champion: Bruno Sammartino (12/10/1973)
WWWF World Tag Team Champions: Louis Cerdan and Tony Parisi (11/17/1975)

Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Jack Nicholson
#1 Song of the Week: Love Rollercoaster by the Ohio Players
#1 TV Show of the 75-76 Season: All in the Family starring Carroll O’Connor

Follow along if you have the WWE Network!

Your host is Vince McMahon.

  • Pete Sanchez vs. Frank Monte

Monte takes a cheapshot on Sanchez and it’s awesome. He’s choking and punching and kicking, but Sanchez makes a great babyface comeback on him. Sanchez reminds me of a lower tier Tito Santana or Ricky Steamboat and even kind of resembles them. Monte applies a headlock, but Sanchez escapes and dropkicks him down before applying a headlock takedown. As Monte takes Sanchez to a corner, Sanchez gets FIRED UP and whips Monte across the ring hard into the opposite corner. Back to the headlock. Monte uppercuts Sanchez in the throat to get out of the hold. Monte does what he can to injure the throat, but a missed elbow drop allows Sanchez to come back. BAAACK BODY DROP to Monte, but Sanchez charges into a boot in the corner and that allows Monte to get the pin. (9:21) Lots of headlocks here for a ten minute match, but I do enjoy some Pete Sanchez. Monte ain’t bad either. *½

  • Louis Cyr (w/Freddie Blassie) vs. Francisco Flores

Some rubes in the front row give Blassie quite a bit of trouble here before the match. A couple guards take Blassie back to the dressing room to ensure there’s no funny business. Pretty boring match as Cyr controls with headlocks and the like with Flores making the occasional FIERY comeback that gets cut off pretty quick. Cyr whips Flores into the ropes and straight up butts him in the gut with his head. Insane. All of a sudden, Flores gives Cyr a few headbutts and splashes him off the ropes for 1-2-NO! Crowd went nuts over that. Cyr delivers a kitchen sink knee strike and slams him for the Edouard Carpentier senton splash, but Flores moves! He tries the running splash, but Cyr moves. He catches Flores with a big boot and delivers the SHOULDERBREAKER for the win. (9:16) A couple fun moments, but a step down from the last match. *

  • Spiros Arion vs. Kevin Sullivan

Vince tells us there’s been some changes to the card tonight as Irish Pat Barrett was originally scheduled to face Kevin Sullivan. Arion – a top challenger against Bruno Sammartino a year ago – has certainly taken a fall from grace here as a substitute in a simple preliminary match. He’s still working MSG, but still. Sullivan does okay against a “rusty” Spiros Arion, but winds up taking the ATOMIC DROP to give Arion the victory in 6:44. ¾*

  • Dominic DeNucci vs. Ernie Ladd

Vince says that Ernie Ladd wants to be called “Daddy” Ladd, but probably only to Vince if you catch my drift. They play around with Ladd’s taped thumb that has been causing some troubles for his opponents lately. I guess you can say Bob Orton Jr. had the Ernie Ladd disorder except in Orton’s case it was his arm and not his thumb. Either way, Ladd tries to trade fisticuffs with DeNucci, which is a bad idea. Ladd changes tactics and hiptosses DeNucci over for a blatant choke. After the break, Ladd hammers the body in the corner. The crowd is getting pissed, but I think they want the ref to get Ladd off DeNucci. Anyways, DeNucci turns the tide and fires back on Ladd. Time for Ladd to get his taped thumb ready, causing more ruckus from the crowd. DeNucci starts pounding the arm, but Ladd reaches the ropes and trips him up for a beating. Ladd reverts to choking DeNucci and does his best to keep the ref from actually seeing the choke. DeNucci fires back on Ladd and opens up a can on him in the corner. Once the ref backs DeNucci away, Ladd adjusts his taped thumb deal and jabs DeNucci in the throat. He rolls up DeNucci over in the corner and uses the top rope for leverage to get the cheap win. (11:55) After the bell, an old lady tries to whack Ladd with her purse as he returns to the dressing room. Now THAT’S heat, right? *½

  • Ivan Putski vs. Ivan Koloff (w/Captain Lou Albano)

The crowd is PUMPED for Polish Power. We have two barrel chested dudes just waiting for the other to fall. We get a shoulderblock battle that goes nowhere. Koloff switches gears and they try a test of strength. He puts Putski to a knee with a kick to the mid section. Putski winds up picking him up on his shoulder and sits him on a top turnbuckle for a shot to the gut. Okay, that was cool. Koloff hammers Putski down and puts the boots to him. He covers Putski, but gets thrown off. Putski fires back and whips Koloff hard into the opposite corner. Koloff escapes a chinlock and applies a bearhug. Eventually, Putski turns it around on Koloff only to get his eyes raked. They both fight out to the apron where Putski gets ran into the ringpost as the ref calls for the bell counting them both out. (11:00 or so) Crowd chants bullshit and Putski agrees. Koloff jumps Putski again, but he takes a shot to the head and decides to fight another day. *½

  • 2/3 Falls: Billy the Kid & Little Johnny vs. The Cocoa Kid & Little Louie

FIRST FALL: It’s midget match time! Billy the Kid and Louie start us off and the ref gets in between them for laughs. Next, we see Cocoa slamming and back dropping Johnny. Vince – “Cocoa Kid has some teeth on him!” While he holds onto Johnny, Louie chases Billy the Kid over Johnny for more laughs. We get some heel miscommunication segments that ends up with Billy the Kid and Little Johnny beating up each other. The babyfaces have some problems, too – although they work it out without coming to blows. Some more cute spots coming up. As Cocoa Kid starts the running ropes, Billy the Kid drops down only for Cocoa to roll him up using his feet to secure the first fall at 12:02.

SECOND FALL: Cocoa ends a test of strength with Billy the Kid by stepping on his hands. Tag to Louie, he tries to keep Billy the Kid in a full nelson, but Billy the Kid keeps breaking free. As the babyfaces switch behind Billy the Kid’s back, he finds he can’t break out of Cocoa’s full nelson. However, Billy the Kid reaches the ropes only to get dumped on his back. Johnny bends the arm of Cocoa Kid and bites his hand behind the ref’s back. Cocoa decides to bite Johnny on the butt instead. Apparently, Louie likes that idea as well. Johnny runs Cocoa into the corner, but of course turnbuckle smashes don’t bother black people back in these days. Cocoa backdrops Johnny and tags out to Louie. He catapults Johnny into Billy the Kid and covers him for the three count to win the match. (18:29 total) Not as bad as these usually are. Billy the Kid carried the match with his personality and he’s a fun guy to watch. **

  • WWWF Heavyweight Championship: Bruno Sammartino (c) (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Superstar Billy Graham

This is their second MSG match after Graham defeated Bruno the month before by countout in a match you can see on the History of the WWE Championship DVD set released in 2006. JIP to Graham stomping Bruno on the shoulders and then pulling back on the arms. Once Sammartino finally reverses the hold on Graham, Superstar wants a timeout but will not get it. Bruno whips him out of the corner for a backdrop. Graham begs off and gets a right cross. Sammartino gets caught with a knee charging into the corner, which significantly calms down the crowd. Graham is holding onto the leg trying to roll Bruno into a pinning predicament – because he’s certainly not hurting the leg. He wraps one of Bruno’s legs around the post and then stomps him in the face. Time to go up top, but Graham misses a flying knee. Now Sammartino decides he’s going to wrap Graham’s knee around the post. Graham begs off in the ring, but again Bruno does not care and keeps at him. Bruno isn’t interested in his bearhug, but Graham will be able to apply a full nelson. Of course, Sammartino is able to reverse the full nelson. Since Graham can’t break the hold, he finds relief reaching the ropes. They once again lock up and Graham backs Bruno into the ropes to beat him down. Superstar slams Sammartino and puts the boots to him. He whips Bruno into the ropes for a back elbow, drops an elbow, and then MISSES an elbow drop from the second rope. Bruno then punches Superstar out to the apron and runs him into the ringpost to bust him open. Bruno runs Graham into the post again and proceeds to unload on the cut. This continues until the ref decides to call it due to all the blood. (15:29 shown) The ring announcer tells us the match time was 17:55, so we only missed about two and a half minutes of what I’m sure what just “jocking for position” stuff anyways. Next month at MSG, Bruno would move onto another challenger in Ernie Ladd as this turned out to be Graham’s final shot at a WWWF title match inside the Garden, but as we all know Graham would one day defeat Bruno Sammartino to win the WWWF championship in the Baltimore Civic Center in April of 1977. Great atmosphere with a big fight feel is what carried this match over the actual in-ring work. This is match of the night on an otherwise pretty lame card. **½

  • Baron Mikel Scicluna vs. Pat Barrett

Since Bobo Brazil is having to sub in the last match for Louis Cerdan tonight due to an accident, Pat Barrett will be facing Scicluna instead. Not much of a match at all as Barrett gets kicked around. He makes the fiery babyface comeback, but Scicluna runs him off into the corner where Barrett’s head bounces off the top buckle for the lame three-count at 6:44. ½*

Ring announcer Bobby Wagner announces next month’s MSG card on March 1:

1) Davey O’Hannon vs. Johnny Rivera
2) Ric Flair (in his MSG debut) vs. Pete Sanchez
3) Baron Mikel Scicluna vs. Dominic DeNucci
4) Louis Cyr vs. Pat Barrett
5) Crusher Blackwell vs. Bobo Brazil
6) NWA World Women’s Championship: Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Susan Green
7) WWWF World Tag Team Championship:
Louis Cerdan & Tony Parisi (c) vs. Ivan Koloff & Superstar Billy Graham
8) WWWF Heavyweight Championship: Bruno Sammartino (c) vs. Ernie Ladd

  • 2/3 Falls: Tony Parisi & Bobo Brazil vs. Crusher Blackwell & Bugsy McGraw

FIRST FALL: It’s a non-title match since Louis Cerdan isn’t able to be here. Bobo battles Blackwell to start. He grabs a headlock on Blackwell. As Bugsy comes rushing in, Bobo takes them both over with a headscissors and headlock takedown. That’s a big dude to be doing that. In comes Parisi, he slows down the action with a headlock. Parisi holds onto the beard whenever Blackwell tries to shove him off. Bobo does the same. Once Blackwell backs Bobo into his corner, Bugsy holds onto Brazil for a couple Avalanches by Blackwell. Tag to McGraw, Bobo can’t seem to fight out of the corner. They each whip one another into the corner, but Bobo gets the better of Bugsy by catching him charging with a boot. Blackwell tags in and grabs a bearhug. As Blackwell backs Brazil into his corner with McGraw, Bugsy ties the tag rope around Bobo’s neck and chokes on him until the ref DQ’s them in 7:13.

SECOND FALL: A drink or something gets thrown at the heels and the referee in between the falls. Anyways, the babyfaces go wild on Blackwell, but Bugsy keeps on breaking up the pin. Bobo has enough and COCO BUTTS Bugsy out of the ring. There’s a DOUBLE BACKDROP on Blackwell. Bobo keeps Bugsy out of the way while Parisi hits the FLYING SENTON SPLASH for the win. (11:34 total) They sure hurried up that second fall a bit, eh? Must have been close to the curfew or something. *½

Final Thoughts: Boy, this one was hard to get through. I fell asleep through the first time I watched it and I had to walk away from recapping it at least once to take a break because it was a snoozer. I don’t mind the All Star Wrestling shows of this period because it’s just an hour and the interviews are normally fun to watch even though the squash matches are pretty much always the same. But as for this show in particular, while we got to see some interesting personalities throughout, this was a thumbs down all the way.

Posted on January 22, 2019, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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