WWWF: Madison Square Garden (08.29.77)

WWWF: Madison Square Garden
August 29, 1977
New York City
Madison Square Garden

Your current WWWF champions are as follows:
WWWF Heavyweight Champion: Superstar Billy Graham (4/30/1977)
WWWF World Tag Team Champions: Vacant (8/1/1977)

Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: The Kentucky Fried Movie created by Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker
#1 Song of the Week: Best of My Love by The Emotions
#1 TV Show of the 76-77 Season: Happy Days starring Ron Howard & Henry Winkler

Follow along with the WWE Network!

Your host is Vince McMahon.

Three matches have been cut from the broadcast for one reason or another. Here are the results of those matches:

-Lenny Hurst defeated Rocky Tomayo
-Johnny Rivera defeated Joe Turco in 10:51
-SD Jones defeated Jack Evans in 8:19

Now onto the show!

  • High Chief Peter Maivia vs. Stan Stasiak

Maivia is in a GREAT mood tonight – and that infuriates Stasiak. Once Maivia gets caught with some punches, that’s enough to change his mood real quick. He whips Maivia hard in the corner and applies a bearhug. Vince mentions that Stasiak isn’t one of the strongest men in wrestling so he doesn’t understand why he’s going with the bearhug hold, but Stasiak is tall with long arms, so it’s a leverage type of deal. Anyways, Maivia escapes and chops away. Stasiak punches back and goes for the Heart Punch, but Maivia blocks and chops Stasiak to the apron. He tries the Heart Punch again, but misses and punches the ringpost. While Stasiak licks his wounds, Maivia returns inside the ring leaving Stasiak to get counted out. (7:36) Maivia wants five more minutes, but of course Stasiak does not. Pretty hot opener as the crowd is just loving the energetic High Chief. *½

  • 2/3 Falls: Larry Zbyszko & Tony Garea vs. George “The Animal” Steele & Baron Mikel Scicluna

FIRST FALL: Garea and Zbyszko have to fight off Steele before the introductions are even completed. The heels take control to start as Garea gets jabbed in the throat with a foreign object by Steele. While Scicluna is working over Garea, Steele tears off a turnbuckle pad for some EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE VIOLENCE. Larry Z even gets his head smashed on the exposed corner. How is that not a DQ? No blood either. Steele tags in with the same game plan in mind for Garea. Eventually, Steele gets tired of the ref’s constant nagging and shoves him away to disqualify Scicluna and Steele at 6:51.

SECOND FALL: The babyfaces are basically destroyed at this point. Vince wonders if they can even continue to finish the match. Still no blood here and I’m a little disappointed. Once the match starts, Scicluna goes back to work on Garea. He does manage to block a turnbuckle smash and send Scicluna to the exposed corner, but then Steele comes in and knocks Garea away off-camera with his foreign object. Larry Z is protesting to the ref, but of course that’s not helping. Garea finally breaks away from Scicluna to reach Zbyszko. Steele is off doing God knows what. Zbyszko hammers on Scicluna and holds him in place for a FLYING SUNSET FLIP from Garea to get the three-count. (8:57 total) A wild tag match, but the turnbuckle spot was overused and didn’t escalate to BLOOD, which I think this match could have used. However, it was fun for the most part. Steele and Scicluna try to beat them up again, but Garea gets the foreign object away from Steele and jabs at him. This continues until Scicluna and Steele leave Garea in a heap. **

  • WWWF Heavyweight Championship: Superstar Billy Graham (c) (w/The Grand Wizard) vs. Ivan Putski

Crowd is chanting for Bruno while Graham unloads on Vince about how good of shape he’s in. This is the signature Superstar Billy Graham interview and everybody should see it if they haven’t. Putski punches the shit out of Graham to start and the crowd is going nuts. Once they finally lock up, Graham cranks on the neck. Putski eventually reverses the hold and nearly pins Graham to the mat. Graham gets up and rakes the eyes. We get a shoulderblock battle with Graham coming off the ropes, but it’s Putski who drills Graham with the POLISH HAMMER. The crowd goes COMPLETELY MENTAL. If I could think of a bigger word than mental, it would apply here. The closest thing I can compare it to is Goldberg giving Hollywood Hogan the spear in the Georgia Dome. They think they have a new world champ, but Graham falls into the ropes and begs off. Graham then finds a way to apply the FULL NELSON. Putski goes down, but of course he wakes up and breaks free. Putski applies a full nelson, but he’s just too short to make it work in my opinion. Graham goes down and has to use the ropes to get the break, which was the coward’s way out back then. Now it’s just part of the *drama*. Anyways, Graham comes back and puts the boots and elbow drops to the back of Putski. Time for the BEARHUG. Putski eventually has no choice but to back Graham into a corner. He whips Graham across and hoists him up in a bearhug of his own. As Putski starts coming off the ropes knocking into Graham, he gets caught with a backdrop that sends him over the top rope to the floor for the countout. (18:01) As far as the slower WWWF main event style goes, this was tons of fun. ***¼

  • Verne Gagne vs. Nikolai Volkoff

Not sure why, but Verne does several shots in MSG while Nick Bockwinkel is the touring AWA world champ. Of course the last time he was here, Verne was at the tail end of his Bruno-esque seven year title run. He tagged up with Andre the Giant against the Valiant Brothers in August 1975. He lost the AWA world title to Bockwinkel in November.

Of course at any time if Volkoff wanted to, he could tear into the old man. Gagne is here to prove that a good wrestler and leverage can defeat even the biggest men. Weird hearing Vince put over Verne, his son, and the AWA. Volkoff had worked in the AWA a few years back as Boris Breznikoff, which connects Volkoff to the Gagnes. As Volkoff lifts up Verne for a backbreaker, Verne counters a headscissors and rolls him up for the win. (7:01) A little hard to buy, but whatever. *

  • Texas Death Match: Bruno Sammartino (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Ken Patera (w/Captain Lou Albano)

These two had a three match series in MSG earlier in the year over the WWWF title with Sammartino coming out on the winning end of things beating Patera to a bloody pulp, but apparently the feud has not been 100% settled. Of course, Patera has been a thorn in the side of favorites like Chief Jay Strongbow ever since that maybe Bruno wants to show this guy a thing or two one more time. The first half of the match is Bruno kicking the crap out of Patera from one end of the ring to the other. He sits down on a rear chinlock and pulls back on the neck. Patera barely gets any offense in this match, but he does for a few moments here. Bruno comes back with a powerslam and atomic drops Patera to the apron. He follows up with a backdrop for two. Patera low blows Sammartino to take control. It doesn’t last long as Bruno mounts another comeback. Patera grabs a FULL NELSON, but Bruno kicks off the top buckle to land on him for the three-count. (12:13) Not as violent as it should have been. You got the ref breaking up choke holds when it’s supposed to be no holds barred. Also, this was probably 90% Bruno. I wasn’t a fan of how one sided the match was. *½

  • Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Mr. Fuji (w/Professor Tanaka & Freddie Blassie)

Howard Finkel announces that Tanaka is injured and couldn’t wrestle tonight. We see him on crutches, but it’s wrestling so there’s no idea if this is a work or not. Strongbow is so concerned with Blassie that he gets jumped from behind by Fuji. While the creepy looking ref is getting Blassie out, Fuji tosses salt in Strongbow’s eyes and we are off to the races. Vince calls Fuji a real sneaky type individual. Strongbow comes back with a backdrop and goes on the WARPATH. He applies the sleeperhold, but Fuji falls back into the ropes. Fuji claws the pectoral muscles and puts him down to the mat. Is there a pressure point there I’m not aware of? Why would that knock you out? Anyways, Strongbow gets to his feet and goes on the WARPATH again. Back to the titty hold. Strongbow chops the forehead and knee lifts Fuji until we get a curfew bell to signal a draw. (6:00) So that’s that. ½*

Final Thoughts: You will want to check this show out for Superstar Billy Graham alone. The first half of the show is just fine as they cut the crust off the shit sandwich with the prelim matches that nobody cares about, but everything after the Graham/Putski match will bore you to tears. Sorry Verne, but it was boring. Thumbs in the middle for MSG 8/29/77.

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Posted on February 21, 2019, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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