WWWF: Madison Square Garden (09.26.77)

WWWF: Madison Square Garden
September 26, 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: Star Wars starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher
#1 Song of the Week: Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band by Meco
#1 TV Show of the 77-78 Season: Laverne & Shirley starring Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams

Follow along with the WWE Network!

Your host is Vince McMahon.

  • 2/3 Falls: The Haiti Kid & Cowboy Lang vs. Little John & Little Tokyo

FIRST FALL: John and Tokyo can’t seem to figure out Haiti Kid to start. They eventually get some heat on him, but Haiti Kid fires back with a headbutt to Tokyo for a silly bump. Tag to Lang, he runs wild on the heels culminating in a baaaack body drop and a senton splash for two. Lang delivers a butterfly suplex to Tokyo that pops the crowd. They play around with a full nelson that causes some heel miscommunication. Tokyo and John come to blows, but this bit seems pretty common in these midget matches. Tag to Haiti Kid, he catches John with a headscissors for a while. Lang tags back in and does a headlock/headscissors combo on the bad guys. When Haiti Kid tags, he runs the ropes on John and winds up turning him over using his legs for a rollup pin to win the first fall at 7:31.

SECOND FALL: At the bell, Lang and Haiti Kid BUM RUSH THE SHOW – even getting the ref in the way of the action. Once the action settles, Haiti Kid hits a couple BUTT BUTTS on Tokyo. Tag to Lang, the heels get some heat on him for a minute or so. At one point, they all dogpile on the ref who throws Tokyo back over his shoulder to get free. We get a criss cross from all four wrestlers. Tokyo keeps running past the point of anyone else running. He’s shamed his family for sure. Lang keeps Tokyo at bay by stepping on his toes while he’s got him by the arm. During a pin attempt, Lang gets kicked off onto the ref and starts to ride him like a horse, says Vince. In comes Haiti Kid, he fights off John trying to crawl under Tokyo’s legs and keeps them both away from him. He and Lang then give Tokyo a Leapfrog Guillotine for fun. The heels try a Leapfrog Guillotine as well, but it fails and Little John goes flying to the floor. Back over to Lang and Tokyo, they trade dropkicks and then try them at the same time. They both miss splashes as well, but then Lang catches Tokyo with an O’Connor roll and gets the three-count for the win. (16:42) These matches are all pretty much the same to me. Nonetheless, they are always energetic if nothing else. **

  • Professor Toru Tanaka vs. Johnny Rivera

Mrs. Krueger gets a mention before the match begins. The arena is surprisingly well lit tonight for some reason. Tanaka rips at Rivera’s hand and his neck. He applies a full nelson, but Rivera breaks free and mule kicks Tanaka for two. We’ve got a fiery PUERTO RICAN COMEBACK, but Tanaka fights back and chokes him down. Tanaka starts grabbing on his lats and his pecs, but Rivera mounts another PUERTO RICAN COMEBACK. He even gets a nearfall on Tanaka, but misses a dropkick and hits his head on the mat. Tanaka then chops him on the neck and gets the win in this long glorified squash at 10:09. *

  • Baron Mikel Scicluna vs. “DY-NO-MITE” Jack Evans

He’s awful white to be DY-NO-MITE in 1977. Lots of punching going on to start. Scicluna grabs an armbar, but Evans breaks loose and gets FIRED UP. It goes nowhere though as Scicluna delivers more of the same abuse. He gets tied up in the ropes, however, and Evans barely takes advantage. They just go back and forth working on knees. Evans gets a few moments to shine, but Scicluna is obviously the star here. He gets the foreign object out to take control. The ref is of course blind as a bat. They brawl over to the apron and actually both get counted out. (7:29) It’s getting WORSE. ¾*

  • Mr. Fuji (w/Freddie Blassie) vs. Lenny Hurst

Another JTTS match. Hurst shows off his kip-up abilities. Fuji lets him shine a little bit, but Fuji avoids a THIRD dropkick and connects with the KAMIKAZE CLOTHESLINE for the three-count. (BOOYAKA 6:19) Bleh. ¾*

  • Bob Backlund vs. Larry Sharpe

Vince talks with Bob before the match about his undefeated streak. He gives a classic “aw shucks” promo about being on top of the world right now. Meanwhile, Larry Sharpe comes out and throws roses to the crowd. I’m guessing because he’s a “pretty boy”. Either way, Vince is beside himself over it. Backlund shows off his speed and Vince is quick to put him over. Sharpe escapes a wristlock and buries a shoulder into him in the corner. Now it’s Sharpe with an armbar. Backlund shows his bridging ability and gets to his feet, but Sharpe pulls the hair and puts Backlund down on the mat. Once Backlund fights up to his feet, they get into a battle of fisticuffs. Backlund delivers a butterfly suplex, but can’t get the pinfall. Backlund whips Sharpe into the corner and delivers a monkey flip. That’s enough to stagger Sharpe for the ATOMIC DROP to get the win. (9:04) Backlund looked like the hardest working and most exciting act on the show. Of course, Dusty and Superstar Billy Graham are next, so those thoughts will be short lived. *½

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

While this isn’t Dusty’s first time in MSG, this is the first time he and Graham have met outside the state of Florida. Vince is SO HAPPY to see Dusty here. Dusty does the Ali shuffle and freaks out Graham and the Wizard. The purple and silver robe looks more like a New York thing to me. Looks too flamboyant to be something he would wear in the more serious Florida territory, but I could be wrong. The crowd is JACKED right at the start of this one. Dusty shoves Superstar into the corner a few times after locking up. He catches Graham with the elbow to the top of the head a few more times and boy is Dusty eating this up. He’s just as charismatic as you can get. After killing some time, Graham wants a test of strength. At first, Dusty says NAH UH BABY. They do in fact lock up and go back and forth. When Dusty gets the advantage, he stomps the hands. Graham then decides to go the cheap route and jabs Dusty in the throat a few times. He stomps away at Dusty until Dusty has had enough and gives him an elbow to the noggin. It’s wristlock time and Dusty milks the crowd for all it’s worth. Superstar escapes and catches Dusty with a back elbow and then starts dropping knees on his throat. Time for a chinlock, but Dusty will get out of the hold – with a bunch of help from his friends. Dusty starts coming off the ropes, but Graham ducks and Dusty goes flying out to the floor. Dustin Rhodes did it way faster and better, but it’s cool. Graham brings Dusty back inside and applies the BEARHUG. It looks to be curtains for Dusty, but he connects with the elbow a few times and breaks free. He misses a corner charge though. Superstar shows off his power by hoisting Dusty up for the Sammartino Backbreaker. Dusty manages to kick off the turnbuckle and flips Graham over. There’s the back elbow and a series of BIONIC ELBOWS. Eventually, Graham gets out of the way only to be slammed off the top rope. The fight continues until Superstar takes a backdrop over the top rope to the floor to be counted out. (15:38) Dusty grabs the WWWF title and the place goes bananas. A silly fan jumps in the ring to celebrate, but he’s quickly taken out by the NYPD. Of course, the ring announcer has to kill the fans hopes and dreams to say that you can’t win the WWWF title by countout. Dusty then gets on the mic and tells Superstar Billy Graham that he came a long way to whip his ass and he better come back out to fight him. Naturally, no Superstar. This match of course sets up the Texas Death match for next month’s MSG show. **½

  • High Chief Peter Maivia vs. George “The Animal” Steele

So much stalling, playing around, and hiding the foreign object from the ref by Steele while blatantly jabbing Maivia in the throat. He grabs a nerve hold until I believe Maivia has fallen asleep. Maivia comes back on Steele, but then he gets punched in the balls. He makes sure Steele gets a receipt for that ball shot. Steele throws a chair at Maivia and does little damage. As they brawl on the apron, Steele winds up getting tied up real good. With his legs tied up, he can’t get back in the ring and the ref counts him out. (13:19) WHAT. Worst match of the night. After the decision, Maivia gets SAMOAN CRAZY and beats Steele out of the ring to at least pop the crowd. ½*

  • 3/5 Falls: Chief Jay Strongbow, Larry Zbyszko & Tony Garea vs. Stan Stasiak, Ken Patera & Captain Lou Albano

FIRST FALL: Ugh, another one of these. Patera is cursing all over the place at the crowd. Does he realize how close he is the mic or no? Stasiak and Garea start us off. He punches Garea square in the face and bounces Garea’s head off Patera’s knee. Albano tags in and uses his foreign object. Garea gets away from Patera and tags in Strongbow. He chops on Patera and grabs a SLEEPERHOLD, but Patera finds his way to his corner. Tag to Stasiak, Strongbow knees away the Heart Punch. Nevertheless, Stasiak grinds on a headlock for a bit. Albano takes over and uses his foreign object. Back to Stasiak, he locks up with Zbyszko. Larry Z turns into a HOUSE OF FIRE. Patera comes in, but Garea enters the ring to help out. Stasiak misses a Heart Punch and hits the turnbuckle. Larry Z pulls the tape off Stasiak’s heart punching hand, but Patera blindsides him. More foreign object use from Albano. He uses it so much that it doesn’t get heat when he uses it. Tag to Stasiak, Zbyszko dropkicks him into the ropes. In comes Strongbow to double chop Stasiak for the three-count at 10:40.

SECOND FALL: After Stasiak gets his head squeezed, the good guys take turns tearing on Patera’s shoulder. Finally, Patera gets Zbyszko over to his corner and the heels triple-team him. Garea and Strongbow aren’t much help. Patera then tags back in and lowers the boom on Larry Z to secure the second fall at 16:01 total.

THIRD FALL: The match continues as Zbyszko continues to go after Patera’s shoulder. He ends up powering Patera up for a suplex and sells the back. Patera goes low on Larry Z and tags out to Albano. Zbyszko gets away from Albano and tags in Garea. Albano runs over to Stasiak for a tag. We never see the Heart Punch despite all of Stasiak’s efforts. Patera and Strongbow tag in and we see Strongbow go on the WARPATH. Gotta give them what they came for, right? The match gets out of hand as we have reached the 11PM curfew. (20:00 or so) For some reason, the ring announcer says the ref has awarded the match to the good guys. It seemed to me 60/40 heels, but whatever. **

Final Thoughts: It’s another show you can skip as there are no real hidden gems aside from the feature bout. It is cool seeing Dusty in MSG though. Thumbs down for MSG 9/26/77.

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