WWF: Madison Square Garden (04.21.80)

WWF: Madison Square Garden
April 21, 1980
New York City
Madison Square Garden

Your current WWF champions are as follows:
WWF Heavyweight Champion: Bob Backlund (2/20/1978)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Pat Patterson (9/1/1979)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Wild Samoans (4/12/1980)

The following wrestling exhibition requires discretionary viewer participation.

Your host is Vince McMahon.

  • “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe vs. Mike Masters

Masters sends Sharpe running to start with a series of armdrags. Back inside, Sharpe hammers Masters down and goes to work on the arm. LET EM HAVE IT, MIKE. Sharpe pulls the tights and grabs the hair to maintain control. Masters tries coming back, but he telegraphs a backdrop and gets kicked in the injured shoulder. Sharpe applies a stepover armbar and rips at the face, but Masters punches back. He misses a corner charge though doing further damage to the shoulder. Russian legsweep by Sharpe gets two. He takes Masters back to the mat to pull on the arm. I wouldn’t call that a cross armbreaker, sooo. He sends Masters into the ropes and catches him with a back elbow. He continues to work on the left arm. Masters punches back again, but misses a corner charge – AGAIN. Here comes the PILEDRIVER and Masters is done. (8:11) Those corner charges are going to be the DEATH of Mike Masters. *

  • Greg Gagne vs. Jose Estrada

Oh boy, Mr. Excitement Greg Gagne! He wrestles two matches inside MSG – one in 1977 where he defeated Johnny Rodz, and now he gets to wrestle Jose Estrada for his last appearance in MSG. However, he will wrestle again for the WWF as he will be a part of the Shea Stadium show in August. It starts out as a friendly enough wrestling match, but will it continue? Probably not. The crowd is loving all the handshakes and whatnot. When Gagne sends Estrada to the floor during a hammerlock spot, Gagne holds the ropes open for Estrada who then nails Gagne and kicks him to the floor. OH THE HUMANITY~! Estrada beats him from corner to corner. A hard chest first bump from Gagne gets two. As they start running the ropes, Gagne ducks a shot and gets a FIERY comeback on Estrada. He slams Estrada’s face on the mat for a two-count. A slam gets two as well. Estrada rakes the face and grabs a headlock. They start running the ropes again. Gagne leapfrogs and monkey flips Estrada. There’s a flying headscissors for two. Gagne whiffs on a dropkick, but Estrada misses a jumping knee drop. Gagne falls back trying a slam as Estrada gets two. Gagne then reverses a cross corner whip and backdrops Estrada before nailing him with a pair of dropkicks for the win. (8:53) That might be the best I’ve seen of Greg. To be fair, I haven’t seen a lot. **

  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Pat Patterson (c) vs. Ken Patera (w/the Grand Wizard)

Ken Patera was SUCH a heat machine in 1980. The first 5-10 minutes are all armbars as Patterson is in total control. Patera throws Patterson to the floor to gain a breather. He follows Patterson out and throws him into the guardrail just for fun. Patera follows up with a super safe slam on the concrete floor. Ooo, Cheap Trick is coming to Madison Square Garden! Patera continues to keep Patterson down on the floor as he gives him a couple cheap stomps from the apron. Finally he makes it to the apron, where Patera hammers him on the chest and kicks Patterson’s head into the steel turnbuckle connector. In the ring, Patera delivers the double-lift pair of backbreakers for two. He softens up the back some more with knees and a whip into the corner to set up a Bearhug. Just when it looks to be curtains for Patterson, he punches himself loose. Right away, Patera wants the SWINGING FULL NELSON. Patterson says no thanks and heads for the corner to get a break. Back to the Bearhug. Patera tries to sneak around to apply the Full Nelson, but Patterson slips out and kicks Patera back. Patterson mounts a comeback as he brutalizes Patera in the corner. He trips up Patera and posts the knee that apparently has been injured since he didn’t usually wear a knee pad back then. Back inside, Patterson kicks Patera in the back of the knee all around the ring. Now it’s time for the Figure-Four! Patera refuses to give up and makes the ropes. Patterson continues to work the knee. Patera reverses a corner whip and misses a charge as he runs shoulder-first into the ringpost. Slow cover, 1-2-NO! Patera gets his foot on the bottom rope. Patterson thinks he’s won though and argues with the ref. Patera begins to crawl over to him and gets kicked in the head. The ref gets bumped as Patera throws Patterson into him. Patera heads up top and drops a knee on the champ for the 1-2-3. Oh, Patterson had his foot on the bottom rope. Nobody saw it though. (20:49) Ken Patera becomes the second-ever Intercontinental champion. Started out real slow, but those last ten minutes were turning this match into something near epic. ***½

  • Sika vs. Dominic DeNucci

Here they go again with numbering the Wild Samoans. I don’t get it. THEY HAVE NAMES. THEY HAVE BEEN HERE FOR MONTHS. It just makes no sense. DeNucci looks like he’s not going to take any shit from Sika to start, but it doesn’t much matter. Sika grabs a nerve hold. DeNucci wants to uppercut the nuts, but that’ll get you DQ’ed buddy. Sika switches to a wristlock of sorts. DeNucci tries to headbutt out, but he winds up crumbling to the mat over it. Sika gives him a headbutt of his own, because why not. Back to the nerve hold. Vince even agrees there’s not much action here. Dominic breaks the hold and chops Sika down. He acts like he’ll stomp his balls, but decides to apply a spinning toe hold instead. Back up to their feet, DeNucci corners Sika only for Sika to beat his way out. Another comeback by DeNucci, but he takes a backdrop to the floor. Oh boy. Sika wins by countout. (9:27) Who cares. ½*

  • Bruno Sammartino (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Larry Zbyszko

Zbyszko BUM RUSHES THE SHOW on Sammartino. When we last saw these two in MSG, Bruno was daring Zbyszko to stand up. Now Zbyszko is putting the boots to Sammartino and daring *him* to stand up. I love it. Zbyszko takes him to the floor for some ringside violence – still daring Sammartino to come at him. When he rolls back inside the ring, Zbyszko continues to stomp the life out of Bruno. Sammartino catches Zbyszko in the groin to mount his comeback. I mean, do what you gotta do. He comes back with the usual Bruno kicks. Sammartino throws Zbyszko into the corner and sends him to the floor for RINGSIDE VIOLENCE~! Back in, Bruno is eating it up. This crowd is going INSANE. Zbyszko gets beaten out of the ring several times. He tries baiting Sammartino out to the floor. Finally, Bruno takes the bait, chases Zbyszko around ringside, and now Zbyszko is the first man in the ring to nail Bruno on his return. BRILLIANT. Zbyszko beats Bruno down some more, but ultimately Sammartino will get to his feet. Bruno pounds away on Zbyszko and he takes a powder. They go in and out of the ring again. More ringside violence. Zbyszko gets ran into the ringpost while on the apron. Eventually, since Bruno won’t let him back in the ring all fair and square like, Zbyszko tells Bruno “UP YOURS” and leaves to fight another day. (11:53) Great story and a fun brawl here as Zbyszko has yet to be pinned or submitted in the two MSG matches, but of course neither has Bruno. The only way to settle this one is INSIDE A STEEL CAGE in about 3 1/2 months! ***

  • Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood vs. Tor Kamata & Bulldog Brower

We have the MSG debuts of Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. Of course, Ricky Steamboat will return, but Jay Youngblood is one and done in the WWF.  If Youngblood’s life hadn’t been cut short, I’m sure he would have ended up in the WWF at some point. Steamboat and Youngblood are in between NWA world tag title runs after losing the belts in March to Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens. Steamboat gets jumped at the bell. He comes back on Kamata and armdrags the shit out of him. Knowing Steamboat and Youngblood were all over the magazines at the time, I’m sure it would have been cool to finally see them. Brower comes in and applies a chinlock. When Steamboat tries to get out, Brower throws him on the ropes and puts the boots to him. Tag to Kamata, Steamboat gets a sunset flip on him for two. Tag to Youngblood, he runs wild on Kamata with dropkicks and chops. He legdrops the arm and grabs a wristlock, but Kamata isn’t impressed. He chops the throat and sends Youngblood over to his corner. Brower grabs a bearhug, but Youngblood escapes and tags Steamboat. He chops Brower and grabs a chinlock on the mat. Brower winds up backing Steamboat into their corner as Kamata gets a tag. Steamboat goes into his Bruce Lee routine and starts chopping, but Kamata goes to the throat. Kamata chops down Steamboat and goes for his Flying Splash that put jabronis on the shelf, but Steamboat moves out of the way and hits a FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-NO! Tag to Youngblood, he knocks down Kamata and lands a jumping elbow drop. DOUBLE DROPKICK from the boys from Carolina. Brower tags in and he’s in over his head. The babyfaces double chop him down. Steamboat then presses Youngblood and drops him onto Brower for the win. (13:11) Probably the best match Brower ever had. Just a weird tag team combination of Brower and Kamata to go against these guys. **½

  • WWF Heavyweight Championship: Bob Backlund (c) (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Afa (w/Captain Lou Albano)

Is there any chance Afa will have a better match against Backlund than Sika did? Albano distracts Backlund so that Afa can nail him from behind. Backlund comes back and dropkicks Afa to the floor. Back inside, Backlund whips Afa from corner to corner and works a wristlock. Afa gets out of the hold and chops the crap out of Backlund while selling the arm. He punishes Backlund with a headbutt and settles for a nerve hold when he can’t choke Backlund. They work that hold for a while. Backlund comes back and monkey flips Afa out of the corner. He tries again, but Afa puts on the brakes causing Backlund to crash to the mat. Back to the nerve hold. Eventually, Backlund breaks free and lands a Jumping Piledriver. He charges Afa up against the ropes and gets tossed to the floor. After some violence on the apron, Afa tries to slam Backlund back inside the ring and yet Backlund falls on top of Afa for two. DOUBLE-KO ensues! Afa catches Backlund for the SAMOAN DROP for 1-2-NO! Afa tries another Samoan Drop, but Backlund slips off his shoulders and O’Connor rolls Afa with a nice bridge for the win. (16:34) Not quite as boring as the Sika match, but not very memorable either. *½

  • Hulk Hogan (w/Freddie Blassie) vs. Rene Goulet

It’s a pretty standard Hogan match with beatdowns and slams. He slams Goulet and delivers the LEGDROP for the win in 3:14.

  • Andre the Giant vs. Bobby Duncum

Duncum jumps Andre at the bell. He chokes Andre and tries to keep the ref out of the way. Andre shoves him off and boots him down. He chops on Duncum and delivers a pair of headbutts. He cranks on the neck, but then whips Duncum into the ropes and telegraphs a backdrop. Duncum shoulder butts Andre in the corner. He grabs a front headlock and tries to slam Andre, but that won’t happen. Andre counters to a vertical suplex and delivers the AVALANCHE SPLASH for the win in 1:51.

Final Thoughts: If you can find it on YouTube, that IC title match is worth a look. Patera is just a heat machine and Patterson does what Patterson does = BUMP and COMEBACK. Sammartino and Zbyszko have another good storytelling match. Be prepared to hit that FFWD button on some of these matches because there’s a lot of holds where nothing is happening, but this is a strong “thumbs in the middle” card carried by what I said above.

Posted on September 6, 2020, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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