From the WWE Network: WWF @ MSG 4/6/1981

Bob Backlund fights Stan Hansen in a cage, plus Pat Patterson battles Sgt. Slaughter!

Vince McMahon calls the action.

Intercontinental champion Pedro Morales vs. Moondog Rex

Capt. Lou is out with Rex. Albano is acting absolutely bonkers as he blocks Morales from getting in the ring. McMahon explains that Moondog King recently fell to Morales, so now it’s Rex’s turn. Albano has a very grown out beard and big bushy hair here, and he looks like he could pass as a Wild Samoan. I mean even the Moondogs appear reasonably well groomed in comparison. Albano is removed from ringside, but not before he can put on a performance where he jolts back and forth like a drug addict drying out. As always I LOVE the Captain. What a worker!

This predates Rex being a jabroni, so the crowd gives him good heat. Vince promises we won’t see any wrestling holds with these two. They trade shots briefly before things slow down fast as Rex controls with a headlock and an arm wringer. Rex works over the arm and keeps control with a hammerlock. Morales has his arm slammed into the turnbuckle, then ends up with his arm behind his back as Rex downs him with a slam.  That’s our first bump of the match, some 5 minutes or so in.

More hammerlocks as Rex is out to prove McMahon wrong about the men not grappling. Saying they aren’t moving wouldn’t be too far off.

Rex turns up the aggression by knocking Morales to the floor, then driving home an elbow when Morales ends up back on the mat. Morales gets fired up and the crowd roars. Morales delivers a series of punches, then small packages Rex for the win at 9:33. The crowd goes fairly wild for this abrupt finish. Captain Lou was the clear highlight of this segment as the men did little.

Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter

This is not the famous “alley fight” here at MSG that these two had, but I’d wager it’ll be a barn burner. Patterson tries to attack Sarge before the bell, and Slaughter bails out. Patterson is a hair over 40 years old here, enjoying a run in the WWF before it’s too late. He said in his shoot that he was really enjoying the AWA (minus the winters) and was fairly well paid, but he couldn’t pass up a chance to work on top with the WWF running so many big money cities each month.

Patterson tries to get at Slaughter once the bell sounds, but Sarge runs away like a good heel. Sarge comes in, begs off and seeks an exit once more. They try once again to start things off, but Slaughter again seeks refuge on the apron. Patterson finally catches him and unloads with blows, causing Slaughter to bump around the ring as well as off the turnbuckles.

Sarge falls over the ropes, trapping his hand as it wraps around the top and middle rope. Patterson bites it. The throttling continues back in the ring as the punches from Patterson send Sarge bouncing. Slaughter is slingshotted into the ring post and I can’t believe he hasn’t bladed yet as he’s already taken three bumps to the area of the post.

Slaughter goes to the eyes to finally turn the momentum, then chucks Patterson to the floor. Slaughter climbs up to the top rope, but the ropes are so loose that he has to climb down to avoid killing himself. Sarge drives Patterson’s head into the ringpost instead. They spend several minutes with Patterson trying to crawl back in the ring, only for Slaughter to block his attempt with violence.

The Sarge climbs to the top and tries to pounce on Patterson as he lies prone on the mat. Patterson dodges this, then traps Slaughter in the figure-four. A black lady in the front row goes absolutely jubilant for this. Slaughter makes it to the ropes and the fight moves to the floor, where Patterson uses a chair. The brawl goes back to the ring and Patterson shoves the ref several times, with no DQ being called. Sarge then shoves the ref, still no DQ. The men then both grab the ref and toss him to the floor. No DQ is called.

Slaughter goes low on Patterson and locks him in the “Cobra clutch”. The ref comes back in and Slaughter just hauls off and kicks the official in the gut and that finally is enough for the ref to call things off.

Patterson jumps Sarge, who manages to escape as the ref holds Patterson back. Both men are DQ’d after 13:36. Patterson is appalled that he was disqualified and shoves the ref several times after the match. What a dick. Good match, as young Sarge was a bumping machine and Patterson was a vested veteran who knew how to sell sell sell and when to mount his comeback.

World Champion Bob Backlund vs. Stan “the Lariat” Hansen (Steel Cage)

Gorilla Monsoon makes a cameo in the entry way. Then Vince McMahon Sr. appears and sends a stooge to the ring in a hurry. Howard Finkel then returns to the ring but the microphone is already gone and we get an awkward bit as Finkel waits and waits before the mic is dropped from the ceiling again. He then announces the winner has to escape, as there are no pinfalls.

This was supposedly made a cage match because Hansen wouldn’t do a clean job since he had Japanese commitments he didn’t want to ruin by doing something embarrassing like losing to the recognized top athlete in the biggest market in the world.

Backlund tears Hanson up right away, driving him into the cage and dumping him to the mat with a piledriver. The men trade cage shots, with Hanson eating far more of them than the champion. Hanson bleeds from the assault.

Hansen smashes Backlund with fists and elbows, but the champ rallies with fists of his own. Backlund is slammed to the mat, giving Hansen a moment to go for the door. Backlund is on him quick, and I’m reminded of Patterson’s story about how Backlund was almost shooting on him in their cage match because of his fear that Pat would double cross him and escape.

The men trade blows while both scale the cage. Hanson falls and hits his head on the turnbuckle. Backlund looks at him, then walks out of the cage at 8:59. Backlund grabs his belt and walks off in what I perceive as being an oddly quick manner. Hansen stands on top of the cage and screams.

This was fine, but I was really expecting more from these two. I love Hansen, but I really don’t agree with his logic for not jobbing to the area’s biggest star.

Rick Martel and Tony Garea vs. Larry Sharpe and Johnny Rodz

Garea not being in the WWE Hall of Fame is baffling. He won the tag titles with multiple men, then went on to be a backstage agent for years and years. I assumed he was already in, but recently found out otherwise while looking up info on something else. Martel should really be in too for that matter.

The heels take turns getting their licks in on Martel very early on. Martel makes his comeback and gives Garea a chance to tangle with Sharpe. Martel returns to take a little more token offense. Garea tags in and quickly misses a charge, leaving him vulnerable to the heels assortment of punches, kicks and forearms.

Martel tags in and does the full babyface house of fire routine, finishing Rodz with a roll-up at 7:18 after he and Garea had sent their opponents crashing together. This was dull, but inoffensive. A bit of a flat ending to a show.

There were 5 other bouts on the show, but none made air on the WWE network.

Final thoughts: Since the cage match let me down some, I guess this one is pretty skippable since there’s a better Sarge/Patterson clash out there to watch elsewhere.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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