WWF @ Madison Square Garden 12/28/1984

Cyndi Lauper appears with the Hot Rod and the Hulkster to kick off the first ever road to Wrestlemania….

Gorilla Monsoon and “Mean” Gene Okerlund call the action

Special Delivery Jones vs. Brutus Beefcake

Jones gets frustrated by Beefcake stalling and avoiding the action to start. He kicks Beefcake in the bottom to rile him up. Beefcake controls the action with headlocks and chokes. After several minutes of that Jones makes his comeback with several shots below the belt along with some punches. Beefcake stuns Jones with a flying knee to snare the win out of nowhere at 13:22. This was pretty much a slog to sit through..

Salvatore Bellomo vs. Johnny Rodz

Gene predicts that this match will be a “classic”. Highly unlikely. Bellomo opens the match with the momentum as he uses his scientific ability to keep Rodz off balance. Rodz is a tough vet, and is able to grind his way into control as he batters Bellomo with basic punches, kicks, and slams. Rodz has been in hundreds of bouts, so his stuff all looks good. Bellomo makes his inevitable comeback and achieves victory via a surprise crossbody at 5:36. Solid enough effort which saw the men actually “working” and not sitting in rest holds, so it provided more entertainment than our opener.

Antonio Inoki vs. “Dr. D” David Schultz

Schultz attacks Inoki at the bell and snares him in a standing side headlock. Schultz uses his size to bully Inoki, as Inoki tries to use counter wrestling to garner some offense. Inoki has some luck with strikes, but Schultz does enjoy a size advantage and manages to keep himself in a defensive stance. Inoki uses leg kicks to take Schultz off his feet. Dr. D responds by delivering a sloppy suplex that almost landed like a DDT. I guess that was a brainbuster, but I’m not sure Inoki knew that. Schultz misses a follow up diving elbow. Schultz is dropped with a enziguri and that rocks him just long enough to be pinned at 5:16.   The match had an up tempo, with sensible psychology. Good effort.

The Junkyard Dog vs. Paul Kelly

JYD gets a big reaction and jukes around the ring. Kelly is just a jobber. He started a little more than a year earlier, and would be retired within six months of this match. Dog shows off his power as he tosses Kelly across the ring several times. A headbutt on all fours sends Kelly to the floor. Kelly takes a big bump off a clothesline and JYD hits the thump powerslam. Kelly kicks out….accidentally(?) and JYD looks at the ref and the ref then counts to 3 at 3:05. This was just a squash, and unremarkable minus that botched finish.

WWF Junior Heavyweight Title: The Black Tiger vs. The Cobra

These men have the unenviable task of winning over a large audience that have no idea who they are. Tiger is from England and Cobra is from Japan. They exchange some good fast pace Lucha-esque sequences, with Cobra enjoying the slight advantage. Monsoon is calling this solo and is way over his head. He doesn’t know what to call the moves so he’s using broad generalities like “flaring Asiatic attack”. Black Tiger takes a big bump to the floor and is then slammed back in the ring. Tiger delivers a proto-Tombstone/Michinoku driver but misses a follow-up flying elbow. Tiger gets knocked to the floor with a hard dropkick. Cobra plancas onto him and Monsoon loses his mind. Both men are hurt.

Black Tiger hits a sloppy diving splash when things get going back in the ring. A second Tombstone fails to end things, so Tiger attempts a third. Cobra reverses that into a Tombstone of his own and delivers a senton bomb to earn the win at 12:29. Cobra attempts to congratulate Tiger on the hard fought match and ends up attacked. Cobra ends up smacking him with a chair before things settle down.Pretty revolutionary match for the MSG audience, who probably hadn’t seen anything like it since Tiger Mask toured a few years earlier.

Tonga Kid and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

The fans go gonzo for the Island boys. The heels scatter, then try to sneak attack the faces, which leads to a four-way brawl. The heels stooge and retreat. Tonga Kid dominates both Piper and Orton when things start formally. Piper bails out at the sight of Snuka. Snuka controls Orton as Piper avoids being tagged in. Piper is finally forced to pay some dues and Snuka lays into him with chops and headbutts before Piper uses an eye poke to escape.

Orton controls Snuka for a bit before he tries a Vader bomb and lands on Snuka’s knees. This allows both Orton and Snuka to tag off. The crowd is going bonkers for this. Tonga is cornered by the heels and endures a beating from both. Tonga spends around 5 minutes being abused by both Orton and Piper, as Snuka restlessly awaits in his corner.

Snuka finally makes the hot tag and the heels both attack him, A four-way brawl busts out. Snuka connects with a flying crossbody on Orton but Piper breaks it up. Tonga is knocked to the floor and Snuka is worked over 2-on-1 as the ref does nothing. Snuka is tossed and Tonga Kid is then double-teamed before being knocked to the cement.

The Island boys run into each other on the floor and they let out a tandem primal scream. They charge the ring to a huge roar from the crowd. All four men brawl and the ref is knocked over. This forces the official to declare a double-DQ at 14:45. One heck of a brawl, which left an open ending for many more rematches to potentially follow.

Mike Rotundo vs. Rene Goulet

They work a clean, basic match to start as they trade go behinds and arm work. The crowd chants “boring” as Goulet controls with headlocks and a claw. Goulet takes a bad bump off a top rope slam, landing on his back awkwardly. Rotondo ignores the crowd’s desire for some excitement and turns his shine segment into a kneebar session. Goulet counters with an abdominal stretch, leaving Monsoon the chance to bitch about it’s execution, as he always does. Rotondo escapes, dizzies Goulet with an airplane spin and scores the win at 10:55. Boring, but harmless. Probably intentionally so to calm the audience down between major happenings.

Well now that the crowd was settled down with that match, we head to something historical:

Jack Tunney appears in the ring for a ceremony to congratulate Cyndi Lauper on her achievements in promoting women’s wrestling over the past year. Hulk Hogan and Wendi Richter come out for the ceremony as they are the WWF World champions. Richter is adorned in a very 80’s looking dress, which appears to be faux tin foil. Tunney next brings in Dick Clark(!). The crowd takes a moment to give him some love. Lauper comes out, with Tunney talking up her historical debut musical album . Her manager David Wolfe joins her. Everyone is in there in formal wear and Hogan is in his yellow tights- amusing.

Lauper is wearing face paint that would make Sensational Sherri blush. The Hulkster gets on the mic and gets the crowd to roar for Lauper. Lauper thanks the Hulk, Richter and the fans. She messes up her lines several times which is kind of surprising. She presents a gold record to the WWF as a sign of her thanks.

Lauper then puts over Capt. Lou raising over 4 million dollars for multiple sclerosis. Richter and Hogan leave. Lou, the longtime heel, gets a mixed reaction from the crowd. Albano is in a tux top with workout pants and sneakers. Awesome.  Roddy Piper and Bob Orton come to ringside. Piper screams he’s the man who caused all this and cracks Lou with the record. Lauper lunges at his feet and Piper kicks her off. Wolfe attempts to defend her and is scooped up and power slammed. Police and Hulk Hogan rush the ring to scare Piper off. Lauper cries as Wolfe is stretchered off.   The fans chant something towards Hulk that I can’t make out. Great segment to get everyone over and catch the entertainment media’s attention.

WWF tag team champions Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis vs. Jack and Jerry Brisco

Murdoch quickly takes one of his comical bumps to avoid Jack. The ballooning Adonis tries his luck and finds himself trapped in Jerry’s armbar. They seem to botch something as they collide on a double shoulder block, which both men sell. Adonis flops to the mat and waits for Brisco to make his move which creates an awkward moment as Jerry stands there. Both Briscos work Murdoch’s arm after a tag off on both sides. The fans are growing restless as the slow pace and lack of connection to the Briscos has them demanding action.

Murdoch and Jack trade punches, with Murdoch taking wacky bumps. Brisco waits for him to waddle to his feet, with Monsoon chastising him on commentary for not going in for the kill. Jack and Jerry return to the arm work. The crowd’s negative murmur is obvious.

Jerry punches Murdoch, allowing Dick to take another goofy bump to the floor. Murdoch cracks him with a camera case right in front of the ref, and the official does nothing about it. Monsoon is reasonably appalled. Adonis tags in and takes advantage of this chicanery for a bit. Jerry fights his way back into it and locks on a figure-four, but Murdoch breaks it up. Murdoch falls victim to the figure-four as well, but Adonis breaks it up.

Jack comes in and continues to work on Murdoch’s leg. Murdoch struggles to get to his corner, but Jack clings to his leg and Murdoch takes a bump on his face. Adonis tags in and Jack downs him with a leg hold right away. The Briscos keep him on the mat as Murdoch tries to untie the tag rope.

The heels finally regain control and deliver a modified “Demolition Decapitation” to badly rock Jerry. Murdoch then delivers a nasty looking brain buster, leading to the rough looking bump. Adonis delivers a diving elbow but Jack makes the save. Jerry tags Jack in and he gets a big pop for locking Adonis in a sleeper. Murdoch rushes him and is trapped in a sleeper as well. Murdoch goes to sleep. Jack chooses to slam Dick’s face into the mat instead of trying for a pin. When he finally tries, the ref counts with a s-l-o-w cadence. Both Briscos try cradles to snag the quick pin but Adonis breaks things up and all four men brawl. Jerry locks Murdoch in a sleeper but Adonis saves him.

Jack delivers a bridging German suplex and the s-l-o-w count robs the Briscos of the titles. The fans begin to chant “bullshit”. All four men spill out to the floor. The heels use weapons on the floor as the ref watches impishly. Big “bullshit!” chant for that. The Briscos fight back with their own violence on the floor. The bell sounds at 26:46, citing a double-count out. The Briscos take the heels in the ring and lock the heels in dual figure-fours to end things on a happy note.

This was one of Jack Brisco’s last matches, and the pace of the match might reveal a bit of the 70’s time capsule that his style encompassed. The last fourth of the match was very entertaining, but you had to be patient to get to it.

Barry Windham vs. Mr. Fuji

There is 15 minutes left on this DVD and the main event is yet to come, so this should be fast. Fuji attacks before the bell, Windham punches back, hits the bulldog and wins it in 19-seconds. The official counts really fast, which punctuates how slow the ref was counting in the last match.

World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik

Sheik rips on Lauper to get some easy heat. Finkel is trying to rush through his announcements as they are probably up against curfew. Sheik again grabs the mic and he and Finkel struggle for control as Sheik screams about Lauper. Hogan comes out in a different shirt than he was wearing in the Lauper segment. I wonder if he tore the last one off in a promo taped in the aftermath of that earlier melee?

Hogan assaults Sheik before the bell. The champ drops Sheik with a big slam and a wicked clothesline. The way this is going, I’m expecting Hogan to get a quick pin. Hogan keeps up the assault by choking Sheik with his shirt and nailing a suplex. A spiked boot to the chest from Sheiky Baby takes the Hulk down.

Sheik gets a gut wrench suplex and a bit of token offense before Hogan Hulks up, powerslams and leg drops his way to victory at a brisk 3:32. Hulk celebrates with his people around each side of the ring as we close out the show.

Final thoughts: A really entertaining night of action, and backstage was almost as chaotic as David Schultz slapped 20/20 reporter John Stossel, who was trying to expose the business. Repercussions from many events will be felt as we head towards WRESTLEMANIA.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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