Through the Booking Glass: Year 1 Week 20


May 1983, Monday, Week 4

TV ratings remained steady over the weekend.

Legendary wrestler Ricky Romero, who made his name in the southwest United States and in Mexico, has retired from the pro wrestling business and opened a training center called “Dojo Romero”.  That’s Spanish for “Romero Dojo”.

Here is the preview for tonight’s show at Madison Square Garden.

Bob Backlund vs. Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Heavyweight Title:  This has the most heat for any Backlund match in several months, and many are expecting a title change.

Rocky Johnson vs. Don Muraco for the Intercontinental Title:  If Johnson doesn’t win it here, I don’t think he’s ever going to.  They’ve wrestled each other a lot lately so it will take a great match for anybody to notice.

Jimmy Snuka vs. Afa:  I’d expect Snuka to win if only because Afa is not a traditional singles wrestler.

Leilani Kai vs. Susan Starr:  I doubt this gets any reaction.  Kai should go over here.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Samu:  A rare MSG appearance for Rhodes, on loan from Championship Wrestling from Florida.  Rhodes rarely loses at MSG, never clean, and never to a non-main eventer, so he should be a sure thing.

Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Chief Jay Strongbow:  Strongbow’s role moving forward will be to put people over, and I don’t expect this to be any different.

Ivan Koloff vs. Jules Strongbow:  Koloff should win easily.  The only question is what kind of crowd reaction this gets after Strongbow’s recent heel turn.

Swede Hanson vs. Salvatore Bellomo:  Who cares?

The Fabulous Moolah will also be in action in a women’s title match.

Madison Square Garden coverage (May 1983, Monday, Week 4)

Gorilla Monsoon is calling the action by himself tonight.

They announced in the arena that Magnificent Muraco suffered an injury and will be unable to compete tonight.  In reality, Muraco got booked on another show and someone in the office failed to notify everybody, including booker Jared Hawkins.  This is not going to sit well.

In a bout that had solid in-ring action but not much in the way of heat, Don Kernodle defeated Baron Mikel Scicluna in 11:03 by pinfall with a roll up. This was way too long.

In an extremely poor match, Mac Rivera pinned S.D. Jones in 10:34 with a Piledriver.

In a bout that had solid in-ring action and average heat, Ivan Koloff defeated Jules Strongbow in 10:35 by pinfall with a Russian Sickle.  Koloff was still favoring his injured shoulder, but the chemistry they had was off the charts.  Koloff got slightly more cheers than Strongbow.

Salvatore Bellomo defeated Swede Hanson in 9:59 by pinfall with a Pizza Splash.  Another match that was too long for who was involved.

In a bout that had solid in-ring action and average heat, Iron Mike Sharpe drew with Chief Jay Strongbow in 7:03 following a double disqualification.

Bob Backlund vs Sgt. Slaughter 1983 by HookLineSinker4

Bob Backlund retained the WWF Heavyweight Championship, defeating Sgt. Slaughter by disqualification in 15:52 when Slaughter hit Backlund with his riding crop.  They allowed The Grand Wizard to remain at ringside with Slaughter, which is unusual as the state athletic commission normally makes him go to the back, so of course Wizard handed Slaughter the riding crop.  Once the bell rang, Slaughter shoved referee Dick Kroll, who took a bump to the floor, then charged Backlund, who countered with a backdrop.  Backlund then grabbed the riding crop and took a few swings at Slaughter as Slaughter ran off to the back.  Backlund may have connected once.  This was a very good match with a DQ that enhances the storyline rather than comes off as a copout, so a rematch is in order and should be fantastic.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Samu with a high cross body in 2:34. After the match, Dusty Rhodes cut a promo discussing what a great honor it was competing in Madison Square Garden.

Susan Starr pinned Leilani Kai in 6:04 with a spinning bodypress.  It looked like the referee only counted two, which is a rule I’m not aware of.

In an extremely short match, Jimmy Snuka defeated Afa in 3:23 by pinfall with a Superfly Splash.

In an extremely short match, The Fabulous Moolah pinned Penny Mitchell in 5:06 with a Schoolgirl. The Fabulous Moolah wins the new WWF Women’s title belt. No mention of there being a champion before it started so I assume she’ll be recognized as the first champion.

George Steele had an interview with Monsoon hyping his upcoming singles match with Rocky Johnson. Freddie Blassie did most of the talking.

In a bout that had a good crowd and good action, George Steele drew with Rocky Johnson when the 11pm curfew expired around 10 minutes in.  The crowd was highly disappointed that Muraco wasn’t there.

May 1983, Tuesday, Week 4

Attendance at MSG was just 4,004 last night, a huge disappointment for a stacked show.

Match of the night bonus went to Bob Backlund and Sgt. Slaughter.

Don Muraco worked a Southwest Championship Wrestling show in, of all places, Allentown, PA, where he successfully defended the SCW World Title against Gino Hernandez.  Booker Jared Hawkins is highly upset that Muraco missed such a big show to work a building he’s working in tonight too, but Muraco is saving gas money by not having to drive, so it helps him in the long run.

Antonio Rocca, who main evented numerous shows in the 1950s and 1960s for Vince McMahon Sr. and was allegedly the man defeated by Buddy Rogers in the first WWF Heavyweight Title match 20 years ago, announced his retirement yesterday.

Championship Wrestling taping (May 1983, Tuesday, Week 4)

Ivan Koloff pinned S.D. Jones in 4:15 with a Russian Sickle.  Not as good as their recent matches, mostly because Koloff is still nursing the injured shoulder.

Tito Santana defeated Mac Rivera in 4:29 by pinfall with a Flying Forearm.

George Steele defeated Salvatore Bellomo in 3:03 by submission. After the match Steele continued to attack Bellomo, rubbing turnbuckle stuffing into his face.

Swede Hanson defeated Bob Bradley in 3:08 by pinfall.

Rocky Johnson defeated Israel Matia in 4:04 by submission.

Tito Santana is interviewed in Buddy Rogers’ Corner.  He says he thinks Rocky Johnson is going to win the Intercontinental Title against Don Muraco at the Capital Centre but that he wants a shot if Johnson is somehow unsuccessful.

Iron Mike Sharpe defeated Chief Jay Strongbow in 3:15 by pinfall with a Running Forearm Smash after a distraction from Jules Strongbow.

Eddie Gilbert defeated Jose Estrada in 5:23 by pinfall with a Hot Shot.

In a non-title match, The Wild Samoans defeated Frankie Williams and Barry Hart in 2:25 when Afa pinned Hart with a Headbutt.

Vince McMahon announced Ivan Koloff vs. Eddie Gilbert for next week.

In a bout that had solid in-ring action and average heat, Jimmy Snuka pinned Bill Anderson in 10:08 with a fast roll up. Way too long as Anderson is not perceived as a threat, but Snuka looked really good.

The Fabulous Moolah pinned Leilani Kai in 2:02 with The Moolah Whip. The Fabulous Moolah makes defence number 1 of her WWF Women’s title.  Nobody really wants to see the women compete.

They were clearly phoning in this show. I think morale is dipping as attendance falls.

May 1983, Wednesday, Week 4

Leilani Kai got into an argument with The Fabulous Moolah backstage last night, then attacked Moolah in the locker room. She was fined 25% of her standard appearance fee.

The usual sellout of 1,300 in Allentown, but definitely a much less happy crowd than most weeks.  No build for the Capital Centre show, no real development, and no real standout matches.  They need to do better than that to keep people coming to the shows.

In tragic news, it has been reported that ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta has passed away at the age of 30.  He was repeatedly shot by a SWAT team after being mistaken for an international jewel thief. Tributes from friends and colleagues have been pouring in all day.  Cappetta had done some ring announcing for the WWF at the Spectrum as well as on All-Star Wrestling tapings.

All-Star Wrestling taping (Wednesday, Week 4)

It’s somber in the Hamburg Fieldhouse today, as everybody knows this is the last taping for the forseeable future.  We’re being told that Championship Wrestling will tape here at least on occasion but we’ll believe that when we see it.

In a match that had an average crowd reaction and some decent in-ring action, Mr. Fuji pinned Swede Hanson in 6:48 with a Kamikaze Clothesline.

In a match that had an average crowd reaction and some decent in-ring action, Rocky Johnson pinned Jose Estrada in 6:17 with a roll up.  Johnson looked good here and called out Don Muraco several times during the course of the match.

In an extremely short match, George Steele defeated Tony Atlas in 2:49 by pinfall.

Tito Santana pinned Mac Rivera in 4:42 with a Flying Forearm.

Superstar Billy Graham defeated S.D. Jones in 1:48 by submission.

Salvatore Bellomo pinned Israel Matia in 4:50 with a Pizza Splash.  It’s our last show.  Couldn’t we get a better match than this?

Ivan Koloff defeated Jimmy Snuka in 4:27 by pinfall with a Russian Sickle.  Koloff needs some time off as that shoulder has to be killing him.

In a match that had some good action and average heat, The Wild Samoans retained the WWF Tag Team Title by defeating Tony Garea & Eddie Gilbert in 16:38.  Afa pinned Garea with a Samoan Drop.  This was a really good main event to end the era of All-Star Wrestling.

After the taping, Vince McMahon Jr. and Sr. came out to the ring to thank the fans for their support over the years.  They said they would do everything within their power to bring All-Star Wrestling back on the air and to the Fieldhouse.

No interviews on air, although with this show airing after Landover in a lot of markets I can understand it.

May 1983, Thursday, Week 4

David Sammartino arrived very late to the taping last night and was fined 25% of his night’s pay.

The attendance at the Hamburg Fieldhouse was 862.  Probably a disappointment considering it’s the last show in Hamburg for the immediate future.

May 1983, Friday, Week 4

Samu vs. Bob Bradley has been added to tomorrow’s show in Landover, MD.

May 1983, Saturday, Week 4

Here is the preview for tonight’s show at the Landover, MD Capital Centre.

The WWF sent out a press release that due to circumstances beyond their control, Bob Backlund and Don Muraco will be unable to compete as advertised.  Backlund is working for New Japan as part of the agreement made earlier this month, and Muraco is working for Southwest Championship Wrestling.  As a result, Rocky Johnson will now face Afa in a singles match and another match will be added to the show.  I’d expect Johnson to beat Afa but I also expect that kills the Johnson-Muraco feud dead.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Chief Jay Strongbow:  Slaughter should win clean here so they can keep him strong for Backlund.

Sika vs. Jimmy Snuka:  I’d expect Snuka to go over clean here.

Samu vs. Bob Bradley:  Samu I would expect to win, but management is high on Bradley so they could do an upset.

Overall the loss of Backlund and Muraco turns this into an absolutely nothing show.

Capital Centre Wrestling coverage (May 1983, Saturday, Week 4)

To the WWF’s credit, they offered refunds to anybody upset about Backlund and Muraco being unavailable to compete.

Gorilla Monsoon calls the show alone.

In a bout that had solid in-ring action but not much in the way of heat, Mac Rivera pinned Barry Hart in 11:12 with a Piledriver.  Neither of these guys has any credibility so the crowd couldn’t have cared less.

Penny Mitchell and Susan Starr defeated Leilani Kai and The Fabulous Moolah in 14:38 when Starr pinned Kai.  Way too long especially since most people didn’t want to see the women compete.

Johnny Rodz pinned Salvatore Bellomo in 12:52 with a Piledriver.  I don’t think there’s any saving this show.

In a bout that had a good crowd and good action, Jimmy Snuka pinned Sika in 6:21 with a Superfly Splash.

In an extremely poor match, Iron Mike Sharpe defeated Baron Mikel Scicluna in 9:54 by pinfall with a handful of tights.  Both men were off their game and Scicluna can’t go more than about four minutes anyway, so this was horrible.

In an extremely short match, Afa drew with Rocky Johnson in 2:13 following a double count out.  After the match, both men brawled to the back.  Not bad but a complete throwaway due to the no-shows.

Samu defeated Bob Bradley in 8:40 by pinfall with a Flying Headbutt.

Sgt. Slaughter is interviewed backstage by Gorilla Monsoon, he hypes an upcoming singles match against Chief Jay Strongbow.

In a bout that had a good crowd and good action, Sgt. Slaughter defeated Chief Jay Strongbow in 11:54 by pinfall.  A bit long as Strongbow was tiring toward the end but certainly passable.

Mr. Fuji & Tiger Chung Lee defeated Tony Garea & Eddie Gilbert in 4:25 when Lee pinned Gilbert with a Kiwi Roll.

Gorilla Monsoon brought Arnold Skaaland to the booth to talk about the Invaders as they prepare for action.  This did a horrible job of getting them over.

Superstar Billy Graham and Charlie Fulton defeated The Masked Invaders in 4:09 when Graham pinned Invader # 2. I have no idea where that idea came from.

Monsoon interviewed Skaaland again. This time the “Golden Boy” warned Sgt. Slaughter that next time he meets Bob Backlund that he might not like the man that shows up.

In a match clearly added to send the crowd home happy, Andre The Giant defeated George Steele in 3:26 by pinfall with The Bodyslam.  This single-handedly saved the show.

May 1983, Sunday, Week 4

Paid attendance was 3,246 at the Capital Centre last night as the WWF ended up refunding nearly 1,000 people for the no-shows in key matches.

The Match of the Night bonus went to George Steele and Andre the Giant.

Bob Backlund was on the winning end of a six man tag team match for New Japan Pro Wrestling last night.  That was Backlund’s last appearance for NJPW as his loan period has expired.

There are rumors that Bobo Brazil, who was a United States Champion for the WWWF, is looking to retire in the near future.



Written by JHawk

Jared Hawkins is an indy wrestling referee and a former recapper of WWE Raw and SmackDown for the now-defunct and co-hosts Pro Wrestling Weekend, available through every Sunday at 6pm Eastern. When not doing something wrestling-related, he is generally getting higher doses of his anxiety medication due to the aggravation of his Cleveland sports teams.

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