From the WWE Network: The Best of MSG and Maple Leaf Gardens

Maple Leaf Gardens April 1985

George Wells vs. Bret Hart

Ironically we were just discussing the merits of Wells’ ability on the TSM Forums and here he popped up the next day on the Network.  Thanks Vince! 

Bret stalls in between arm drags by Wells. They trade hammerlocks and Wells dumps Bret to the floor via momentum. Bret tries the same trick and Wells leaps on the ropes and grabs a head scissors, uses it to take Bret for a walk and then tries to send Bret to the floor with a head scissors takedown. Bret wanders back to the apron and Wells flips him in the ring with another flying head scissors! Bret takes control with a big clothesline and he starts to grind away on Wells. Bret controls with some basic stuff until Wells catches him on the top rope and slams him off.  Big head butt, power slam and shoulder tackle rock Hart.  Jimmy Hart distracts Wells and Bret uses a handful of tights to snag a roll up win.  Good little match. 


Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake vs. Tito Santana and Ricky Steamboat

Oddly Jack Reynolds or whoever called that first match with Jesse Ventura has been replaced by Gorilla Monsoon for this bout.  I’m pretty sure this match made the “Best of the WWF” VHS series back in the day. Beefer stalls to start until the Dragon goads him into contact and Ricky quickly whoops both Valentine and Brutus. Tito comes in to join the fun and the heels are sent running. Tito tags in and becomes too preoccupied with his nemesis Valentine, and Beefcake takes advantage.  Valentine tags in with Tito down and Santana explodes all over him and sends him bailing. Greg gets back in and Tito remains in control until he attempts a figure four and Valentine manages to yank Tito off his feet mid-move. Valentine gets some licks in on Tito and then allows Beefcake to take his turn. The heels take out Steamboat while he stands on the apron to help ensure Tito’s continued misery. After several minutes of wearing down Tito, Santana plays the chicken to Beefcake’s Rocky Balboa and evades capture long enough to slip over and tag the Dragon! 

Ricky chops the skulls of both heels until both are down and loopy. An eye poke stops the momentum and the heels are able to make a series of quick tags in between abusing Steamboat. Valentine starts to work on Steamboat’s leg but the figure four attempt ends with the Hammer cradled.  Tito is tagged in and he unloads on both heels until they double team him. Steamboat saves him with a flying chop to Beefcake’s neck and that allows Tito to trip Valentine up and lock on the figure four for the submission! Crowd goes bananas! Hot ending to a well worked match.  Can’t really go wrong with names like Steamboat, Santana and Valentine being involved.


Hulk Hogan vs.“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff

Orndorff was on the verge of becoming a babyface, so I guess they figured they might as well let Hogan beat him one last time before they became buddies. Crowd is molten for the Hulkster of course. Hogan unloads right away and sends Orndorff fleeing with fisticuffs. Paul stalls for a while, a common theme for the heels tonight. Hogan shoulder blocks Orndorff down right away and Paul takes another siesta. Back in Hogan is all over Orndorff with punches, an atomic drop and even an eye poke. Orndorff finally takes command with forearms and Hogan is sent to the floor and whipped into the railing. Hogan is stomped down several times before he can make his way back in. Paul hits a big suplex and gets a near fall off a knee to the chest. Hogan gets a mini-Hulk up and slams Orndorff 10 times into the turnbuckle. Hogan misses a diving elbow and Orndorff makes his way to the top rope for a flying crossbody that ends with Hogan rolling through on top of Paul for the surprise pin! Orndorff wants to shake hands after and Hogan contemplates it for a bit before they shake.  Hogan watches Paul walk off and is very confused.  A brief posedown and we’re out.


Maple Leaf Gardens October 21st 1984

I’m skipping the undercard because it looks dreadful (a long SD Jones vs. Greg Valentine match, Volkoff vs. Rocky Johnson and the Bulldogs vs. Goldie Rodgers and “No Class” Bobby Bass) so I can get to the real meat and taters:


ANDRE THE GIANT vs. “The Ugandan Giant” KAMALA (in a CAGE!!!)

On paper it sounds AWESOME, but the actual match is mostly chopping, choking and restholds.  However the finish is a must see – Andre slams Kamala (and makes him look tiny in comparison) and hits an “Earthquake” style splash.  Deciding that’s not enough – Andre CLIMBS TO THE TOP ROPE!!!! In 1984!!!   Andre hits a Earthquake splash from the top!  Andre’s escape is academic after that, and it’s sad to see his obvious pain from the moment he stands up after that move.  Imagine had he busted that out at Wrestlemania 1 – it would be the first “Wrestlemania moment”. Watch this now!


MSG October 28th 1991

Hosted by Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes

I kind of wish the Network would just toss all the MSG shows up already so I can watch them in order.  The completely random nature that they are putting these up (along with the TV shows for ECW, WCCW and RAW) is silly.

I’m glad Superfan Vladimir made the “Old School” title sequence (the skinny black guy in glasses who made a ton of late 80’s and early 90’s shows.)


“Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. Big Bully Busick

I’m not sure why Nick Busick took so long to get to the WWF, as he broke in around 1977 after being a power lifter (so he had a body) and worked for a few years as a jobber in the WWWF. He had a job as a police officer, so maybe that took precedence over taking bumps with no health insurance. That mustache alone should have granted Busick a title shot at Hogan.

They go through the basic stuff to start and since both men are powerful, we get a test of strength. Kerry runs into the turnbuckle post shoulder first and does it sloppily enough that Monsoon has to cover for Kerry.  Busick leaps at Von Erich and is caught in the “iron claw”, Busick blocks two attempts at the whirling dervish punch from Kerry. Bully runs into a boot and is pinned after the discus punch. Kerry was off his game here. No surprise given the amount of drugs he was downing.


British Bulldog vs. IRS

Bulldog has no music for some reason (not a WWE Network edit). Monsoon says the Queen of England is going to give an award to Bulldog for winning a battle royal in London. The announcers hype the Survivor Series matches these guys are in. Monsoon’s hype for Virgil is “He knows how to follow orders” and he derides Warlord as “only worried about Domino’s Pizza”. That must be an inside joke…

Bulldog’s skin looks like it’s about to tear right off from his steroid bloated muscles. Feeling out process to start and Bulldog slams IRS and he bails. Back in Bulldog gets the best of him again and IRS takes another trip to the floor. One more time in the ring, Bulldog leaps over IRS twice and threatens a punch so IRS takes another walk. Davey Boy nails a drop kick and IRS (wait for it…) bails again. We up the tempo with a side headlock and a head scissors. Ugh. Bulldog escapes and IRS heads to the concrete to regroup. Monsoon is mad that ref Danny Davis physically stopped IRS from cheating by grabbing the ropes during the head scissors. Seems legit to me Gorilla!  IRS dumps Davey Boy to the floor and IRS locks in an abdominal stretch and since Monsoon is calling the action, of course he buries the execution of the move.  Has anyone ever locked it in good enough for Monsoon? IRS dumps him again. IRS hits a few shots to Bulldog’s leg and then goes to a side headlock before anything too interesting accidentally happens. IRS tries a flying clothesline and goes flying over the top rope instead. IRS stalls on the floor until Bulldog gets antsy and gives chase. IRS tries to jump over Davey back in the ring and almost gets powerslammed for his efforts.  IRS sneaks outside again. He finds a rope under the ring and uses it to choke the Bulldog. Both me and Gorilla wonder why IRS isn’t being DQ’d for cheating blatantly.  Bulldog gets his own rope and chokes IRS. IRS escapes via low blow but Bulldog small packages him as the 20 minute time limit expires.  TOTALLY DULL.


Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart vs. The Mountie

I mark out for the Mountie’s theme (not even the singing version). The Mountie takes a break before we can lock up. Monsoon hints that The Mountie was sodomized after Summerslam by his cellmates. Heenan says that’s just a rumor Big Bossman started. Mountie is slammed a few times and The Mountie takes another trip to the floor. Heenan talks about MC Hammer possibly being mad that Neidhart stole his pants and Gorilla says he knows nothing about rap and would prefer Willie Nelson.  Mountie stalls some more.  He challenges Jim to shoulderblock him, so he takes one bump and goes to the floor for more stalling.  Back in he eats a clothesline and goes back to the floor to stall some more.  WHAT THE HELL. Jimmy Hart distracts Neidhart and Mountie dumps him to the floor and slams his head into the steps. Side headlock from The Mountie that Monsoon flat out calls a “rest hold” (!) Mountie locks in a half nelson and beats Neidhart’s head into the turnbuckle – somebody needs to steal that spot for the modern day.  Jim face plants the Mountie to regain control. Doesn’t last long as Neidhart misses a charge and is rolled up as the Mountie uses the ropes to bridge for the pin. STALL-A-MANIA.


“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

Piper tries to toss his shirt in Flair’s face and manages to miss. Crowd is “WOO-ing”. Piper sticks the ref on the top rope to get him out of the way. Flair is slapped and he cowers. They trade chops and Roddy wins the exchange with a series of jabs. Flair Flop. Piper tosses Ric into the railing and ringsteps. He continues the beating back in the ring until the ref grabs Roddy’s closed fist and that allows Flair to sucker punch him. A knee drop leads to a bridge out by Roddy, who turns into a backslide. Flair stops that with a poke to the eye. I can appreciate quality cheating like that. He tries to toss Roddy but Piper lands on his feet and charges at Flair with fisticuffs a flying! Flair side steps him and dumps him, Piper runs right back in and is dumped again and this time he lands hard and Flair pounces with chops on the floor and then a stun gun throat drop in the ring. Piper has enough and chops away at Flair, a big back drop, a nice knee lift (Flair sells it with an awesome bump) and a clothesline to the floor – where Flair flops unto the pavement. Piper pursues him quickly and the ref is bumped in the process. Piper gets a small package, but no ref is there to count. A second ref comes in and the men chop away at each other. Flair is sent over the top rope and clotheslined to the floor. Flair hits Roddy with a chair behind the ref’s back and earns a 2 count. Piper responds with a sleeper, but Flair gets a backdrop out of it. Flair is slammed off the top and Piper unloads with more fists and a neck breaker. Piper gets a chair but the ref grabs it. Flair slugs Piper and pins him with his feet on the ropes.  I thought he must have had brass knux or something but it was just a punch.  Piper kicks his butt after and gets some bonus chair shots in before Flair takes a walk.  Real fun and energetic match!


Big Bossman vs. Col. Mustafa

IRS comes down to trash talk Bossman. Sheiky Baby attacks Bossman from behind, but Bossman eats a few clotheslines and then runs to the back to find IRS.  I thought we were going to have a lame count out 2 minutes in but Bossman comes back.  He slams Mustafa and drops a boot on his nuts. The he drags the Colonel over to the ring post and slams his nuts into them. What a dick! Sheik clubs away and gets a nice gut wrench suplex. The announcers hype Flair vs. Hogan instead of calling the match.  Bossman gets a suplex and a side slam to win mercifully quick. The Hogan/Flair hype would have me assuming Hogan’s beating the Undertaker at Survivor Series.


Intercontinental title: Bret Hart vs. The Berzerker

Monsoon makes a great point to start as he analyzes that Berzerker beats people by count out as a rule, so Bret’s title must be pretty safe here. The little kid’s excited reaction when receiving Bret’s glasses warms my heart. Berzerker clubs Hart down to start. Bret gets the best of a slug fest and dumps Berzerker with a clothesline. Nord charges back in and eats a big hip toss and is clotheslined out again. Nord’s got his working shoes on for his big title match at MSG! Nord absorbs an atomic drop and a reverse atomic drop and flips out of the ring again.  A small portion of the crowd is actually “Hussing” like Berzerker. Nord gets a big head butt into Bret’s gut and pounds away. Heenan gets a great line about Berzerker’s furry boots being “Hair Jordon’s”. Berzerker dumps Bret to the floor and schlock’s Bret with a clothesline. Hart is choked with a cable and he drags Bret in for more clubbing. Pretty surprised it took Nord over 6 years to make it to the big leagues – maybe the Bruiser Brody connection left him with a black mark? Nord misses a leg drop but keeps the pressure on Bret anyway. Delayed piledriver gets a near fall. Bret is planted with a big power slam for another near fall. Berzerker misses a charge and Bret dumps him crotch first on the top rope to buy himself some time. Backbreaker and second rope elbow gets a near fall. Bret kicks out his legs and Berzerker crashes into the splits, which makes me gasp! Bret tries a sharp shooter but Nord kicks off. Bret snags a crucifix roll up for the pin right after. Good match from an energetic John Nord and always solid Bret.


El Matator vs. Hercules

Herc is now in his no push and no motivation mode, basically awaiting his contract running out.  He’s even obviously balding, so he looks older than he really is. Tito teases Herc with the bull fighters cape and Herc charges it twice. Tito wins a slug fest and Herc takes a siesta. Tito gets Herc running around like a bull and then trips him down. Crowd is dead, although I can’t fault the guys as they aren’t doing rest spots. Tito tries a 10 punch attack in the corner to get the fans into it, but no go. Herc takes over with a series of forearms. Herc hits a thrust kick and a bearhug. That fails to awaken the crowd. Tito busts free and hits the flying forearm, but Herc gets the ropes. A flying elbow to the back of the neck is enough for the pin.  Crowd is sadly giving Tito no love.


The Legion of Doom vs. The Natural Disasters

All four men size up the others beef and bulk. Hawk and Typhoon square off and Hawk no sells a clothesline. Quake distracts him long enough to get leveled. A bear hug and corner splash rock Hawk, but a second charge finds Typhoon with a face full of boot. Hawk downs him with a double forearm and all 4 men square off for another stand down. Quake and Animal then come in and take turns no selling each other until Animal downs him with a flying shoulder block. A slam attempt ends as poorly as you can imagine for Animal. Quake dumps him to the floor and Typhoon chokes him on the railing. Animal rolls in right by the heel corner and Quake steps on him and bear hugs him. Typhoon tags in and locks in a bear hug of his own. Animal fights out and lifts Typhoon into Hawk’s corner, but Quake distracts the ref and the tag doesn’t count.  Quake then comes in and carries Animal around in the powerslam position, stopping to stare at Hawk as if to say “Yeah bitch, what cha’ gonna do?” Animal is DRIVEN into the mat for the 2 count. Quake blows the follow up by running into Animal’s boot, which allows Hawk to be tagged in. It turns into a four way and Hawk is dumped. Animal is splashed by Typhoon and Earthquake splashed.  Then Typhoon shoves the ref like a moron to end the show with the dumbest DQ ending possible. Hawk clears the ring after the match.


Final thoughts: Kind of surprised we didn’t get more Survivor Series-centric booking for that MSG show. The treasure hunt continues…digging through garbage to find the diamonds in the rough has been fun so far.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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