WWF at MSG 1984-01-23: Hulk Hogan Gives Birth to Hulkamania Era

The news, results and notes for January can be found here.

After winning the World title at this event, Hogan immediately went on a tour of Japan.

Andre the Giant teased a match with Hogan on TV, saying he was happy traveling the world but someday they may have to face off. The dirt sheets were reporting rumors that an Andre heel turn was imminent to set up a Shea Stadium title match with Hogan over the summer.

MSG Jan 23rd 1984
Pat Patterson and Gorilla Monsoon call the action

Jose Luis Rivera vs. Tony Garea
They discuss Garea’s search for a partner that has been going on for months. The men exchange a series of head scissors and reversals and the crowd turns on them right away. Rivera grabs and headlock and the crowd gets even more ornery. The men keep it clean and basic since this is face vs. face. They blow a spot as Rivera almost trips over Garea on a leapfrog, then throws a drop kick as Garea ducks for a back flip. Crowd boos that too. They reset the match with an armbar and Garea manages to reverse a flying crossbody into a pinfall for himself at 7:48. A very vanilla encounter between the babyfaces.

The Invaders vs. Mr. Fuji and Tiger Chung Lee
It’s an interesting statement on global relations that Japanese and Korean warriors can put aside their countries long standing divide and agree to team up in an American ring against a pair of Puerto Ricans. The Invaders do their quick tag bit as both men use armbars on Lee. Lee responds by scooping Invader #2 and carrying him to his corner with one hand.

They do a cute spot where Invader #1 has Fuji trapped in an armbar, so Invader #2 keeps jumping in and out of the ring in order to get Lee worked up and keep the ref on edge. Fuji takes control with choking and a low blow. Fuji gets caught on the top rope and takes a nice bump off a slam from up there. Monsoon reveals the real name of one of the Invaders, which I don’t believe he’s done so far. Lee uses his size to regain control for the heels and Fuji locks on the dreaded nerve pinch of extreme discomfort, followed up by a bearhug from Lee. Fuji continues the control with a pinch applied to the Invader’s kidney area.

Lee uses his size once again to catch one of the Invaders and drop him across his knee. The Invaders finally take control by taking turns executing flying attacks to Lee’s knee. Fuji tags in and the Invaders take him down and work over his knee as well with aerial attacks. All four men end up in the ring and the Invaders tie the heels up in a row boat as the time limit expires at 20:00. Lee and Fuji were very campy with their acting. Despite these teams being opposites, the match was paced well and kept the crowd’s interest, not to mention my own.

Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Masked Superstar
Strongbow does some dancing and posturing which gets the Superstar’s blood boiling. Strongbow works a headlock for several minutes as the announcers discuss how the Superstar won’t even take off his mask in the locker room, which seems a bit silly. Strongbow goes for the mask, which sends Superstar bailing to the floor. As they jaw jack Strongbow starts the war dance. Superstar eats a knee lift and some chops before being trapped in a sleeper. Superstar manages to push him off and rocks Strongbow with a clothesline for the sudden pin at 7:26. This was another example of vets using psychology to usurp having to bang up their bodies by taking a bunch of bumps to get their match over. These two did almost nothing and yet the crowd was hot and things didn’t drag on.

Ivan Putski vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Sarge stalls to start. We then are treated to a pose down. The Sarge then stalls more as he avoids having to lock up with Putski. Things don’t pick up as Ivan spends several minutes squeezing Sarge in a headlock. Putski slams Sarge in the corner and busts Slaughter open. Sarge takes some massive bumps as Ivan chucks him into the turnbuckles. Slaughter gets a desperation clothesline to buy himself some time but Putski is able to catch him with a Polish Hammer and then a shoulder block to send Sarge bouncing to the floor. The men brawl on the apron and Sarge is knocked into the ring just in time to beat the count at 11:29. Ivan sends Sarge flying to the cement floor with another big bump. Slaughter manages to charge back in the ring and the men slug it out for several more minutes. The last half of the contest was a fun brawl, but the first half, full of non-action was a drudge to sit through.

Sal Bellomo vs. Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff
Roddy Piper joins Orndorff as his manager. Orndorff stalls as he and Piper slowly walk around the ring and antagonizes the fans. Then Piper decides Bellomo’s knee brace isn’t kosher and the heels take a walk. The men return, and the ref finally gets Orndorff to take off his robe. The heels tease taking a walk again. Piper distracts Sal and Mr. Wonderful pounces. Orndorff delivers a plethora of knees and boots to Bellomo as Piper lays the bad mouth down on him.

Orndorff misses a corner charge and sells his shoulder like crazy. Bellomo starts to go to work on the limb. Piper complaining at ringside about every little thing the ref and Sal do is great entertainment. Bellomo works the arm until Orndorff manages to knock him to the floor. Piper throws up his own hands and screams in Sal’s face. Orndorff slams Bellomo on the cement, and then drives him to the mat with a suplex back in the ring. Mr. Wonderful misses a flying knee and Bellomo gets in another chance to shine before being caught with a power slam, followed by a piledriver for the win at 14:11. Outstanding heel work by Piper, who was doing everything possible to get himself (and Orndorff) over from the second he came through the curtain. Sal was over matched and only got any offense in when Orndorff made an error, which told a good story. Bellomo sells the piledriver for several minutes after the match, and the crack medical staff aka the refs drag him away without a stretcher.

Intercontinental champ Don Muraco vs. Tito Santana
The men feel each other out to start. This actually goes on way too long as Santana locks on a headlock and it goes on FOREVER. The crowd turns on the match a bit as the endless headlock is not the kind of entertainment the fans (or I) were expecting from these two. Muraco finally gets a back suplex to change course.

Muraco delivers a powerslam and begins to methodically wear down Santana with blows before Santana fires up and unloads his own punches to Muraco. Capt. Lou gets in the ring and Santana attacks him too, then knocks Lou and Muraco together. The ref is fine with all of this. Santana tries a flying attack on Muraco but misses and splats in the corner. Both men brawl as the ref calls for the double-DQ at 16:05 for really no reason. The men slug it out and spill to the floor afterward for good measure. A bad ending to a match that took ten minutes to get out of the gates makes for a shockingly crappy match from two good workers.

Haiti Kid & Tiger Jackson vs. Dana Carpenter and Poncho Boy
MIDGETS! Carpenter is really tall compared to the baby faces. This is, as always, a comedy match. Jackson yanks Poncho Boy’s pants down. Poncho tries to pull Jackson’s hair, but there’s none there. Poncho then pats Jackson’s head as he traps him in an armbar. Jackson is then placed in a headstand and spun around. Monsoon laughs at how short Jackson is as he tries a head scissors. Haiti Kid comes in on fire but Jackson steals the show by climbing the ropes and falling off. For some reason this is best of 3 falls, so we are treated to multiple falls of comedy as the ref is run over and piled on by all four men. We then get a spot where all four men chase after each other in the ring. The faces win at 6:43. Meh. It was fine for what it was.

WWF World Champion The Iron Sheik vs. Hulk Hogan
Sheik gets all kinds of heat. Hogan, of course, gets a mega reaction. Hogan attack’s the Shiek while Sheik is still in his Arab gear. He chokes the Sheik with his robe. Hogan batters the Sheik before choking the Sheik with his bear hands. The crowd is going crazy. A big boot and a charging elbow both get near falls. Sheik manages to avoid another charge as Hogan crashes into the corner. The crowd explodes as Hogan is suddenly in peril. Hogan eats some kicks and is trapped in a Boston Crab. The Hulkster powers out of that. A gut wrench suplex earns Sheik a near fall. The Camel Clutch is then locked in. Hulk powers out of that too and drives the Sheik into the turnbuckle. Sheik lands in the center of the ring and feels the force of the atomic legdrop as HULKAMANIA comes to life at 5:40. The crowd goes completely ape shit in response and I can’t help but mark out myself for reliving such a moment!

Then in a moment that is not shown in all the usual Hogan clips from this match, Sheik is tended to by doctors and a stretcher is brought out until the former champ gets up and tries to get at Hogan. Hulk quickly sends him packing to the floor. Security has to drag the Sheik to the back as Hogan poses.

We are greeted to seeing Mean Gene in Hogan’s locker room. Andre shows up and pours champagne on Hogan as the other baby faces comes in to celebrate.

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka vs. Rene Goulet
Goulet jumps Snuka and begins to bite him. Goulet hacks and stomps away at Snuka. He misses an attempt at the claw and eats some chops. Snuka delivers the flying splash to end this one at 3:54. Snuka takes off right away, they must be short on time. Match was just a glorified squash.

Hulk Hogan is interviewed with his parents. Hogan goes into “HULK” mode after his parents give a calm interview and his Momma laughs at her son’s frenetic promo.

Andre the Giant, Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson vs. Samula, Afa and Sika
Atlas dazzles Samula with his size/speed combination before allowing Rocky Johnson to give it a go. Johnson knocks the Samoans together. Atlas tags back in and Samula tries a full nelson on one of the strongest men in the world. That ends as well as you’d imagine. Andre tags in and Samula surprisingly drops him with a headbutt to the neck area. Sika tries some head butts of his own, but Andre no sells that and knocks the Samoans together. Samula is then booted, sat on and pinned at 4:56. This was a fun match, but the crowd seemed drained after Hogan’s big moment and didn’t respond much.

Final thoughts: A lot of bad wrestling overall as the WWF transitions away from the older talent and welcomes the new breed into the fold. Hulkamania is here and the boom period is on the way…


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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