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WWF @ Madison Square Garden
by Scrooge McSuck
January 21, 1991
- Originally broadcasted on the MSG Network on January 21st, 1991. We're only two days removed from the Royal Rumble, which featured Sgt. Slaughter stealing the WWF Championship from the Ultimate Warrior, the departure of the Rhodes Family, the face-turn of Virgil, and Hulk Hogan winning another match he really didn't need to win, but dammit, he's got to look strong going into WrestleMania VII, right?
- Sean Mooney and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are calling all the action, unless otherwise noted.
Opening Match: Shane Douglas vs. Paul Roma:
Douglas' first run with the WWF sure was uneventful (spanning nearly a year), outside of lucking into a slot in the Royal Rumble Match. He was used mostly as jobber fodder on the syndies, and would occasional be featured on PrimeTime along with other bottom-feeders. Lockup to start, Roma grabs an armbar and pulls Douglas down. Douglas retaliates with a dropkick, followed by a clothesline, sending Roma to the floor. In between stalling, Heenan calls Roma a Main Eventer... yipes. Back inside, Douglas takes him over with an arm drag and goes to work on the arm. Roma kicks Douglas through the ropes escaping a roll up, and hangs him up across the top rope. Roma with a slam and double axehandle for a two count. Roma continues pounding away, then slaps on a bearhug of all things. Douglas fights free and unloads with more rights. Roma tastes the turnbuckle ten times, and a suplex only gets two. Douglas with a body press, but Roma rolls through for three...? Douglas appeared to have kicked out and continues wrestling. They fight over a back slide, then Douglas with a sunset flip for two? Roma with a powerslam, and that get's three again, this time at 10:01. I guess it became a two-out-of-three falls match, with Roma sweeping it. Terrible work from the referee for that finish, and boring work from the two wrestlers involved.
- We get one of the most electrifying ideas in sports entertainment history... an Arm-Wrestling Challenge, featuring the Warlord and the British Bulldog (sometimes refered to as Davey Boy Smith). For those who have never once watched or read about a wrestling show where such a competition is held (see also: full nelson challenge, or trophy presentations), the babyface never walks away without taking a shit-kicking. This would be no different, so we move on...
Tito Santana vs. Koko B. Ware:
It's the great JTTS Battle of '91! Weird for them to book a face-vs-face match like this, considering the popularlity of both men as underdog or opening card acts. They share a handshake, because they're both nice fella's. Lockup into the ropes and a clean break. Santana with an arm drag, and Koko returns the favor. Santana with a waistlock takedown, but Koko escapes, and we get another handshake. Koko with a takedown, and Santana escapes. They trade wristlocks and hammerlocks, and Santana takes Koko over with a snapmare. Koko complains about a hair pull. Santana with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Koko takes Santana down with a hip toss, but misses an elbow drop, and Santana takes him over with another arm drag. Trash talking and shoves, and the referee yells at them for it. Koko offers a left-handed shake, and sucker punches Santana to the surprise of... well, no one really cares. Koko pounds away and takes Santana down with a clothesline, then tosses him out of the ring. Mild "Tito" chant as Koko keeps Santana from returning to the ring. "They don't make enough Rolaids to get you out of Tocula healthy." Santana fights back with forearms, but Koko counters a monkey flip with an atomic drop, then drops an elbow for a two count. Koko channels the spirit of Haku, slapping on a nerve pinch, then drops ass across the neck of Santana. Koko kicks Santana around like a punk, to my amusement, then nails him with a pair of slaps and roundhouse rights. They continue to slug it out until Koko puts Santana down with a slam. Koko to the top rope, and he misses a fist drop. Santana with rights and a pair of slams, followed by an atomic drop. Irish whip, and Santana comes off the ropes with the flying forearm for the three count at 10:11. Coliseum Video cuts away from Koko attempting to make peace with Tito, but getting snubbed for it. Good match, worth checking out on various online sources. Koko desperately needed a heel turn, or anything to make him interesting again. I guess there's no confidence in a 5'9" heel in the era of Undertaker's and Warlord's running around.
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. The Undertaker (w/ Brother Love):
It's hard to remember a time when the Undertaker had a manager before Paul Bearer. He's also making his MSG Debut here, only notable for the career he wound up having. Snuka chases Brother Love around, possibly for having key evidence in a certain unsolved murder from the early 80's. Undertaker attacks from behind, unloading with the usual and choking him across the ropes. Snuka tries coming off the ropes with a body press, but 'Taker puts him down with a slam. Snuka rolls away from an elbow drop and drops a headbutt. He grabs a headlock for whatever reason, and the shoulder tackles do nothing. Undertaker lays him out with a clothesline, then goes back to the choking. Snuka with another attempt to mount some offense, only to take a knee to the midsection, followed by a leg drop for two. 'Taker grabs a chinlock, a rest-hold I sure don't recall him doing much later on during the early days of the gimmick. Snuka escapes and comes off the top with a headbutt. Diving forearm gets a two count. He goes to the second rope for a body press, but Undertaker catches him and counters with the Tombstone, and that's all she wrote for the Superfly at 7:08. Just an extended version of what they did at WrestleMania VII, a squash to make the Undertaker look good.
Legion of Doom vs. Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji):
(Hawk & Animal vs. Smash & Crush)
I honestly didn't mind the Smash and Crush version of Demolition, but without Ax, they technically had to change their music, but couldn't they have used something less generic? Demolition jumps the LOD to start, with chaos going on all over the place. Hawk pounds away on Smash while Crush works over Crush. Hawk takes a bump to the post, Crush lays him out with a clothesline, and drops an elbow for two. Animal gets double teamed while Hawk takes a breather on the floor. Double clothesline and double suplex on Animal, while Fuji takes a cheap shot at Hawk. Smash goes for a plancha on Hawk, but misses... still, who gave Barry Darsow the idea to do a fucking plancha?! Animal continues fighting a 2-on-1 battle, with unsatisfactory results. Smash takes him down with a back suplex, sets up for a Piledriver, and eats a clothesline from Hawk. Animal covers, and it's all over at 2:58. Not a single tag the entire match. These two teams couldn't work a good match together to save their lives, and having them go home in under 3-minutes this early in the night shows how little confidence there was.
Big Boss Man vs. Hercules:
I'm just hoping for this to be short. Boss Man kicks the match off by chasing Heenan away from the commentary table, leaving Sean Mooney by himself. They do stuff until Boss Man unloads with rights, followed by a clothesline. They do a test-of-strength spot to kill some time, with Hercules eventually gaining the advanyage. Hercules with a knee to the midsection, and Boss Man responds with a dropkick. Boss Man charges and gets dropped across the top rope for his efforts. Hercules lays Boss Man out with a clothesline on the floor, then brings it back in the ring for some choking. Hercules with a snapmare and elbow drop for two. He slaps on a chinlock to kill more time. Boss Man fights free and connects with an enziguri. He catches Hercules off the ropes with the Sidewalk Slam, but here comes Paul Roma to draw a really lame and unnecessary Disqualification at 7:16. They do a post-match beating on the Boss Man, with Bobby Heenan coming back to ringside to rub it in his face. I guess all the Heenan Family members were working another show that night. The LOD make the save in lieu of getting more time for their match earlier in the night. Match was garbage, but what else do you expect from Hercules?
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Unfortunately for us, this match DOES have a backstory to it. It was at the last Madison Square Garden show where Valentine turned face following miscommunication with Hart and doing the job for Saba Simba (Tony Atlas). Lockup, with Bravo having the obvious strength advantage. He lands a knee to the midsection, followed by a series of rights and a scoop slam. Valentine avoids a pair of elbow drops and works over Bravo with chops and clothesline. Bravo demands a test-of-strength, and Valentine agrees... take one guess what happens. Valentine fights back from humiliation and goes to work on the leg. Bravo avoids an elbow and sends Valentine to the floor, allowing Jimmy Hart to get some cheap shots in. Bravo brings Valentine back into the ring with a suplex and covers for two. He slaps on a bearhug, but Valentine fights free and connects with an atomic drop. He sweeps the leg and works him over to set up for the Figure-Fou. Jimmy Hart creates another distraction, allowing Bravo to sneak up from behind with a knee to the back. He tries to go for the Figure-Four, but Valentine easily counters with a small package, and that gets the three count at 8:53. I'm surprised Valentine won, but then again, Bravo's status in the company slipped hard following the summer program between Hulk and Earthquake.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart):
(Butch & Luke vs. Knobbs & Saggs)
Why!?! I swear, as God as my witness, I can't f*cking stand the Bushwhackers! Someone must've loved these two teams working together. Maybe that was Vince's second favorite fantasy other than being gang-raped by a pack of Hillbillies: being in the middle of a dog pile with the Bushwhackers and Nasty Boys. To make it worse, Brother Love is on commentary with Mooney, so here I go pressin' the old mute button. The Bushwhackers rub and lick each other for good luck, because that's family entertainment at it's finest. Knobbs and Luke start. Knobbs pounds away, Luke comes back with punching. I see we're in for a technical masterpiece. Chaos ensues and the Bushwhackers clear the ring with a double clothesline. They hit the Battering Ram on both men, but Luke still winds up having to play the face in peril. Knobbs whacks him with a chair on the floor, stealing a page from Ultimate Warrior's playbook from SummerSlam '89: If you do it outside the ring, it's legal. Back inside, Luke takes a beating, and they work in the Boston Crab and elbow drop special. Butch eventually gets the hot tag and lays out Knobbs with a clothesline for two. Knobbs with a clothesline for two. Things drag, Saggs nails Butch from behind, and Knobbs covers for three at 7:49. I tried to make the match sound as good as possible... I don't think I did that good of a job making it sound believable.
Steel Cage Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage (w/ Queen Sherri):
This is our Main Event™ of the evening, and at least it feels like such. Savage is the one who cost Warrior the belt at the Royal Rumble, so you can imagine how pissed off Warrior is and how badly he wants to get his hands on the Macho King. Savage does his best to play "hide like a cowardly heel" as the Warrior makes his entrance. Savage attacks him from out of nowhere, but Warrior practically no-sells it and beats the tar out of him. He slams Savage onto the table at ringside (E-C-Dub!) before climbing the cage to enter the ring and starting the match, officially. He plants Savage with another slam, and follows up with an inverted atomic drop. Warrior with short-arm clotheslines and continues pounding the tar out of Savage. Warrior serves himself a nice helping of steel cage, giving Savage control of the match. He rakes the eyes and comes from behind with a clothesline. A double clothesline spot puts both men down, despite the match only going a few minutes. Savage crawls over for a cover, so the referee counts two. Savage sends Warrior into the cage with a high knee, then chokes away. Savage with jabs and more choking. Savage with a slam and the big elbow drop, but Warrior kicks out at two. He has a seizure comeback, hits the clothesline, but the splash meets the knees. Savage climbs over, but Warrior hangs on and forces him back to the top of the cage. Sherri interrupts things, drawing Warrior's attention, and allowing Warrior to drop for the victory at 10:32. Color me surprised. Post-match, Warrior continues to beat the crap out of Savage and rips off Sherri's clothes, because this is family entertainment. The Nasty Boys of all people join the referee's in trying to control the madness, but the damage is done. Decent match, but nothing special, and a disappointment to send fans home with.
Final Thoughts: Completely throw-away show here. The main event wasn't anything special, and unfortunately it was the highlight of the night. All three championships and their holders weren't featured, and the undercard consisted of some pretty bad wrestling, particularly the two tag team matches and the stinker between the Boss Man and Hercules. I guess if you love Cage matches and watching Warrior do the job, or watching Koko B. Ware work heel in a WWF ring, then go ahead and give it a look, but even for a fan of the time period, there's just nothing to see here.
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