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WWF @ Madison Square Garden
February 20, 1984

by Scrooge McSuck

Tito Santana

- It was only four short weeks ago that the WWF went all in on the Hulkamania Train, having Hulk Hogan dominate the Iron Sheik in a 5-minute title match, kicking off one of longest runs of sustained success the company would see. Advertised for tonight is a tag team match between the Invaders and the tandem of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and newcomer "Dr. D." David Schultz. This is the original presentation featured on the MSG Network, so no fancy dubbing over of licensed music. Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted.

Opening Match: Jose-Luis Rivera vs. Charlie Fulton:

Hopefully Rivera has better luck here than he did against Garea back in January. Not much to say about Mr. Fulton. Journeyman wrestler, and I just learned (or remembered) he passed away just a few months ago at the age of 67. Lockup and a clean break. Whip to the ropes and Fulton with a shoulder tackle, followed by a side headlock takeover. Crisscross, Rivera with a hip toss and his own side headlock. Fulton with a cheap shot in the ropes and rams Rivera into the turnbuckle. Whip to the ropes and Fulton connects with an elbow for only a one count. Fulton with a slam and leg drop for two. Rivera with elbows to escape a chin-lock, but a running high knee meets the buckle. Fulton covers for a near fall and goes back to the chin-lock. Rivera fights free again, but Fulton cuts off his comeback and drops a knee across the chest for two. Fulton knocks Rivera to the floor, and Iím half-surprised heís not counted out for being on the apron. Fulton beings him back in with a slam for another two count. Rivera with a small package and a quick three count at 7:03. You know you mean nothing doing the opening match job to Jose-Luis Rivera, fluke or not. ĺ* Wasnít feeling this as an opener.

Brian Blair vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:

Pre-Killer Bees era for Brian Blair, who was making it a habit of coming and going until becoming featured full time by the next Summer. Mike Sharpe had a cup of coffee as a headlining act, but that star faded fast and heís relegated to preliminary matches, a spot heíd maintain until finally leaving the WWF in the Spring of 1995. Sharpe stalls to yell at the crowd. Blair with a drop toe hold, but Sharpe escapes an attempted half-nelson. Sharpe grabs a headlock and uses a handful of hair to prevent a counter. Blair counters a full nelson, but canít build momentum with Sharpe constantly going for the ropes. Sharpe rakes the eyes with his wrist brace, then sends Blair to the buckle. Blair retaliates, takes him over with a snap mare, and drops an elbow. Sharpe goes to the eyes again and pounds away. Whip to the ropes and a back drop gets two. Blair comes off the ropes with a hard forearm and backs Sharpe into a compromised position. Blair with a slam and an elbow from the second rope. He drops an elbow across the midsection and rakes the eyes across the top rope. Whip to the corner, Sharpe sweeps the legs and rolls Blair up for three at 9:38. 1.) Blair constantly had his shoulder off the canvas, and 2.) The refereeís position was awkward, as he was perfectly in place to see Sharpe poorly attempting to put his feet on the ropes. *1/2 Knocked half-a-star off for the clumsy finish, but it was perfectly acceptable wrestling before the awful finish.

Tony Garea vs. Afa (w/ Captain Lou Albano):

Oh goody, another Tony Garea match. I never understood numbering the Samoans when they have names. They constantly advertise "Samoan #1" or "Samoan #3" but then call them by name, defeating the purpose...maybe itís to get around advertising any particularly, and change the numbers on whatever whims they deem suitable. The Samoans are still associated with Albano, so we should expect a face-turn in the coming months. Garea is "only" 38, but he looks much older than that. Whip to the ropes, he ducks under a clothesline and comes back with a body press for two. Garea with a dropkick, sending Afa to the floor for a breather. Back inside, Garea works on the left arm. Garea with a shoulder tackle and arm drag before going back to the arm-bar. Whip to the ropes and this time Afa connects with a clothesline. He grabs a chin-lock, reminding us why putting predominantly tag team wrestlers in singles action is never a great idea unless youíre intentionally thinning out the roster to pad out a card. Garea tries to escape, but Afa yanks the hair to maintain control. Garea escapes with elbows, but runs into an elbow and gets sent to the floor. Garea with a shoulder to the midsection and a sunset flip for two. He escapes a slam attempt, but fails on a roll up. Afa side-steps a dropkick, but misses a diving headbutt. Whip to the corner, Garea runs into a chop, and Afa finishes with a headbutt at 8:26. *1/2 Dull, but not entirely worthless.

Eddie Gilbert vs. The Iron Sheik (w/ "Ayatollah" Freddie Blassie):

Wow, the Iron Sheik went from winning the title at MSG, to defending the title at MSG, to a preliminary match against a young Eddie Gilbert (Hot Stuff himself) in the span of 9 weeks. Crowd gives him a mild pop and riles up Sheik with a "U-S-A" chant. Lockup to the ropes, Gilbert blocks a cheap shot and nails him with a right of his own. Sheik with a waist-lock takedown, but Gilbert slips out of his grasp. Sheik with a firemanís carry and Gilbert quickly grabs a head scissors. Crisscross (including SHEIK doing leap frogs) and Gilbert with a sunset flip for two. Whip to the ropes and Sheik with a boot to the throat. The crowd is chanting "We Want Slaughter", so Iím assuming heís turned face since we last saw him at the Garden? Sheik with a slam and series of rights. Gilbert mounts a comeback from his knees and actually has Sheik begging him off. Whip to the ropes and a back drop, followed by a diving elbow. He comes off the ropes but gets nailed with the Hot Shot (Gilbertís future finisher of dropping an opponent throat-first across the rope), and Sheik finishes him off with the Camel Clutch at 5:31. ** Fun and energetic match, and always nice to see a veteran give a younger talent some offense.

The Invaders vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper & "Dr. D" David Schultz:

Iím guessing Piper has healed from his injuries, unless he was kayfabing the whole time, and that could be very likely. Schultz is another fresh arrival, a roughhousing redneck from Madison County, TN. A fan has a sign that reads "Roddyís Rowdies", no doubt inspiration for his Survivor Series team in 1989 (joke not meant to be taken seriously). I donít like the odds of the Invaders in this one. Piper takes a cheap shot and leads Invader #1 around for a chase around the ring area. Schultz and Invader #1 lockup into the corner and Schultz accidentally nails Piper, so now Piper wants in. Piper calls for a test-of-strength and has the early advantage. Invader #1 counters and slaps Piper around to a thunderous ovation. Invader #2 prevents a tag and works the arm. Piper backs him into the corner, and along with Schultz, takes turns pounding away. Schultz with a snap mare into a chin-lock. Invader #1 tries to help out, but Schultz cuts off the tag with a front face-lock. The referee misses the tag, allowing Piper to come in illegally and drop Invader #2 throat first across the top rope with a suplex. Whip to the ropes and Invader #2 with a sunset flip on Schultz for two. Piper with a snap mare, but a splash meets knees. Invader #1 tags back in and nails Piper and Schultz with rights. Double team hip toss on Piper, but Schultz comes in with a hard elbow across the back of the head of Invader #2, and Piper covers for three at 11:14. ** Decent action and standard formula tag team match. Didnít go too long, especially with the obvious difference in roster depth when it came to the opposing sides.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tito Santana © vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Captain Lou Albano):

Santana has just won the Championship on February 11th in Boston, but footage isnít known to exist since it was before the WWF taped for NESN. These two met last month at the Garden and fought to a Double Disqualification. Muraco is looking to be the first three-time holder of the Intercontinental Title. Lockup to the ropes and they exchange rights, with Santana getting the better of things. Muraco with a hip toss. Santana kicks him off mule kick style and plants him with a slam. Santana works on an over-head wrist-lock. Muraco struggles to escape, but Santana reapplies the hold, then turns it into a hammer-lock. This cycle continues for a few minutes. Muraco escapes again with a knee to the chest and takes Santana over with a suplex. He tries to roll over with it, but Santana cradles him for a near fall and goes right back to the arm-bar. Muraco with a headbutt to break it up, followed by a Russian leg sweep. He drops Santana throat-first across the top rope, then tosses him to the concrete floor. Muraco follows him out and drops him across the security railing. Santana pulls himself back in the ring to beat the count, because baby-faces donít take the cheap way out. Muraco remains in control, knocking him silly with an elbow. Santana tries to mount a comeback, but Muraco boots him back down. Muraco with a slam and knee across the chest for a near fall. Whip to the ropes and Muraco with an elbow. Santana comes off the ropes for a roll up, but Muraco clotheslines him across the top rope. He comes off the ropes with a diving forearm, not unlike Santanaís signature move. He tries it again, but Santana counters and hits the Flying Forearm himself, sending Muraco into the ropes, trapping him by the neck, and the referee counts him out at 16:01. Thatís two months in a row with a cheap finish! **1/2 Good enough match, and the lame finish leaves the door open for yet another rematch.

Andre The Giant vs. The Masked Superstar:

Oh no, the Machines are feuding, and they still havenít formed for two and a half years! In case youíve forgotten, the Masked Superstar is Bill Eadie, a.k.a. Ax of Demolition. Lockup and Andre shoves him into the corner. Superstar naturally complains about a pull of the mask. He grabs a side headlock, but Andre quickly throws him off and stuns him with a shoulder tackle. Superstar comes off the ropes for a shoulder tackle, with less than desired results. Andre clobbers him with a right and goes for the mask, unsuccessfully. Crisscross and Superstar runs directly into the massive behind of the Giant. Thatís a comedy spot Iím surprised they donít have the Big Show do...unless he does do it and Iím just ignoring it for 20 years. Andre traps him in the corner, but takes a knee to the lower back going for a crushing blow. Superstar with rights and a hard whip to the corner! He smashes Andre down to the canvas, finally making it an even fight. He slaps on a modified Cobra Clutch, but Andre breaks it by going for the mask. Andre with a pair of headbutts, big boot, and the butt drop for three at 7:05. He goes for the mask, but the Superstar escapes with his identity still a secret. * Andre matches are mostly spectacles, normally not to be rated normally among other matches. On the bright side, he appeared mobile enough to make it watchable.

WWF Heavyweight Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (w/ Roddy Piper):

1st defense of the Championship at Madison Square Garden for the Hulkster. He comes to the ring to Survivorís "Eye of the Tiger", which always needs to be pointed out because itís such a kickass theme song. I always like when they announced Hogan defenses with a one-hour time limit...as if heís ever going Broadway. Lockup and Hogan shoves Orndorff off. Orndorff with a not-so-clean break in the ropes. He grabs a side headlock, but Hogan counters by picking him up and placing him on the top turnbuckle. Whip to the ropes and Hogan gets the better of a shoulder tackle. Orndorff with knees to the midsection and boots to the back of the head. Hogan blocks being rammed to the buckle and gives Orndorff a taste of it instead. Whip to the ropes and Hogan knocks Orndorff to the floor with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Hogan goes to work with a side headlock. Crisscross and Orndorff nails Hogan with a running high knee. He drops a pair of elbows across the throat for a two count. Whip to the ropes and Orndorff with a running dropkick, followed by a back breaker for another two count. Hogan reverses a whip to the corner, but Orndorff comes right back with a clothesline. He goes to the second rope and connects with a knee across the side of the head for two. He signals for the Piledriver and connects with it, but he takes forever to go for a cover, and Hogan predictably kicks out. HULK UP TIMEô, although less theatrical than it would become. He shrugs off Orndorffís offense and nails a Popeye wind-up punch. Whip to the corner and Hogan follows in with an elbow. Whip to the ropes and Orndorff avoids a back drop by raking the eyes. He goes for another Piledriver, but Hogan back drops him over the top rope, to the floor, and Orndorff is counted-out at 12:13. **3/4 It was definitely too soon for a decisive finish, but both title matches ending in similar fashion is a bit unoriginal. Good match, though.

"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. "Samoan #3" Samula:

At least thereís a bit more time left so that we donít have to go into super-rush mode like we did for the conclusion of the last show held at Madison Square Garden. Was "Samoan #2" Sika unavailable for the evening? Samula attacks from behind, but Snuka quickly takes over control and pounds away on him in the corner. Whip to the opposite corner and Snuka plants him with a slam. Snuka with a side headlock. Crisscross and he comes off the ropes with a body press for two. Snuka holds on to a front face-lock. Samula forces a break by ramming Snuka into the turnbuckle. Samula with a slam for two, then goes right to a nerve hold. The nerve of him for going for such a lazy rest spot (rim shot). Snuka fights to his feet, but Samula brings him back down with a handful of hair. BORING. Weíre several minutes into one lazy hold with little physical activity. For a second, I thought I had paused the screen, but then realized the audio was working just fine. Snuka finally breaks it, and after a lengthy crisscross sequence, ducks under a body press and connects with a diving headbutt. Snuka with a suplex and a Flying Body Press finishes at 8:36. Ĺ* Started OK, but quickly hit the skids.

- The World Wrestling Federation comes to the Meadowlands Arena on March 11th. Scheduled for the evening: A 20-Man Battle Royal with a $15,000 prize, including Ivan Putski, Mr. Fuji, Tiger Chung Lee, Rocky Johnson, Iron Mike Sharpe, Tony Atlas, The Masked Superstar, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, The Wild Samoans, and Andre the Giant. The Main Event of the evening will feature WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defending the title against "Dr. D." David Schultz.

Rocky Johnson, Tony Atlas, and Ivan Putski vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Mr. Fuji, and Tiger Chung Lee:

Interesting match to end the night. Atlas and Johnson are still the Tag Team Champions, and again, close the show in a meaningless Six-Man Tag Team Match. I donít see how the team of Slaughter, Fuji, and Chung Lee will get along, especially since Slaughter is getting face reactions. Putski and Fuji start. Lockup to the ropes, Fuji tries to cheap shot him, but Putski clobbers him with rights and lefts. Fuji grabs an over-head wrist-lock, but Putski powers out. Chung Lee comes in and gets trapped in a side headlock. Slaughter tags in and gets trapped in the opponentís corner. Johnson in with rights and lefts. Whip to the ropes and the Tag Champions with a double fist to the midsection. Whip to the corner and Slaughter falls into the ropes in a confusing spot, so they repeat the spot, with Atlas missing a charge. Fuji with some pathetic shots so poor looking that Atlas just ignores them and casually tags out. Chung Lee stomps away on Putski. Slaughter with a back breaker for one. Fuji yells at him from the apron as he connects with another back breaker. Fuji tags in to show him up, then slaps him for whatever reason. Slaughter shoves him into Putski, and the Polish Hammer finishes at 7:15. Post-match, Slaughter shakes hands with the winners. -1/2* Some great non-effort from almost everyone here, and some really sloppy work when they were trying.

Final Thoughts: Decent show from the top of the card to the preliminaries, although it does end on a low note with a dud of a Six-Man Tag and the typical nothing match from Jimmy Snuka. Hoganís 1st defense at MSG produced a decent match with Mr. Wonderful, and the war between Tito Santana and the Magnificent Muraco over the Intercontinental Title continues. Elsewhere, Andre the Giant is featured, the Iron Sheik is given a quick win to rebuild him after the loss to Hogan, and it appears they are preparing him for a feud with Sgt. Slaughter. Overall, a solid two-and-a-half hours of action.

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