WWF Madison Square Garden July 23, 1984

July 23, 1984
Just wanted to say that I have received some copies of older house shows and TV shows besides Championship Wrestling that I will be incorporating into my reviews.
This show, taking place 6 months after Hogan won the title from the Iron Sheik, is best known for the “Brawl to End it All” special that aired on MTV. That was a special with multiple interviews and clips. They also showed the Moolah vs. Richter match on the show too. The rest of the card was broadcasted on the MSG network. I watched the WWE 24/7 copy of this so Hogan’s and Richter’s themes were replaced.
Your hosts are Gene Okerlund and Gorilla Monsoon

Sika vs. Ron Shaw
Sika got a lot of cheers during the introduction. Maybe the slow face turn for the Samoans is working? The announcers put over the Samoans as single wrestlers as Shaw stalls for a bit. They finally lock up and Sika ducks a punch in the corner. Another lockup and Shaw doesn’t break cleanly but Sika lands a forearm smash. Shaw gets stomped until he rolls outside. Back inside, they lockup again and Shaw breaks that up with an eye rake. He punches away but Sika fights back. He takes him down with a back elbow smash and Shaw begs for mercy. He manages to rake the eyes of Sika again but gets chopped down. Sika with a chinlock, which Shaw breaks with another eye rake. Sika no-sells several chops then dazes him with a headbutt. Snapmare and back to the chinlock for a bit until Sika catches him a chop and gets the win with a falling headbutt (5:12) ½*.
Thoughts: The crowd was either really into Sika or jacked up for the first match. Not much happened here and the outcome was never in doubt.
Tony Garea vs. Iron Sheik w/Freddie Blassie
Crowd starts with a “USA” chant. Both men are from foreign countries, by the way. Sheik continues to get distracted by the crowd and Garea connects with a forearm smash. He slams Sheik after a leapfrog and takes him down with a side headlock. He gets two off of a sunset flip and goes back to the headlock. Garea continues to go back to the headlock then takes Sheik down with a shoulderblock. Sheik comes back with a double chop to the throat and stomps away. He rams Garea’s head into the turnbuckle then taunts the crowd. Garea kicks Sheik after he ducks his head and lands a dropkick. Crossbody barely gets one then Sheik reverses an Irish whip and sends Garea into the corner. He hits a back suplex and gets the win (5:35) *1/2. After the match, Sheik gets on the mic and yells at the crowd.
Thoughts: Decent action. Garea was on offense for a majority of the match and wasn’t as boring as he usually was.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
“Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. Tito Santana (Champion)
Orton starts things off with a shoulderblock but Tito comes back with a hiptoss and an armdrag. They trade headscissors on the mat until Tito goes to work on the arm. The announcers put over Orton as a great technical wrestler then he ducks outside. Back in, they fight over a wristlock. Orton yanks him down by the hair then punches him in the face. He misses a charge in the corner and Santana goes to work on the arm. He connects with a forearm smash from the second rope then puts on an armbar for a long time until Orton reaches the ropes. Santana leapfrogs Orton but gets punched down. He continues to assault him in the corner then they completely mistime a kneedrop spot as Santana was not in position. Powerslam gets two and the crowd is getting behind Tito. He roughs up Tito then holds him up with one hand before hitting a backbreaker. Kneedrop gets two. Orton stops a comeback with an eye poke then gets two off of a Fisherman’s Suplex. He puts Tito in a headlock as the announcers speculate as to whether or not this is a choke. Tito escapes and hits an armdrag but Orton boots him back down. He gets two off of  forearm smash then gets a scoop slam. Orton goes for the corner slingshot splash but Tito is able to get his knees up. Tito goes nuts and slams Orton’s head off the turnbuckle and mat repeatedly. Tito puts Orton in an abdominal stretch that gets quickly reversed. Tito manages to flip Orton over then hits a bunch of forearms. Orton manages to hit a back suplex, getting two. Tito blocks a suplex attempt with a small package and that gets two. Orton dodges a crossbody attempt then gets two off of a fist drop. Tito reverses an Irish whip into the corner and gets a bridging pin attempt for two. They brawl on their knees for a while then Tito backdrops Orton after a piledriver attempt. Both men are down and Tito gets up first. He gets a kneelift then hits a bunch of mounted punches in the corner until Orton stops that with an inverted atomic drop. He tries an elbow drop but Tito hits him in the face and the match ends with a time-limit draw (20:00) ***1/4. Both men continue to brawl after the bell sounds.
Thoughts: Good match. It took a while to get going though. It started off dull but built nicely towards the end, with both men going back and forth. Santana had a lot of talent on the heel side to work with.
Butcher Vachon vs. Bob Backlund
Backlund has not been on TV for a few months since his return. Okerlund makes fun of Vachon for being fat, telling him he needs to go to a gym. Backlund uses his quickness to elude Vachon. He works a hammerlock then uses a single-leg takedown as the announcers put over his conditioning. Vachon gets a few punches in the corner but Backlund reverses an Irish whip and catches Vachon with a slam before applying the Crossface Chickenwing for the win (2:40) ¼*.
Thoughts: Very brief, which is a good thing seeing as Vachon is deteriorated at this point. They seemed to be putting over Backlund a lot here.
Gene Okerlund is with Greg Valentine. He tells Hogan that he will feel the wrath of the hammer then we see Albano escort him to the ring.
Okerlund is now with Hulk Hogan. He goes on about how New York City can shut off all the power because all of the people will be glowing, presumably with excitement from him winning the match. He then heads to the ring.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)
Hulk is still using “Eye of the Tiger” as his theme song. Also, he is wearing white trunks and has a white tank-top that reads “American Made.” Albano heads to the back after the introductions. Valentine jumps Hogan from behind to start. Hogan fights back and knocks him down with an elbow smash. He hits an atomic drop and a slam before dropping an elbow. He rakes the Hammer’s eyes with his boot then puts him in a chinlock. Valentine escapes then hits a back suplex. He drops some elbows then puts on a chinlock that looks similar to the Camel’s Clutch. Hogan still manages to stand up and rams Valentine in the corner. Valentine fires away and gets two after a forearm drop. He misses a knee drop and sells the injured leg. He still manages a few punches but Hogan blocks a suplex attempt and hits one of his own. He hits a running shoulder breaker then sends him on the apron with a big boot. Hogan follows him out and roughs him up. He rolls him back in the ring and the ref talks with Hogan, allowing Valentine to hit him from behind. Valentine drops a few elbows then grabs a headlock. Hogan fights out and tosses Valentine down but he rolls outside and pulls down Hogan. He rams Hogan’s leg off of the table then hits it with a chair. Back then, the announcers’ table was right up against the ring apron. In the ring, Valentine continues to soften up the leg. He knocks down Hogan with a double axe handle then hits a backbreaker. He goes up to the middle rope and drops the elbow, getting two. He goes back up again but this time Hogan hits him with a clothesline as he lands then hits the leg drop for the win (10:13) **1/4.
Thoughts: Match was okay. The action was decent but these two didn’t seem to have the greatest chemistry. Its interesting to see Hogan here because he moved around quickly and did moves that he stopped doing during the height of his popularity. The crowd was shithouse though as Hogan was extremely over.
Charlie Fulton vs. Antonio Inoki
Inoki is billed as the “Martial Arts Champion.” Monsoon brings up how in 1976, Inoki faced Muhammed Ali in Japan. Inoki starts by getting a single-leg takedown. He easily escpaes from a hammerlock then goes back to work on the leg. He grapevines the leg but Fulton is able to escape. He hits Inoki with a few shoulderthrusts then stomps him. Inoki rolls out for a breather and gets roughed up some more when he re-enters the ring. Fulton gets two off of a snapmare and grabs a headlock as the crowd is ignoring the match and looking at one part of the arena, presumably at a fight in the stands. Inoki kicks Fulton’s leg then murders him with an enziguiri for the win (4:10) *.
Thoughts: Fairly dull match. Fulton was a jobber but was still a solid worker. Inoki looked good on offense though and could still go at age 41. They didn’t exactly put this match in a position to succeed, as it followed the Hogan match and they got less than five minutes.
WWF World Tag-Team Title Match
Sgt. Slaughter & Terry Daniels vs. Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch
Murdoch takes Daniels down to start. They trade off arm wringers then Daniels grabs an armbar. Murdoch whips Daniels into the corner and tags Adonis. Sarge tags too but gets punched down. He gets an armdrag and tags Daniels, who works the arm for a while. Adonis chops Daniels viciously against the ropes. Daniels lands on his feet after a monkey flip attempt and gets an armdrag. Adonis goes outside but Sarge puts him back in the ring. Daniels works the arm but Adonis still manages to make the tag. Murdoch gets caught with an armdrag. He catches Daniels with a slam but he kicks out and gets an armdrag. Murdoch uses a foreign object to rake the eyes of Daniels and he goes to work in the corner. Daniels gets his knees up on a charge but Murdoch is able to tag out. Adonis gets hit with an armdrag as the crowd starts a “U-S-A” chant, in a match in which each contestant is American. They do a really fast-paced Irish whip sequence that ends with Daniels eating a back elbow smash. Adonis could still move for a big guy. He roughs up Daniels before tagging out. Murdoch whips Daniels in the corner but Sarge runs over and pays across the top turnbuckle, protecting Daniels. He hits Murdoch with a dropkick and yet another armdrag. He tags Sarge and he goes wild for a bit then tags Daniels. He drops the knee on Murdoch, getting two. Murdoch gets two off of a hiptoss but Daniels comes back with an abdominal stretch. Murdoch flips him over and tags Adonis, who gets two off of a kneedrop. Powerslam gets two. Tag to Murdoch and he lifts up Daniels by the arm in an impressive and painful looking spot. The heels neutralize Daniels and use double-team moves behind the referee’s back. Daniels manages to connect on a dropkick and tags Slaughter. Sarge runs wild and puts Murdoch in the Cobra Clutch. Adonis breaks that up and Sarge tags Daniels. He hits three consecutive dropkicks and gets a nearfall on a crossbody. The match breaks down and behind the referee’s back, Murdoch hits a middle rope knee drop on Daniels, who was draped over the knee of Adonis, for the win (16:52) *1/2. After the match, Slaughter takes out the champs with a double clothesline. Someone in the crowd is screaming the word “Faggot” towards Adonis.
Thoughts: Not much of a match. I think Sarge was injured around this time. That would explain his role in this match. He was barely in and would tag out very quickly. Daniels is a good worker but used about twenty armdrags in this match. His size was exposed here as he looked like a child next to the others in the match. I was expecting a lot better than this, honestly.  
Okerlund is backstage with Captain Lou Albano and the Fabulous Moolah. Not much said here other than Moolah promising a victory and Albano forgetting the amount of years that Moolah has held the title. He said 12 years and she corrected him, stating that it has been 27. They then head out to the ring.
We see David Wolfe, Cyndi Lauper, and Wendi Richter next to the tunnel as they head out to the ring. Richter comes out to Lauper’s hit song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Albano is going mental in the ring, covering his ears while this is going on.
WWF Women’s Title Match
Fabulous Moolah (Champion) w/Capt. Lou Albano vs. Wendi Richter w/Cyndi Lauper & David Wolff
Match starts off with the ladies trading armdrags. Wolff joins the announcers and tells them that he is the real manager of Lauper, not Albano. Richter gets tossed and lands on the table. Moolah yanks her back in from the apron and chokes her out. She gets a kneelift then poses, allowing Richter to fight back. She works the arm but misses a splash. She manages to dodge an attack but Moolah gets a hairpull. She almost punches Richter in the box then goes back to yanking the hair. Moolah stops to flex before choking out Richter. After some more hairpulling, Richter fights back but misses a charge in the corner. Moolah goes back to working on the hair of Richter for a bit. Rihcter fights back then pushes Moolah against the ropes and she gets her feet tangled and is hanging upside down. Albano tries and fails to unhook her and the ref finally gets her down. Albano is hysterical tonight, just ranting on like a lunatic. He was probably sauced. Richter applies a full nelson and Lauper heads up on the apron. Moolah escapes by pulling the hair but Richter is able to re-apply the hold. She goes over near Cyndi and she hits Moolah with her purse. Dropkick gets two. Suplex gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Moolah escapes from a chinlock and goes back to work on the hair. Monkeyflip gets two. Backdrop gets two. Albano is now on the apron and tries to do something but misses a move. Moolah gets a few turnbuckle smashes then gets a bridging belly to back rollup and Richter lifts her shoulder just before the ref counts to three. Both women think they have the match won and Finkel announces that Richter won the match and is the new champion (11:20) *1/2. The faces celebrate in the ring.
Thoughts: The wrestling itself was awful but Richter winning was a huge moment and the whole presentation of the match worked fantastically. The crowd was silent for a good amount of the match but went nuts for the finish.
In the locker room, Okerlund is with Wolff, Lauper, and Richter. Lauper puts over Richter, who states that this is the happiest day of her life. Some writer named Cal Rudman comes out and says how this is a big moment as Sgt Slaughter comes in and congratulates her on behalf of the Cobra Corps before lifting up Lauper. Hogan comes in in jeans and compares Richter to Marilyn Monroe a few times and calls Moolah ugly. Albano wanders in and aimlessly stumbles around before leaving as everyone is yelling at him. A great job in putting this over as a big deal.
Chief Jay Strongbow vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
Okerlund is no longer on commentary as Monsoon is doing it solo. Orndorff begins by stalling, taking his time to remove his coat. Chief is getting antsy and chases Orndorff around. He then runs from behind and hits Orndorff with mounted punches. On the mat, Chief uses headscissors to ground Orndorff. He catches Orndorff in a sleeper hold off of a criss-cross spot. Orndorff escapes then both men collide. Strongbow falls outside and accidentally hits the ring bell. Back inside, Orndorff hits a bunch of kneedrops. The Chief powers up and gets some chops and a kneelift. He attacks Orndorff in the corner but gets hits with a clothesline and Orndorff covers for the win (6:05) DUD.
Thoughts: The Chief was ancient and could not do much at all in the ring. This was all stalling and restholds. Not even Orndorff could save this match and having him sell for Strongbow looked ridiculous.
Afa vs. Rene Goulet
Afa attacks to start. He hits a backdrop then catches Goulet in a bearhug. Rene escapes then his shown loading his glove. He punches away in the corner then starts to bite. Afa hits a shoulderblock then headbutts Goulet, who sells the move dramatically and flies into the corner. Goulet stomps on Afa’s toes and gets a snapmare. He uses the claw for a while then gets some chops. More biting from Goulet but he soon gets caught in a Samoan Drop and Afa gets the win (5:26) ¼*.
Thoughts: About what you would expect from these two. This is type of match you would see on Championship Wrestling as the “featured bout.”
20 Man Battle Royal: Sika, Jose Luis Rivera, Butcher Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Tony Garea, Jay Strongbow, Afa, Steve Lombardi, Dick Murdoch, Bob Orton, Adrian Adonis, Rene Goulet, Ron Shaw, Charlie Fulton, Terry Daniels, Iron Sheik, Tito Santana, Paul Orndorff, Sgt. Slaughter, and Samu.

Sarge and Sheik go at each other to start. Afa is seen picking his nose, threatening to wipe it on Orndorff. Lombardi gets eliminated first by Slaughter. The tag champs work on Daniels as Orton ducks outside. Orndorff gets dumped by Tito and Afa. Daniels saves Sarge from the Sheik as Strongbow gets eliminated off-camera. Sarge and Daniels double-team Sheik for a bit then he gets eliminated off-camera as well. Santana dumps Vachon as Gorilla states that he is shocked Rivera is still in the match, despite there just being a few eliminations. Adonis gets knocked on the apron by Santana. Murdoch ducks outside and we see Fulton get eliminated by Daniels and Slaughter. Adonis charges at Slaughter but he pulls the ropes down and gets eliminated. Afa & Sika then eliminate Murdoch and Slaughter. Afa gets eliminated off-camera too then Inoki dumps Santana. Sika gets tossed off-camera then Shaw gets rid of Rivera with a backdrop. Goulet eliminates Daniels then Samula goes over the ropes after Inoki ducks a charge. Inoki then eliminates Orton with an enziguiri. We are now down to the final four: Inoki, Garea, Shaw, and Goulet. Anyone wanna make a bet as to who wins this? Shaw and Goulet quickly dispose of Garea then double team Inoki. Shaw holds up Inoki, who moves out of the way and Goulet sends Shaw over the top rope. Inoki then takes Goulet and tosses him out, winning the battle royal (13:17) 1/2*.

Thoughts: This was terrible, even by Battle Royal standards. The big names all went early too. For the home viewer, several eliminations happened off-camera and it was hard to keep track of things.  

Final Thoughts: While the wrestling itself was not very good overall, the show was a huge success due to the women’s match. The “Brawl to End it All” special on MTV got a 9.0 rating, making it the highest watched program in MTV history (Does this still hold true today?). This really got over the “Rock N’ Wrestling” phase of the WWF too. A lot of starts like Snuka, Piper, Andre, Studd, Johnson, and others were not here tonight but it didn’t matter any as the big matches got over huge with the crowd and they could get away with half of the other matches being filler.