WWF Madison Square Garden March 17th, 1985

March 17th,

Your hosts are Gene Okerlund and Gorilla Monsoon.

This is the version of the show that was shown on WWE
Classics on Demand. It excludes the Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik vs. George
Wells and Bret Hart match.


Charlie Fulton vs.
Rocky Johnson

The announcers put over Rocky’s physique, which contains a
lot more weight in the mid-section than before. Fulton gets a rollup but Rocky
takes control with a headscissors. The Rock is already breathing heavy. Rocky
hits a few armdrags then Fulton takes a breather. Fulton works on Rocky in the
corner for a bit. Rocky dodges a few clotheslines and comes back with a sunset
flip for the win (3:35) ½*.

Thoughts: Not the most exciting way to start the show. Rocky
would be gone again within a couple of months and Fulton had to retire not too
long after this due to a heart ailment.


Rene Goulet vs. Barry

Barry gets no reaction in his MSG debut. They take it to the
mat to start as the announcers hype WrestleMania. Neither man can gain an
advantage as the announcers talk about the WrestleMania main event. The crowd
is booing as they are bored out of their minds. Barry works the arm until
Goulet catches him with a knee. Goulet bites Barry’s forehead then backs him in
the corner. He now uses the claw for a while but Barry fights back. He hits a
backdrop and a slam, which gets two. Powerslam gets two. Goulet rakes the eyes
and works a side headlock on the mat as the crowd is getting restless, due to
the fact they are bored to death. Goulet hits a slam and drops a knee. Barry
fights back and hits an atomic drop but gets kneed off a charge. Goulet goes
for a suplex but Barry turns it into a small package for the win (8:50) *.

Thoughts: I never remembered Barry O as a face in the WWF.
It didn’t work at all here as he had no personality in the ring at all. No
wonder he remained a jobber. His tights were similar to the ones worn by the
Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. This went on for way too long.


Jim “The Anvil”
Neidhart w/Jimmy Hart vs. S.D. Jones

Okerlund talks about Jimmy Hart’s musical career while
Gorilla talks about Neidhart’s fictional NFL career. S.D. pisses of Neidhart by
pulling on his beard. Gorilla tells us that Andre said he will retire if he
fails to slam Studd at WrestleMania. S.D gets a hiptoss then stomps the Anvil
when he went for a monkey flip. S.D. works the arm until the Anvil drops him
throat-first across the top rope. He roughs up S.D, using a lot of chokes as we
see a row of photographers around the ring that are apparently there in
anticipation of WrsetleMania. Anvil works a chinlock but S.D. escapes and
fights back with a few punches that showed an awful lot of light. He headbutts
the Anvil twice but gets sent into the corner and the Anvil catches him with a
powerslam for the win (6:52) *.

Thoughts: Another match that no one cared about. S.D. was
worse than usual here too. Despite the new manager, Neidhart is not being
pushed as a singles.


Jose Luis Rivera vs.
King Kong Bundy w/Jimmy Hart

Okerlund jokes that Bundy resembles a young Gorilla Monsoon.
Bundy shoves around Rivera then knocks him down with a back elbow smash. He
slams him with one hand then drops a knee. Rivera hits a few dropkicks to
minimal effect then Bundy chops him in the corner and hits the Avalanche
followed by an elbow drop for the win after demanding a five count (2:31) ¾*.

Thoughts: Bundy looked impressive in this squash match,
which was all that needed to happen here.


Mean Gene interviews Mr. T and Hulk Hogan in the locker
room, who are wearing shirts that feature the WrestleMania logo. Hogan said
that people thought it was a joke when he picked Mr. T as a partner but now the
people have seen him train and that he is a bad dude. Mr. T says he feels sorry
for his opponents and that he doesn’t like interviews as he should be training.
Hogan says that they have the “Eye of the tiger” and need to leave in order to


Roddy Piper and Bob Orton come out for their live “Piper’s
Pit” segment. Orton is holding a large briefcase. Piper said that no one wanted
to fight him and now he has to come out and talk. He mocks the Irish in the
crowd and makes fun of the Yankees for their shitty team before bringing out
Paul Orndorff. They all mock Mr. T., complete with Orndorff mimicking a monkey
as Piper calls out Mr. T. He comes out with Jimmy Snuka and Hogan as the crowd
erupts. Piper offers Mr. T a seat but he stands and tosses the chair aside.
Before they talk, they send the others in the corner. Piper said that Mr. T has
won boxing championships and “Tough Man” competitions but Piper will do him the
favor of letting him back out of their WrestleMania match, referring to it as
their “closed-circuit match.” Mr. T said he is not worried and is offering him
a chance to back out. Orton pulls out a picture from the briefcase which
reveals a painting of Mr. T wearing a sling and another one of him with a cast
on his leg. The last one is a painting of him in a body cast. Piper then goes
nuts and puts on a Mr. T wig. Both men then end up getting held back as Piper
leaves and Mr. T gets pissed, saying you don’t mess with his hairstyle. Mr. T
then breaks the paintings before telling the crowd that Piper will pay for what
he just did on March 31st as he ready to fight, using all possible
means. Decent segment that did a solid job hyping the WrestleMania match. Piper
was tremendous as a heel in 1985.


Matt Borne vs. David

Sammartino takes Borne down a few times but gets punched
afterwards. Borne hits a belly-to-belly suplex then grabs a side headlock. The
announcers talk about the buzz surrounding WrestleMania as Borne maintains the
hold. Sammartino fights back and knocks down Borne as the crowd stays silent.
He hits a backdrop then works a side headlock of his own. Borne escapes and
rams Sammartino into the corner. Borne rolls him up for two then grabs a
chinlock. Sammartino escapes by sending Borne into the corner then fires away
but Borne grabs a front facelock. They trade punches in the corner and
Sammartino wins that battle. Borne misses a charge in the corner and Sammartino
hits a suplex. He gets a slam and drops a knee before heading up top. Borne
cuts him off and slams him but that only gets two. Borne goes for a powerslam
but Sammartino hangs on and uses his momentum to reverse it into a cradle for
the win (8:36) **1/4.

Thoughts: Solid match. Borne looked impressive in the ring
and David wasn’t that bad but just lacked charisma and looked like a jobber.


Ken Patera &
Jesse Ventura & Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog & Jimmy
Snuka & Andre the Giant w/Capt. Lou Albano

The crowd is jacked for this. Albano goes towards Heenan but
Studd steps out and protects his manager. JYD and Patera slug it out to start.
JYD hits a backdrop then tags Andre. Studd comes in and Andre gives them a
double noggin-knocker. He boots down Patera and JYD gives him the crawling
headbutts. Patera bails and consoles with Heenan. Patera goes in the corner and
stalls before ducking out after Andre comes after him. Jesse chokes out JYD in
the corner then the match breaks down as Andre goes after Studd & Patera. Jesse
and JYD are the legal men and Jesse goes to work. JYD no-sells a few punches
then rams Ventura off the turnbuckle. Snuka tags and headbutts Jesse. He hits a
slam and hits a fist drop off the second rope. Jesse rakes the eyes and Patera
chokes out Snuka behind the ref’s back. The heels get heat on Snuka, using a
lot of restholds, until he breaks up a bearhug from Studd with a bell clap and
tags Andre. The crowd goes nuts as Andre attacks Studd in the corner. He beats
the shit out of him and goes for the slam but Patera breaks it up. Jesse tags
but Andre gets the upper hand. He boots down Jesse and Snuka hits the Superfly
Splash for the win (11:55) **1/2. After the match, the faces beat on the heels.

Thoughts: Fun match. They stuck to a basic formula and it
worked great. Andre was really laying into Studd with his offense.


Terry Gibbs vs. Ricky

Gibbs knees Steamboat as he offers a handshake. Steamboat
fights back with a backdrop and a slam as Gibbs retreats to the corner. Gibbs
stalls some more until Steamboat chops him down. Gibbs rakes the eyes and
tosses Steamboat to the floor. He pulls him back on the apron and hits him with
forearm strikes across the chest. Gibbs hits a slam and uses cheap heel tactics
to maintain control. Steamboat chops back and takes him down with an elbow
strike. He hits a chop from the second rope then wins the match with a top rope
crossbody block (4:36) ½*.

Thoughts: These two did not click in the ring. The crowd was
completely silent throughout the match too. It didn’t matter as this was before
the main event, which was the match everyone wanted to see.



Lumberjack Match

Greg “The Hammer”
Valentine (Champion) w/Jimmy Hart vs. Tito Santana

The crowd loves Tito. Valentine attacks him from behind to
start. Tito comes back with a clothesline then beats the piss out of Valentine in
the corner. He ducks out and Steamboat tosses him back inside. Tito hits an atomic
drop then follows that with a knee lift. The heels will not touch Valentine as
the faces all toss him back in the ring. Valentine comes back with an inverted
atomic drop then takes control. Tito fights back and stomps on Valentine in the
corner. He ducks out after Tito attempts a figure four then heads up the ramp
but a few of the faces toss him back inside. Tito hits him with a forearm off
the second rope for two. Valentine ducks out and tries to go through the crowd
but gets picked up and tossed back inside as the bell sounds for some reason.
Tito hammers away in the corner but ends up running into a knee and Valentine covers
for two. He gets a few nearfalls as the crowd is chanting for Tito. Valentine
works on the knee that he injured several months ago and attempts a single-leg
crab. Tito breaks away but sells his knee and Valentine knees him down. He goes
back to work on the knee and goes for the figure four but Tito turns that into
a small package. They slug it out until Valentine knocks him down with a
European uppercut. He drags Tito by the hair into the corner but Tito sends him
into the turnbuckle. Tito knocks him down and drags him back inside by his
tights. Suplex gets two as Tito sells the back of his head. Tito hits a few
stomps and goes for the figure four but Valentine kicks out. He attempts to
bail but the faces drag him back inside. Tito knocks him down with a forearm
then locks on the figure four as the building erupts. Hart distracts the ref as
Studd drags Valentine near the roes. Tito goes after Studd but Valentine attacks
from behind. They slug it out then both men end up colliding but Valentine
falls on top of Tito and gets the win (14:59) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Really good match. These two had awesome chemistry
together. The crowd was in love with Tito and really wanted to see him get his
revenge against Valentine. They also put over on commentary how Valentine was going after Steamboat when he was getting tossed back into the ring, which usually signals that they will face off or start to feud together. This match has been featured on multiple DVD’s,
including the “History of the Intercontinental Championship” and “Greatest
Wrestling Stars of the 80’s.”


Final Thoughts: The
show had a really good main event and a fun six-man tag so it wasn’t bad. It
lacked the star power of most MSG cards but with WrestleMania two weeks away,
they were holding back the big matches for that. It was a shorter card than
usual, which doesn’t get any complaints from me as these can last an eternity
at times.