December 28, 1989
From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Hillbilly Jim
Tonight, we will see Rick Rude vs. Roddy Piper in a Steel Cage Match, Demolition vs. Colossal Connection for the Tag Team Titles, and more!
Bob Bradley vs. Tito Santana
Bradley substituted for Barry Windham, who no-showed the event. He gets into Tito’s face and they have a shoving match but gets caught with an atomic drop. Bradley bails after Tito connects with a dropkick as Gorilla asks Hillbilly if he would team with Tito, who is still looking for a partner. Tito takes Bradley over with a hip toss then a pair of arm drags as Bradley once again rolls outside. Tito slingshots Bradley back inside then cuts off an attack with a slam. He puts Bradley in a side headlock and works that for a while as the announcers talk about restaurants as Jim thinks Granny should open one up in New York City. Tito works a headscissors now then spikes Bradley as he tried to get out and goes back to the side headlock. Bradley finally gets some offense with an inverted atomic drop as Gorilla puts over how he had an undefeated tour of the Middle East. He now puts Tito in a nerve hold then switches to a chinlock. Bradley yanks Tito back down to the mat as he tried to escape as the crowd remains quiet. He puts the chinlock back on as Tito gets out this time only to run into a knee smash. Bradley uses a few mat slams as Gorilla says he reminds him of Rene Goulet, which is hardly a compliment. Bradley then does a backflip but misses a falling headbutt as both men are down. Tito gets up and fires away in the corner but misses a charge as Bradley chokes him out with his boot. Bradley taunts the crowd then works a front facelock on the mat. He heads to the middle rope but misses a fist drop as both men are down. Tito fires away and takes Bradley down with a clothesline. Tito hits some mounted punches then a backdrop before finishing him off with a flying forearm (14:24) *1/2.
Thoughts: This was too long for what it was. Bradley had been out of the company for a couple of years as a regular enhancement talent and no one bought him as a threat to win the match. I know he was filling time due to Windham no-showing but this was not an exciting match.
Cowboy Cottrell & Little Tokyo vs. Little Cocoa & “Karate” Chris Dube
Haven’t seen a midget match at MSG in a few years at least. Dube backs Tokyo into the corner with some spin kicks then they lockup. Tokyo keeps avoiding Dube, who catches Tokyo with a hip toss then works the arm. Cocoa tags and also works the arm and adds some kicks as Jim calls him a “heavyweight midget.” We get some comedy with Dube chasing Cottrell around as they keep walking on top of Tokyo then Tokyo escapes and tags out. The heels neutralize Cocoa in their corner for a bit but he tags out. Dube gets trapped in the wrong corner then the match breaks down a bit as Cottrell unknowingly chokes his partner. We get even more comedy with Tokyo kicking out of a pinfall and the ref tossing Dube back on top but does do the same for when Dube kicks out. Cocoa & Dube are in control as they use Tokyo as a battering ram against his own partner. Dube gets two with a crossbody then hits a hurricarana but Cottrell avoids a dropkick. Dube fakes out Cottrell and hits a super kick then both guys tag out as Cocoa gets the best of his opponents, who argue a bit, then Cottrell accidentally kicks Tokyo. Dube and Cottrell are in now as Cottrell bites the fingers during an armbar. Dube gets revenge and bites Cottrell in the ass. Dube also sneaks in to bite the ref then both guys tag out as Cocoa puts Tokyo in an airplane spin for two as Cottrell breaks up the pin. Cocoa puts Tokyo back in another airplane spin but moves out of the way as Cottrell accidentally stomps Tokyo then Dube knocks Cottrell on top of his partner and the faces pile on and get the win (11:55) *.
Thoughts: Dube was really athletic and could go n the ring but this was just a bunch of dated comedy spots for the most part. The crowd was into this at times but seemed tired of it near the end.
Lord Alfred Hayes tells us that Rick Martel said Brutus Beefcake asked for tonight’s match because he is jealous of himself. Martel also has an important fashion show and does not want to get roughed up.
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Martel comes out to his own theme instead of “Jive Soul Bro.” Beefcake gets a good reaction here then taunts Martel with his scissors. Martel almost gets counted out before the match even starts then taunts the crowd with his physique. They both show off their physiques and Martel tries a sneak attack but that fails as he ducks outside for a breather. Martel cheap shots Beefcake after a test-of-strength then cartwheels away from an attack and does some jumping jacks. He hammers away in the corner then celebrates but gets caught with a clothesline. Beefcake locks on the sleeper but Martel immediately jumps outside and complains to the referee that it was a choke. Martel is back in the ring as the crowd is behind Beefcake. He extends his hand but Beefcake kicks him in the gut then hits mounted punches in the corner. He stomps Martel to avoid a monkey flip then rings his bell before trying more mounted punches but Martel counters with an inverted atomic drop. Martel targets the back now before working a chinlock. The announcers talk about referee Danny Davis and how he seems to be back as an impartial referee but Hillbilly still doesnt fully trust him. Beefcake finally escapes and runs over Martel but gets cut off with a knee smash after that as Martel is back in control. Beefcake manages a nearfall with a small package then Martel yells at the ref and stomps away. He hits a backbreaker then heads up top but takes way too long as Beefcake crotches him after shaking the ropes. Beefcake knocks him off with a punch then hits a pair of atomic drops before knocking him through the ropes with a clothesline. Beefcake heads out and roughs up Martel before rolling him back in but Martel blocks a sunset flip then grabs the ropes for leverage and gets the win (14:48) **. After the match, Beefcake tells the ref Martel used the ropes and Davis calls out Martel, who flips out then tries to attack but ends up getting caught in a sleeper. He puts Martel out then goes out to grab his scissors but Bobby Heenan runs out and gets Martel to safety just in time.
Thoughts: Not much of a match but it was entertaining and designed to set up a future match as these two are in the midst of a TV feud that will be heating up soon. Martel, an incredible in-ring talent, was focusing more on his character work here than anything else.
Dale Wolfe vs. Tugboat Thomas
Tugboat comes out to his theme here and everything in his MSG debut. He has not yet appeared on TV. Tugboat overpowers Wolfe, who is doing just about all of the work, then catches him off of the top with a bearhug. Wolfe rakes the eyes and lands a few shots in the corner but is unable to use an Irish Whip as Tugboat tosses him across the ring then hits an avalanche before finishing Wolfe off with a splash (2:28) DUD.
Thoughts: What an awful debut by Tugboat, who got some boos at the end. He made Ted Arcidi look nimble here. Wolfe tried but there was only so much he could do here.
No DQ Match: “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Virgil is banned from ringside for this match. DiBiase stalls before entering the ring. He decks Jake a few times after they lockup then Jake fires away. DiBiase slides out of a DDT attempt and retreats outside. DiBiase comes back in and lands a few chops but Jake whips him into the corner then fires away. Jake works the arm for a while but DiBiase is able to avoid another DDT attempt. Jake drags DiBiase back through the ropes and goes back to targeting the arm and still hangs on even when getting punched down. Jake gets knocked into the ropes and tied up as DiBiase hammers away. The work stays at a methodical pace as DiBiase taunts the fans in between attacking Roberts then works a chinlock on the mat. He cuts off a comeback with a clothesline then covers after some stomps as that gets two. DiBiase goes back to the chinlock and works that for a bit. He then heads to the middle rope but Jake rolls away from a double ax handle to take a breather outside. DiBiase follows but Jake outsmarts him and takes him down with a knee lift back in the ring. Jake fires away until he runs into a knee smash in the corner then DiBiase puts on the Million Dollar Dream as Jake desperately tries to escape. Jake is able to crawl to the ropes as the ref yells at DiBiase to break the hold, in a No DQ match. DiBiase yells at the ref outside of the ring but Jake yanks DiBiase into the post. Back inside, Jake connects with a high knee from the middle rope then hits the short arm clothesline as the crowd goes nuts in anticipation of the DDT then hits it for the win (18:37) **. After the match, Jake grabs Damien but Davis takes DiBiase outside. Jake then grabs the Million Dollar Belt but Virgil runs out for the sneak attack and takes the belt before running backstage.
Thoughts: Man, this was disappointing. It was incredibly dull and almost reminded me of Jake’s match against Rude at WrestleMania IV in how it was mostly spent on the mat but things at least picked up nicely at the end. Also, the No DQ stipulation might as well not have even been announced as it did not mean anything and much less than it did Virgil being barred from ringside.
We get promos to hype the Tag Team Title and Steel Cage matches. The big news here is that Demolition are the challengers heading into this match. They lost the titles on a match that aired two days after this show on “Superstars of Wrestling.” According to Dave Meltzer of the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter,” the reason the Colossal Connection were announced as champs before the switch aired on TV is that the company saw a Detroit newspaper article reported on how the Brainbusters dropped the belts to Demolition but still defended the titles until that match aired on television and didn’t want to look foolish again as a result.
Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Koko B. Ware
The announcers get in some digs at the expense of Sharpe to start. Sharpe tries a haymaker but Koko backdrops him to the floor. Sharpe ducks out for a breather as the announcers talk about Sharpe getting locked in the building while in the shower last month as Koko stays in control. Sharpe attacks Koko in the corner and chops him down as the crowd boos. Sharpe stays on the attack as Koko ducks a clothesline but then does not have enough strength to hit a back suplex. Koko comes back with a sunset flip for a two count. Small package gets two. Koko catches a kick then hits a dropkick as that gets two when Sharpe got his foot on the ropes. Sharpe comes back wit a forearm smash as Koko was supposed to duck his head I believe and just sat there and got hit as even Gorilla made note of that. Koko puts the brakes on a turnbuckle smash and lands some shots but Sharpe knocks him back down. Koko comes back with a crossbody from the middle rope but Sharpe lands a clubbing forearm then hits a piledriver for a two count. Sharpe tosses Koko outside then taunts the crowd but Koko fights back from the apron and tosses Sharpe out where he lands some chops. He rams Sharpe into the stairs then slams him down before heading back inside. Sharpe comes back in and tries for a backdrop but Koko then hits him with a Ghostbuster as that gets the win (12:07) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Awful match. These two had zero chemistry and kept screwing things up. There was no flow to this match either and the crowd was silent.
WWF Tag Team Title Match: Colossal Connection (c) w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Demolition
Haku and Smash slug it out in the corner to start. Smash dodges an elbow drop then hammers away before yelling at Andre. Ax is in and beats down Haku as Demolition now cuts off the ring. Haku comes back with a thrust kick on Smash, who was distracted by Andre, then Andre makes the tag. Andre misses a sitdown splash and cannot get up as Demolition both beat him down. Andre pushes Ax down from the mat but Demolition are able to stay on the attack as Andre remains on the mat. Andre boots Ax down from the corner then finally gets up only for Smash to hold him up for his partner. Andre knocks Ax down then gets up to his feet and chokes him out. Ax fights back until Andre knocks him down with a headbutt. Haku tags in but Ax catches him with an atomic drop. He is able to get up and choke Ax out before he can make the tag then gets two with a dropkick as Smash made the save. Andre is in and chokes out Ax behind the ref’s back but stays in the ring as Ax is in trouble. Haku runs in and misses a corner splash but Andre boots Ax in the ribs to prevent him from making the tag. Ax catches Haku with an elbow then makes the tag as Smash runs wild on Haku. Andre comes in and gets clotheslined into the corner as the match breaks down. Andre headbutts Smash and tosses him outside then the ref starts counting as he was the legal man and Smash gets counted out (11:12) **. After the match, Demolition attacks the champs and knocks Andre through the ropes before hitting Haku with the Decapitation.
Thoughts: This match wasn’t bad at all and I’ve never seen a match that saw Andre on the mat like this. It was something in that regard and truthfully, he made it work and I imagine it would not have been as good without those segments. These two will continue to feud.
Sean Mooney talks about the 1/15/90 show as the steel cage is being assembled. We get promos to hype The Powers of Pain vs. Rockers, Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase, and Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title.
Steel Cage Match: “Ravishing” Rick Rude w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Roddy Piper
Piper gets attacked as soon as he enters the cage. Rude stays on the attack but Piper takes off his belt and whips Rude, who was climbing the cage. Piper now bites Rude on the mat then lets him try to climb again before grabbing him by the tights and exposing his ass as he yanks him down. Piper rams Rude into the cage and tries to climb but Rude also yanks Piper by the trunks and exposes his ass as Piper gets crotched on the ropes. Rude’s forehead is covered in blood as he knees Piper in the groin. Rude hammers away then tries to crawl over to the cage door but Piper grabs his leg. Heenan tries to help pull Rude out as Rude is now more than halfway out but Piper is able to grab the tights and pull Rude back into the cage. However, Rude comes back with the Rude Awakening as both men are down. Heenan is guiding Rude towards the door as the blood from his forehead is in his eyes but Piper is able to stop him. Both men know collide then get up and climb up while beating each other. Both men then hit the floor at the same time and the match is ordered to continue. Rude whacks Piper with a chair then they head back inside. Rude hits a fist drop from the top of the cage as the announcers wonder why he just did not climb out. He covers but Piper kicks out at two then Rude hits a piledriver and tries to climb out after the door is not opened but instead Rude tries to leap off and accidentally crotches himself. Piper climbs and hammers away as Rude is now hanging by his feet from the top of the cage. Piper calls for the door to be opened but Heenan slams it in his face. Rude is able to get himself back in the cage and covers for two as Piper fires up. Rude then hits a back suplex as both men are down. Heenan slides brass knux to Rude but Piper decks Rude, who drops the knux, as Piper picks them up and whacks Rude in the face. Piper calls for the door to be opened and gets out for the win (12:55) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Good match. However, there were a few times where Rude could have easily won the match but elected for fist drops off of the top of the cage and I felt that was just incredibly stupid from a psychology aspect. Lots of people at the time raved about this match. I thought it was good but not something I would consider a classic.
Final Thoughts: The main event was good but nothing else stood out at all. A few matches disappointed while a couple of others were terrible. Not the worst televised MSG show but besides the main event there was little else worth seeing here in the final MSG show of the decade.
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 9/24/82
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/30/89
Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/31/89
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/6/90
Wednesday: EVOLVE 82 4/22/17
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/7/90