The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – MSG 04.23.84

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – MSG 04.23.84

Carrying on with 84! Man these are fun. The description of the show cuts off RIGHT when it says who Tito Santana is facing for the IC title tonight in the main event, but apparently it’s a doozy according to someone who messaged me on Twitter, so I’m pretty hyped to find out and I’m glad it wasn’t spoiled for me.

Also this show is rated 18+ by the Network for violence and language, so now I’m even more hyped.

Taped from MSG

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Pat Patterson

The Tonga Kid v. Tiger Chung Lee

Apparently Kim Duk was still active in the sport at the age of 70, back in 2018. Another couple of years and he’ll be ready for his comeback run in Saudi Arabia against Goldberg. Tonga works the arm to start and puts Lee down with a dropkick and slam and he works the arm as you can already see who they wanted him to be. Hey, it worked with Snuka, why not try to make another star? Tonga keeps Lee on the mat and works on the arm until Lee slams out of it and uses ILLEGAL KARATE to take over. Lee beats on the Kid in the corner and puts him down with a chop for two. Lee with a chinlock, but Kid fights out of it, only to walk into a stungun and get pinned at 7:54. Good enough for government work. **

Jose Luis Rivera v. Rene Goulet

Pat makes baseless accusations about Goulet loading up his glove with foreign objects, while Gorilla makes Michael Jackson jokes about it. So Goulet does indeed remove the sparkly glove and give it to the ring attendant, but then he pulls a SECOND glove and puts that one on instead. Rivera wins a lockup battle and takes Goulet to the corner, where Rene hangs upside down in the corner to escape, and then Rivera runs him into another corner and Goulet bumps off that as well. They slug it out and Goulet takes him down with a headlock, but then releases and complains that Rivera was pulling hair. And then of course Rivera gets a headlock and Goulet immediately starts pulling hair like crazy to escape. That’s a silly touch you don’t see anymore. Like heels still complain about phantom hairpulls on occasion, but very few take the extra time to hypocritically pull the babyface’s hair in response. Rivera takes him down with an armbar, so Goulet blatantly bites him to escape and puts Rivera down with a knee to the gut and then steps on him. Goulet chokes him out on the ropes, which Gorilla notes is deliberate. As opposed to what, accidentally choking someone out? Goulet puts the boots to him, but Rivera fights back and runs him into the turnbuckles, following with a backdrop for two. Bodyslam gets two. He’s no CM Punk. Blind charge and Goulet knees him in the corner to block and goes up, but then changes his mind and lands with the SCORPION CLAW instead, which finishes at 7:47 in a surprising pin. Weird ending but OK. **1/4

Meanwhile, Tito Santana has words for his opponent tonight, and indeed it’s a doozy as promised. I seriously never would have guessed it.

Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. JAMES J DILLON?!?

YUP. This is a thing that happened. Like, JJ literally had TWO MATCHES in the WWF in his entire career, one in 1982 against Pat Patterson and then this one. Did Muraco’s car get stolen on the way to the arena or something? Gorilla and Pat are equally confused as to how JJ got a title shot here. Dillon tries a takedown and Tito reverses out of it and goes to work on the arm, as JJ tries to fight up and then gets taken down again. We get a nice little spot while holding the armbar, as Tito yanks him off the mat by the arm and then slams him down again, which is TREMENDOUS. Dillon finally powers up in frustration and slugs on Tito, so Tito just takes him right back down and hammerlocks him again. Finally Dillon calls for time in the corner and offers a test of strength instead, and then scratches the eyes and back and chest to take over. But that just pisses Tito off and he makes the comeback immediately, throws a dropkick, and finishes with the flying forearm at 7:10 to retain. Obviously this wasn’t any kind of a serious threat to Tito but the match was fine. **

Meanwhile, back in the dressing room, Tito celebrates his win.

Sgt. Slaughter v. The Iron Sheik

OH BABY. I bet this is our violence warning! Private Terry Daniels is bearing the flag for Sarge here before descending into jobberdom with Sarge’s departure. Sheik charges into the ring and attacks while Sarge is saluting the flag, but Sarge catches him with a slam and tears up the headdress. I’LL TEACH YOU TO HAVE CUSTOMS AND DRESS DIFFERENT THAN MINE! Seriously though, who would be dumb enough to Sgt. Slaughter while saluting the flag? That’s like attacking the Hulk while he’s getting a gamma radiation booster. Slaughter picks him up and gives him the Popeye punch as the crowd goes INSANE, and he drops knees on the Sheik and spits on him. AMERICA’S LOOGIE! Slaughter beats the bejesus out of Sheik and rakes the back, but he charges and runs into a boot in the corner. Sheik goes to work with the loaded boot and stomps Slaughter down, then follows with a backdrop and returns the spitting. I understand that’s what he thinks of the USA. He runs Slaughter into the post and chokes him out on the ropes, then puts the boots to him and spits on him some more. People literally start throwing stuff into the ring because they’re so outraged, and Sheik hits Slaughter with a gut wrench, but he misses an elbow. Sheik tries another suplex, but Sarge reverses into his own and makes the ALL AMERICAN COMEBACK. Sheik begs for mercy, but that’s not how America rolls, and Sarge stomps on his hands while he’s prone and praying to his gods. LIKE A REAL AMERICAN HERO. Slaughter cannon and Sarge takes off his boot, but the ref, obviously a commie sympathizer, stops him from using it, allowing Sheik to go low. So Sarge snaps and beats on Sheik with the boot, and as warned the referee calls for the DQ at 8:42. It goes without saying that this was great. ***1/2

Meanwhile, we cut to the back as Slaughter and Sheik are still brawling, and HERE’S where your 18+ rating comes from, as several agents are yelling “GET HIM THE F--- OUT OF HERE!” and Slaughter screams “I’LL KILL YOUR F------ ASS!” at the Sheik while the agents tear them apart. Easy there, potty mouth! Even Vince McMahon is back there trying to get them apart! OK this was even more awesome.

Salvatore Bellomo v. Ron Shaw

Probably wise to cool it down because no one’s following that last spectacle. Bellomo takes Shaw to the corner while Gorilla notes how Sal is giving up “30 or 40 pounds” to Ron. Well he’d certainly fix that problem some years later. Patterson talks about how Sal’s parents haven’t seen him wrestle, so Gorilla suggests that Sal buy them a videocassette recording machine and send them some tapes. Was he just suggesting that Sal should engage in rebroadcast, retransmission or accounts of World Wrestling Federation matches from Madison Square Garden without the express written consent of Madison Square Gardens Production Incorporated and the World Wrestling Federation? I hope he gets fired over that one. Sal escapes a headlock and takes Shaw down with armdrags before taking him down with a headlock of his own. Clearly this one isn’t trying to follow anyone’s classic match. Shaw fights back with knees to the gut and chokes out Sal before going to a chinlock. He slugs away, which is Excedrin headache #3 according to Gorilla, and a snapmare gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Sal fights back with a dropkick and gets the mule kick they’ve been hyping the whole match, and that finishes at 7:27. *

Rocky Johnson, Tony Atlas & Ivan Putski v. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Paul Orndroff & Dr. D David Schultz

Time to batten down the hatches! And if you have any doors that are currently without security, maybe bar them as well. I hear Katie specializes in it. This match instantly makes me sad that we never got a team of the Rock and Scott Puts…sorry, I can’t even finish typing that sentence with a straight face. Tony Atlas tries to check out what’s under Piper’s kilt and that triggers a brawl instantly from Roddy, at which point Atlas gives him a headbutt and sends him flying into the babyface corner. Piper tries to fight them off alone and that goes REALLY badly for him as they take turns punching him in the face until he goes down. That gets two for Rocky. Finally Piper rakes the face and sends Rocky into the heel side for a beatdown from Orndorff and D. Orndorff works on ribs with some knees, but Piper comes in and throws his own jabs on Rocky to put him down again. And Rocky promptly shrugs him off and beats him down, so Wonderful comes in to save Piper and gets a chinlock on Rocky. Pat and Gorilla keep stressing how “rugged” Paul is here for some reason. Was this like a “We know you like to chant Paula at him but he’s really super hetero” type of deal, I wonder? The heels switch off with the chinlock behind the ref’s back while Gorilla rails against shoddy refereeing and then Rocky makes the hot tag Putski. He’s a HOUSE OF FIRE and just beats on all the heels, but he tries a suplex on Piper and Roddy hits him with a foreign object on the way up and gets the pin at 5:48. What a huge disappointment this was after the awesome Andre-Snuka tag match last month. *1/2 This was mostly Rocky Johnson in a chinlock.

Meanwhile, Ivan Putski can’t believe he got pinned by the “guy with the skirt” and he’s gonna make that guy pay next time.

B. Brian Blair v. Samu

Gorilla is again confused by young Samula apparently changing his name to Samu. Man, I long for the days when THAT was the most confusing thing about Samoan relations. Blair takes Samu down with an armdrag and chases him to the floor. Back in, Blair takes him down with a headlock and gets a crossbody for two while Gorilla doggedly continues referring to him “Samula”. And back to the headlock again. So THAT goes on for a good while and he hangs on while Samu tries to fight him off. Finally Blair runs him into the turnbuckle to stop the comeback and takes him down with the headlock again. Samu slams out of it and follows with a side slam for two. Blair slugs away in the corner, but Samu takes him down with an atomic drop and chops him down, then goes to the top, but Blair brings him down and Samu takes a nutso bump on the top rope and to the mat. Blair makes the comeback and drops a knee on him for two. Blair with a kneelift and he goes up with a flying elbow and necks him on the top rope for two. Small package gets two and they roll over a few times for two. Blair slugs away in the corner and works on the arm now as I think we can all see where this is going given we’re 13:00 into it and it’s not building to anything. Blair wraps the arm around the ropes and yanks on that, but Samu pokes him in the eyes to escape before missing a dropkick. They fight for a suplex and Blair wins that battle, for two. They collide and both guys are down, but Blair is up first and he makes another comeback with another small package for two. Samu actually pulls out an enzuigiri here in 1984 and they both roll to the floor for a draw at 17:00, but the ref awards the match to Blair. What kind of a b------- finish is THAT? Match was technically OK but YEESH. **1/2

Meanwhile, Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria, the current WWF Women’s tag team champions, talk with Cal Rudman about meeting George Thorogood.

Women’s tag team title: Velvet McIntyre & Princess Victoria v. Wendi Richter & Peggy Lee

Wendi is introduced as “Cowgirl Wendy Richter” and she’s pretty jacked at this point, in advance of her babyface turn and switch to Cyndi Lauper disciple. Honestly, she looks like Hulk Hogan compared to other three women in the match, towering over them, and it’s no wonder she became a star in short order. In a minor note, Velvet still had boots at this point, before they were stolen from her dressing room sometime in 1984 and she stopped wearing them to the ring. Victoria slams Richter for two and Velvet comes in to work the arm as they switch off on that. Finally Wendi elbows out of that, but Velvet takes her down with a flying headscissors and holds her on the mat with that. Peggy Lee comes in and Victoria chops her down before Velvet goes to a headlock. Meanwhile Richter is just SCREAMING from the apron and calling out all the “cheating” being done by the babyfaces. Wendi comes in and boots Victoria down, and then takes her down and works the arm, and then whips her into Peggy’s boot for two. The heels double-team Victoria in their corner and Peggy gets a clothesline for two. Victoria finally fights off Lee and brings Velvet back in, but Peggy hits her with an elbow to the gut and gets two. Peggy gets a facejam for two and the heels each grab a pigtail and put the boots to Velvet. Wendi gets a legdrop for two. Wendi powers her up with what looks like she’s trying a powerbomb, and then turns it into an awkward gut wrench for two instead. She wraps up Velvet with a bow and arrow on the mat and OF COURSE Gorilla points out that she’s not doing it right. Peggy comes in with a backbreaker and applies a stomach claw, and Richter adds some abuse behind the ref’s back as Peggy gets two. Everyone fights in the ring and the heels tie Velvet’s head in the ropes and go to work on her. Richter hangs Velvet in the corner and just beats on her, and Peggy comes in with a hairtoss. Wendi with a big boot and splash, but Velvet fights back with our second enzuigiri of the show, and it’s hot tag Princess Victoria. And she immediately rolls up Richter for two, and a small package gets two. Another rollup gets two. Back to Velvet, and Wendi immediately throws her around by the hair and takes her back to the heel corner for a double-team. Wendi hooks her in the Tree of Woe and puts the boots to her, but Velvet escapes and hits a double dropkick on the heels. But then she misses another dropkick and Wendi takes Velvet up with a fireman’s carry into a gutbuster from Peggy in an impressive double team, but Victoria gets another hot tag. She cleans house with dropkicks and chops, and it’s back to Velvet, who immediately misses a splash on Peggy like a geek. STOP TAGGING HER IN. Peggy goes up and misses her own splash, and Velvet gets the fluke pin to retain at 19:05. This was way long but well worked. ***

Bob Backlund v. Greg Valentine

This is a rematch from a double countout finish last month, and Valentine immediately bails to get some last minute advice from Albano before he leaves. Backlund is ready to THROW HANDS, looking like an old-timey boxer, so Valentine takes him down with a chinlock to avoid any trouble. I bet Bob named the left after Warren G. Harding and the right after Grover Cleveland! They do a test of strength as the match is already nearly the 5 minute mark, and if it goes for another 10 then it’s going to be DOOM for Bob Backlund, let me tell you! You don’t want to let Valentine get warmed up! Backlund rolls out of that situation and chases Valentine to the corner, but Greg drops elbows on the neck and goes to an armbar, really getting himself warmed up now. You’d better finish him off pretty soon, Bob! Backlund with a backslide for two, but Greg goes right after the arm again and puts him back in an armbar. “He’s really taking Backlund way out to left base” notes Patterson as I’m sure Gorilla just nods sagely and moves on. Valentine ties up Bob in a top wristlock, but Bob bridges out of it and Greg hits him in the back to put him down again. WE ARE T-MINUS FIVE MINUTES UNTIL VALENTINE IS FULLY WARMED UP, PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Bob flips him out of the wristlock and gets another backslide for two, so Valentine gets some cheapshots on Bob and takes him down for more punishment to the shoulder on the mat. Four minutes left until warmup. Backlund stands up to escape the armbar and manages to take Greg down with a single leg, but Valentine beats on him in the corner. THREE MINUTES. Valentine drops an elbow for two and goes for the figure-four, but Bob kicks him off, so Valentine drops another elbow for one. Hammer goes up and misses a legdrop, but we have TWO MINUTES LEFT. Bob makes a comeback and he better hurry, so he goes to Greg’s leg and works on that in a weird reversal. Gorilla is pretty sure Bob can apply a figure-four if need be, though. ONE MINUTE LEFT. Bob hits Valentine with elbows and Greg does a Flair Flop, so Bob puts him in a Washington Football Team deathlock as we cross the FIFTEEN MINUTE MARK.

Oh s---, Bob’s f----- now! He better not let go of that leglock because he’s dead as soon as he does, because we are now dealing with a fully warmed up Greg Valentine and he’s like the T-1000 Terminator combined with John Wick with a touch of Joe Gomez now. Valentine indeed breaks free and hauls Bob to the apron, smashing the knee into the apron and going to work on it, then wraps the knee around the post before grabbing a chair and smashing it into Bob’s knee, which the ref somehow misses. Just give up now, Bob. No one beats Valentine at this point. Greg goes to work on the leg now, but somehow Bob is able to fight back like Linda Hamilton in the factory at the end of T2, kicking Valentine in the leg and pumping the metaphorical shotgun between each blow. However, Valentine doesn’t go down that easy at 20:00 in and he tries for the figure-four, but Bob somehow manages to fight him off again. So Valentine turns him over into a Boston crab instead and Bob has to power out of that. Greg tries a figure-four, but Bob cradles him for two. Greg tries it again, but Bob pulls the tights in desperation and still can’t escape. Greg tries it a third time, but Bob pulls out our THIRD ENZUIGIRI of the show and both guys are down. Valentine just keeps coming, 10 minutes past the point of full warmup, and hits Backlund with a backbreaker before going to the middle rope and missing an elbow. Bob comes back with the backdrop suplex, but Greg hangs on and gets the figure-four this time and Gorilla declares that it’s over. Valentine grabs the ropes and immediately gets caught, but the ref doesn’t make him break the hold and Greg thinks he’s won for some reason. And of course Bob immediately rolls him up and pins him at 26:07. ***1/2 So the idea that Greg Valentine is an unstoppable killing machine if he reaches the fifteen minute mark?

I think we’ve all learned something today.