WWF New York City House Show – October 17, 1983: Do You Want To See A Man Fly?

WWF House Show
Date: October 17, 1983
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Pat Patterson

Now this is a very interesting one. I saw the show on youtube and absolutely had to do it. The card itself doesn’t mean much as this is during the very tail end of Backlund’s time with the title (he’s defending against Masked Superstar, which is Ax from Demolition) tonight, but there’s another match which we’ll get to in a bit that I’m watching this for. Let’s get to it.

Rene Goulet vs. Tony Garea

Well Garea is awesome at least. Rene gets chased to the apron where he puts on some sort of glove. This is all before the bell apparently. They lock up and Rene climbs up the ropes to escape. Rene gets on Garea’s nerves so Tony punches him into the corner. Goulet bails for a bit and grabs a top wristlock. It’s pretty clear they have a decent amount of time for the match too because this hold goes on for several minutes.

Gorilla and Pat talk about who the Masked Superstar is because there’s no point to talking about this match. Garea comes back with one of his own which gets him nowhere as Goulet pulls the hair. Off to a chinlock which doesn’t last long at all. Goulet stomps on him a bit and this is going nowhere. He rams Tony into the corner a few times and it’s bearhug time.

Goulet finally goes for his Claw but Garea gets all fired up and starts his comeback. He firest off some right hands and a dropkick followed by an atomic drop. Goulet, being French, sells that in an over the top way that Honky Tonk Man would be proud of. That only gets two but a sunset flip gets Tony the pin.

Rating: C-. Not a very good match or anything but it got the crowd going. This is what someone like Garea was great at: throw him out there, let him get beaten up, and have the crowd get fired up for his comeback. Garea is one of those guys where the more I see of him the more I like him, so this wasn’t too bad. I never remember Goulet winning a match.

SD Jones vs. Tiger Chung Lee

Lee has Blassie with him and Jones is coming back off an injury. They fight over arm control which is won by Jones but Lee takes him to the mat and works on the knee. Apparently Blassie, the manager of Lee, didn’t come out to watch. If I were Lee I’d try to get traded for two jobbers to be named later. Jones headbutts him down and it’s time to dance!

Lee chops him down and puts on the nerve hold. Make that a chinlock. Jones spins around to set up a clothesline but Lee runs him over with a shoulder. Back to the chinlock as Gorilla says raw fish wouldn’t turn him on. I don’t think I ever need that image in my head again. Jones comes back with a backdrop and a headbutt for two. Lee runs him over again but gets slammed off the top for two. After Jones no sells a thumb to the eye (how do you do that?) an enziguri pins him.

Rating: D. Really boring match here as it was mainly punching and kicking with a chinlock thrown in. Lee was your usual evil Japanese heel and Jones was popular for some reason that I never got. There were far better generic strong black guys to cheer for but this guy kept sticking around the card. Bad match.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ivan Putski

Slaughter is EVIL. LONG stall to start as Slaughter doesn’t want to lock up with him. After about two minutes they lock up and Putski uses one of his signature moves: a headlock. It’s not an 80’s thing. It would still be boring by any standards. We’re three and a half minutes into this and we’ve had a headlock as our entire offense. Putski runs him over and puts on a chinlock. This is going to be really dull isn’t it?

Slaughter gets rammed into the post and Putski is in full control. Sarge finally hits an atomic drop but hurts his own knee on it. He manages to come off the middle rope but that leg is bothering him. This has to be legit as there’s no reason for him to sell like this. Slaughter “charges” at him in the corner but hits the post again head first. He manages to hook the Cobra Clutch but Putski makes the rope. Ivan comes back with a bunch of right hands….and one hits the referee for the lame DQ.

Rating: D. A lot of this was because of the knee injury as it would seem they went home early. That being said, the stuff before the injury was really bad with the vast majority of it being a headlock and punches. The early 80s were never really know for workrate and you can see that here very clearly. Putski just wasn’t that good.

Mike Sharpe vs. Tito Santana

This should be good. Before he became an OCD jobber, Sharpe was an OCD midcard heel. Tito grabs a fast hammerlock and Sharpe makes the ropes, which he protests for some reason. They do it again and Santana takes him to the mat which is broken up by the referee. Even Gorilla calls him stupid for that, so you know it was bad. Sharpe adjusts his forearm pad and hits Tito with it, making it cause much more damage.

Santana doesn’t seem to care as he hits a few monkey flips and stomps away in the corner. Sharpe chills on the floor for a bit but walks right back into an armbar. You can tell they’ve got a lot of time to work with here. Sharpe tries about a half dozen counters but Tito will never let go of the hold. He finally gets the rope after about three minutes in the hold. See what I mean by them taking their time?

Sharpe comes back with right hands and right boots to put Tito down. A quick sunset flip gets two for Tito and a straight right hand puts Sharpe down. He misses a charge though and things slow down. Small package gets two but Sharpe gets his foot on the ropes. Off to a chinlock which Tito can’t quite break. After a few minutes in that he guillotines Tito over the top rope. They collide to put both guys down. To the fans’ credit they’re staying in this, despite the match being pretty dull so far. Sharpe misses an elbow and Tito drops a knee for two as the bell rings for the time limit at about 17 minutes which is called 20.

Rating: C-. This was ok but it’s more long than good. There was a lot of laying around and rest holds which get annoying very quickly. Tito kept things fast paced when he was in control though and the fans ate him up so the match wasn’t really terrible or anything. Santana was always good but he needed something better to work with.

Santana chases him off post match.

WWF World Title: Bob Backlund vs. Masked Superstar

Masked Superstar is Ax of Demolition so there’s a chance I’ll call him Ax from time to time. They go to the mat quickly and Backlund is more than fine with that. Backlund takes him back down again with a headlock. Superstar runs him over and tries another headlock on the mat but Bob breaks that up with ease. We hear about Eddie Gilbert being injured by Superstar, which is a show I’ve actually seen.

The champion controls with a headscissors on the mat to frustrate the big guy. Now it’s an armbar as Backlund is picking him apart with whatever body part he cares to work on at the moment. For some reason Superstar keeps trying amateur stuff on Backlund and it fails more and more each time.

Backlund runs over the bigger guy and we get a botched sequence as Superstar tries what looked like a cross body but Backlund didn’t drop at first. It looked like Superstar was trying a jumping tornado DDT but since the regular version didn’t exist yet, he fell on Backlund after spinning around a bit. Really bad looking move but it’s more on Backlund than Superstar, which is rare to see from him.

They slug it out a bit and Backlund goes right back to the arm to keep control. This time it’s a hammerlock so at least he’s mixing things up somewhat. We’re almost ten minutes into this and about six of those have been arm work. Superstar knocks him to the floor to get his first I guess you would say advantage of the match. Backlund finally gets back in and a high knee to the shoulder (supposed to be the face) gets two.

Time for a chinlock as Superstar isn’t much for offense I guess. Backlund fights out of it with punches as this becomes a slugout. Flying headbutt gets two for Superstar. Another attempt at it hits the mat though and Backlund is getting all fired up. He pounds on the arm and tries the chickenwing but Superstar makes the rope very quickly. A clothesline sets up Superstar’s neckbreaker finisher but he won’t cover. Instead he takes Backlund outside and hits the neckbreaker out there which gives him the countout win.

Rating: C. This was basically a Backlund squash for the first ten minutes and then a pretty uninteresting match for the remaining five minutes. Superstar didn’t really do anything until the end with the neckbreaker, which goes to show you how devastating any move can be if it’s sold right. Why he wouldn’t go for the cover is beyond me but whatever.

Post match Backlund comes back in and beats up Superstar, making the neckbreaker seem like a pretty weak move.

Backlund says he knows what he’s facing in Masked Superstar now and he’s ready for him next time. Backlund plays a good psycho.

Bob Bradley vs. Mike Graham

No idea who Bradley is but he’s built well. Graham is the son of Florida promoter Eddie Graham and is okish in the ring. He hooks on an armbar after working Bradley on the mat for a bit. Really uninteresting match here as it’s pure filler between the world title match and the next one which is the feature match of the night. Bradley tries to control him but Graham is too fast for him. A German suplex gets a fast pin for Mike.

Rating: D. Like I said, not an interesting match at all and there’s nothing much else to say about it. Graham never was that good but if you needed a placeholder for a quick match like this one he was ok. I’ve never heard of Bradley but he’s a muscular guy so you can probably guess why he had a job.

Graham says he’s looking for competition to get his Junior Heavyweight Championship back.

Jimmy Snuka says this ends tonight with Muraco. He’s going to reach down inside himself to get whatever it takes because Muraco has brought out the animal in him. Really good promo here.

Buddy Rogers, Snuka’s manager, says this match is important and his man is ready for it.

Muraco says all the talking is done and all that matters now is the match.

Intercontinental Title: Don Muraco vs. Jimmy Snuka

This is in a cage. Sound familiar? You can only win by escape, making this a REAL cage match. A quick slugout is won by Snuka but Muraco pops back up. Snuka chops away as the beating begins. Don tries for the door but Snuka will have none of that. Muraco manages to slingshot him into the cage and Jimmy is busted early. Snuka gets a knee up and climbs the cage, only to come back down and pound away on Muraco some more.

Don manages a slam and goes for the door but Jimmy makes a save, only to take a low blow. Snuka pops up and chops Don’s head open, followed by a middle rope headbutt. He stands Muraco up, and in a semi-famous ending, hits a flying headbutt which knocks Muraco into the door, knocking it open so that the unconscious Muraco can fall out to keep the title.

Rating: D+. The match was intense while it lasted, but the whole thing only runs about seven minutes. There’s nothing of note here at all other than the ending which is pretty creative. I don’t remember a shorter cage match off the top of my head, which is something I think a lot of people forget. I think people think this was a big and epic brawl but it’s really Snuka killing him and then the ending with a run time of 6:46. That’s not much.

Post match Jimmy snaps and throws Muraco back inside. He suplexes Muraco down and goes to the corner. He climbs to the top rope but then goes a step further to the top of the cage, and in the most famous scene in wrestling until Hogan vs. Andre, jumps off the top of the cage with the Superfly Splash, completely crushing Muraco. That still looks great today, and some credit needs to go to Muraco. He was starting to sit up when Jimmy hits him, but after the Splash Muraco is DEAD.

Mick Foley, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Bubba Ray Dudley were in attendance that night and all have said this was what made them want to be a wrestler. I can easily see how that would be the case, as there was nothing like this beforehand. Snuka was flying through the air and crushed Muraco, which still looks incredible today. It’s stuff like that which you can only see in wrestling, which is what makes it great.

For some reason on the replays they keep stopping it right before the splash hits.

Albano, Muraco’s manager, says that Muraco is hurt but he’ll be fine and he’ll be back because he’s awesome. Albano rants again a bit because that’s what he does.

Sika vs. Rocky Johnson

The Samoans have the titles and the Soul Patrol wants them. Sika pounds on him to start but misses a charge and Rocky grabs a sunset out of nowhere for the shocking pin. Johnson and Atlas would get the titles in about a month.

Invaders vs. Butcher Vachon/Israel Matia

The Invaders are undefeated and are masked men from Puerto Rico. We’ll say #1 starts with Matia. The Invaders would be faces here I think. Off to #2 and Israel is in trouble. The masked men tag in so fast that I’ve completely lost track of who is who. Off to Butcher (Mad Dog’s brother and Luna’s dad) who gets in a shot at I think #1 to send him to the floor.

#2 has better luck so Butcher tags in Matia while Matia isn’t paying attention. We get a few instances of the tag that the referee doesn’t see which is an old standard way to get the crowd going. The heels cheat some more until the tag brings in #2. A double dropkick puts Matia down and heel miscommunication allows #1 to hip toss #2 onto Israel for the pin.

Rating: D-. What a mess! It seemed like they had no idea who was supposed to be in control here for the most part, which defeats the purpose of what came off like it was supposed to be a squash. The Invaders didn’t last long but #1 is more famous for likely murdering Bruiser Brody.

Andre says he’s got the Samoan tonight. Not much for him to say this week.

Afa vs. Andre the Giant

Afa jumps him before the entrances and the pain begins soon after. Andre kicks him in the head and sits on him for the pin in less than a minute. Total dominance.

Overall Rating: D+. Classic moment aside, this was a pretty uninteresting show. Most of the stuff is watchable but at the same time there’s nothing in the ring that is anything great. I’m sure you’ve seen the cage dive a few thousand times and while it’s cool to see it in context, there’s not much here to see otherwise. Watchable show but it’s nothing worth going out of your way to see. The company needed a shakeup and that would happen in about three months.

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1 comment

  1. NightShiftLoser says:

    I looked up Goulet, thinking I don’t ever remember a win either, but on separate occasions he was tag champs with Karl Gotch, Ole Anderson, and Andre the freakin’ Giant. Amazing.