WWWF MSG 8/29/77
TO THE MCMAHON. Vince, in what no doubt inspired Mark Henry's retirement speech suit, catches a few words with the High Chief Peter Maivia. Rock sure didn't get his promo skills from his grandfather.
Peter Maivia vs Stan Stasiak
Idk, I'm just assuming Stan is racist as a white dude from Oregon in the late 70s. Peter was pretty swoll for the era. Very thick, stout dude. Also his tats are rad. He's got some good hip action, too. There's a TON of stalling from Stan, which gives Vince time to give some background on the process Peter went through to get his tattoos. Apparently he did a 4 month session in 4 days and nearly died via lead poisoning. The High Chief has a lot of impressive power spots, but Stan's cheap shots are pretty hard to overcome. Lmao, Stan's bumping is hilarious. Peter is able to avoid the heart punch twice, one of which saw Stan punch the ring post and get counted out. A legitimately cool bit of trivia is that Peter Maivia was a major inspiration for The Rock's character in Moana. Also, Peter was in You Only Live Twice and was an uncredited stunt coordinator. Peter doing promos and in the ring was night and day. During the promo, he was so wooden and slow. But then he gets in the ring and he has the MSG crowd is very, very into him, because PHYSICALLY he's very charismatic. Like super charismatic. Like the kind of dude what would have a grandson that would be maybe the biggest star of ALL TIME charismatic. Although this match was portrayed by the promo with Vince to be his debut, he had been doing matches in the WWWF for about 4 months at this point.
Baron Mikel Scicluna/George Steele vs Tony Garea/Larry Zbyszko
Larry is still Bruno's protege, and it is fitting that he's facing George Steele, a man with whom Bruno had many battles with in the past. The heels attack before the bell, with George hitting a low blow on Tony and hitting him with an international object in the throat. Poor Tony gets REKT as FIP, repeatedly smashed into exposed buckles, choked, double teamed, the works. The heels get disqualified when Steele shoves the ref. But that was only the first fall.
Fall two starts with Tony still in the ring, even though he could have tagged out. You'd think after getting destroyed the entire first fall that he wouldn't volunteer to start the next fall. I have no idea why this ref is allowing three turnbuckles to be exposed and repeatedly used illegal. Larry gets the hot tag only to tag back out about 25 seconds later, which allowed Tony to hit a top rope sunset flip for the win. The all continued to brawl for a long time after the match.
TO THE MCMAHON. Vince talks with Superstar Billy Graham. "Some are booin', some are cheerin', but nevertheless, there is pandemonium tonight." Man, doesn't that sound familiar? Superstar, the original cool heel. The dude literally every wrestler after was named after. How fucking crazy is it that "superstars" actually came from one specific dude and has become the standard name for every talent in the company for 40 years? Billy wakes up and lifts for 5 hours, runs 19 miles, swims across the Atlantic ocean. Every day! He'll defend his title anywhere in the world.
Billy Graham vs Ivan Putski WWWF Championship
Ivan is so tiny, yet so huge. What a ball of muscle. But he's like 5'3. This was also before he got super into tanning and vascularity, instead being a pure bulker. Expecting plenty of test of strength spots. The match starts off with Superstar taunting and getting some of that Polish sausage. Indeed, this is a whole lot of power spots and submissions. OH SHIT POLISH HAMMER HAS MSG ROCKING! Holy shit what a reaction. That's an all time great reaction in MSG specifically and WWE in general. God damn do I love a nice full nelson break spot. Superstar via count out after back body dropping Ivan over the ropes. Title retained. It's really fascinating that every title match you find during Superstar's reign, he's booked like a total chump that barely retains his title by the skin of his teeth. This in spite of his incredible build that you'd think would have him physically dominant against just about anyone.
Nikolai Volkoff vs Verne Gagne
Oh weird, Verne in the house. He's gonna be REALLY pissed in about 6 years when Vince steals almost all of his roster. Even managers and announcers. Fuck Volkoff. Forever. Never not a piece of shit. He's obviously not good working with a technical guy like Verne. Not that he's good with anything, but extra not good with a dude like Verne. Verne won after countering a backbreaker with a headscissors takeover into a pin.
Ken Patera vs Bruno Sammartino
Texas Death Match
Ken attacks early and gets off to a hot start. Bruno quickly recovers and ties Ken up in the ropes, stomping away at him. Bruno pretty well dominates most of this. And despite the no rules aspect, the only time anything out of the ordinary happened was Bruno tying Ken up in the ropes and attacking (and the ref was working to get Ken loose anyway) and Ken hitting a low blow. It did have an interesting finish of Ken locking on the full nelson while on the apron, Bruno dragging him over the ropes and running into the corner to break it, but Ken let go before hitting the buckles, reapplied the nelson, and then Bruno did the Bret/Piper finish. Which I guess is actually the Bruno/Patera finish.
Jay Strongbow vs Mr. Fuji
Man, fuck Jay Strongbow. Italian mother fucker. This is Mr. Yunioshilevel bullshit. And fuck Fuji, too. Luckily for everyone, the curfew runs out before the match can go on too long.
Boy do I love the simplicity of 70s WWWF, even if it's often not good technically good.