WWWF MSG 2/2/76
Frank Monti vs Pete Sanchez
I like the idea of a time when NYC and WWWF crowds were so diverse that the white guy was almost always the heel against an ethnic opponent. It's such a change for the WWWF/WWF/WWE really any time after the early 80s. I'm not really sure what happened to the crowd and booking style. I guess moving outside of MSG as your home base and going national will change the composition of your audience and talent. Frank attacked before the bell, and it took a bit for Sanchez to recover, but when he does, he smashes Frank for a while. The bleached blond locks and mustache is a quality look, right? Frank won with a big boot from the corner and a quick count. Vince Sr. really should have looked into these refs. I see an awful lot of blatantly quick counts from these officials.
Louie Cyr vs Francisco Flores
Louie is currently the strongest man in the world. He also wears a coon skin cap for some reason. For being a the world's strongest man, he doesn't do many power spots, and I could probably think of 5 guys on the WWWF roster that look much stronger. I'm going ot make a snap judgement and say both of these guys suck. Flores takes all of his bumps like he's in a Rockstar game. Cyr is just boring. He wins with a shoulder breaker.
Spiros Arion vs Kevin Sullivan
Little ass, chubby Kevin Sullivan. Before the devil found his way into his life. Also before steroids if you ever saw him in his Memphis days. Arion went from a series of title matches with Bruno to unscheduled third match on the card with Kevin Sullivan. Dang. Sullivan missed a monkey flip and got pinned with an atomic drop.
Dominic DeNucci vs Ernie Ladd
KING Ernie Ladd. Also known as DADDY Ladd. And of course, The Big Cat Ernie Ladd. I love the idea of this nearly 7 footer working like heel Jerry Lawler. A lot of fisticuffs in this. Also, stalling. And stooging. Ernie won with a shot to the throat with a possible phantom international object, then his feet on the top rope.
Ivan Koloff vs Ivan Putski
Oh heck yeah, IVANS. Putski should never have gotten tan and lean. Should have kept that barell bod forever. Look at that hip swivel. Polish Power indeed. Koloff in his day was a thick mother fucker, too, if you're only used to seeing him as an old man in JCP. Lots of test of strength spots, which Koloff loses. Both men got counted out while fighting on the apron, which led to a loud BULLSHIT chant from the MSG crowd.
Billy The Kid/Little Johnny vs Bobo Johnson/Little Louie
Midgets, y'all. This goes into comedy spots immediately, and I'm just not into midget matches where they're treated like idiots who can't do basic things like enter the ring without tripping or hitting their partners constantly.
Bruno Sammartino vs Billy Graham WWWF Championship
Sadly, this is joined in progress due to technical issues with the tape. But when we start, Superstar is in firm control. Bruno gets things turned around and Superstar immediately slows things down with a rope break. Amazing how a fucking standing bow and arrow can get such a giant reaction. Bruno is ALL fired up and gives no fuck about rope breaks. Both viciously go after the legs, with both going so far as to use the ring post. Heck yeah, judo throws to counter bear hugs. Superstar gets busted open being rammed into the turnbuckle itself multiple times. Bruno goes into for the kill, trying to bust him open further, but Superstar, who can't see due to the blood, just flails wildly until the ref stops the match due to the cut. Title retained. Superstar grabbed the mic after the match. THE SUPAHSTAH IS READAYYYYYYYYYYY.
Baron Mikel Scicluna vs Pat Barrett
The Baron attacks before the bell and never lets up. Pat does briefly fire up, but loses after being sent into the turnbuckles.
Bob Brazil/Tony Parisi vs Bugsy McGraw/Crusher Blackwell
Oh no, not Bugsy. Shit. Before the match, the announcer gives a rundown of the next card, including the NYC debut of a young star from Minneapolis named Ric Flair, Bruno vs Ernie Ladd, and Koloff/Graham challenging for the tag titles. Sounds like a hot show. Wow, Bugsy might have actually ben worse here than in his later years. What a terrible talent. I'm pretty sure you can hear fans laughing at how weak his offense looks, which is saying something for the mid 70s. I'm also noticing that Bobo and Jimmy Valiant have a lot of the same mannerisms. Hard to say who ripped off who, but it's clear one of them ripped the other off by the way they run around the ring with that weird bouncy hop thing. The heels get DQ'd about 7 minutes in for using the tag rope to choke Bobo. Parisi pins Crusher with a flying knee drop that the camera cut away from right before impact to win 2 straight falls.
Not as fun as some other shows available from the era, but Bruno/Superstar and Ivan vs Ivan were good times.