Yes, I know it’s Sunday. Between COVID and the preparing for the fourth, everything has been a huge mess. In short, whiskey happened and I missed a deadline. Also, there isn’t a catchy title for Sunday. I mean, what would I call it? Spontaneous Recurrence Sunday?? Doesn’t have the same ring to it. So, Flashback Sunday it is!!!
This week for Flashback “Friday”, it’s the oldest content on the Network. That’s right, we’re going back to June 30th, 1973 at Madison Square Garden for WWF’s First live recorded event available on the Network. The Main Event is Pedro Morales defending the WWF Championship against George Steele. Chief Jay Strongbow also takes on Mr. Fuji and Lou Albano takes on Gorilla Monsoon. This is sure to be an interesting night. Vince McMahon is solo on commentary, which is weird, but it’s gotta be better than that damn three-man booth with Jim Neidhart.
Blackjack Lanza v Lee Wong – Well, that was weird. They announced the judges and the representative from the New York athletic commission before the announced the opening match. Interesting shit back in the territory days and the days of the athletic commission being involved to preserve kayfabe. This is Lee Wong’s first time in MSG in quite some time, according to Vince. I’m guessing he’s here to do the job. This Lanza guy looks old and out of shape. He needs to hit the gym. Lanza grabbed Vince’s mic sitting in the boxing commentator’s position at ringside and used it to choke Lee. I thought that would be a DQ. Guess not. Lanza locked in the claw and got the win. He’s now doing jumping jacks in the ring. This is great! – 3/5
Not the most technical of matches but definitely entertaining and a great way to get the crowd riled up to start the night. I like it.
Professor Tanaka v El Olympico – The Grand Wizard would not go over today. The connection of the name to the KKK would get this guy canceled and repackaged quickly. OK… what the hell is El Olympico wearing on his head? It’s like a mask without the actual mask part. It’s basically a free-standing hood. WTF. Wait… what?? Some lady, who I’m guessing is supposed to be involved is walking to the corner and wiping away the powder Tanaka is tossing down to “keep away the evil spirits”. I’m really not sure who she is or why she’s here doing this. She could actually just be some weird-ass old lady fan. This is 1973 after all.
I need to get me an Olympico hood… or mask… or whatever it’s called. LIFE… OF… THE… PARTY. Tanaka… sorry, Professor Tanaka is doing a tittie twister now. That crazy fan is up and talking trash again. They even showed her walking back to her seat. Live wrestling in 1973 was LIT!!! We’re two matches in and this is the most entertained I’ve been with wrestling since before COVID. The ref keeps using a chop to break Professor Tanaka’s illegal chokes. … and just like that, it’s Tanaka ends it after a pretty weak ass throat chop. – 3/5
Despite a pretty shitty finish, this match was pretty fricking entertaining, more so due to the old lady fan at ringside. I hope we see more of her tonight. #StealingTheShow
Gorilla Monsoon v Captain Lou Albano – What a difference a decade and a half makes for both of these guys. This is my first time seeing Monsoon in the ring. Gorilla Monsoon was billed from Manchuria?? Hahahahahaha. Ok. Who’d have thunk that he’d become one of the most legendary announcers in wrestling history? I never realized how big Gorilla was. The crowd absolutely loves seeing Monsoon manhandle the much smaller Albano. I fucking love this crowd. … Monsoon chopped the living shit out of Capt. Lou and sends him over the top rope. Albano runs from the ring and the ref called the match. Guess we didn’t need a ten count. – 2.5/5
Entertaining squash match that the crowd made just a little bit better. Could have done without another fuck finish though.
Black Gordman v Victor Rivera – This is a special attraction match. The announcer really sucks at his job. He just says the place they’re from without saying hailing from or something like that he just says the place and then mispronounces the guy’s name. Good shit, pal. I guess these guys have been feuding across the country for the past year. Ahhhh, the days of no cable TV and internet so you could pull off the same match across the entire country over an entire year. I think Rivera is from Puerto Rico but I couldn’t really understand the mush-mouthed horrible ring announcer. Howard Finkel was a golden find for Vince two years later.
Also, why do the refs look like they’re about to retire janitors? These are the things I’m noticing because I’m not in the slightest bit into this match. Like, at all. I wonder what granny is doing right now in the front row. The fans are firmly behind the guy from Puerto Rico. Probably because this is Madison Square Garden, in New York. There are a lot of Puerto Ricans in New York. … Wait, was that racist? Did I just get canceled? Gordman has had Rivera in a chokehold for the better part of five minutes and it’s literally put me into a sleeper hold too. FFS just end this match, pleeeeeease. Holy fucking shit… it’s been three more minutes and the sleeper hold is STILL being applied. Talk about rest holds. And one minute late Rivers gets a rollup for yet another cutesy. fuck finish. Damn you, Vince!!! You need to just die or let your son take over the company before you totally ruin the business!!! – 3/5
I mean, the crowd liked it. That has to count for something. In fairness, it was actually a good wrestling match. I just didn’t know anyone in it so it didn’t draw me in.
BEST TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS: Dotty Downs & Peggy Patterson v Jan Sheridan & Ms. Joyce Vrabel – Vince, seemingly, doesn’t even know who these “lady wrestlers”, as he called them, are. They all look the same. Blonde beehives or flipped bobs or whatever they are. Vince called her BIG Peggy Patterson. Hahahahaha. She is kind of big. Not fat, but big structured. This is not good. They’re not even good. And Dotty Downs and Peggy Patterson… Did someone just come up with their names at catering before the show? Jesus, Patterson, and Dotty are pummeling Joyce Vrabel. Ahem… women wrestlers did not have good bodies in 1973. Just saying. The girls do an entertaining back and forth, where Jan jumps in to break up a move and the ref turns to get her out of the ring and then Peggy jumps in while his back is turned and breaks up Joyce’s move and the ref turns to get her out of the ring and it went back and forth for about four cycles. Dotty Downs. Hahahahaha. Sorry, I just can’t get over the humor in that name.
Dotty just got pinned after a dropkick. Oh yeah, this is best two out of three. You can have unclimactic finishes in the first two falls of two out of three fall matches. So Double D & Double P (sounds like a name of a porno, now that I read it) So the heels have to win the second round, right? Hahahaha, Vince calling Peggy Patterson “the big gal” is extremely funny to me. Just a thought. I can’t lie, this has been pretty decent in terms of wrestling, but it’s definitely waaaaay too long. I’m over it already. There’s five minutes until the next match so I’m assuming the faces are just going to win this one straight out. Nope. I was wrong. The second fall won with a kick to the midsection and a quick pin by the “big gal”. Something happened in the ring and Vince didn’t know what it was. Me neither. It looked like the ref was trying to get the two involved in the fall to both get out of the ring. Ok. The final fall was won with a roll-up from atop Peggy’s shoulder by Jan. Meh… – 2.5/5
Waaaaaaaay too long for a match that wasn’t for a title and doesn’t mean anything. Who booked this shit??
WWE Championship: George the Animal Steele v Pedro Morales [C] – Ok, what’s the deal with main events not being the actual main event?? Pedro should have been pissed, being the champ and not main eventing the card. Vince Sr. is an idiot. So this was before Steele ate turnbuckles, didn’t talk and carried around a bald, hairy stuffy, huh? Interesting. They even ANNOUNCED this as the main event. That’s stupid. Steele was good as a dirty heel. They really screwed the pooch with him 15 years later. “Not retarded” George Steele was really fucking entertaining as a heel. He’s been hiding and using this “foreign object” for the past three or four minutes. Stelle got split open and Pedro bit him. George Steele quit I guess?? No, the ref called the match for Steele bleeding. Jesus, it’s not even bad. Damn athletic commission. – 2.5/5
Not really that good for a “main event” of a card. I’d be disappointed that I paid admission. I mean, unless that crazy old lady was sitting next to me.
Chief Jay Strongbow v Mr. Fuji – Why are there “many more” exciting bouts still to come tonight, Vince? Chief Jay Strongbow was definitely the Jimmy Snuka of this era. I’m expecting a quick squash of Fuji, but then again, the last time we saw the Chief on a Flashback Friday, he jobbed out, so I won’t be making a prediction on this one. Fuji does the same ritual as Professor Tanaka and Mrs. Krieger wipes it away again. I guess they know her. Sidebar – Georgette Krieger was a diminutive little old lady who lived in Baltimore from 1899-1982 and was a super fan who was well known in the Northeast Corridor in New York. She loved Bruno Sammartino & hated the heels. She wasn’t a plant and, in fact, a security guard was often hired to make sure she didn’t go “overboard” with her antics. Look her up!! It’s worth the read –
Anyway, I’m glad I’m seeing Strongbow in 73. It’s a night and day difference from even seeing him in the 80’s. I can see why he was a big draw. Although, he was actually an Italian-American and would be considered to be a “racist character” in today’s society and probably canceled. Fuji does a titty twister too, huh? Must be an Asian thing. That might be racist too, but it’s 1973 so it’s totally acceptable. It’s wild to me that the crowd is doing an Indian War Cry to try to get Strongbow going. Hahahahaha!! Oh, PC culture, you ruin everything. Also, Fuji almost knocked out Strongbow with a titty twister. That’s not a typo at all. Strongbow hits a flying chop to the head and gets the pinfall. The fuck was that? 13:58 seconds and half of that was titty twisters. I hate you Vince Sr. – 2/5 Bibles
That started out looking promising and then turned into a wet willie short of a sixth-grade gym class locker room.
Haystacks Calhoun v Moondog Mayne – And Haystacks was Vince Sr.’s Andre, I can see. Strongbow and Haystacks after the main event under Vince Sr., Snuka, and Andre after the main event under Vince Jr. This is my first look ever at Haystacks. I first read about him when I was six. Yeah, I was an UBER nerd. So what? Ummm… Am that the only one that sees Conrad Thompson when I look at Haystacks? The other day, I said I didn’t like “gay” as a gimmick. I think it’s kind of rude and demeaning. Someone responded, “I get that. That’s like me with fat gimmicks.” Haystacks gimmick is just that he’s fat. I get what he was saying now. Wait… why is the ring announcer 7’0” tall?? The fuck is this?? I mean… let me give credit where it’s due. Haystacks is very agile and quick on his feet for his size, but he’s just an “attraction”. Obviously, this was a squash. – 1.5/5
I’m giving it 1 point just because it’s the novelty of Haystacks Calhoun. That about sums it up.
This was a very interesting look into how things were before Vincent Kennedy McMahon took over the reins. To be honest, it wasn’t totally my cup of tea although, the crowd was lit af and I would have thoroughly enjoyed being there even though the match quality was subpar. It was cool seeing Gorilla Monsoon, Chief Jay Strongbow, George Steele before he was crazy, Mr. Fuji & Haystacks Calhoun all wrestle, so this show gets an extra point for the nostalgia and novelty of it alone. – 3.5/5 Bibles
I mean… it’s REALLY 2.5, but the extra point for the attraction of guys I grew up seeing as managers, commentators, and legends being in the ring bumps it up. It was fun.